Complicating Christmas

We live in a time of great confusion. Small things, seemingly innocuous, appear to pose huge problems for the Ummah. And the Ummah doesn’t seem to care much. Here is the latest – to wish or not to wish Christian friends, colleagues and friends a ‘Merry Christmas’. The following has been sent to me by two people now – a cousin and an acquaintance. It is doing the rounds on Facebook as we speak. If you can get past the invitation to ‘Marry Christmas’, do let me know what your thoughts are.

Stay away from saying ”Merry Christmas”, but why? Here is why!It is not permissible to congratulate Non-Muslims on their false belief.We are Muslims, we believe in one God; Allaah (Subhana Wa Taala). We are monotheists. We don’t accept shirk! It’s the greatest sin! It’s injustice!Do you agree that Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him) was born on the 25th of December?
Do you agree that Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him) is the begotten son of God?
Do you agree that Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him) is God?

If the answer is NO, and it should be NO, then why do you want to wish someone ”Merry Christmas”? This is what this Christmas is about. It means celebrating the day of “God’s” or ”Son of God’s” birth. It’s a concept absolutely abhorrent to Muslims and in direct contradiction to the Quran.

”They have certainly disbelieved who say, ” Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary” [Quran 5:72]

”He neither begets nor is born” [Quran 112: 3]

Now let me make it perfectly clear that I understand Shirk as being the one sin Allah has vowed not to forgive. May He save all our souls and save us from this most abhorrent of sins. And I also understand that shirk creeps up on us in many unsuspecting ways. I have not wished anybody a ‘Merry Christmas’ for several years now. And I stopped because somewhere, I came across someone saying that to wish someone of another faith happiness on their day of festivity was to validate its existence and its supposed veracity. (Though as I write these lines, I feel I sound like one heck of a presumptuous and uptight moron.) As Muslims, we believe our religion to be the last word on Truth, the Last Message. It follows that the festivals it espouses are the ones acceptable to Allah. To therefore wish someone else well on their day of celebration is therefore to accept as valid their beliefs, and therefore their version of Truth and in so doing, reject our own, on some vague level.

This is why I stopped wishing people a merry christmas. Or a happy diwali. Or anything at all.

I remember my own parents giving chocolate and small gifts to the Christian staff who worked at my father’s office for Christmas when I was a child. It didn’t seem to diminish their Islam. Neither did it mean, to them or to us, or indeed to the Christian staff who joyfully accepted their gifts, that my parents had turned coat and changed their faith. I am confused. I see the reason in what I have written above. But it also makes me wonder how we can imagine our faith to be so easily sullied – two words, spoken in a spirit of friendship cannot possibly make me less of a Muslim. The Prophet said, ‘Innamal a’malu binniyat.’ ‘Actions are judged by intention.’ My intention is just to give another human being joy, just to show them that I am happy because they are happy. And who knows, perhaps my happiness for them may contribute one day to them feeling the pull of my faith. Maybe my pleasantness will be the da’wah that will call them to my faith. When I pass them by, straight-faced on their day of celebration, without a word of felicitation, I do not come across as a generous person, or one who wishes them well. How then can I hope to guide them to Islam, ever – which, I understand, to be my duty as a Muslim?

I am not celebrating Christmas. I do not put up a tree in my house. Many of my friends in Pakistan do. Many more in Canada and America do. The ones in other Canada and America call it ‘integration’. The ones in Pakistan call it ‘celebrating diversity.’ I belong to neither of these two groups. Then why am I being asked to dig deeper into the ground, make myself even more inexplicable, seemingly even more tragically twisted? And no, I do not agree that wishing someone a ‘Marry Christmas’ means all that Mr. Zakir Naik is making it out to. It does not mean that I agree that Jesus Christ was born on December 25th. Because I know that calculations made by Muslim scholars according to evidence in the Hadith and Quran points to the April-May period as more likely. And it certainly does not mean that I agree that he was the son of God. I know he wasn’t. From wishing someone a merry Christmas to agreeing that Jesus was the son of God, na’uzu’billah is a quantum leap, if ever there was one. I declare he wasn’t. He was a mortal man. So stop pinning so many things on me for saying two small words. I know who I am.

Having said all of this however, I just want to end with the following comment someone posted on Express Tribune’s Facebook exhortation to Pakistanis to celebrate Christmas. Fitting and poignant, I thought.

 جارج کی عمر ۵۰ سال سے کچھ زیادہ ہے۔ وہ اپنی بیوی اور دو بچوں کے ساتھ واشنگٹن میں رہتا ہے۔
عید الاضحٰی قریب آ رہی تھی۔ جارج اور اسکے گھر والے ٹی وی، ریڈیو اور انٹرنیٹ پر دیکھ رہے تھے کہ عید کس تاریخ کو ہو گی۔ بچے روز اسلامی ویب سائٹس پر چیک کر رہے تھے۔ سب کو عید کا بےصبری سے انتظار تھا۔
جیسے ہی ذوالحجہ شروع ہوا، ان لوگوں نے عید کی تیاریاں شروع کر دیں۔ گھر کے قریب ہی ایک فارم ہاؤس تھا۔ وہاں سے ایک بھیڑ خریدی، جسکے چناؤ میں انھوں نے تمام اسلامی اصولوں کو مدنظر رکھا۔ بھیڑ کو گاڑی میں رکھا اور گھر کی راہ لی۔ بچوں کا خوشی کے مارے کوئی ٹھکانا نہ تھا۔ جارج کی بیوی، کیتھی نے گھر پہنچ کر اسکو بتایا کہ وہ اس بھیڑ کے تین حصے کریں گے۔ ایک حصہ غریبوں میں بانٹ دیں گے، ایک حصہ اپنے ہمسائیوں ڈیوڈ، لیزا، اور مارک کو بھیج دیں گے اور ایک حصہ اپنے استعمال کے لئے رکھیں گے۔ یہ تمام معلومات اسے اسلامی ویب سائٹس سے ملی تھیں۔
کتنے دن کے انتظار کے بعد عید کے دن آ ہی گیا۔ بچے خوشی خوشی صبح سویرے جاگے اور تیار ہو گئے۔ اب بھیڑ کو ذبح کرنے کامرحلہ آیا۔ انھیں قبلہ کی سمت کا نہیں پتہ تھا لیکن اندازاٴ مکہ کی طرف رخ کر کے جارج نے بھیڑ ذبح کر لی۔ کیتھی گوشت کو تین حصوں میں تقسیم کر رہی تھی کہ اچانک جارج کی نظر گھڑی پر پڑی۔ وہ کیتھی کی طرف منہ کر کے چلایا ”ہم چرچ کے لئے لیٹ ہو گئے۔ آج سنڈے ہے اور چرچ جانا تھا۔” جارج ہر اتوار باقائدگی سے اپنے بیوی بچوں کیساتھ چرچ جاتا تھا لیکن آج عید کے کاموں کی وجہ سے چرچ کا ٹائم نکل گیا۔یہاں تک بول کر ہادی چپ ہوگیا۔ ہال میں سب بہت غور سے اسکی بات سن رہے تھے۔ اسکے خاموش ہونے پر ایک بندہ بول اٹھا ”آپ نے ہمیں کنفیوز کر دیا ہے۔ جارج مسلمان ہے یا کرسچن؟”
ہادی نے جواب دیا: ”جارج کرسچن ہے۔ وہ اللہ کو نہیں مانتا، بلکہ حضرت عیسٰی علیہ السلام کو نعوذ باللہ اللہ کا بیٹا مانتا ہے۔”
یہ سن کر ہال میں چہ مگوئیاں شروع ہو گئیں۔ آخر ایک شخص کہنے لگا: ”ہادی! وہ کرسچن کیسے ہوسکتا ہے؟ اگر وہ کرسچن ہوتا تو مسلمانوں کا تہوار اتنے جوش اور عقیدت سے کیوں مناتا؟ عید کی تاریخ کا خیال رکھنا، پیسہ خرچ کر کے بھیڑ خریدنا، اسے اسلامی طریقے پر ذبح کرنا؟”
ہادی یہ سن کر مسکرایا اور بولا: میرے پیارے بھائیو! یہ کہانی آپکو اتنی ناقابل یقین کیوں لگ رہی ہے؟ آپکو یقین کیوں نہیں آ رھا کہ ایسی کرسچن فیملی موجود ہو سکتی ہے؟ کیا ہم مسلمانوں میں سے کبھی کوئی عبداللہ، کوئی خالد، کوئی خدیجہ، کوئی فاطمہ نہیں دیکھی جو کرسچن کے تہوار مناتے ہوں؟ اپنے مسلمان بہن بھائیوں کو نیو ائیر، ویلنٹائن، ہالووین، برتھ ڈیز وغیرہ مناتے نہیں دیکھا؟ اگر وہ سب حیران کن نہیں تو یہ بات آپکو حیران کیوں کر رہی ہے کہ غیرمسلم ہمارے تہوار منائیں؟
جارج کا کرسچن ہو کر عید منانا ہمیں عجیب لگ رہا ہے لیکن مسلمان تمام غیراسلامی تہواروں میں بڑھ چڑھ کر حصہ لیں تو کسی کو عجیب نہیں لگتا۔ بخدا! میں دس سال امریکہ میں رہا۔ کبھی کسی یہودی یا عیسائی کو مسلمانوں کا تہوار مناتے نہیں دیکھا، لیکن جب میں واپس اپنے مسلمان ملک آیا تو مسلمانوں کو انکے تہوار بیت جوش و خروش سے مناتے دیکھا۔ہال میں سب خاموش تھے۔ ہادی کی بات ایک کڑوی سچائی تھی۔
Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Complicating Christmas

  1. lughviat says:

    You know, I never do. I never wish any of my friends anything publicly. Never on a social media or written forum. But I was thinking today: I Adam so pleased and feel so acknowledged when my friends take the time out to wish me eid Mubarak or Ramadan Mubarak. And there are a few of them who do – and I’d be really happy if l of then did. It’s not that we are unwittingly avowing that the mistaken beliefs of the others are true, merely by wishing them peace and joy on their day of celebration. We are actually illustrating our own calm and peace by wishing the ones that we share our daily lives with. All we are accepting is the reality that faith is a state of mind and neither party is going to stop existing. God still gives good things to those Others. We can give the charitable smile and greeting of peace… In the spirit of diplomacy. It is called building bridges. I, like you, do not agree with bringing it needlessly inside one’s home with tree and outfits, etc. But I wish to create feelings of warmth and goodwill for those around me who are celebrating their faith. This is why, for the first time today – after much hesitation, I must add – I did post the greeting today. And got “likes” from friends long silent.

    • lughviat says:

      Sorry about typos:

      Am not Adam
      All of them not I of them

    • champakaper says:

      I agree completely – it is an act of building bridges. It creates goodwill. And I must say, your greeting today was very dignified. Many others said, almost with a guilty conscience it seems, ‘Merry Christmas to all my friends who celebrate it.’ I thought yours was simple and dignified.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s