Muslim and Christmas Celebration
Christmas is everywhere around your family, especially if you’re living in the West. And unless you’re living under a rock, it can not be ignored. Although it has become more of a commercial and consumerism season for businesses, this does not deny the fact that, in general, the Christmas celebration prohibited by most Muslim scholars.
Every year, media and business industries thrive on making Christmas shinier and louder. And our very own Muslim kids could feel the charm of the trees, lights, glitter, gifts, jingles, the holiday season and Santa. After all, that’s what they only know and admire about Christmas. Yet as they grow, their curiosity about Muslims and Christmas celebration expands.
Further, as parents, how do we encourage our children to respect their non-Muslim friends and their families without compromising our faith?
1. Enrich your knowledge first
Your children come home from school with assumptions about Christmas and Santa that they have heard from their classmates or media. Before you rush to enlighten them with your views, make sure you have enough knowledge and resources to provide them before you spark the conversation about Muslims and Christmas celebrations. Why shouldn’t Muslims celebrate Christmas can be an excellent brief start.
Muslim converts and Christmas
If you’re a reverted Muslim, Christmas must be one of the hardest times of the year for you. Suddenly you’re no longer celebrating with your family or exchanging gifts, and you could feel nostalgic about the joy of the festivities. Even worse, you could be accused of betraying Jesus. Understanding the reasons behind the forbidding of Muslims and the Christmas celebration will make your patience worthwhile. It’s like you’re doing Jihad by going against the flow and eventually, you’ll immensely be rewarded.
2. Trust our Islamic opinion on Muslims and Christmas celebration
While you may not wish to make it hard for your children to witness all the glam and glitters of Christmas and not celebrate it, trust your religion. Believe that Islam will never forbid an act unless it might hurt us in a way. Some children, when they grow up and understand the reality of Santa and the fact that it’s just a lie, could question anything that their parents have once told them before. And they grow up with the perception that parents make up stories, events or facts so that kids would listen to them and behave well.
Children could question the reality of everything else like the truthfulness of prayers, heaven, hellfire, the Holy Book or the whole religion. Children need to get used to their parents, saying the truth and only the truth without deceit.
Besides, all our religious celebrations are based on truthful events, hard work, accomplishments and rewards.
3. Explain the commonalities
Building common grounds between our children and others builds respect. Though Muslims and Christians possess differences in faith and practice, they share some connection.
Islam teaches us that the Prophet’ Isa (AS) is one of the five greatest messengers of God (SWT). The others are Ibrahim, Nuh, Musa and Mohammad (PBUH).
Prophet’ Isa(AS) was sent the Injil or the Gospel from Allah. And as Muslims, one of the foundations of our faith is to believe in the prophets sent by Allah as well as the Holy books.
Lady Maryam, who happens to be the Prophet’ Isa’s mother, is one of the most honoured ladies in Islam. Besides, there’s a whole Surah (chapter) in the Quran that is named after her.
Islam acknowledges the miracles of Prophet’ Isa (AS), including the virgin birth, speaking from the cradle, healing the blind, curing lepers, and bringing the dead to life, all through the power of Allah (SWT).
5th: Muslims and Christmas celebration
We believe that Prophets sent by God are role models who guide us. For example, from the Prophet’ Isa (AS), we learnt humility, simplicity in worldly matters and the love and compassion he had for everyone around him.
4. Emphasize the differences
While it is valuable to pinpoint the similarities between Muslims and Christians, it is equally fundamental to highlight the distinction between them.
As a start, the word Christmas is derived from the two words’ Christ,’ which means ‘Messiah’ or leader and promised deliverer, and ‘Mass,’ which means a religious ceremony. Therefore, Christmas, at its roots, is originally a celebration of the life of Jesus Christ. And Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, which contradicts with the Islamic principles that Allah is one and has no son.
The Prophet’ Isa (AS) is not the son of God.
إِنَّ مَثَلَ عِيسَىٰ عِندَ اللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ آدَمَ ۖ خَلَقَهُ مِن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ (59سورة ال عمران)
“The example of Jesus to Allah is like that of Adam. He created Him from dust; then He said to him, “Be,” and he was.” (Surah Al Imran 3:59)يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لَا تَغْلُوا فِي دِينِكُمْ وَلَا تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ إِلَّا الْحَقَّ ۚ إِنَّمَا الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَكَلِمَتُهُ أَلْقَاهَا إِلَىٰ مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِنْهُ ۖ فَآمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ ۖ وَلَا تَقُولُوا ثَلَاثَةٌ ۚ انْتَهُوا خَيْرًا لَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّمَا اللَّهُ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۖ سُبْحَانَهُ أَنْ يَكُونَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ ۘ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۗ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ وَكِيلًا ﴿١٧١سورة النساء﴾
Muslims and Christmas celebration
O People of the Book (Jews and Christians), do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs” (4:171).
Secondly, another difference is that
Christmas is not our holiday
Anas ibn Malik (RA) narrated: “The Prophet (SAW) came to Madinah during two days in which the people played. The Prophet (SAW) asked: What are these two days? They said: These are two days we used to play in, during the time of ignorance. The Prophet (SAW) said: Allah has replaced them with two better days: Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr.”
5. Celebrate our special events
Our religion is rich in celebrations and important events. We have Eid Al Adha, Eid Al Fitr, the new Hijri year, Ramadan as well as haj. Build anticipation and make these days a memorial for your family. You can make history come alive by retelling its stories, getting to watch its animated videos or doing related activities with your kids.
Showing up at your children’s classrooms to explain our celebrations to other children can make a difference and make your kids even more excited about our calendar. It is how children learn and take pride in their origin and identity.