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

Very informative article, thank you. I am a Christian, and there are some like myself who do not celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. I'm not talking about the people who THINK they are being religious but really aren't, I mean people like myself who have made a conscious decision that Jesus would not want such extravagant expense putting people into debt, santa claus, rampant commercialism and display, etc, surrounding his humble arrival. It is also well known, although most Christian celebrants ignore it, that He was not born on December 25th and that the holiday was man-made to accomodate pagans 'converting' to Christianity. But I do see it as a good time to reach out and thank people for their friendship, etc. and one of those treasured people in my life is my muslim doctor. As I write this, I sit next to a large bag with homemade breads, a box of chocolates and some fruit for him and his family. He knows how I feel about Christmas, but you know, other patients give him gifts that do reflect Christmas and I can't see him being the least bit offended because he knows how we all feel about him. It's all about motive and if the motive is love and peace and appreciativeness then that should be the spirit that we receive gifts and greetings from others.

Location

Baltimore

Acts 10:43 All the prophets testify about him (in the Ancient 5769 yr old Word of God the Holy Torah) that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."Acts 10:28 He said to them: "You are well aware that it is against our laws for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.If it was made right threw Grace and Mercy for the Jews to see all men as Gods sevents, then it is just as good for all Muslims to see all men as God servents, and fellowship together for the Glory of God.Have Great Christmas. Muslims and Christians, and Jews... "Peace On warth Good will toward Men"

Location

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.It is by this same faith unto obedience we .. All are men are called.Wether Christian or Muslim good deeds alone are not enough to enter into the Kingdom of heaven. If this was So.... no need for a savior would required. However, an atonement must be made for each who will enter. That atonement is Jesus the sone of God the Lamb without spot. For where there is sin an atonement of innocent Blood must be made. That is Blood with out sin. So it is in the faith of this atonement we are cleaned of our sins. Not through good deeds and much work. Although they are profitable they will not atone for sin. Do not be fooled by men. God has been clear. No prophet can do this ... only the Messiah, who was chosen by God to come through the Jews.. Like it or not that was Gods choice. I am a gentile adopted into the family of God through the Son, and in the faith of Abraham I am bought into the family of Israel. Not a people of birth, but of faith. So it makes no difference if your are from Isaac or Ishmael the point of their births was and allegory, A way for God to Show that those who believe in his promise are the true children of God.. This was the faith of Abraham in its essance.We who believe in the Promise, are United in brother hood in the faith. The High priest of God YESHUA . He has made a new covenant with all men. That any who will come onto him in Faith and obedience to the Commandments of God., will be cleansed of their sins. For it is written that not those who hear the word are righteous but those who do the word. So Faith in Jesu and Works of Kindness and Love, and MercyNot through works of War, separation, hatred, and jealously. These are not the way of God, these are the way of men. Be of God then , and be saved.And Christ said No man will come unto the father but threw me. If you reject the son you will not have the father, for all authority was given unto the Son, That is what happened when he was raised to Life again. All authority was given unto him. Authority over death. He alone has the Keys to death, and he alone can commute your sentence. When he has done all things he will bring all thing unto the father. For he also said the father is greater then I. There fore he is the Son of God.Do what is good unto others, do What is kind, Loving, peaceful, and truthful. seek with all your heart and you will find. And Love God the father with all your heart and soul, and Mind. But the Son, is the atonement for your sins, and that is why he is our lord.Praise be the Lord Yehoshua Ben Nun, who was formed to be in his days a great deliverer for his chosen ones of the earth" I invite you to become a chosen one of God, through the atonement of his son Yeshua . and those who are chose are those who keep the commandment of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ the Messiah.Have a wonderful celebration of the birth of our savior, the savior of the whole worldLove and peace to my fellow Muslim seekers of truth and light from God the FatherShala....

Location

Minneapolis

Root > 'Aqeedah (Islamic Creed) > Shirk (Polytheism) > Imitating non-Muslims and taking part in their celebrations Fatwa No : 82006 Congratulating Non-Muslims on their feasts Fatwa Date : Shawwaal 17, 1422 / 2-1-2002 QuestionIs it allowed for us as Muslims to congratulate Christians in their eids? (I.e. Merry Christmas, etc.)AnswerAll perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad , is His Slave and Messenger.It is forbidden for all Muslims to congratulate any non-Muslims for their feasts. Allaah Says (what means): {This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion}[Quran 5:3]In addition, congratulating them for this feast is synonymous of accepting their wrongdoing and disbelief in Allaah. Is there a greater disbelief than attributing a son to Allaah or saying that Jesus is Allaah or that Allaah is the third of three "gods".Congratulating them also reflects accepting their rites and rituals, which are nothing but disbelief. Ibn Al-Qayyim said: 'Congratulating the non-Muslims for their rituals is forbidden according to the agreement of all scholars- like: congratulating them for their feasts and fast by expressing good wishes: “Happy feast or enjoy your feast…” etc. If the Muslim who says this does not become a disbeliever himself, he, at least, commits a sin as this is the same as congratulating him for his belief in trinity, which is a greater sin and much more detested by Almighty Allaah than congratulating him for drinking alcohol or killing a soul or committing fornication or adultery…etc'.The one who commits such an act, has indeed committed an ugly and repulsive deed. Any Muslim who congratulates a person for a sin, an innovation or an act of disbelief has exposed himself to the wrath and anger of Almighty Allaah.Finally, if they (non-Muslims) congratulate us for our feasts, we do not congratulate them for their feast as we are on the right path and they are in error.Allaah Says (what means): {And whoever desires other than Islam as religion-never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.}[Quran 3:85].Allaah Knows best.

Location

Lahore

Being a muslim, I went to the catholic school, I,am still a muslim as I was born, I respect all other religions, as muslims enjoys all kind of rights in christian countries, so christians and other nationalities , should enjoy the same.Show kindness and respect.

Location

toronto,ont

*sigh* wish they could give Christmas holidays in my school

Location

uae

This article was pleasantly presented with no bias. I was informed of two celebrations Muslims practice and as a Christian was not offened. Respecting each other's beliefs, traditions and cultures would certainly make for a more peaceful world.

Location

Winnipeg, Manitoba

What a very beautiful and genuine statement of peace and respect between religions. It's true that this harmony between people from different beliefs and religions ought to be preserved not only for a particular day but also throughout the year. Isa, peace and mercy be upon him, being a major prophet in Islam, is as much important for Xstians as for Muslims, but many (not to say most of) Muslims tend to forget this part of the prophet commandment because they lack basic knowledge of the Holy Quran. My girlfriend is a profound Christian believer so she celebrates Xmas with her family every year but also usually goes to church on that day. I am a fervent believer of Islam religion so I do not much celebrate this day but I do appreciate very much the fact that this celebration brings joy and hope in each corners of the world. This also has to be taken as a gift of God. As we say in French: JOYEUX NOEL A TOUS!

Location

Paris (France)

Salaam. This is highly encouraging and we should all strive to emulate the Holy Prophet Muhammed (SAW)for his exemplary role and leadership qualities. However, our Christian Bros & Sis should desist from provocative activities that can lead to religious misunderstanding. Let them equally emulate the good qualities of Prophet Isa (Jesus)(AS). If WE all preach and practice the messages that came from the two Prophets, this world will be worth living. Wishing our Xtian bros & sis happy celebrations.

Location

Lagos, Nigeria

salam to all .i was really touched by ur artical and it was one of the greatest i read in my life .its good to know all that but i hope all of our mullahs and preists would know the things u wrote in ur artical hope they were as well educated as u r . lets pray for them that they can do something good for islam and not to preach people the wrong way as we've been witness the fightings between sheat and sooni going on in afghanistan and all over the world we have to do something about it god bless u and hope u live long to write such nice articals thanx a million

Location

toronto canada

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