Friday, November 24, 2006

Giving Thanks My Own Way

I had a nice Thanksgiving after all! I didn't eat the traditional turkey and I had to work but I made the most of it and went on the have a nice day. It was really nice that I got so many nice comments from readers. Thanks! (There are too many nice's in there - I would blast my students for that!)

What really made my day was that I decided to share Thanksgiving with my students at school. I have a class that are at intermediate level and this particular class is comprised of Libyan, Egyptian and Iraqi students. I first asked them what their ideas about Thanksgiving were and they either didn't know, or they thought it was religious and somehow connected with Christmas and Christianity (which it is not). So the first thing I had to do was explain what Thanksgiving was about and then I handed them out a reading that I prepared that was about the first Thanksgiving. You can find it here: Thanksgiving

We had a good time learning about a truly American holiday and the students picked up new vocabulary words such as: venison, wrestling, colonists, tribesmen, game (used in the context of wild game), utensils, epidemic, etc. Everybody liked learning something that they had had misconceptions about. We finished the class by talking about different types of holidays and the meanings of different things that symbolized certain holidays, for example the Christmas tree, candles for Miloud, fool (broad beans)for Ashura, etc. I promised the students I would print out the post about Al-Fatasha that was posted recently on My Enchanting Sareeb. It was a successful lesson.

So today I sit down to open check my e-mail and what do I find? A letter sent to me by someone regarding my post about Thanksgiving. They didn't have the guts to post their opinion in my comments section. So I'll share it here:

Dear Sister Khadija,

If you have adopted Islam as your faith, then it would be irrelevant if not sinful to celebrate it since it is a holiday in the christian calendar. In Islam, we thank ALLAH tens of times every single day not just once a year.

I found it a pity that people are congratulating you on “Thanksgiving” eventhough you proclaimed your Islam. Please know that even greeting the kuffar on christmas and other religious holidays of theirs is haram, by consensus. Similarly, Muslims are forbidden to imitate the kuffar by having parties on such occasions, or exchanging gifts, or giving out sweets or food, or taking time off work, etc., because the Prophet peace be upon him said: "Whoever imitates a people is one of them." For more information please read the rest of the article


Please share this information with your readers

You'll notice that the 'person' hasn't the guts even to sign their name. Too bad this 'person' didn't have a chance to sit in my classroom yesterday, sharing some time with warm, friendly, caring, and open-minded students. This 'person' quotes Prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him) as saying "Whoever imitates a people is one of them." - Yes! I'm one of them! I'm an American Muslim - I'm not imitating anyone. How sad that there are such bigoted people in this world....sigh...


  1. how did this person get that thanksgiving is a christian celebration... its an american tradition... we give thanks for many different reasons... we give thanks for what our forefathers have done so that we can get to where we need to be ...we give thanks for the love that is in our homes.... we give thanks that our families are happy and heathy...we give thanks for a bunch af different things... i will grant you that some of us give thanks to god, but here in america if you want you can give thanks to allah, budda,or any other deiity that you want..... the coolest thing is that here in america you can give thanks to any god that you want and it wont bother most americans... i can honestly say that the openedness and acceptance of most american people is what i am most thankful for.... hugs holly

  2. The Prophet Mohamed PBUH used to visit his Christian & Jewish neighbours during their religious holidays and used to exchange gifts with them, Omar Ibn AlKhatab once gave Zakat to a Christian man who was in need.
    I am proud to wish you and your family a happy Thanksgiving (whether its Christian or not)and can not wait until Christmas to wish all our Christian friends a Happy Christmas.
    This person that sent you the letter does not know anything about Islam but this is something I guess we all know.

  3. zaynab, I was born a muslim and im younger years at school we learnt about the life of the prophet including his treatment of non muslims, I can not give you a proof just like that, this will need research, at the end of the day its common sense, we need to live together and it is only right that we wish each others the best, you need to read more about the prophets treatment of non-muslims, here is link:

  4. Greetings, KT. I am glad that you found a way to make your thanksgiving a happy one. Good for you to show your humanism and use the opportunity to educate others. Of course, living as a foreigner has its prices, as I'm sure you know. One price is the loneliness one feels on holidays, which can be quite depressive, especially for single people. But the other side of the story is, living away forces you to redefine and rediscover what those holidays really mean to you, and in the end, they can actually mean more on the personal level.

    The first American holiday I ever celebrated was my first Thanksgiving here. Some American families in town had gone to the university and offered to host young people away from home, including foreigners who are far far away from home. I accepted, took the address of one family (the Rietz family at 200 N. Franklin) and went down on that memorable Thursday of 27 years ago! I will never forget the experience, not because of its intensity but exactly the opposite. It was a very easy going time. No one tried to convert me, not that it would've worked, but no one pressured me into anything. They simply treated me as they did their own children's friends. There was nothing religious about the whole affair, just pure humanism. That and other similar experiences helped me define Thanksgiving for myself, and although I did not celebrate it every time thereafter, I never lost the wonderful "taste" I got that day. Some readers might know of the classic College Physics textbook authored by Sears, Zemansky and Young. Professor Young at Carnegie Mellon was a very friendly person and known, among other things, for his Thanksgiving dinner with students. For me, Thanksgiving is about taking stock of the good in one's life and savoring it. If that means imitating the "unbelievers" or the devil himself, then so be it. If you wish to appreciate the good things as blessings from a supernatural being, then by all means, go right ahead. For me, it is humanism at its purest.

    As for this comment you received, I'd say it is not so unusual. I'm only surprised that they did not throw in something about how listening to music is also forbidden for Muslims, or maybe using computers is forbidden now, or telling you that NASA proved the miracle of the 7th century Moon splitting, or some other aspect of their cultist insanity. I recently read a Libyan blogger express his disgust at Libyans who celebrate Halloween, which he called a pagan event and found as nauseating as seeing a Japanese person with blond hair (his words)! I told him, he needed to get out more often to realize that Halloween is just a big costume party with loads of candy. If costume parties are paganistic, then so is the Libyan tradition of Shayshbani, Abu-Sadia, and all the performance arts for that matter. Please count me in as a pagan! I guess some people are just "happiness challenged."

    If you ask older Libyans why they felt closer to Greeks than Italians living in Libya, they'll tell you it's because Greeks engaged more in the local Libyan culture, including taking part in holidays. So my advice to folks in Libya on the upcoming Eid: Invite a foreigner, not necessarily a Muslim, and show them the human in you.

    What you did with your students is terrific, KT. You never know, maybe 27 years from now, someone will say that you taught them something good about humanity, another reason to be thankful. Happy thanksgiving to you and your family. And happy birthday to Jenna. 'Ugbal 100 more of both.

  5. Oops! Correction: It was 29 not 27 years ago. Damn, I'm getting old!

  6. Happy thanksgiving, KhadijaTeri. Thanksgiving is my favorite Holiday in the US since it's the only one that's not religious and we share and celebrate equally with all Americans. Even if you are imitating the unbelievers (I can't help but laugh!), it's good to imitate what's good no matter who or what the source is.

    You did well and you did right by celebrating and sharing it.

    Let the miserables rot in their own misery.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. Sorry someone has such an attitude about Thanksgiving. To many it is the one area we can interact with non-muslim family members. We have always found a family in need of "caring", maybe a death in the family, a recent divorce or living alone, and invited them to share in a day of thanks. My husband use to be an imam and we discussed this many times. As long as the name of someone other than Allah is not mentioned during a meal prayer there is no harm in spending a day of thanks with family. Others are free to do as they wish but for many like us it is a bit of home. How is it any different than Ramadan? This day was made for giving thanks to what Allah has blessed us with. For most americans this one day is all they can remember. As muslims we are reminded to thank daily Allah for all we have. And I remind my guest of that and my children. We never eat more than we would in a usual meal so it is never a day of indulgence. A neighbor lost their job a few years ago and was getting ready to move the next morning and we asked them to join us on that day, it helped them remember the good days in a fun way during a time of many sorrows. Maybe the writer needs to be reminded of the true meaning of THANKSGIVING....

  8. Ah, no worries. This person letting you know your actions are haraam is probably drinking a glass of wine at home watching a porno film content to know the whilst he chastises others, no one knows his ill deeds.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Hannakah, Happy Christmas, Happy Easter, Happy Kwanza, Happy Passover, Happy anything else you can think of to you!

  9. By the way, the commentor is "immitating the kuffar" by using a computer. It is a non Muslim invention.

    I suggest they stop using it RIGHT NOW!

  10. Dear Khadijia , this person who wrote you this is sick. these kind of people are the ones who ruind the islam image in the world. i hate the word Kuffar , because in quraan God never named the Christians and jews Kuffar , they still belive in God and they have faith and we have to respect these belives ??? ???? ?????? ?????? " ??? ?????? ??? ???? ???? ?? ??? ????????? ?? ??? ????? ???????? "?????" ?????"??? ???? ??????.
    so i just hate when people create thier own islam and their own 'true islam'' and consider them selves as the good people on earth and the rest will go to hell unless they be like ''them''.

    so Khadijia teri Happy thanks giving , Merry christmas , happy new year , happy Miloud , happy eid and happy all holidays..

  11. by the way if Thanksgiving is haram , listening to m,usic is haram , internet is haram , every thing in the world is haram than maybe speaking English is Haram!!!
    Gosh i hate these poeple who made every thing in the world Haram. i feel pitty for them because they are an abnormal people .

  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  13. I am not sure if condemning people who expressed their opinions here is a righteous thing to do, above and beyond.
    Islam has two holidays, that is for sure.
    Thanks giving is an American NAtional holiday that gathers people and brings meaning to their life.

    They share a precious time that is other wise rare in today's America. On the other hand it is maybe the only time that a Moslem gets to share his intentions and manners, and learn about others and how they do things.
    If one needs to question, one needs to question their own deeds and behaviors and existence in "kufar land" first, (I am winking at you Zayneb with all due respect).
    Last but not least, positive attitude will bring about a positive energy towards everyone encountered, plus:
    who we are to condemn others for some thing that we have done in the past or might do in the future regardless of what that thing is, since giving advice has it's requirements and methods in Islam.
    Peace out
    And Happy positivity

  14. Teri, Sounds like you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!! I am so sorry to hear about your email. People with small minds are one of our biggest problems in todays world. When we pray to OUR Father we must remember to pray that He will change their hearts.

  15. people can go 'fatwa shopping' about any issue they may disagree with. I think alot of people who do not have much knowledge about the holiday, may write it off as something religious, and not wish to take part of it.

    I remember having a similar issue last year when I wore the poppy to commemmorate Rememberance Day. A person told me that I shouldn't imitate the 'disbelievers'. Rememberance Day is also a totally unreligious observance, where we honour the veterans and those who died fighting in wars for Canada.

    I will stop my rant here...and post my other experiences with such people on my blog.

  16. Same thought came to my mind "you are American" lol. Oh well we don't do turkey day only because I don't cook turkeys. Not that we are against it. Such matters are up to the individual and shouldn't be used to divide this already divided ummah. Some may believe it is their religious duty not to celebrate others may believe that their there is nothing to prevent it. The true test is if one can embrace the difference or chooses to divide over it.

  17. The more I read you, the more I realise you really are aspecial person(in the good sense). Some people should not complain about negative view of islam when they have such an absurd way of thinking!


  18. I think there is a war on arab bloggers this is unbelievable, I'm getting hate messages from muslims and Jews.

    Oh well!

  19. Hey ! As a fellow American in Libya , we had " PLAN B " Chicken for Thanksgiving since I couldn't find the all elusive TURKEY , for Thanksgiving dinner !! Then, due to curcumstances on Thursday that were beyond my control ,we had the dinner not on Thursday , but on Friday . We were just as Thankfull on Friday as we were on Thursday !I think it is what is in your heart that matters the most.How you stop to apraise the good things in your daily life, the things that Allah/God has given you that make your life wonder filled .And by the way , if all theses so called " REAL MUSLUMS" would stop to actually READ the Quran instead of the Hadiths only , they might be surprised to learn what ALLAH had to say about the "OTHER's- People Of The Books" too !What did HE say in the first sura ? "READ"! Can't get any simpler than that folks !Read and Think !WOW !Imagine that ?

  20. interesting debate .. I am starting one right now called: on Islam & Muslims

  21. In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

    Dear sister Khadija,

    · I have to admit that I did not expect a hostile response from you. As Muslims, it’s our duty to advise / warn each other if we deem that certain action or behaviour is questionable or not permissible. That was my sincere intention respectfully written to you based on the true essence of Islam and on credible knowledge as indicated. There was no reason for you to get offended and use unpleasant language. It just shows how vulnerable you are!… with due respect.

    · As for those sarcastic comments, I shall not stoop to the level of those who wrote them. Unfortunately, they revealed a very sad reality about how these individuals practice Islam or shall I say “modern Islam” by their definition that permits them to celebrate Christmas, Easter ..etc and slowly drifting away from Islam in the name of civility! What a shame!

    · YES, I reiterate that Muslims should not blindly imitate non-Muslim in their religious celebrations, including thanksgiving which is an intrinsically religious holiday, as it has been from its inception, though it was declared as a national holiday to appeal to Americans of any religious inclination. In this regard, we Muslims have our own distinctive identity that should not be infiltrated or contaminated by other foreign traditions or rituals as ALLAH Almighty said in Holy Quran sura Al-Kafirun “To you be your Way and to me mine”.

    · The concept behind not imitating / sharing other’s rituals or religious celebrations is to guard ourselves from such influence that could culminate into abandoning our own beliefs and adopting others, specially when the west and church leaders are demonizing Islam. Having said that, it is by no means indicate prejudice, disrespect or intolerance toward other faiths nor it applies to other non-religious events in which we are advised to be kind and compassionate towards others.

    This is my humble opinion and it is up to you and other to agree or disagree peacefully. May ALLAH Almighty guide us to the straight path which pleases Him… Amen.

    To answer some of your accusations,
    1. I tried to write my message in your comment section but it failed because word verification was disabled.
    2. As for not writing my name, did not see a need for it since non of your readers sign their real names so why it is such an issue for you brag about since you have my initials and e-mail!


  22. MG Sorat Al-Kafirun talks about the Kafirun not AHL ELKETAAB, so don't crate ur own translation of Quarn , Christians and jews are AHL KETAAB and it's wrong to consider them as Kafirun. and it's ur duty to advice any muslim to be a better person and it's also right to advice non muslims too . but when it comes to religiuon i belivge if the whole world kept thier belives for themselves then the world would be a better place to live . please i hate to refer to christan and other religiouns as kuffar . because God"Allah" the only one who will judge people in the end and it's not our right to decide who's Kafer and who's not...
    we're not trying to make the islam more modern , but the islam is soo simple , so obvoius so why u people making it complicated . God help us walahi with this mentality we are going more down ...

  23. and Mr MG with all my respect, if you see it's wrong to celebrate or congratulate people on thanxgiving or whatever than you're doing Good job for urslef and u probably are satisfied and done what u belive in , so don't expect every people to be like you , when other people belive that it is ok to celebrate such an events so then it's thier probelms and not urs....
    so again keep ur belive for ur self, all people in the world is different and that's the beuity of this world . if the whole world were muslims than there won't be any meaning for islam , and if the whole world were chirtians than there would be no meaning for christianity , most importantly if every body accept every body and all people respect other people's belives than the world would be a better place to live....

  24. I think you should have ignored such an email from a mis-lead and un-informed person ..
    Infact Islam is all about living in peace ( all religions ) .. and it is a shame that our prophet (PBUH) be quoted in the wrong context ...
    Happy Thanks giving ..

  25. Dear sister Khadija
    This person is nothing but a chicken hiding in a dirt hole, add to that this person is as stupid as stupidity could be. This person speaks on behalf of Islam and the Muslims and let me tell you he's one of those who hurt Islam, he's nothing but the DEVIL himself. I hope this person will never have children, otherwise he will be teaching them all the evil things that Islam worn us to stay away from. I'm a Libyan Muslim in Los Angeles and celebrated Thanksgiving like anyone else in this beautiful country USA. God bless you sister Khadija and it's not too late to wish you a very happy thanksgiving.

  26. Dear aladdin,

    Obviously, you need to read more about Islam only then you will realize the false information you are trying to convey. Let me just briefly tell you that:

    · The Holy Qur’an that we have today is exactly the same as the Qur'an revealed to our beloved prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and that give us a great pride as Muslims. In contrast, the exact revelations to other prophets of Allah like Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them) has been lost. Today’s Old Testament and the New Testament were created by men and has gone through significant alteration and translation over the centuries.

    · So when Allah Almighty describe Jews and Christians as the people of the book (Ahl al-kitab), it was based on the true undistorted message revealed to the Jews and the message revealed to Jesus (peace be upon him).

    · In Islam, we believe that Qur’an’s message revealed to Muhammad (peace be upon him) conveys the same message as that revealed to both Christians and Jews, and was the completion of it. This is why Muslims believe in and honour all previous prophets, whereas the Jews and the Christians do not honour Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a Prophet.

    · Please read or listen to the following links:

    May ALLAH Almighty guide us to the straight path which pleases Him… Amen.


  27. Alaadin,

    First off I want to make it clear I'amn't discussing thanks giving even though it was originally a non-religious event but that has changed now but it is debateble. whatI am talking about is those discussing celebrating christmas and other known religios events.

    As for your interpretation of "kafuroon" it actually includes both christians and jews so don't translate the quran to suit your preverted mind and so u can impress westerners. "Ahl al-Ketab" are a subset of the Kufar.
    As a matter of fact the christians and jews consider the prophet a perverted poet if u knew anything about their opinion and that is why they are called kufar they do not beleive in the prophet as a prophet.
    We only respect them more than any other religion because they believe in God and the prophets before him, but thats it.
    I have respect for Khadija and i can understand her with respect to her homesickness and I know how hard it can be to convert to a new religion and its completely understandable but i can't understand all this ignorance and appeasement from the others.
    What islam were u brought up with? and if u read u'r (Aladdin) blog u will find that even u define it as "wired" weird understanding and u thank u'r father for accepting it well he's your father the rest of the muslims aren't, seeing as your not a sheikh and don't have a degree on religion I think you should keep it to your self. Other religions hatred for us hasn't changed our respect for them won't change but we will not celebrate their festivities even if they celebrate ours (which they haven't done yet) . You aren't a muslim just because your dad is, you have to practice it and believe in it by your self either though trust if u don't won't to study it, or study it and then decide but to change it to meet your own expectations or to confuse culture with religion is wrong . If you want a modern religion that has been adapted and changed to meet your requirements you can become a christian, I mean it changes everytime the majority of the population disagrees with the religion .

    Last but not least this is for all the others we are all Libyans and I think you are grown up enough to know that are parents or grandparents ,depending on how old you are, didn't know how to read or write and to them religion was just a group of customs passed on through their parents.
    Well news flash it isn't you know how to read and write if you want to argue about religion use the quran and hadith (we are sunna by the way) otherwise don't add sins to yourself.
    There are extremists who misinterpret the quran for their own benefit some of them are conservative extremists you are all liberal extremists so you aren't any better . Nobody is asking you to be practicing muslims but to vent your hatred toward your parents or goverment on your religion is completely unacceptable .

    And i am Libyan and I can associate with every single one of you and I know that not a single one of you could say a single word of what he is saying in public because you know you don't have a solid understanding of religion to debate it and you would be immediately discredited for going to clubs or drinking or not wearing humble clothing or your other unreligious habits yet you take it on yourself to try to discuss the simplest of details when u can't even practice the simplest of requirements.
    Here is a link that explains why we don't celebrate christmas with great details for those interested and not just being stubborn :

    On Celebrating Christmas

    Oh and by the way you won't get a visa or citizenship to a western country for celebrating christmas just to make it clear. Abroad It isn't like Libya you don't get rewarded for agreeing with the people in power (zamzaka). So grow up .


  28. THAT'S ENOUGH!!!!!!

    I really think that it is disgusting that all this mud slinging and name calling is happening here. We all have our own opinions and as is to be expected - not everyone is going to agree with you. If you can't handle that than you have some kind of problem.

    If you want to continue this discussion can you do it elsewhere please? I really hate opening up my inbox only to read emails full of vile, hate and anger. So if you want to continue maybe you can share your email address and email each other directly.

    I do want to say, a HUGE thank you to all who have been so kind as to wish me a warm, happy Thanksgiving. I am very happy to say that I am happy to celebrate this holiday which honors my countries forefathers and has nothing whatsoever to do with religion. In my family in America everyone gathers together to celebrate it. My mother and siblings (who are Christian), the neighbour (who is an orthodox Jew), me and husband and children - if we are in the US at that time (we're Muslims),and anyone else my family has invited along (they could be of any religion or non if they prefer it that way). And guess what???!!! No one asks anyone what their religious preferences are because none of us could care less about that - that's not the point of Thanksgiving!!!!

    I must say that I am very happy that I did not meet the likes of MB before I became a Muslim because this person would have turned me right off from Islam with all the negative da'wa and hate that exudes from them... Elhamdulillah, Allah protected me from the likes of people like that.

    So that's enough... consider this discussion finished.

  29. u did the right thing sis Khadija...
    and again Happy thnx giving..

  30. Hello Khadija Teri

    I just have to throw my 2 cents in for this so called "Muslim"

    This guy, I am assuming he is one, better think twice before he uses a computer, drive a car, hmmm, if I keep going, he'll have a hard time finding something to wear that's NOT made by "Kufar"

    what a sorry @$$ excuse for a Muslim.

  31. dear khadiga,

    dont be upset.....internet has many advantages, but also a few disadvantages.....and one of it is, that people can post their opinion (even if it is not correct) whenever whereever they want....and if they are good in expressing themselves...many people would believe what they say without reflecting or questionning...

    ...without taking a closer look at all the other comments, that the brother or sister of us (Muslims) made, I would like to pick the fact that he/she calls Christians "Kuffar"....

    when my children's grandma calls foreigners in general kuffar, it only costs us a smile and sometimes we try to make her understand, but if someone, who is able to use a computer and the English language, really thinks that Christians are Unbelievers (which is the translation for Kuffar), it is a real pity, and I dont think that he/she can be proud of his/her knowledge of her religion....

    but we all are on our way and I will pray for that person to get a better understanding of Islam, which amongst other wise things says that Moslims, Christians and Jews are "Ahl Al Deen".....

    Belated Happy Thanksgiving


  32. Kufr, is the act of knowingly covering(with some thing else) the truth.
    Kafir, is the one who is knowingly covering(with some thing else) the truth.

  33. Karima :

    I thought it was "Ahl Al Kitab"? but you seen to be more knowledgeable of islam or at least what you want it to be than me.
    As for your rhetoric on me knowing english and knowing how to use the computer don't you? what makes you so confident that your right and I'm wrong? Or do you think I should be grateful to My Christian Masters for the computer and English ??
    You should seek out knowledge by yourself instead of listening to other people. Like what the anonymous before me said a kaffer is someone who covers the truth or denies the truth, that truth being that the prophet mohammed (pbu) is a prophet and is the last prophet .

    Show me one christian or jew who beleives in that? just one other than the jehovah's witness's who believe that but don't believe in him being the last prophet.
    Thats why there is an islam otherwise why is another religion needed if we are the same?

  34. o.k o.k lets call it the day. We all can pack and go home now.

    Come on people, relax and have fun a bit.

  35. Hi KT. Sorry to post so late for Thanksgiving wishes. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. Family and friends, no presents, just gratitude and good food.

    Although there were 8 siblings/famillies; my mom and step-dad always let us invite someone who did not have anyone to share this day of THANKSGIVING and there were anywhere from 30-50 people, playing football, riding the horse, feeding the animals. Great times and great memories for strangers (especially those who were alone and didn't know what gratitude was) After winding down, these people thanked my mom over and over again, and never forgot her big welcoming arms. My mom was an orphan at an early age, and knew what loneliness felt like. We follow that tradition with our families and friends. Sandi


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