I Still Celebrate Christmas as a Muslim

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

It is this time of the year that I am reminded that as a convert to Islam, I am of Portuguese Catholic heritage.  Christmas is very much part of my heritage and my culture.  I see no harm in having the Christmas tree, no issues with the visits, the food, the exchange of presents and greetings.  I am not in need of Muslims telling me this or that is haram, or shirk, or of pagan origins.  I ignore them and move on.  The world is full of voices, and noise.  We discern which is which, and listen to the voices, and shut out the noise.

If people are looking for genuine dialogue, however, I point out my reasons: that everything is halal unless there is proof that it is haram in fiqh al-mu’amalah, and that the mere performance of one haram act does not make the entirety of something haram.  If we go by that logic, some go to the mosque to look at girls and steal.  Should we ban mosques then?  Some people misbehave during the dzikr.  Should we ban dzikr?

I believe, as Muslims, Christmas is also our celebration since it is a commemoration of our prophet, Jesus (a.s.).  When the Prophet (s.a.w.) went to Madina, after the hijrah, he found the Jews fasting in ‘Ashura, to commemorate Moses (a.s.) guiding them across the Red Sea.  He said, “We have more right to Moses,” and started fasting.  As Muslims, we have more right to Jesus (a.s.), and he is our prophet.  We follow what he brought, and we remember his message: That God is One.

As for the trees and decorations, these are cultural manifestations of the season.  It cannot inherently be haram simply because the non-Muslims do it.  The Qurayshi idolaters also commemorated the hajj.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) did not ban the hajj.  It is part of the sunnah to take that which is good and leave that which is bad.

As for the exchange of gifts, it is a sunnah.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) accepted gifts from non-Muslims, and he gave gifts.  He accepted the brides from Muqawqis, and he accepted the dates from Salman al-Farisi (r.a.) before his conversion.

As for the food, when the Christians gave them food, the companions asked the Prophet (s.a.w.) if they should eat, and he said, “Pronounce the Name of Allah, and eat.”

As for the exchange of greetings, if we believe, as some foolish Muslims do, that mere exchange of wishes nullifies the shahadah, can non-Muslims “accidentally” become Muslims by merely wishing us?  Obviously not.  Everything is by intent.

This is my position.  People can choose to accept, or they can choose to reject. I am unconcerned.  In the meantime, Merry Christmas in advance.


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