Christmas is everywhere around your family, especially if you’re living in the West. And unless you’re living under a rock, it can not be ignored. Although it has become more of a commercial and consumerism season for businesses, this does not deny that, in general, the Christmas celebration is prohibited by most Muslim scholars.
Every year, media and business industries thrive on making Christmas shinier and louder. And our Muslim kids could feel the charm of the trees, lights, glitter, gifts, jingles, the holiday season, and Santa. After all, that’s what they only know and admire about Christmas. Yet as they grow, their curiosity about Muslims and Christmas celebrations expands.
Further, as parents, how do we encourage our children to respect their non-Muslim friends and their families without compromising our faith?
Enrich your knowledge first
Your children come home from school with assumptions about Christmas and Santa that they have heard from their classmates or the media. Before you rush to enlighten them with your views, ensure you have enough knowledge and resources to provide them before you spark the conversation about Muslims and Christmas celebrations. Why shouldn’t Muslims celebrate Christmas can be an excellent brief start.
Muslim converts and Christmas
If you’re a reverted Muslim, Christmas must be one of the most challenging times of the year for you. Suddenly you’re no longer celebrating with your family or exchanging gifts, and you could feel nostalgic about the joy of the festivities. Even worse, you could be accused of betraying Jesus. Understanding the reasons behind the forbidding of Muslims and the Christmas celebration will make your patience worthwhile. It’s like you’re doing Jihad by going against the flow, and eventually, you’ll immensely be rewarded.
Trust our Islamic opinion on Muslims and Christmas celebrations.
While you may not wish to make it hard for your children to witness all the glam and glitters of Christmas and not celebrate it, trust your religion. Believe that Islam will never forbid an act unless it might hurt us in a way. When children grow up and understand the reality of Santa and the fact that it’s just a lie, they can question anything their parents have once told them. And they grow up with the perception that parents make up stories, events, or facts so that kids would listen to them and behave well.
Children could question the reality of everything else, like the truthfulness of prayers, heaven, hellfire, the Holy Book, or the whole religion. Children need to get used to their parents saying the truth and only the truth without deceit.
Besides, all our religious celebrations are based on truthful events, hard work, accomplishments, and rewards.
Explain the commonalities
Building common ground between our children and others builds respect. Though Muslims and Christians possess differences in faith and practice, they share some connections.
- Islam teaches us that the Prophet Isa (AS) is one of the five greatest messengers of God (SWT). The others are Ibrahim, Nuh, Musa, and Mohammad (PBUH).
- Prophet Isa(AS) was sent the Injil or the Gospel from Allah. And as Muslims, one of the foundations of our faith is to believe in the prophets sent by Allah and the Holy books.
- Lady Maryam, who happens to be the Prophet Isa’s mother, is one of the most honored ladies in Islam. Besides, a whole Surah (chapter) in the Quran is named after her.
- Islam acknowledges the miracles of Prophet Isa (AS), including the virgin birth, speaking from the cradle, healing the blind, curing lepers, and bringing the dead to life, all through the power of Allah (SWT).
- We believe that Prophets sent by God are role models who guide us. For example, from the Prophet Isa (AS), we learned humility, simplicity in worldly matters, and his love and compassion for everyone around him.
Emphasize the differences
While it is valuable to pinpoint the similarities between Muslims and Christians, it is equally fundamental to highlight their distinction.
Christmas is derived from the words’ Christ,’ which means ‘Messiah’ or leader and promised deliverer, and ‘Mass,’ which means a religious ceremony. Therefore, Christmas, at its roots, is originally a celebration of the life of Jesus Christ. And Christians believe that Jesus Christ is God’s son, which contradicts the Islamic principles that Allah is one and has no son.
The Prophet Isa (AS) is not the son of God.
إِنَّ مَثَلَ عِيسَىٰ عِندَ اللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ آدَمَ ۖ خَلَقَهُ مِن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ
“The example of Jesus to Allah is like that of Adam. He created Him from dust; then He said to him, “Be,” and he was.”
(Surah Al Imran 3:59)
يَٰٓأَهْلَ ٱلْكِتَٰبِ لَا تَغْلُوا۟ فِى دِينِكُمْ وَلَا تَقُولُوا۟ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ إِلَّا ٱلْحَقَّ ۚ إِنَّمَا ٱلْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ٱبْنُ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولُ ٱللَّهِ وَكَلِمَتُهُۥٓ أَلْقَىٰهَآ إِلَىٰ مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِّنْهُ ۖ فَـَٔامِنُوا۟ بِٱللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِۦ ۖ وَلَا تَقُولُوا۟ ثَلَٰثَةٌ ۚ ٱنتَهُوا۟ خَيْرًا لَّكُمْ ۚ إِنَّمَا ٱللَّهُ إِلَٰهٌ وَٰحِدٌ ۖ سُبْحَٰنَهُۥٓ أَن يَكُونَ لَهُۥ وَلَدٌ ۘ لَّهُۥ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ ۗ وَكَفَىٰ بِٱللَّهِ وَكِيلًا
“O People of the Book, do not go to extremes in your religion and do not say about Allāh except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allāh and His word, which He delivered to Mary and a soul from Him. So believe in Allāh and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allāh is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allāh as Disposer of affairs.”
What do Muslims celebrate instead of Christmas?
Anas ibn Malik (RA) narrated: “The Prophet (SAW) came to Madinah during two days in which the people played. The Prophet (SAW) asked: What are these two days? They said: These are two days we used to play in, during the time of ignorance. The Prophet (SAW) said: Allah has replaced them with two better days: Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr.”
Celebrate our special events
Our religion is rich in celebrations and important events. We have Eid Al Adha, Eid Al Fitr, the new Hijri year, Ramadan, and haj. Build anticipation and make these days a memorial for your family. You can make history come alive by retelling its stories, watching its animated videos, or doing related activities with your kids.
Showing up at your children’s classrooms to explain our celebrations to other children can make a difference and make your kids even more excited about our calendar. It is how children learn and take pride in their origin and identity.