Muslims Should Celebrate Thanksgiving, Too!

“All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the Alamin.” So say Muslims every time they repeat the Fatiheh. The common phrase “Alhamdulillah” means (roughly) “Praise be to God.” Thanksgiving is a major part of a Muslim’s life, or at least it should be. Because if we don’t thank Allah for all that He has given us, including our very lives, then we are missing out on one of the greatest experiences of life.

Thanksgiving is as important as asking for forgiveness, in my opinion. The Qur’an says, “Then, even after that, We pardoned you in order that ye might give thanks.” (2:52) Being forgiven is the greatest gift Allah gives. If we’re not grateful for that, we are sorry Muslims indeed.

Tomorrow the United States celebrates Thanksgiving. Some Muslims will not participate because they mistakenly assume that it is a Christian custom. There is nothing in the Bible that instructs Christians to set up a special day to show their gratitude to God. It is true that there has been some kind of day set aside for thanksgiving since before we even became a nation. But when Abraham Lincoln declared a national holiday for thanksgiving in 1863, he didn’t mean it to be only for Christians. He meant it to be for everyone who lives on American soil.

I’m writing this post at 5:30 in the morning because I had to get up to roast the turkey for a Thanksgiving luncheon we’re having at work today. All of the foreign doctors who study with us are invited. The turkey is halal since most of the doctors are Muslim. We’re concerned that some of them won’t attend because they think it’s a Christian holiday. But if we (Muslims) believe that we worship the same God as Jews and Christians, then we have every right, maybe even a responsibility, to celebrate Thanksgiving. After all, don’t we have things to thank God for, too?

“Therefore remember Me, I will remember you. Give  thanks to Me, and reject not Me. ” (2:152) This is one of my favorite verses in the Qur’an. It tells me that giving thanks to God is one way of reminding us that we are His. In a sense, giving thanks is a prayer and certainly should be a part of our regular prayers.

I’m not celebrating Thanksgiving with my family this year because they’re all going to other relatives’ homes to celebrate. So this is the only Thanksgiving I’m going to get to participate in. I’m excited that I will be giving thanks with other Muslims and I pray that Allah will bless our gathering and prepare our hearts to give thanks to Him. Allahu Akbar!

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Ellen

Editor and chief writer at I, Muslimah and Femagination. Ellen also contributes regularly to Elevate Difference. She is a freelance writer, essayist and copy editor, living with two cats and a husband in Columbus, OH.

5 thoughts on “Muslims Should Celebrate Thanksgiving, Too!”

  1. Thanks for sharing this, but I wanna ask a question: Do Jewish and other religions celebrate it too ?
    Cuz if they don’t, that means it’s Christians day.
    However, I believe that prophet Muhammad always recommended us (Muslims) to do the exact opposite as the Christians and Jewish in their religion. This way, Muslim can always have his unique characters that distinguish him from other religions ( His clothes, look, prayer, feasts) every thing should be unique to the Muslim. Hence, even though that we believe in Jesus, I don’t think it will be wise to share their celebration. Especially that they don’t share ours.

    Just a thought, and thanks Again
    Dr.Mohamed.
    Sydney Australia

  2. Mohamed,
    Thanksgiving is an American celebration, not a religion holiday. I know Jews, Christians, Hindu, atheists—who are American—who use this day to emphasize giving thanks.

    Giving thanks is for everyone….give me TURKEY! :)

  3. OK Maha..Thanks for letting me know that.
    What I wanted to say is that as long as it’s not related to religion, I believe it’s OK.
    However, Muslims are always have to be strictly following the path of the Quran and Sunna regarding religious habits and rituals.
    Thank you.

  4. IMO no one should celebrate thanks giving, it’s a holiday based on the slaughter and take over of native american land, what’s next celebrating israel’s independence? same thing

    1. It CAN be seen as a holiday based what we did to the Native Americans, but I don’t think most people USE it for that purpose. I think it’s appropriate to give thanks for our blessings and to have a special day for it. But your point is well taken. Thanks for commenting.

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