Sunday, December 25, 2011

Muslims Belief about Jesus/Respecting Christmas

Christmas is an annual Christian religious holiday commemorating the birth of Prophet Jesus [Peace be upon him]. For many Muslims who even do not celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him], it becomes an issue of what stand they should take [Especially when One is Muslim and has A Lot of Christian Family Members].

There have been a number of legitimate criticisms of the holiday from Muslims and non-Muslims based on theological and cultural considerations [Seeing Jesus wasn't born on this day in actuality]. However, this cannot be used to disregard the holiday as merely an exercise in ancient pagan practices. Muslims have to remember that for practicing Christians, Christmas really is about Jesus [No Matter How We View Him, as Muslims... for them it IS Religious and we HAVE to show a level of respect].

Prophet Muhammad [Peace be upon him], was so accommodating of Christians that according to the two earliest Islamic historians, Ibne Saad and Ibn Hisham, the Prophet even allowed a delegation of 60 Byzantine Christians from Najran in Yemen to worship in his own Masjid [Mosque] in Madinah. Lead by their bishop [Usquf], they had come to discuss a number of issues with him. When time of their prayer came, they asked the Prophet's permission to perform this in the mosque. He answered, "conduct your service here in the mosque. It is a place consecrated to God."

Allah [God] expects us to stay away from mocking the religious beliefs of others, no matter how much we disagree with them. He says in the Quran: "And insult not those whom they [disbelievers] worship besides Allah, lest they insult God wrongfully without knowledge. Thus We have made fair-seeming to each people its own doings; then to their Lord is their return and He shall then inform them of all that they used to do" [Quran, 6:108].

We also have to remember that even if for many nominal Christians, the celebration is not really about participating in religious traditions, Christmas is a time for families to get together [Gifts are given and hearts are softened]. In a number of cases it is the only time of year families get together, unfortunately the family unit is becoming weaker and weaker and this is the perfect time to show the mannerisms of Muslims and show our love for the Prophet Jesus, [I Myself See most of my family and friends during this time].

Christmas is a great time to relate to our neighbors as well... We should not forget though, that "relating" does not mean "preaching". Dawah [making an invitation] cannot be made in a rude manner. Allah says in the Quran: "Invite [all] to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful advice, and reason with them by ways that are the best and most gracious: because your Lord knows best, [those] who have strayed from His Path, and those who receive guidance " [Quran, 16:125].

In particular, when dealing with Jews and Christians, Allah says: "Do not argue with the People of the Book unless it is in the politest manner, except for those of them who do wrong. Say: 'We believe in what has been sent down to us and what has been sent down to you. Our God and your God is [the same] One, and we are Muslims before Him" [Quran, 29:46].

This may not be an occasion to emphasis the differences as much as the commonality of our beliefs, unless someone is really asking you about them.

A starting point for a discussion about Christmas could be the Islamic belief in all Books revealed by Allah and all Prophets sent by Him. In this discussion, special emphasis could be made on Prophet Jesus. 
Non-Muslims are often surprised to discover that Muslims also believe in this noble Prophet [Jesus] and his great mother Mary (peace be upon her).

Remember that respect does not mean compromise. I am NOT posting this, asking you to compromise anything as Muslims. We have freedom of religion given by God to believe in what we believe in. But in a world where conflict is increasing, a Muslim should be a bridge- builder, peacemaker and an example of great character. 
It was due to the Muslim practice of Islamic ideals of respect and tolerance that the key of the holiest Christian Shrine in Jerusalem, the church of the Holy Sepulcher, remains entrusted with a Muslim family [till this day], as it has been for over 1400 years. 

What Do Muslims Believe about Jesus?

Muslims respect and revere Jesus [Peace be upon him).  We consider him one of the greatest of God’s messengers to mankind.  The Quran confirms his virgin birth, and a chapter of the Quran is entitled ‘Maryam’ (Mary).  The Quran describes the birth of Jesus as follows:

  [Remember] when the angels said, “O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him [God], whose name is the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, revered in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (to God).  He will speak to the people from his cradle and as a man, and he is of the righteous.” She said, “My Lord, how can I have a child when no mortal has touched me?” He said, “So (it will be).  God creates what He wills.  If He decrees a thing, He says to it only, ‘Be!’ and it is.”  [Quran, 3:45-47]

Jesus was born miraculously by the command of God, the same command that had brought Adam into being with neither a father nor a mother.  Allah has said:

  The case of Jesus with God is like the case of Adam.  He created him from dust, and then He said to him, “Be!” and he came into being. [Quran, 3:59]

During his prophetic mission, Jesus performed many miracles.  Allah tells us that Jesus said:

  “I have come to you with a sign from your Lord.  I make for you the shape of a bird out of clay, I breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by God’s permission.  I heal the blind from birth and the leper.  And I bring the dead to life by God’s permission.  And I tell you what you eat and what you store in your houses....” [Quran, 3:49]

Muslims believe that Jesus was NOT crucified.  It was the plan of Jesus’ enemies to crucify him, but God saved him and raised him up to Him.  And the likeness of Jesus was put over another man.  Jesus’ enemies took this man and crucified him, thinking that he was Jesus.  Allah has said:

  ...They said, “We killed the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of God.” They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but the likeness of him was put on another man [and they killed that man]... [Quran, 4:157]

Neither Muhammad [Peace be upon him]  nor Jesus [Peace be Upon him] came to change the basic doctrine of the belief in one God, brought by earlier prophets, but rather to confirm and renew it.
Islam requires Muslims to respect the faith of others
We should never ridicule the religious beliefs of others, no matter how much we disagree with them. 

Allah [God] says in the Quran: And insult not those whom they worship besides God, lest they insult God wrongfully without knowledge. Thus We have made fair-seeming to each people its own doings; then to their Lord is their return and He shall then inform them of all that they used to do”.  [Quran, 6:10]



Cheresse said...

I have mixed feelings about this. I was born christian but never celebrated Christmas. I was taught that it is not the day Jesus was born and its a pagan holiday. A lot of Christians dont celebrate christmas not just non-chrisitans(which is something I think some people don't know) "You MUST NOT worship the LORD your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the LORD HATES . . . See that you do all I command you; do NOT add to it or TAKE AWAY from it." Deuteronomy 12:31-32

Im not saying we as muslims should go preaching to people but I know fo me then and now when I have people that make negative comments about me not celebrating christmas i just state the facts to them. Usually i leave people speachless. Most christians I know dont even know how christams started or why they do it. How they see it is GIFTS GIFT FOOD AND WHAT THEY CAN GET. Jesus isnt even mentioned. I feel for me to sit and say im okay which Christmas is saying its okay to Disobey God and thats wrong. As far as Iknow not even Jesus celebrated his birthday and no where in the bible does it mention that we should. Thats like Muslims now picking a day to Celebrate that Prophet(saws) birth. But thats just my opinion on the matter.


Calligrafist said...

I understand... The post is about religious respect and the way Islam holds "freedom of Religious practice".

Never said to agree, just stating that we need to be bridge-builders and not bridge-burners.

Reread it and see where I'm comin from... !


Cheresse said...

I did read it. But im curious to know how do you feel people should do that? I get we shouldnt make a mockery of other religions. But that goes for everyone in every religion. How could muslims build bridges with Christians?

Calligrafist said...

It's pretty easy... Commonality. Genuine and not being shy to be Muslim for one.

How many christians know how Muslims view Jesus. How many of us act as Muslims should and show we are good people.

Do we knock on doors as they ? For Islam. It's the simple things that help and bridge the gaps.

Example: 95% of my family is Christian. So for Christmas do I stay home and be alone or do I go to see them and show love and the character of a Muslim? Muslims of the past changed LANDS by mere example [thus people wanted to be like them]

We need to look past the differences and look at what makes us similar and can bring us together.

Cheresse said...

I think this is something not just Muslims need to do but so do all other religions. Let's be honest even if all muslims were good examples and talked about islam people hear and believe what they want. I'm not saying we shouldn't try. I've only been a muslim for 6months but I've had people in my life that are muslim since middle school and they have always been kind hearted people. I never looked and thought wow muslims are crazy. They talk to me about things and I asked question. I also did research. That's what brought me to islam. I dont know many people that do that. I tell my coworkers and family about Islam and I can honestly say a small percentage actually listen. One of my coworkers sees how my friends are and mothers yet she still thinks all muslim men are abusive and agressive men and muslim women are oppressed. Even though she sees me every day and I'm NOT OPPRESSED LOL I get everything you are saying but how I feel is if everyone doesnt bring effort to the table no gaps can be built. Muslims can only do so much when people dont want to listen. Don't get me wrong one thing I love about being a convert I sorta feel I get the best of both worlds in a sense. I tell Muslims about things they didnt know about Christianity but I also let Christians know about Islam. But if people choose not to listen or want to learn. It's like talking to a wall. ya know.


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