Christmas a time for bridge building


Treating Christmas with Respect

Christmas is an annual Christian religious holiday commemorating the birth of Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him. For many Muslims who do not even celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, it becomes an issue of what stand they should take.

There have been a number of legitimate criticisms of the holiday from Muslims and non-Muslims based on theological and cultural considerations. However, this cannot be used to disregard the holiday as merely an exercise in ancient pagan practices, for instance, or excessive consumerism. Muslims have to remember that for practicing Christians, Christmas really is about Jesus

Prophet Muhammad , was so accommodating of Christians that according to the two earliest Islamic historians, Ibn e Saad and Ibn Hisham, the Prophet even allowed a delegation of 60 Byzantine Christians from Najran in Yemen to worship in his own mosque in Madinah. Lead by their bishop (Usquf), they had come to discuss a number of issues with him. When time of their prayer came, they asked the Prophet’s permission to perform this in the mosque. He answered, “conduct your service here in the mosque. It is a place consecrated to God.” 

God expects us to stay away from mocking the religious beliefs of others, no matter how much we disagree with them. He says in the Quran: “And insult not those whom they (disbelievers) worship besides God, lest they insult God wrongfully without knowledge. Thus We have made fair-seeming to each people its own doings; then to their Lord is their return and He shall then inform them of all that they used to do” (Quran, 6:108).

We also have to remember that even if for many nominal Christians, the celebration is not really about participating in religious traditions, Christmas is a time for families to get together. In a number of cases it is the only time of year families get together, either because family members are scattered in different parts of the country or the world, because of communication and relationship problems, or because in America today, the family unit is becoming weaker and weaker. 

Christmas is a great time to relate to our neighbors. We should not forget though, that “relating” does not mean “preaching”. Dawa cannot be made in a rude manner. Allah says in the Quran: “Invite (all) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful advice, and reason with them by ways that are the best and most gracious: because your Lord knows best, (those) who have strayed from His Path, and those who receive guidance ” (Quran, 16:125).

In particular, when dealing with Jews and Christians, Allah says: “Do not argue with the People of the Book unless it is in the politest manner, except for those of them who do wrong. Say: ‘We believe in what has been sent down to us and what has been sent down to you. Our God and your God is [the same] One, and we are Muslims before Him'” (Quran, 29:46).

This may not be an occasion to emphasis the differences as much as the commonality of our beliefs, unless someone is really asking you about them.

A starting point for a discussion about Christmas could be the Islamic belief in all Books revealed by Allah and all Prophets sent by Him. In this discussion, special emphasis could be made on Prophet Jesus . Non-Muslims are often surprised to discover that Muslims also believe in this noble Prophet and his great mother Mary (peace be upon her).

Remember that respect does not mean compromise. This article is not asking you to compromise anything. You have freedom of religion given by God to believe in what you believe in. But in a world where conflict is increasing, a Muslim should be a bridge- builder and a peacemaker. It was due to the Muslim practice of Islamic ideals of respect and tolerance that the key of the holiest Christian Shrine in Jerusalem, the church of the Holy Sepulcher, remains entrusted with a Muslim family, as it has been for over 1400 years. 

These are the lessons which need to be learned by those extremists who attack Christians during their worship in Nigeria and those extremists who burn Masjids in the USA.

 

Abdul Malik Mujahid, is the President and Director of Sound Vision Foundation Inc. He is an Imam in the Chicago area and a founding member of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC).



34 Comments

  1. This Article is misunderstanding the meaning of the Quran. Quoting d Quran to back up False statements.

    Even some Christians (Jehova witness) testify that christmas is not the day Jesus was born. Christmas is one of the days of d Roman gods.

    Islam does not support christmas.

  2. I believe on our part we should also do dakwah to explain to the

    Christians that Christmas celebrations as practiced nowdays ( eg the

    decoration of Christmas trees and kissing under the mistletoe) are not

    in accordance to the traditions of Jesus or his followers. The former

    is even explicitly condemned in the Bible. Furthermore we need to make

    it clear that 25th Dec is not the birthday of Jesus SAW

  3. ASSALAM ALAIKUM … surely Islam means being total submission to the only Allah meaning that it teaches to be kind and associate to each other therefore lets respect the way we can as well teach these brothers the good deeds of Islam and better daawa.

  4. The idea sounds well. But the content of the article is misleading and portrays a call

    to dangerous compromise of belief and faith. Haba! You need to review this

    presentation with decorum and without necessarily compromising the fundamentals/

    basic creed of Al- Islam

  5. Assalamu alaikom, i can relate to this because my mother’s family used to have get

    together every december… and i believe that we have our right of deen. i just attend for

    the family get together purpose and not to practice what they ought to greet and so on… i

    do hope and pray that someday they would going to ask me some ideas to open up better

    discussion about jesus in islam…

  6. May Allah(set) reward you handsomely. The orientation

    of my people here is disturbing. One wonder whether they

    actually understand a little about how Prophet relate

    with people of other faiths. Afterall Allah do not assigned

    muslims to chase/wipe out non muslims. The political class

    are not helping, the problem is more political than religious.

  7. Assalaamalikum wa rahamatullah wa barakatahu Abdul Malik Mujahid,

    Thanks for bringing the advise on bonding with the people of other faith and quoting verses from The Holy Quran. I somehow would like to advise that bonds should not be built by encouraging wrong beliefs. In islam, we don’t celebrate birthdays besides Christmas does not mark the birth of Esa’ Alyahi Salam, it is adopted by the chirstian faith from pagans. Muslims should refrain from celebrating this festival as if you really ask why chirstmas is celebrated then the people from the chirstian faith would say that it marks the birth of Jesus(pbuh), when you ask them ok and who was Jesus(pbuh) they would say in return, the son of God. If anyone then accomodates the festival and participates in this then they are actually comitting the biggest sin, i.e. shirk. Yes, our beloved Prophet(pbuh) was accomodating of other faiths and we should follow the example, but lets not build bridges on wrong things. We should first understand ourselves to understand our religion and then we should behave in the way recommended by Islam.

    I would advise that we should avoid building bridges on wrong things and always remain with the truth.

    A very good lecture was conducted by brother Yusha Evans in Kingston Masjid, UK and I would like to share this with all brothers – http://youtu.be/aMDd11vw_WY

    I would request all of the readers to watch the video and understand the truth and stay away from celebrating such festivities as otherwise the believers involved will be going back to the days of jahiliya.

    May Allah(swt) guide us all to the righteous path.

    Allah Hafiz

  8. A great article that reminds us the gentle nature of Islam. This is a great reminder to all Muslims to act graciously to other non-Muslims. Thank you for spreading this peace around.

  9. As-salaam alaikum

    i think that all Your saying is good but as long as they say that Allah had a Son then its a very big problems b’se thats when Allah is very much Angered so please be more careful when trying to preach all this out. b’se Allah can will punish u

  10. Assalaamu alaikum.

    It’s great but with points of correction brothers and sisters. There has never been a time when Muslims attack Christians during their worship in Nigeria. Dob not just believe in the propaganda diisseminated by the western media just because you live in the west. You can contact us to hear the reality of anything that happen in Nigeria or conduct your research with fairness by yourself.

    Bissalaam

  11. Am afraid that Islamicity betraying islam. This article contain absolute nonsense. That’s why Muslims must be very careful in a society that doenst know right from wrong. 2009 is a great test for true muslims. Did you notice: Arafah falls on “Thankgiving” festival of kufar Christmas, another festival of Kuffar falls on Jummah

    New Year of the Christian Era falls on Jummah

    This is a test for some muslims that celebrate them along with kuffar. Some Muslims do celebrate these kuffar holidays or festivals and qoute Quran ignorantly to justify their actions. May Allah protect us. Amin

  12. I totally disagree with you regarding muslims attacking christians in Nigeria.Please make sure you have your fact before publishing.Try and get route cause of any article before passing jugdment.

  13. I was very surprised about this article, even more so that I even bothered to read it. You are basically saying to say Merry X-mass to appeal to the Christians. For starters the Christmas as they say is the birth of Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, but they have no proof of this even more so this holiday gives Christians, the right to supposedly be nice and kind to people for 1 day or that month, and when it is over it is back to uncaring. While you promote this very idea and than sugarcoat something saying it is giving Dawa SubhanAllah. If you want to offer words of wisdom, than take my own

    Don’t forget whom we are forever grateful to. We as Muslims owe no man nothing, epically to even be put into a position of possible compromising.

  14. The writer is sadly mistaken.Does he want us to say ‘Happy Christmas’.Encouraging people to go whatever they they think deem fit in the name of the Oneness of God.Living in a country surrounded by people people who don’t know who God is ,how will they know what His words are,has influenced the writer to, respect their belief and propagate such thoughts.He is misled into all these kind of thoughts probably because of the way of life that society is offering him.

    Compromise in the name of respect God forbid,will take him he should know well.

  15. please dont you understand and express your brothers in Islam wrongly,because no any learnered meaningfull muslim that use to attack christians during there worship, especially during the xmass,most of the things that happens in Nigeria is a retaliation to what have done to islam.

    and for the taking advantage of xmass to get to gether, is a form of admiring what they are doing being that xmass is a religiuos occation, why cant we take advantage of islamic occations, you may contact ( )to know more about the islamic perspective on the chrismass. thank you.

  16. Assalaam aleikum, indeed we have the whole year to relate to non muslims without choosing particular holidays to do so, especially when the Holiday in question is blasphemous! Even Prophet Isa (A.S) during this holiday is unhappy and pleading to Allah that he never told any of his followers that he is a son of God let alone God himself!

    If God bore a son, then the mother of Jesus cannot be called the ‘Virgin’ Mary, she slept with God! (this is ofcourse blasphemy!!!)

    It is just amazing how a person can believe in the Miracles performed by the Prophet Isa but fails to believe that the Creator of the whole universe, responsible for the Miracles performed by Prophet Isa, could just wish for a believing and pure woman to bear a pure and believing child by saying ‘Be’and it is!.

    May Allah Guide all those seeking the Truth to the Straight path. Ameen

  17. I think this article leans too much on one side.

    Of course The Prophet saws allowed the christians

    to pray in a mosque but he also said in authentic ahadeeth that …” IF you copy their practices, you are one of them ” . WHY is this missing from the article ?

    is it OK if a christian delegation requests in 2009 to conduct their mass/sunday prayer in a mosque ? The author should reply .

    In advocating politness one MUST ALSO clearly

    point out the prohibitions NOW..ie after the Quranic revelations have been completed since 1430 years ago !

  18. Thanks Muslimah. To avoid generalizing different writers who publish articles on Islamicity.com, I say this article is completely misleading and it’s bid’ah. The fact that the write tries to emphisis his position on this article, it contains ignorant citation of Quran to make his point.First all, a muslim should not even engage in this kind of kufar discussion. If you want relation, relate to your muslim brothers and sisters first. The writer is ignorant of Islam so to speak.This article compromise islam and misleads muslims and non-muslims seeking islam. The writer needs to learn Al-wala-wal-bara. Clearly,a true muslim knows that christianity or chrismas has nothing to do with great prophet Jesus (as). Please stop producing article like this. Am not trying to be rude but to clarify Islam on this issue. Quran says that “Abraham was neither a Jew nor a christian but a true muslim(worship none but God Alone)”. We urge these brothers at islamicity to please fear Allah with what you publish. I know for sure that you have come under heavy criticisms from fellow muslims about your publications or what you call relations with people of other faiths. I must tell you that am part of them. Please return to islam properly. Already there are some muslims celebrating kufar holidays or festivals as a result of what they hear or read from islamicity or CAIR etc. If a muslim tries to abide by only Quran and the Sunna, he’s called extremist by fellow muslims like this one. We urge you to please return to islam properly. Dont qoute Quran ignorantly to justify your point of view. Chrismas is paganism and we do not believe in it period. This should be your message to fellow muslims.It’s NOT hate.It’s about protecting your Tawheed. You can always respect whatever they believe by simply not paying attenetion to it. Relate with your fellow muslims first before thinking about kufar. Thanks to those who positively or negativley share my view. Wasalam alaykun

  19. I applaude you Imam Mujahid. Your expressions in this short artlcle are fully inline with true and faithful muslim beliefs. I look forward to reading more of your writings. However, it is unfortunate that the mass media will not relay this message to the wider North American populous as it will conflict with their preconceived ideas on Islam and Muslim.

  20. I Really enjoy reading many good articles of Islamicity.

    Regarding X mas and in response to an it is correct that Biblical

    Christanity will continue to spread. But you will be surprised to

    know that Christanity in most of the underdeveloped country

    spreading among the ignorant and those needs two square meal

    to remain alive. Accepting a religion not knowing what it is but

    bear necessity. Whereas Islam is growing at a fast rate in the

    Western world among the Intellectual, learned people who

    embrace Islam knowing what it is. Christmas is knocking at the

    door like all other years this year I do wish all my Christen

    Friends but to utter surprise when I came to know that Holy

    Prophet Jesus was not born at all on the 25 Dec. If some goes

    through the history it will be much clear to them.

  21. It’s amazing how the writer tries to creat a brigde with critians.Well Allah has confirmed to us in Quran that the only religion acceptable to him is islam & any person who obey him in other religion that he send his other prophet before islam there would be no blame for them in the hereafter.

    Therefore we should be realistic with other human being who don’t believe in islam that they are in big delusion.Cristian claim jesus he is the son of god but God never had a son and he has never be gotten by any one. Jesus the son of marry is one of the beloved messager of Allah, my question to cristians are what about prophet Adam (SA) who never been given birth by any human-being, what can we call him?

    May Allah forgive us and not to make us among those who associate him with his creation.

    Whowever Allah is the judge of every soul and as a human being we are obliged not to do Allah’s work and creat peace with everyone. Peace to all of you!!!!!!!

  22. To you, yes, Christmas may be the celebration of the “prophet” Jesus. However, to us who call themselves Christians, it is the birth of Jesus Christ, the only Son of God. Christianity is based solely upon Jesus Christ; that is why Christmas is so important. Had He not come as that babe in Bethlehem, died on the cross for our sins, and rose from the dead as no one else ever did, we would have no way to have eternal life. History proves Jesus died and rose again Who else can make that same claim? That is why Christmas is so important to Christians.

  23. As much as I liked the general idea I found the article confusing and mixing too many notions.

    Per the guidance of Allah s.w.t. and our Prophete s.a.w., Yes we are required to respect our fellow human beings including their religious practices.

    However, as muslims we are all asked to spread the word of Allah s.w.t. and in the first place by our own conduct. So the guidance should be to first know what to talk about or guide the others about. And second, in my humble view “amr bil maaruf and nah’yi an’il munkar” is about being firm and polite in correcting a wrong belief and/or practice when we know it of course based on correct knowledge and guidance of Quran and sunna. Christmas is not about Jesus but rather about the modern day idols this is a historical fact and celebrating it does not ligitimate its practice.

    Wa’Allahu aa’lam (and Allah knows best).

  24. This is a beautiful article….which all should read and use to try to emulate the characteristics of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and how he dealt with those who had opposing views….

    Everyone should read this to understand the amount of respect the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had for other faiths.

    In response to the first comment…..saying the “Propht Jesus” is no different than saying Jesus Christ or Jesus the Messiah.

    Both of these words mean prophet or messenger…..In your response you only restated what the author stated in his first sentence….

  25. Very nice article. I also would like to know if you have knowledge of the era, times, year etc when and if when Jews Christians and Muslims used to pray in the same place in Jerusalam. Thank you for the information

    Gulam Hassan

  26. It is very nice and good article, especially at these times. I also would like to know if you have information regarding the times, era, year when Muslims, Christians, Jews used to pray at one place in Jerusalem. If it is true and you have the knowledge please share with me. I will be so grateful to you for this information.

    Thank you and May Allah bless you. Gualm Hassan

  27. We Christians don’t ‘commemorate the birth of Prophet Jesus’ at Christmas but we celebrate the anniversery of the birth of Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah… If you want to build bridges you need to get the basics right.

  28. I agree with Bro. Abdul Malik. Christmas and all other holidays are a sacred time in each country. They should be respected, as Allaah Ta’aalaa has said in surah Al-Kaafiroon. It is not about compromise or joining them in celebrating, rather simply refraining from abuse and disrespect which may cause more evil than good. “For you is your deen and for me is mine” (109:6)

  29. nice article. i was reading peacefully until the end, and then i was like, what the? they were attacked? who was attacked? when?! :( in my country also, the majority muslims are growing more and more narrow in their practice of religion, while knowing less and less about the Prophet’s beautiful behaviour and the tafsir of the Quran, even as they recite the words more and more. and the liberal ones, are liberal because of imitating the west, and also know less and less about the Quran. a faith based on knowledge and independent reason is becoming more and more rare in my world, and the world at large.

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