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Christmas season is upon us. It is nice to enjoy a long break from our work and schools and spend the time with the family and friends.

We may also find many good bargains at the shopping malls. It is the season when millions of christmas wreaths and trees add to the decor in and around the houses, businesses and streets of every town in the country.

Thousands of Santas also come into life all around us. Children write letters to Santa Claus asking for toys they want for Christmas. Many civic and church organizations donate food and clothes to the homeless and the needy. Toys are collected for children who have no family or whose families can not afford the expenses.

While the rest of the country is busy and involved in these celebrations and activities, what does a small minority of about seven million Muslims do? Because Muslims are scattered throughout the United States, small Muslim communities sometimes find it difficult to practice their faith due to the lack of a community of believers with whom to interact.

Muslims may react to nonIslamic feasts in three different ways.

A good number of Muslims feel that they can not indulge themselves in activities which have pagan, Christian, Jewish or any origin other than Islamic.

Then there are those who participate in activities such as Christmas tree decorations and placing toys under the trees for their children to pick up in the morning of December 25th. They may not hesitate in narrating the story of Santa Claus to their kids or let them watch television programs about Christmas.

Yet another group may be those who are Muslims by name but had never really practiced Islam and can be assumed lost in the “mainstream” of America.

Can Muslims participate in Christmas celebrations or any other similar events such as Halloween and Easter?

We need to look at the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad(S.A.W.) to find an answer.

A fundamental question may have to be addressed here before saying anything else. Under what conditions can a Muslim live in a nonMuslim society? This issue requires a careful and detailed answer, which we shall leave for future issues. One thing should be clear to those who have studied the Quran carefully. It is the primary responsibility of a Muslim living in a nonMuslim society to preach and present Islam through their character and conduct.

Islam should be a dominating force within and around Muslims instead of being a submissive entity.

Islam should stand tall and distinct from unIslamic ways for everyone to see, admire and appreciate. As we look at the life of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), we find that whenever there was a chance of confusing events between Muslims and nonMuslims, the Prophet made a clear separation. We see this in prayer times, fasting and Eid festivals. We do not pray very close to sunrise or sunset so it does not appear that we are worshipping the sun.

It is undesirable (Makrooh) to fast only on Saturday or Sunday.The two biggest Islamic feasts are EidulFitr and EidulAdha and nothing else should replace the significance of their festivity.

The biggest gifts you would like to give to your children or relatives and friends should not be the Christmas time, but the times of Eids. This will help us develop a distinct community, a caring community that will thus help present Islam properly to the public.

Another point regarding the Christmas season is the position of Jesus (PBUH) in Islam. If Christmas represents a feast of celebration of the birthday of Jesus, then we should observe it according to the Islamic principles and honor Jesus as a prophet of God.

Christmas trees and fairy tales of Santa Claus should have nothing to do with such celebrations.

These holidays are a perfect time to pick up the Holy Quran and other Islamic books and start reading. As the month of December draws to a close, let us also pledge to be better Muslims, inshaAllah.

Our new years eve should not be at a bar or a “party”.
It should rather be at the prayer rug. If you are thinking of a gathering at your house, consider reading the Holy Quran and an activity that involves remembrance of Allah as well.

“The best word is the Book of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance shown by Muhammad (S.A.W.). The worst practice is the introduction of new elements in the Islamic faith and every innovation amounts to heresy.”
(Muslim, Hadith Number 170, Riyad As Saleheen)

bint Mohammed