بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Nafsiya Reflections: Happy a Great One
It’s that time of year!
Decorations, lights, music, gatherings... We may all live in different areas of the world right now, but we all know what happens at this time of year. This is the time where preparations for Thanksgiving and Christmas and the new year celebrations take place. Aside from covid, this is the time where the malls are usually packed with angry or “jolly” shoppers. Public places will have Christmas trees, lights and music with the theme of Christmas.
Despite many celebrations originating from a religious basis and others may be a politically unfavourable situation, if we really examine the islamic basis e.g Remembrance Day somehow they are just taken as a unifying action and Muslims also feel the pressure to partake.
So... when there is a time of year where everyone gets into the spirit of the season...and we somehow start following these traditions we must ask ourselves... is it acceptable in Islam? Is it in line with Muhammad saw’s teachings, and in summary is it something Allah SWT would be okay with? We often justify why it is ok, without really thinking too deeply.
Saying Merry Christmas, we could think of it as... that is their religion. We don’t believe it. We are just being kind Muslims congratulating them. We are not going to their church. We feel that we are simply congratulating them on their holiday and many of them do not even see it as a religious thing today anyway! so why are we being so uptight and awkward!
But we need to think, what are we congratulating?
The birth of Jesus? Are we congratulating them on celebrating what they say is the birth of the son of God... this congratulating is actually very loaded. Our beloved Messenger Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him said,
"مَنْ تَشَبَّهَ بِقَوْمٍ, فَهُوَ مِنْهُمْ"
“He who imitates any people (in their actions) is considered to be one of them.” Related by Abu Dawud and Ibn Hibban graded it as Sahih.
So, its not as simple as being polite and a good member of the wider society..it has many deep implications. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said,
"إنَّ الْحَلَالَ بَيِّنٌ، وَإِنَّ الْحَرَامَ بَيِّنٌ، وَبَيْنَهُمَا أُمُورٌ مُشْتَبِهَاتٌ لَا يَعْلَمُهُنَّ كَثِيرٌ مِنْ النَّاسِ، فَمَنْ اتَّقَى الشُّبُهَاتِ فَقْد اسْتَبْرَأَ لِدِينِهِ وَعِرْضِهِ، وَمَنْ وَقَعَ فِي الشُّبُهَاتِ وَقَعَ فِي الْحَرَامِ، كَالرَّاعِي يَرْعَى حَوْلَ الْحِمَى يُوشِكُ أَنْ يَرْتَعَ فِيهِ، أَلَا وَإِنَّ لِكُلِّ مَلِكٍ حِمًى، أَلَا وَإِنَّ حِمَى اللَّهِ مَحَارِمُهُ، أَلَا وَإِنَّ فِي الْجَسَدِ مُضْغَةً إذَا صَلَحَتْ صَلَحَ الْجَسَدُ كُلُّهُ، وَإذَا فَسَدَتْ فَسَدَ الْجَسَدُ كُلُّهُ، أَلَا وَهِيَ الْقَلْبُ"
“That which is lawful is clear and that which is unlawful is clear, and between the two of them are doubtful matters about which many people do not know. Thus he who avoids doubtful matters clears himself in regard to his religion and his honor, but he who falls into doubtful matters [eventually] falls into that which is unlawful, like the shepherd who pastures around a sanctuary, all but grazing therein. Truly every king has a sanctuary, and truly Allah’s sanctuary is His prohibitions. Truly in the body there is a morsel of flesh, which, if it be whole, all the body is whole, and which, if it is diseased, all of [the body] is diseased. Truly, it is the heart.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
So before we congratulate or celebrate any event or festival. Let us always look at the root of everything in all aspects. The secular society is not really a thinking society. Although they espouse an idea of “think for yourself”..the reality is that the masses just follow what is going on. We cannot just go with the flow even if we are taught ‘to live and let live’, ‘dont be so boring’, or ‘when in rome...’
A neighbor wishes you a Merry Christmas and you simply reply the same, it is seen as good manners and for some harmless and others want to use it as a form of dawah...so whilst we do not believe in the event we take part.
We may not realize that these are subtle ways of integration and removing of the unique identity we as muslims have. The state that says it won’t push any religion is suddenly making everyone ‘celebrate’ and in some ways it is making its own ‘religion’. it takes the themes of a belief, that it denies, and uses it as a unifying force. And really a money generating force more so, so we do feel left out when giving and receiving gifts is going on everywhere..when people are sold an idea of family and meals and togetherness and so on.... we think a nice meal with my family is not harmful, is it? The pressure of society dominates our mindset..we do not want to make our kids feel left out and we just think its easier to conform.
If we reflect on our own situation as an ummah, the disunity we have on eid...it is designed as such due to the false borders and still we do feel a sense of oneness..so celebrations are not just events but act as unifying force. Once we as an ummah are politically united under the caliphate we will see the power of our celebrations, whether it is eid, the conquest of a land, or reminders of historical achievements.
The secular society paints this false unity, and it is so temporary...its lasts for an event but cannot be long lasting as only a true belief can actually unify people and we have this unifying factor within our ummah...all we are in need of is the political manifestation of this...by getting involved in the celebrations along with everyone else, we fail to question and think about what is really going on. we also fail to see how islam gives us a unique identy that we should be more proud of and not want to hide away becasue the society has its own set of values and beliefs that it imposes on us all.
So, while everyone is making merry and getting into the spirit, these events are timely opportunities for us. rather than taking part, if we live in predominantly non muslim lands then there is an opportutiy at such times to discuss with neighbours and colleagues. The dawah opportunity is there but not by wishing and getting involved. Dawah is not to let their invitation be acceptable but to give our truth to them!
Ultimately it will only be under the shade of the Islamic system that our celebrations will be presented to others with full impact and this is the best image of the type of society we should strive to create..... So have a great one! (Have a great day, I mean).
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