Its christmas!

Its that festive time of the year again,  shops and streets are filled with trees, cards, paintings of santa, and christmas carols, depending on where we live, signifying the celebration of the kuffars. And once again, it remains a necessity to remind ourselves about the do’s and don’t’s surrounding this season, as muslims.
In shaa Allah I’ll touch all the areas that are commonly misunderstood about this festival of theirs.

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1. What does christmas mean to muslims: The christians believe that our prophet Isa (jesus, AS) is the son of Allah (swt), wa iyyazubillah. And Allah gives a number of stern warnings about such claims:
“And they say: “The Most Beneficent (Allah) has begotten a son.  Indeed you (jews, christians, pagans) have brought forth a TERRIBLE EVIL thing. Whereby the heavens are almost torn, and the earth is split asunder, and the mountain falls in ruins, because they ascribe a son to the Most Beneficent”. [19:88-91]
“And warn those (jews, christians, pagans) who say, “Allah has begotten a son. No knowledge have they of such a thing, nor had their fathers. Mighty is the word that comes out of their mouth…”[Q18:4-5]
This time of christmas is the time where in they celebrate this terrible claim of theirs, believing it is the day the son was given birth to. Rejoicing and exulting this evil which angers Allah and every sensible muslim. So is it a time for muslims to be delighted?Or muslims to be baking christmas cakes?

2. Greeting them or replying to their greeting of ‘merry christmas’: Of course, this is wrong. Firstly, we are not happy about what they are celebrating. Secondly why should we reply their greeting since it is not our festival and we are celebrating it. Instead of replying their greeting, we should use such a chance to politely tell them about islam. Say things like: ” I’m not wishing you merry christmas because I’m not happy you are a christian, I want you to be muslim” and then steer the conversation to islam and what it says about christianity.  Greeting them on this occasion is so wrong that it is considered haraam by scholarly concensus, as was stated by Ibn al-Qayyim in his book Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah, where he says:

 “Congratulating the kuffaar on the rituals that belong only to them is haraam by consensus, as is congratulating them on their festivals and fasts by saying ‘A happy festival to you’ or ‘May you enjoy your festival,’ and so on. If the one who says this has been saved from kufr, it is still forbidden. It is like congratulating someone for prostrating to the cross, or even worse than that. It is as great a sin as congratulating someone for drinking wine, or murdering someone, or having illicit sexual relations, and so on. Many of those who have no respect for their religion fall into this error; they do not realize the offensiveness of their actions. Whoever congratulates a person for his disobedience or bid’ah or kufr exposes himself to the wrath and anger of Allaah.”

3. Accepting their invitation (because one is too shy to refuse): Already, we know by now that this haram because it is worse than greeting them as it implies celebrating ‘their evil belief’ with them.

Similarly, we are forbidden to imitate them by having parties, exchanging gifts or giving out food, taking time off work e.t.c because the prophet (saw) said: “whoever imitates a people is one of them” [Abu Dawood].

4. Eating christmas food (because they brought it to your home, and you were too shy to turn it down or were not at home): Sadly, our aalims differ regarding this matter. Some say its wrong because by eating it, its like you are celebrating with them. While others say, as long as you don’t eat their meat, which was slaughtered for other than Allah, then it is ok, since their food has been made halal for us (Q5:5) and you didn’t go begging for it.

But, like my teacher said, we should fear Allah regarding this matter. Its as though some people are celebrating your father having an illegitimate son. Would you even consider eating the food made for such a purpose? And Allah knows best.

And we ask The Almighty to draw us closer to all that pleases Him, and distance us from all that displeases Him, ameen.

“O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the christians as Awliyaa’ (friends, protectors, helpers), they are Awliyaa’ of each other. And if any amongst you takes them (as Awliyaa’), then surely, he is one of them…[Q5:51]

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