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December 23, 2011

Why we don’t deck the halls at Xmas

by Simple Muslimah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 Is it that time of the year again? Thousands of sales, holidays from work and school, family gatherings, and the cold weather. Yes, ’tis the season. But, why am I not in the holiday spirit?

*A brother explains why Muslims don’t “do” Christmas* 

It’s not that I don’t enjoy the insane amount of sales and time off from work and school. In fact, I wouldn’t mind if it stayed like this all year around (well, maybe not the cold weather). What’s different for me, as a Muslim, is that we are not “celebrating” like many others. Simply put, Muslims have only two festivals to actually celebrate, the two Eids – Eid-ul-Fitr, which marks the end of the month of fasting (Ramadan) and Eid-ul-Adha, which takes place during the month of Hajj. Eid-ul-Adha is also the festival when Muslims all over the world sacrifice an animal in memory of Prophet Ibraheem علیه سلام who offered to sacrifice his son, Ismael علیه سلام, to Allah.

We celebrate just like people of any other faith. We have huge gatherings, visits from friends and relatives, excessive amount of mouthwatering food, giving and receiving gifts, and of course, fun and laughter. However, the most important thing that binds and brings us together twice a year, every year, is our Deen. Islam is the most important factor in our celebrations and in our lives.

The reason for us not being able to celebrate the festivals of other religions is solely because we take our religion seriously. It’s not that we are grumpy and lonely and want to disrespect other religions. Actually, we are commanded to treat others with respect. However, when it comes to taking part in the festivities of the people of other faith, we cannot compromise there.

For Muslims, Christmas might not have any importance, but Jesus علیه سلام does. Jesus علیه سلام or (Eesa in Arabic) was one of the prophets of God, just like Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم .  However, we do not regard him as God or the son of God. Considering a human being as a God or associating partners with God is the gravest sin in Islam, called shirk.  It is worse than all the other sins and a sin which Allah will not forgive in the Hereafter unless a person sincerely repents of it in their lifetime. So, going back to my previous point about not celebrating Christmas, it really isn’t because we just don’t want to do anything with non-Muslims or we just live in a bubble.

Today, Christmas might not be really about Jesus علیه سلام or Christianity, but it does have it’s origins tied to the birth of Jesus علیه سلام, who Christians consider to be divine.  For Muslims, who attribute divinity to no-one but God, celebrating Christmas is therefore akin to shirk, something which no Muslim can take lightly.  I hope this explains how taking part in a celebration of something like this can come between us and our religion.  Like I said, Islam is the most important aspect of our lives. Fortunately!

So, next time if a co-worker or a friend declines your invitation to come to your Christmas party, please don’t take it negatively. I mean, really, how would you feel if you learned afterwards that your friend had to compromise his/her religious beliefs to come to your party? Probably not something you’d want to happen if you could help it.

And that’s why Muslims are not decking their halls with boughs of holly at Christmas :).

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