Sunday, 18 December 2005
A couple of weeks ago I was told by a friend that Dr. Zakir Naik had stressed wishing people ‘Merry Christmas’ was haram as this meant that we were affirming their religious belief in the birth of Christ. This made me of think of how I wish the people I know on their religious festivals. Generally I say things like, "have a good Christmas", "have a nice Diwali break", "Happy holidays", etc. I feel these wishes are more Islamically correct but as always Allah (SWT) knows best. But I don’t feel that if I have said ‘Merry Christmas’ on occasion I have somehow compromised my faith after all does Allah (SWT) not know our ‘niyat’?
Festivals are also an ideal and opportune time at which to do ‘dawah’. There is a beautiful verse in the Qur’an which says, "Invite all to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching and argue with them in the ways that are best and most gracious." 16:125
Festivals are the time when one can educate and inform people on the true nature and meanings of these festivals. How many of us know what "Eid" actually means or what exactly "Ashura" means. Even more importantly we should lead by example to be hospitable and helpful. How many Muslims invite non-Muslims to ‘Iftar’ for example and explain to them the importance of Ramadan? However all those who celebrate Christmas will give out Christmas cards and gifts to their neighbours/friends, regardless of whether they also celebrate this event.
Considering Christmas is just round the corner, rather than obsess about what greetings we should say to people I think we should focus on attempts at ‘dawah’. Now most of the people who I know will celebrate Christmas call themselves Christians, however they don’t attend midnight mass, they don’t really take part in any religious activity except maybe singing the odd religious Christmas Carol. But it is still a ‘Christian’ festival for them. Do they know the following details:
I have discussed these points with my friends who celebrate Christmas, they mostly go blank. The most common answer is, "what difference does it make? Its an occasion for the family to get together." That maybe true however it is also a time of incredible commercialism, over-spending, and over-eating. To warn against these things and engage in active dawah is more practical than to simply avoid saying ‘Merry Christmas’.
Hopefully you will find this information useful and have a ‘Happy Holiday’. Allahu 'Alam