Should Christians take part in Muslim celebrations?

Question:

Should Christians take part in the Eid-el-Kabir (Sallah) celebration of Muslims as a way of building peace and unity in a country where the citizens are predominantly Christian and Muslim? How should Christians respond to an invitation by Muslims to eat their Sallah ram (food)?


Answer:

Eid-el-Kabir (Sallah) is a holy day and a religious festival for Muslims. It is not a secular holiday, like Valentine's day, 4th of July, etc. Muslims are required to pray to their god and, by command of their sacred writings, sacrifice animal(s) during this time along with many other religious acts of worship to their god. If you participate in any of these acts, then you are giving honor to a god different from the God described in the Bible.

"If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience' sake. But if anyone says to you, "This is meat sacrificed to idols," do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience' sake; I mean not your own conscience, but the other man's; for why is my freedom judged by another's conscience?" (I Corinthians 10:27-29).

By participating you are showing your approval of Muslim practices. This is why Israel was warned when they took over the nations of Canaan that they were not to partake in the other nations' pagan practices. To do so meant they were in agreement and giving their approval. It woudl be a mixing of religions and a sin before God (Deuteronomy 20:17–18; Exodus 34:11-16).

We cannot claim to be Christian and have fellowship with a false religion. "Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate," says the Lord. "And do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me," says the Lord Almighty. Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (II Corinthians 6:14-7:1).

Even if a Christian knows it is a false god and doesn't really exist, by sharing in the sacrifice you become a participant in the false religion. 

"Look at the nation Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in the altar? What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we?" (I Corinthians 10:18-22) .

Because this festival is religious, a Christian cannot take part, even for a cause of "worldly unity or peace." Compromising His commands is not the peace or unity God wants with the world (James 4:4-5).

Instead of looking for a false peace and unity between Muslims and Christians, take the opportunity in a respectful and loving manner, to let them know that you fear God and that by participating with them or accepting their sacrifice would mean you would no longer be at peace with your God. If harm or ridicule comes from these people, have a defense ready for the hope that is in you, and why you serve God and not man (I Peter 3:13-17). Take note of those people and then take time to show acts of kindness in hope that they might turn to God. Then you have a chance to offer them a true and lasting peace and unity, that is found in reconciliation with the one true God. (Romans 5:1-11;12:17-21).

by Alan Feaster

Thanks so much for your illuminating and exponential answers to my questions. May God continue to keep, preserve and bequeath you with more grace, wisdom and understanding for His work. Stay blessed.