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How do Muslims join Christians for Easter during Ramadan?

Here are some do's and don'ts for celebrating Easter with your Muslim community.

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As Christians wind down the Lent period, Muslims kick off the Ramadan season which will go until the end of April. In about two weeks, Christians will be celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus on Easter.

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This brings up the question of if and how Muslims join Christians in the holiday feasting. Do they eat the food? Does it violate any Muslim values if they do? Is Easter food different from any other food that may be shared among Christians and Muslims?

Well, the answer is may rely on a person's choice. It is most likely that in communities people share food around holidays regardless of religion. On social media at least, it is not uncommon to see non-Muslims asking about Eid celebration food and even joining the Muslims to eat.

So it is safe to say that food is not a cause for dispute when it comes to religious values.

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Nevertheless, here are some views from Muslims on how they approach Easter celebrations.

According to Maen Khalifa, an experienced Muslim in dawah work and editor and consultant at Ask About Islam, Muslims feasting with Christians is part of the healthy fabric of communities.

"In general, doing so is good practice since it keeps people’s relationships healthy regardless of the occasion. Nowadays, we must look separately at each situation we face regarding celebrations and it all has to do with our intentions," he says.

That being said, Muslims are not obligated to be part of the celebrations or accept the meaning and values behind the celebration.

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"Yes, as Muslims we shouldn’t go out of our way to celebrate Christmas and Easter with zeal, but we must have the common sense to know what is beneficial for our faith and our relationships with others as Muslims. Otherwise, we turn ourselves into inapproachable individuals."

There is nothing wrong with enjoying the food as long as the food is acceptable in the Muslim faith and the Muslim doesn't contribute to the celebrations.

"There is nothing wrong with visiting and exchanging food with family on Christmas or Easter. You usually eat their food on other occasions and Christmas or Easter is not any different. Also, Allah has specifically allowed us to eat the food of the People of the Book as long as it is not unlawful for us such as pork or wine. You don’t have to believe or contribute to the traditions of their festivity even when present in the same place but it is your duty to keep up good relations with your in-laws."

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For some people, it can be challenging to interact with people with different religious values, however, moments of celebration in each religion are opportunities to come together and even convey each other's values to the other amicably.

"You are not the one celebrating those holidays, it is your non-Muslim family and there is no better occasion than that to keep up the kind relationship and strengthen love among yourselves. You might have the opportunity to convey the message of Islam directly or indirectly since they won’t listen to your opinion if you don’t keep in touch when they are all assembled for an occasion. As Muslims, we have to be approachable individuals so that people always feel comfortable with us. Through our good conduct and behavior, we will be able to reach many people and demonstrate to them the true meaning of Islam," Khalifa says.

When it comes to celebratory traditions like Easter eggs, they don't contain anything that may go against Muslim values. There's no ban in Islam against eating holiday treats, but just be sure that they have the right ingredients. You also don't have to eat during the celebrations.

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"If you want to be sure, just buy the chocolate eggs and eat them at another time. Personally, I think that awareness of other religious customs is a good thing, as it helps to build respect," says Tony Price.

According to Mufti Ebrahim Desai, from South Africa Askimam.org, the Islam faith doesn't allow financial gain from conducting business around Easter traditions.

"It is not permissible to purchase, sell and/or consume Easter eggs and bunnies. The proceeds from the sales of easter eggs and bunnies will be Haraam. The same ruling applies to Hot Cross Buns. And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best," the Mufti says.

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Joining in Easter feasting does not come with strong consequences from the Islam faith but that may be a different story based on personal beliefs. Even though the faith is okay with it, if it doesn't sound great on an individual level, then that is alright. But if you have provision for some of that Easter food, you may consider the points above.

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