Friday, 26 December 2014

The Christmas Conundrum

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Every year, during Christmas, we seem to go through the same issues where we have Muslims who come up with the same fatawa and misinterpret the same ahadits that anything to do with Christmas is shirk.  From a fiqh and ‘aqidah perspective, it is mistaken and simplistic.  There are more than enough fatawa and discussions of it over the years that I archive it and I put them out answering the same questions with the same evidences from the same scholars going all the way back to the pious predecessors.  Of course, people will always believe what they want to believe.

There is no arrogance in religion.  Whoever has that is deficient in his iman.  We must not be proud that we are Muslims for it is a Gift from Allah (s.w.t.), not from our own efforts.  It is God Alone Who Calls and Guides.  He who says he chose Islam did not understand when he said in supplication, “There is no power and no strength except Allah.”  Then how can some Muslims be so dismissive of non-Muslims, immediately labelling them kuffar, or disbelievers?  They are non-believers, and they will be non-believers also because Muslims show arrogance and not empathy.

Some proclaim that they are being strict and they are proud of it.  We must never be arrogant of our ‘ibadah.  Shaykh Hasan al-Baswri (q.s.) reminded us that we forget that Iblis was once proud of his immense worship of God and where did that get him?  Pride came into his heart like a disease and he was Stripped of everything.  So we must never be caught with the thought in our heart that we are better than anyone by virtue of something which never belonged to us.  We must never catch ourselves worshipping the religion or its scholars, instead of God Alone.  That is hidden shirk, more insidious and dangerous than most realise.

The effect of all this petty bickering is that it drives converts away from Islam.  And that is a great sin, incurring the Displeasure of Allah (s.w.t.), when the Prophet (s.a.w.) clearly said that we should make it easy for the Muslims and not difficult.  And for those say they are preventing shirk, then they should be reminded that the Prophet (s.a.w.) also said, “I do not fear that you will commit shirk after me, but that you will fight with each other over worldly things.”

Another effect is that it shows the non-Muslims how petty Muslims can be.  Is this the beautiful example of Islam?  Is this the example of the Prophet (s.a.w.)?  The Prophet (s.a.w.) was firm in his ‘aqidah and yet he stood for the funeral bier of a Jew.  He ate at the houses of the Jews and the Christians, accepting their invitations, and he hosted them as well, allowing, for example, the delegation from Najran to pray in the Prophet’s Mosque.  Does any Muslim dare say the Prophet (s.a.w.) committed shirk?

If you are a convert from a Christian family, then take this opportunity during the Christmas season to spend time with them, even if only a dinner.  It will mean a lot to them, and it does not compromise your ‘aqidah, contrary to what some people out there say.  Whatever our views on the origin of Christmas and its elements, or our thoughts about Santa Claus, consumerism or the notion of Christ (a.s.); they are irrelevant.  The bigger picture is about reconciliation, family and love.  Those things do not need a fatwa.  If we cannot respect the non-Muslims, especially the Ahl al-Kitab, the ones Allah (s.w.t.) Honoured as the nearest in belief, then we have no right to expect them to respect us and our traditions.  And this is real da’wah.


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