Categories
New Muslims New Muslims' Experiences

New Reverts’ Christmas Dilemma

By Diva Allott

So you’re a new Muslim and it’s that time of year again, Christmas.

As a child it was one of our most awaited days of the year, to run downstairs and find all the beautifully wrapped gifts under the luminous Christmas tree.

We believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) is a Prophet and not the son of God and that Allah is the only God, and we do not associate any others with Him.

Helping to prepare the dinner was a crucial part of this awaited day, we would then settle down on the sofa watching ‘Miracle on 34th. Street’ and then we would all pull our crackers and wear our Christmas hats.

As Muslims, we can’t celebrate Christmas as it is a Christian celebration. We believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) is a Prophet and not the son of God and that Allah is the only God, and we do not associate any others with Him. For many of you this can be a very difficult time as new Muslims, as your family may not understand and appreciate your new found beliefs.

In my first year as a Muslim I found Christmas very difficult, I had never celebrated Christmas in a religious way but just enjoyed all the traditions of sharing food, watching films and exchanging gifts with my family.

Also, I felt very bad as my mother is a widow and to leave her to celebrate Christmas alone pained me so much, I felt guilty. I knew that I couldn’t celebrate it so I tried my best to stay away over Christmas day.

I didn’t buy any gifts for any of my family as that is equivalent to celebrating it, and I struggled as I love seeing people’s joy when receiving an anticipated gift. I often went down a week or so before Christmas so my mother didn’t feel alone and she and other members of my family would always leave me gifts.

It is fine to accept the gifts on the grounds that it is not a religious emblem representing Christmas, or alcohol, or meat slaughtered purposely for Christmas or statues. I would accept the gifts and give thanks to them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) never used to refuse a gift from the Banu Israel (Jews) or from the Christians during their attributed festivities.

How to Cope with Christmas

Just think how much money you will save!

Now you know that you are not alone in your struggle and that al-hamdu lillah there are many more reverts experiencing a similar journey to you. Let’s focus on how to cope with Christmas.

First of all, don’t be sad that you have left Christmas behind in your new journey as a Muslim as God has blessed you with two celebrations Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha. Just think how much money you will save! While everybody is running around like headless chickens worrying whether they have remembered everything on the Christmas list, sent all the cards and bought all the food, you can sit back and take the back seat. It is strange how funny the panic of Christmas is when you’re outside, watching all the fuss for just one day of the year.

Although Christmas may be difficult for you when you think how your family must be feeling having to continue their celebrations without you. Let them know why you can’t celebrate Christmas but that you are still the same person they know and love. Try avoiding going to visit family on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Boxing Day to avoid getting roped into the celebrations. Maybe you can go a few days before or after the celebrations just to let them know you’re there.

Another way of coping with Christmas is to use the holidays as a chance to improve on your Islamic knowledge, perhaps read some Quran, books of Hadith or just spend time making du`aa’ (prayer) and thanking God for the life He has given you as a Muslim.

This year, I decided to buy my family present for `Eid and try to involve them in my festivities to soften their hearts and in sha’ Allah (God willing) one day they will see the beauty of Islam and embrace it. For Eid al-Fitr I bought my mum and myself a trip to an all-women’s SPA for a chance for us to spend time together and to relax. She really appreciated the present as I don’t buy her gifts for Christmas, she felt like I had made an attempt to include her. For my aunt, I bought her a massive basket full of fresh fruit and decorated with ribbons. She loved the present and the feeling of being included. The first time I bought my mum a present for Eid I didn’t know whether she would be happy or offended. At first she said I don’t want anything for Eid because I don’t celebrate it. I said then: ‘I give you this present with the intention for `Eid, and if you wish to save it for Christmas then do as you will.’

Children & Christmas

Dealing with children in Christmas can also be difficult as they may feel jealous of their peers at school knowing they will return after the holiday bestowed with new gifts, toys and clothes. Teach your children the origins of Christmas and explain to them why Muslims do not celebrate it and that although the children have been offered many gifts for their celebrations that as Muslims, God has promised us much more in the afterlife and has blessed us with two `Eids.

When `Eid comes around, create your own family atmosphere as your family did with you at Christmas, build up the excitement and the anticipation of `Eid, but emphasize that it is not about gifts but about spending time with family and giving thanks to God on this special day. A good idea is to buy advent calendars around the Christmas period and keep them until `Eid and allow your children to begin opening them on the countdown to `Eid.

During this festive time, remember that you are not alone and that many others are on the same journey as you. Remember God and give thanks to Him for all that He has blessed you with at this time, don’t be envious of those celebrating Christmas as God has promised us so much more. Just be thankful for being shown the true light.

In sha’ Allah I hope that none of you struggle too much during this time and find the strength and faith to get through this busy period of the year.

You are all in my thoughts and my du`aa’ and may Allah bless each and every one of you for reading this article and seeking further knowledge.

Ameen.

________________

Source: onislam.net

Soucre Link
Categories
ABC's of Islam New Muslims

The Christmas Message of Jesus

By Idris Tawfiq

As Christmas is celebrated all over the world, it will come as a real surprise to many people that Muslims have any regard for Jesus at all.

Most people have no idea that Jesus has any part in Islam. And yet, for Muslims not only is Jesus revered as a Prophet of Islam, but whenever his name is mentioned, they will add the words “peace be upon him.”

Far from being a “foreign” religion, Islam teaches that all prophets in the Old Testament actually brought a message from Almighty God, Allah, to His people, and Muslims respect the same prophets revered by Christians and Jews.

Whilst Christians and Muslims believe very different things about Jesus, it is nonetheless a very useful starting point to know that both religious traditions honor Jesus as a very special person. In fact, it would be quite acceptable for Muslims to include the name of Jesus in their Shahadah, or declaration of faith.

Muslims say: “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,” but they could just as equally declare “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and I bear witness that Jesus is the Messenger of Allah.”

As people throughout the world celebrate Christmas, it might be a very good way of building bridges between people of faith if Muslims were to let others know just what Islam teaches about Prophet Jesus.

Jesus (peace be upon him) in Islam and in Christianity

That being said, the Jesus revealed in Islam is in many ways quite different from the Jesus many Christians have come to know. The foremost difference is that Jesus is not considered by Muslims to be the son of God.

The next major difference is that Muslims do not believe that he died on the cross to save people from their sins.

They take their belief from what Allah tells them in the Quran. For example, regarding who Jesus was, we read:

O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary… (Quran 4:171)

And we also read:

{Christ the son of Mary was no more than a messenger; many were the messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how Allah doth make His signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth! (Quran 5:75)

Regarding Jesus’ death, we read in the Quran:

And they said we have killed the Messiah Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God. They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, though it was made to appear like that to them… (Quran 4:157-158)

An Authentic Narrative about Jesus

It is important for us to understand why Muslims believe a different narrative about Jesus, rather than the one accepted by many Christians. Muslims in fact believe that the words about Jesus in the existing gospels are not the actual words revealed about him by Allah.

They believe, instead, that Almighty God, Allah, has spoken to His creation down through the centuries through prophets. Some of these prophets had books revealed to them. Prophet Moses, for example, had the Torah revealed to him, just as Prophet Jesus had a message revealed to him known as the Injeel.

Muslims believe that neither of these books now exist in the form in which they were originally revealed because they have been altered, either deliberately or accidentally, over time. Allah never intended these messages to last, since they were for a particular people at a particular time in their history.

The Quran revealed to Muhammad, however, was intended for all people and for all time. It is the fullness of revelation, affirming all that is correct of what had gone before and correcting all that had become unclear about previous revelation.

The Message of Jesus in Quran

The Quran, then, has a different nativity narrative for the birth of Jesus and a completely different approach to who Jesus was. Jesus according to the Quran, was “no more than a messenger,” delivering God’s words to mankind. Unlike prophets before him, he was given the gift of miracles, but these miracles were a manifestation of the power of God, not of Jesus’ own power.

The message of Jesus was the message given to all prophets before him: that God is One and that He deserves to be worshipped in a particular way. By following the “straight path” people can come to get to know God better. This is the message confirmed in the Quran and is what has come to be known as Islam today. For Muslims, Jesus is a Messenger of Islam.

So what about the “Christian message” preached by Jesus? What about all the teaching about love of neighbor? What about all the stories and the parables related by Christians today as the words of Jesus himself?

For Muslims, the Quran is the fullness of revelation. Everything that agrees with the Quran in the previous scriptures is considered to be true. Anything that disagrees with the Quran is considered to be false. And as for anything in the previous scriptures which is not found in the Quran, Muslims don’t know if it is true or false, whether it is divinely revealed or the invention of men.

Stories like the Good Samaritan and the Sermon on the Mount, for example, do not appear in the Quran so Muslims have no way of knowing who wrote them. Since they don’t actually disagree with Islamic teaching we cannot say they are wrong, but we remain unclear about where they came from.

In other words, much of Jesus’ so-called teaching, as narrated by the New Testament, sits very comfortably with the principles of the Quran, but is not to be found as divine revelation in the Quran itself.

Teaching that people should love their neighbor, although related in different language, is very much a part of what Muslims believe. Prophet Muhammad is the closest commentary we have on the Quran. In his life we see how the Quran should be lived and in his life we see that caring for neighbors, the widowed and the orphans is very much a part of being a Muslim.

Christmas Message

As people throughout the world celebrate Christmas, it might be a very good way of building bridges between people of faith if Muslims were to let others know just what Islam teaches about Prophet Jesus. This shouldn’t be done in a way that offends the belief of others. After all, disagreeing is not the end of the world!

If people could understand one another more and agree to differ on certain matters of belief, our world would be a much better place.

Christians would have us believe that “Peace” is the central message of Christmas. As Muslims we say “Amen” to that, since “Islam” itself comes from a root word that means “Peace” and Prophet Jesus came to teach the message of Islam.

Happy holidays!


Source: aboutislam website

About the author

Idris Tawfiq was a British writer, public speaker and consultant. For many years, he was head of religious education in different schools in the United Kingdom. Before embracing Islam, he was a Roman Catholic priest. He passed away in peace in the UK in February 2016 after a period of illness. May Allah (SWT) have mercy on him, and accept his good deeds. Ameen.

Soucre Link