A Christmas Greeting From a Muslim Daughter

Category: Americas, Faith & Spirituality, Featured Topics: Christmas, Prophet Jesus Views: 18733

When I became a Muslim thirteen years ago this month, I left behind the Christmas traditions my family celebrated every year of my childhood. My mother was able to transform our Southern California home into a Winter Wonderland as soon as we walked in the door; it may have been 75 degrees and sunny outside, but inside we felt we were in a Currier and Ives world of red velvet beribboned pine boughs, twinkling lights and beautiful music. I loved it. The Christmas season and our small traditions remained the same no matter how many years passed. My mother worked extremely hard to build warm, and loving holiday memories, and I sincerely cherish them.

Like many American homes, there wasn't much Christ in my family's Christmas. There would always be some discussion surrounding the reason for our celebration, but we didn't attend church services or talk too much about what my parents believed. The beautiful nativity on the mantle, hand-painted by my grandmother, was flanked by tasteful, secular decorations. This led to a kind of vague confusion between the miraculous birth of Jesus, and the magical feat of Santa Claus zipping around the world in one night.

Nostalgia not withstanding, thinking about Christmas is now far more meaningful to me on a spiritual level than it was when I was young. The fact that Muslims accept and believe in the virgin birth of Jesus has been a golden thread that links my childhood Christmas memories to my very fulfilling adult life as a Muslim.

The world's more than 1.5 billion Muslims would like their Christian neighbors to know that we believe in the Annunciation; in the Quran we read that God sent the angels to Mary:

"When the angels said: O Mary, surely God gives you good news with a Word from Him of one whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, worthy of regard in this world and the hereafter and of those who are made near to God. And he shall speak to the people when in the cradle and when of old age, and he shall be one of the good ones." Quran 3:45-46

The Quran has only one chapter named after a woman; Chapter 19 is titled "Mary", or as it is translated in Arabic -- Maryam. The Quran tells us that the infant Jesus, (or Isa as it is translated in Arabic), spoke from Mary's arms:

"...He said: Surely I am a servant of God; He has given me the Book and made me a prophet; And He has made me blessed wherever I may be, and He has enjoined on me prayer and charity so long as I live; And dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me insolent, unblessed; And peace on me on the day I was born, and on the day I die, and on the day I am raised to life.'" Quran 19:30-33*

While Muslims don't celebrate Christmas, we believe in the awesome and miraculous birth of Jesus, in the miracles he performed by God's Grace, and in the message of love and peace Jesus brought to the world.

I hope my family knows that I am more attached to the account of Jesus and Mary than I ever was as a child, now that I am a practicing Muslim. It is a vital part of my faith; a faith that I share with over a billion and a half people around the world.

This is my Christmas card to my family, and all my Christian friends and neighbors: Peace on earth and goodwill toward men.

*Muslims understand this verse in reference to the to death of Jesus after the second coming and resurrection on the Day of Judgment. See Quran, 4:157

 

Kari Ansari is a writer, editor, marketing consultant, co-creator of the popular America's Muslim Family Magazine and Muslim Family Bookshelf blog, and one of the founders of the Muslim Family Life Foundation.


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  17 Comments   Comment

  1. Bill from U.S.A.

    Actually the Quran does not state that Jesus Christ did not die while he was on earth. Some Muslims quote this and other Quranic verses as well as Hadith to support their believe that Jesus of Nazareth died a natural death and will rise the last day at the judgment.

  2. Toyyib from Nigeria

    I really like this article.i felt relaxed after reading it because it clears all the confusion in me about muslim and christmas.

  3. Kevin Mustafa Ali from USA

    Muslims should follow the example of Prophet Muhammad, whose guidance was on a Sirat al-mustaqeem (Straight Path). I do not see that you cite examples of Prophet Muhammad celebrating birthdays, or any religious holidays. And as far as I know he did not celebrate any holidays other than the Eid al Fitra, and Eid al Ahad.

    If you are Muslim then you must pray to Allah, and in doing so, you must recite Surat al Fatiha. Moreover, in the Surat al Fatiha all Muslims explicitly ask Allah not to let us go astray like the Christians and the Jews.

    English translation of The Noble Quran

    6. Guide us to the Straight Way

    7. The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians).

    1. In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

    2. All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists).

    3. The Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

    4. The Only Owner (and the Only Ruling Judge) of the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection)

    5. You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything).

    6. Guide us to the Straight Way

    7. The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians).

  4. tom from usa

    Very beautiful words and a i can tell very heart felt . Salaam Alakium to you and all who believe !

  5. Yusmanisa Mohd Yusoff from Malaysia

    Dear Kari,

    I have only recently subscribed to islamicity. Since then it has opened up a new world of knowledge(history, politics etc.), given me a greater sense of belonging, liberation, pride and oneness that I have not felt before. I have always wanted to hear opinions from now Moslems from other faiths on how they have "changed" since becoming Moslems and it is heart warming to hear your "endorsement" as well as your comparative view on what Christmas means to you today. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Aisha USMAN from MALI

    Asl. JAZAKALLAH MY DEAR SISTER FOR SUCH INSPIRATIONAL WRITE UP. LET US ALL CONTINUE TO SEE THE MANY BEAUTIFUL ASPECTS OF ISLAM, WHICH UNFORTUNATELY IS MISUNDERSTOOD BY MANY.

    All the best in service to Humanity.

    Bissalam.

  7. Hamidah from UG

    We Muslims acknowledge Prophet Issa, as a true prophet from Almighty Allah. However ,the Son of God rubbish is what makes the Christmas period the saddest time for us who know how blasphemous that is.. In the Holy Quran, in Surat Iklahs we are told that:

    Say: He is Allah, the One and Only! Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not nor is He begotten. And there is none like unto Him.

    This is what we wish our Christian friends acknowledged too

  8. MNS from usa

    Thanks to Kari for this wonderful article. I edited it for my own personal background and e-mailed it to my family and friends and have gotten wonderful responses. Alhamdullilah.

  9. ahmadjaafar from malaysia

    A profound message for Christians..perhaps it would be better if the sister would qualify herself by stating that 25 Dec is not the birthdate of Jesus but that of a pagan sun-god.

  10. AMM Mansoor from SRI LANKA

    Golden piece of Christmas message to all Chrisyian brothers-Mansoor

  11. Ahmed from India

    Alhamdulillah; a great article and message for all of us specially Muslims born in Muslim families. We rarely contemplate on such beautiful aspects of Islam.

    We, as Muslims, should bring the message of Jesus to the world in truth and not marred in mythology, commercialism and negation. Many of today's self proclaimed guradians pf Jesus and western institutions, governments and press will impede the message. But we should put all our effort to bring the Light of Allah to the human soul.

  12. Hilal Shah from USA

    My hat off to the author of this article. My Allah Subha-Nahu-Wataala guide the relatives of yours to Islam as He guided you towards the way of life you are enjoying now. In Qura'n, Allah Azzu-Wa-Jal revealed that whom so ever He wishes to guide, He opens up his/her chest to Islam. Keep praying for your relatives so that they may receive guidance, Ameen.

  13. Asif from USA

    It is important to realize why Muslims don't celebrate Christmas:

    a- prophet Muhammad (pbuh) never celebrated prophet Issa (pbuh) birthday nor did he celebrate his own birthday. A birthday is not a Muslim celebration

    b- prophet Issa (pbuh) was not born on Dec 25. Prove this to me (scientifically/historically) and I will change my religion. The author is implying that prophet Issa was born on 12/25 - utter rubbish.

    What Christians celebrate on 12/25 I don't know but it certainly is not his birth-date. Sure shows that if you keep on repeating a lie, it becomes fact.

  14. Abdurahman from Saudi Arabia

    It is realy a great christmas message, which I would like to forward to all my christian, as well as muslim friends world over.thank you for posting such a great message. keep it up. abdul.

  15. Muhammad Attiq ur Rehman from Pakistan

    It is very good and article and I apprecaite this effort and we have to forward it to evey one where we can.

  16. Muhammad Attiq ur Rehman from Pakistan

    this is very nice article and we need to forward to all where we can.I appreciate such kind article it is and will be real valuable and positive path.

  17. Jabril Mujahid-Alexander from USA

    As Salaam Alaikum

    I reverted to Islam 10 years ago after many years of sitting on the fence (Al Hudulillah, I was finally given a shove in the right direction).

    I also grew in a Christian home with a deep Christmas tradition; my parents were very active in the church (myDad was a Deacon & both parents were on church boards/committees) and there are currently two Christian ministers in my immediate family ( my nephew and my sister's husband).

    However, I beleive that I should not fondly recall days of shierk; I understand what the author is trying to do, I just disagree with her. Christmas is haram; those Christians who strive to be devout and are spitiual about this day are still committing shierk. They are clebrating (in their words) the birth of the Creator and others day the son of the Creator. No offense to my dear Muslim Sister, but to extend greeting for a day that is based on ignorance and shierk, (my opinion) is not a good thing to do. But I wuld liek to end my comments by thanking Sister kari for all the wonderful work that she is doing in th eUmmah (Allah knows best) and may Allah (swt) continue to inspire her to serve. Al humdulillah.

    Ma'Salaama

    Your Brother & Friend In Islam

    Jabril