8:43 AM

Un-Deck the Halls

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Today is the 24th of December. Here in Al-Ain it's just another day but I know back home and across the world today is a pretty big day for some. Christmas Eve.
Frantically getting those last minute gifts for loved ones at the store, cramming through traffic to rush home to wrap them. Sneaking them carefully under that glimmering Christmas tree so it doesn't appear they are "last minute" gifts. Having a mental countdown to the end of the day to start the festivities. Breaking out the tasty eggnog and pies.

I fully know well the "Christmas Spirit". It's catchy. What with all the beautiful decorations on trees and houses. I was the decorator for my family. No one had ever decorated like me. My Grandpa has pipe organ in the living room and I used to put ball ornaments on the tops of them and it was beautiful. The tree was "just so!". And the Carols, AH! the Carols. 24/7 they were bursting from my heart. Sure it helped they were on every radio channel. But I had tons of CDs of special Carols like Renaissance style. "Deck the Halls with boughs of Holly, Fa lala la la..."

But once you're Muslim... " la la ---eeerrrrrrrr!" *record screeches off*
Silence the carols.
No decorations.
No presents.
No trees.

It was hard. I mean really hard for me to stop celebrating what was once a favorite holiday. The first year I had no idea it wasn't allowed really so I did my usual. The second year when I lived further away I visited my family but I didn't want to participate. I sat there watching them and some got me presents so I opened them. I had a big lump in my throat that day though being torn both directions. The third Christmas I was in Lebanon and the day came and I got dressed up nicely and since things close for the Christian Minority I took my sister-in-law and the Christian Maid down the street to look at shops. While the Maid called her family I picked up a few small presents for myself. I hummed happily the Carols with no obvious words about Christ or Christmas. Like Jingle Bells. I still say it's a winter song not religious. But by the next year it was gone. Fourths the charm lol. The day came I wasn't sad. I wasn't anxious. I was relieved and happy. It IS just another day like any other. I had more stronger lessons and they had explained to me clearly why we don't celebrate and why the Christians shouldn't even be celebrating it the way they do. Living Life and Loving It, Has an excellent post "What would Jesus Do" on this topic though I wish she's provide more actual evidences like from Bible and such. Had someone taught me all this from the beginning things would have been easier, much easier.

I see from the poll above many of you are also not celebrating and I'm cheering you. For those that answered you are celebrating I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt and hope they are only doing it because either they don't know any better, are practically forced to by their Christian families, or haven't shaken off the Christmas Spirit. These following reminders are for you.
Christmas is to celebrate "the birth of Prophet Jesus. Their coming Prophet. And for some the birth of their Lord/God. (?!)" As we believe in not celebrating Birthdays we shouldn't do this. Plus there is no evidence that he was actually born on the 25th. There are some sects who celebrate Christmas in January. Prophet Jesus isn't OUR Prophet though we respect him enormously. And for sure we don't believe he was a God in any form or way.
Then comes the "you have to be good this month and give to the needy and help people and be good Christians." Yet Christianity and Islam both teach that you should be good all year and strive to keep goodness in your heart. We have Ramadan which for some feels like Christmas because everyone is super good and super generous. But we don't need a calendar to tell us when to be good. It's expected.
Also family get togethers. Normally friends throw parties, families arrange to fly in. The masses converge. This is why Muslims are encouraged to get together often so people don't feel isolated and lonely and depressed. We have our Friday to converge at the masjid and then that day or evening for doing special family and neighborly things. Usually there is something special monthly to get together with people too. So we shouldn't feel that there is only one day a year that we can be jolly and happy.
Do I even need to go into the long term effects of teaching people to believe in a mythological character. Lying to your children and having them going through the trauma of finding out the hard way. Plus Lying even small white lies are Haram.
But of course the most important reason to cut out Christmas from our celebrations is that we are told by Prophet Muhammad (SAW) that we cannot celebrate other religions holidays and ways. By saying Shahada we agree to follow the Prophet Muhammad and HIS ways so by going against the Prophet we are sinning to God and ourselves. Some even go as far to say that celebrating other religious holidays takes you outsides the bounds of Islam. Makes you a Non-Muslim and you have to re-say Shahada to become a Muslim again. No matter which scholar you ask I don't believe there is even one that says it is ok.
We must make great efforts especially with small children and converts to use Ramadan and E'id to feel festive. We can decorate our houses and sing Islamic songs and follow the rituals of Islam during these holidays and this will give us a great feel for releasing our joy. Always invite your convert brother and sisters to join your family if they have no one. I can't tell you how sad my first Ramadans and E'ids were all by myself. Everyone dressed up talking about plans and I had to go home alone to my empty house... so Please encourage others to join you even if they are strangers. Let them feel the real "Spirit of Generosity". Al-Islam.

4 intelligent thoughts:

UmmLayla said...

I was just telling DH that I think the holidays are hard because the Eid here is less than exciting. If we lived in a place with a larger Muslim community I would invite every single brother and sister I could find!!! I remember what it was like to be single on Eid. HARD and DH says that his first ramadan here alone was hard too... So I hope we can all remember that when we have the chance to invite the single people in our community.

As for Christmas, I quit cold turkey and it was hard. It still feels a little sad for me because like I said we don't even really have a special day for ourselves really. Insha'Allah my kids will see Eid in a Muslim country someday and see that we have our celebrations too.

hijabee said...

Beautiful post. The only thing I enjoy around this time of the year are the few days off that I get. Those are really needed :)

Lazeena Umm Yusuf said...

mashaAllah great post, i also felt he need to write about this too

American Muslima Writer said...

Umm Layla insha'Allah you get the chance to make your E'ids more special

Hijabee heh glad you get something nice though.

:D Lazeena.

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