Christmas in the Muslim world

Christmas is not a Muslim holiday, therefore, Muslim countries do not celebrate it. Muslims in the United States often request that their children not attend Christmas functions at school because the belief of Jesus, peace be upon him, being the son of God runs directly against the core Muslim belief.

However, in a world where Muslims and Christians both are present, how should Muslims react? The Prophet of God, peace and blessings be upon him, was faced with this question when he established the first peace sanctuary of Madinah, where the majority of the people were not Muslims. Here is what he said about the Christians of Najran (Yaman):

"Najran has the protection of God and the pledges of Muhammad, the Prophet, to protect their (the Christians') lives, faith, land, property, those who are absent and those who are present, and their clan and allies. They need not change anything of their past customs. No right of theirs or their religion shall be altered. No church leader, monk or church guard shall be removed from his position."

It was this historical commitment towards people of other faiths that formed the ideals of Islam regarding other faith groups in their midst, whether they were Christian, Jews, Sun worshipers, or Hindus. The Prophet even allowed a Christian delegation to celebrate their religious services in the very Mosque of the Prophet according to classic historians Ibn Hisham and Ibn Sa'd.

In the current context of American aggression in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it has been difficult for Muslim minorities in the US and for Christian minorities in the Muslim world.

Here are some things which Muslims can do in Muslim countries to help Christian minorities enjoy their holidays in the best possible manner:

Give Christian employees an extended holiday break:

Muslim businesses can extend a day off to Christian workers on Christmas day at least, if not longer. Just as some Muslims in the US have successfully gotten days off from work and school on Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha, Christians in Muslim countries should get the same on their holidays. Many Muslim countries, like Pakistan, already do this.

Reassuring Christian Neighbors:

In countries where there has been recent conflict between Christians and Muslims, for example, in Nigeria and Indonesia, the Muslim leadership can take measures in their communities to make the Christian minority feel more comfortable in their days of happiness.

A gesture of neighborly duty:

Although security is a government matter, and in many Muslim countries governments are providing extra police to churches, it will be a good gesture on the part of Muslim neighbors to offer their time to volunteer for the security of churches during Christmas time. This is especially important in places like Iraq and Pakistan, where, since the American bombing and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, churches have been targets of terrorism.

Muslim and Christian minorities in India:

In India, where Muslims and Christians are both minorities, Christians have been vocal in supporting the Muslim community during the horrific murders and crimes against the community in the state of Gujurat in 2002. This Christmas, a large number of Indian churches will be fearful about the ongoing compaigns of Hindu militants and self-professed fascists in that part of India. It is critical that Muslims in India support Christians during their holiday season.

Historically, when Muslims have held state power, they have, for the most part, worked hard to protect the rights of non-Muslims in their midst, from idol-worshipping Hindus, to fire-worshipping Zorastrians. Christians, who are described in the Quran as "People of the Book", hold a special place as a faith community from the Abrahamic tradition. Protecting religious freedom has not been the Muslim state’s tactic of appeasement. Rather, it is an order from God, and a practice of our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, who once said, "Whoever hurts a non-Muslim citizen of a Muslim society hurts me."

It is critical for Muslims to remember that a person is not considered a Muslim unless they believe in Jesus (Islamic and Christian View of Jesus). This love for this noble Prophet ties us to the Christian community in a special way.

Although the history of relations between Muslims and Christians has not always been good, it is important to remember that Muslims always stood for a society where the rights of all individuals are not only tolerated, but respected and protected.

Comments

I am an atheist/agnostic. Lets get this out there to begin with. I began my life with some Jewish blood, and raised in southern Christian communities. I have traveled the world, and know more religions and people than just Muslims, Christians, and Jews. I must say, many of the religions and people claiming to be faithful believers of them, did not impress me. Why? Always bickering, fighting, arguing, and then breaking out into wars over their differences. Like children that can not behave.
I have a very different way of looking at the world. I look at it all with common sense, and love. I do not want a religion, or religious organization to rule my life and thoughts. Too often, they are wrong. Too often they do not follow their own supposed rules and beliefs. I find that 99% of the believers starting trouble with others, do not even know their own religious books advise, and words. They claim to be able (by Gods Words) to harm others for reasons that do not exist in their religion. All I have seen come from the religions of the world is hate, distrust, violence, arguments, false claims, lies, death, pain and suffering, oppression, mind control, sexism, vanity, and wars. I want none of it!! I think everyone has lost sight of what each of their religions was originally meant to be.
None the less, I choose to rule over my own mind, life, thoughts, and actions, with no help from anyone. I have my own set of rules or commandments that I live by, and we should all adopt such a set. If we did, there should be no more confusion and wars in the future.
One example: I own a large and successful business, and have a set of checks I go through in my mind for dealing with customers, suppliers, employees, and my family and friends all equally. I ask myself.... 1 Will this decision I am about to make be fair for the person I am dealing with, and for me? 2 Would it realistically hold up in a court of my pears? 3 Will this decision benefit only me, and possibly hurt the other person? If I can not answer yes, yes, and No to all 3 of these questions, then I do not move forward with this transaction or decision. It's easy stuff like this we should all hold close to our mind all day, and every day.
The Bible has the 10 commandments. Most are common sense. Is it right to cheat on your wife? Easy.... NO. Is it right to cheat others? NO Is it right to kill or harm someone? NO.
I am like most other men, I like money. But, I also know my time here is limited, and I should leave a lasting and positive mark on the world before I go. What do I need Billions and Billions of $$$ for? I need enough for my own life, and to support my family. A new car when the old one begins having problems. A cozy home, food, and money for travel. After that, I need to help others around me. I choose to help hard working, motivated, kind hearted people.... not the lazy, and dishonest ones. I want to see them reach their goals, and then some!
When I die, I want others to remember me as a good person, and others will hopefully want to do the same. If you rule with fear, and like an evil dictator, you will be remembered as such. You will not be blessed and accepted into your religious heaven with evil deeds behind you. Rule with wisdom, kindness, compassion, intensity, energy, attention to detail, and love all your brothers..... and oh yes, SISTERS too. Women are equal people! And the best looking of the 2 genders.
My wife: A Russian Jew by blood, Baptist by religion, and raised in a Muslim country till 25. How did our kids turn out? Beautiful, smart, loving, accepting of all others, and will marry the right person, not chosen by religion or color.
My best friends are a Practicing Muslim from Afghanistan, Vietnamese (Catholic), many Chinese (Buddhist) , many Indians (Sikh), several American Jews, and loads of X-Communist Russians. I must be on the CIA's watch list. lol
We all need to be accepting of each-other. We can't leave the planet, and go some where to be all alone, or only with our group.
Most people and cultures not at all like our own can be tons of fun. They have so much they can teach you about words, food, culture, family, manors and so much more, that you know nothing about! In my time hanging out with people of other beliefs, and cultures..... I have opened my mind to an entirely new understanding of life. I value my friends of many countries more than any silly education I could get at a university. They have taught me so much about love and family. About prioritizing things properly in my life. About the value of friends. They have helped me gain a few pounds as well from all of their interesting and super tasty foods!!!
Loving your neighbor has many benefits!
You may find your wife there. A new best friend/brother. A better way to live and eat. You will certainly find many good laughs, and finding new friends, always helps your stress. What can it hurt.
Don't look at ones religion. Look at the person. Learn about their religion for personal knowledge, and self education. Don't be afraid of it, or argue with it. Take it all in..... Be open and understanding of others beliefs. People are people..... and most are beautiful inside. Enjoy life. You only get one shot at it.

Location

Sacramento

Beyond the fact that the Birth Date of Jesus is wrong by day, month and years
The Fact is that Christmas, a belated Holiday, first recognised in Germany as Chris Noel in 1400 - 1500...
Thie thing that amazes me is, that in reading of the Bible, Jesus was born a Jew, Educated as a Jewish Priest, who said, the purpose of his life on earth was to "Recover the fallen Jews".
No where in my KJV of the Bible, which nicely outlines in RED text all word spoken by Jesus. Throughtout the text, Jesus Idenifies with the Jewish peoples and the fallen Jews of the Day following the once Jew, always a Jew philosphy that igists today. No where, atleast in my KJV of the text does Jesus Idenify with an on call a Gentile, the term used by Jews to Idenify NON Jews. More specifically, identifying heathens, pagens, persons other than Jews, Christians. Taken from Dictionary.
Then alone came Saul of Tarsus, aka Paul, founder of the Christian faith and the greatest lye ever told. When ask if he personally ever saw or meet Jesus, his reply was "May I did, Maybe I didnot".
That I believe tell ther whole story of the creation Christian built upon
the fact that Saul, was a Jewish policeman serving in Jerusalem, got the idea for a religion, told the people you Don't have to follow anything Jesus said, all you need to to do is confess your sins and your home free!
No conceptual understand of the Books of Mosess what ever?

This statement is noty ment to detract from Jesus in anyway shape or form.

But, kindly read your Bible, if you have one, especially the first five parts of the New Testiment, all written about the same events, in the same time period, approximately 50 - 70 years after the events.

Very interesting reading from a Theological view point.

Location

Thanks for this. It is unfortunate that some people see behind the veil of extremism and treat every Muslim as terrorists or accuse them of doing so. I knew a Muslim girl in my last year at a Catholic school in Canberra who never whined about anything, in fact she was a fit amongst the school's diverse background and never picked a fight with the Africans even though she was herself.

Location

Thank you for clearing up some of my confusion . I just don,t understand what all the hate is about! As a cradle Christian we we're raised to move all people.no to judge people by color or creed.when I came home from school in 4th grade and asked what the "N" word meant ,I was slapped across my face . Then I learned some time ago that , Jewish,Muslims &Christians all worship the one true God. So what's all the fighting all about? Then I came to my own simple conclusion , it's all a big Real Estate dispute. With too many Lands wanting the property. I still love you all my brothers and sisters ,Jew,Muslim,christian, And I pray to our One true God to with his grace will straighten this mess out before any more innocent lives are lost .Peace

Location

New york

Very nice article ....

Location

Australia

i am very emotional writing this and you will see why at the end. anyone religious or going down that path read strongly.and i am writing down my thoughts without pausing. i am giving my opinions and not changing anyones beliefs, i am respecting them. but beautifully written we should all respect each others religions and celebrations. if only the world were perfect and everyone could believe different but also be treated as equals. the way i see it is if you believe in God, Allah both wonderful ways of saying the mighty one then that should be enough. the jews christians and muslims should all love and respect eachother because they have God. there are always going to be so many differences and similarities between them but you should never disrespect a believer in God, yes i understand that there are millions who believe that Jesus is God but at least they believe in him they do no evil. i personally do not believe that God is jesus, jesus was human and God created him like he did all of us but for a more specific purpose as a prophet to come to earth and help us and speak and teach of God. and for those who believe he was Gods son my opinion that is wonderful we are all of his children. to be honest i do get confused i do not doubt but nobody really knows all the specifics because no one is God. if he chooses to have us find out he will but probably when we die. i also think that God has us separated into these religons because he wants to test us to see who will respect and accept, even though he probably already does know thats just him giving us the gift of life and whatever we choose to do with it will predict the result of being punished or rewarded. and it also comes down to free will, just because something is possible to think or do dosent mean it is the right way or thing. my point here is see the positive of everything in everyones beliefs because they all go back to the one God we should all learn of eachothers beliefs and respect them. God is all seeing and all knowing and he would be proud of us if we loved more and judged less. you cannot make fun of some one for believing in certain things because you know why, thats what they are taught we didnt just wake up one say and think of or start believing in one religion out of no where no we are taught these beliefs from our teachers and parents of all sorts from being passed down, we eventually believe what we do from loyality and if not our own mind. yes there are tons of people who convert to tons of different religions for may different reasons whatever path that is who they are and that is how it was meant to be. The foundations of the religions start with Abraham and the jewish religion but when the other prophets started coming and jesus was sent by God and then the christian and catholic religions were formed then Mohammad started islam through the angel and God this is where we all should get along we are connected. and especially from expierence christians should respect muslims and the traditions because they are worshiping Allah, God yes there are tons of differences but thats because Muhammad peace be upon him came after Jesus and christianity was already created. if someone has heard the word of God and has proof of it then respect that even if you dont believe and muslims should also respect christians even if they say son of God and not saying that he Is God that is your prophet and catholics and muslims believe that he did the same things on earth such as the miracles and more. so if christianity was formed before islam and there are many differences to the two think of how that there are so much more similarties. back to the chrsitmas subject if it has been that way for 2000 years then rejoice for it is jesus or isa's birthday! if we knew all the other prophets birthdays then we would or should celebrate them to! it is when God chose to bring them into the world! and a true muslim and christian are followers of God therefore we are all a family he made us all and we should respect eachother because if we dont we are disrespecting God. he chose us all to be different look different and believe different things for a reason. otherwise we would all be the same thing and have the same religion! which excludes free will almost when it comes to that and our ability to get along with someone with different beliefs. there are going to be many who convert to a religion and many who stay in the same religion thats awesome God wants us to keep the big 3 alive because they all worship him and or his people, so everyone respect and love eachother it sounds cheesy i know but if you are a religious person in any way you know its the truth it would actually solve alot of problems in this world. no one is better then anyone because no one is God, everyone is the way they are because of him. and if you were wondering i grew up a religious roman catholic believing jesus is the son of god and was fascinated with islam growing up. i believe catholics and muslims should be closer then ever and not try to change anyone. i studied islam and christanity and they are in my eyes almost twins even though islam came afterwards. i do not think that christians should convert but as a society recognize muslims as apart of a new family today. i believe in and love islam and i actually ended up marrying a muslim man who is greatly religious. although both the islamic and christian PEOPLE not religion were both corrupt throughout history both making mistakes through war and wrong doings of certain individuals, when you find a true one both are so beautiful at there highest. i have to say nothing makes me cry more then seeing a muslim man bow his head to Allah while praying and meaning it through every single movement and word. i personally believe that jesus was the son of God like we all are but had a more purpose on earth therefore i believe he was a prophet. sounds strange but when your caught between both religions its hard. i did convert happily and i am a muslim in every way as a muslim i believe everything i guess i just have a soft spot for jesus because he was a special prophet in his own way just as they all were. because the fact that my family is christian and new family muslim i still celebrate christmas lol but in a different way

Location

windsor

This article although many years ago written really moved me. I am also studying the Quran and the Hadith and I my eyes fill with tears when I enter a mosque even when I am not a Muslim. We are brothers and sisters or if you like cousins and nieces. We believe in the God that lives within us. At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus. His message was simple ..Love God and love your neighbour like yourself. No further discussion needed.

Location

nunspeet

Thank you for your share- I do get conflicted. But in my heart unknown who I am and don't have to prove it to anyone. I put up an tree and brought joy to my family. That's what matters!

Location

Dallas

I have friends from different countries and different religions,i found this article very well written and balanced,it gave me an answer to my question. Good job.

Location

Dublin

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