American Muslims may be able to successfully avoid Valentines, Thanksgiving and Halloween celebrations but Christmas is getting harder and harder to escape. Firstly, it is getting larger than life with the entire country decked in beautiful Christmas celebrations, carols chiming on the roads, charity drives, sales and gigantic Christmas trees. Secondly, like Eid is for Muslims, Christmas is the biggest holiday for Christians and hence, they go all out for it. Thirdly, there are social pressures and stigma related to eluding Christmas celebrations in universities, work, and neighborhood.
So in short, I can confidently say that although American Muslims are not celebrating but are actively participating in Christmas celebrations. For instance, a Muslim may not be decorating her home with decorations but must be going to a neighbor’s place for Christmas lunch. The question which arises is it that bad to participate in a holiday of another religion?
Let us see the history. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus. Jesus is undoubtedly present in the Quran also and is a prophet who was born through a miracle to the Virgin Mary. However, the contradictions start when Muslims realize that in Islam, we do not celebrate the birth of prophets. Secondly, in Islam, Jesus is a prophet and for Christians, he is someone to seek prayers to, in short God.
So what can an American Muslim do? Avoiding Christmas completely is out of the question as it is all around us! Here are some points from a Muslim perspective which you can do and keep your faith intact:
There is no time for giving charity in Islam. If Christmas is a joyous occasion in the country you live in then why not give charity to the people to make their occasion special? Giving charity will not be seen as celebrating Christmas but it will be a much-appreciated gesture of love from your side.
You have long holidays and it is not much you can do with your time except shop in holiday sales. Wouldn’t it be a great idea as an American Muslim to contribute your time to homeless shelters or orphanages? In this way, you will elevate your status in front of Allah as well as not face any social stigma regarding not celebrating Christmas.
Go on a religious holiday
There is no better way and a better time to escape the festivities and go for Umrah. The Christmas holidays are long and cold and you are confused with the extent of involvement to show for it. Wouldn’t it be great to escape this messy scenario and go where your head will be clear from all materialistic desires? You can connect as a family as well as connect with Allah on your Umrah journey.
Celebrating or participating in Christmas festivities is a grey area for American Muslims where something right for one is completely taboo for the other. We can just pray that Allah guides us on the straight path and keeps our faiths alive even when surrounded by non-Muslim culture and religions.
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