To Christmas or Not to Christmas?

Assalamu Alaikum, guys!

Today I want to talk about Christmas. It’s tomorrow and for the first time in my life, I am not anticipating the giving of gifts. It’s a rather strange feeling but not one that I didn’t see coming. I heard someone once say that when you dedicate yourself to studying Quran and following Allah (SWT), the desires of secular life fall away. I don’t believe it is always that simple, depending on the person, but I have noticed within my own life a significant amount of change that just seems to happen.

I thought that I would struggle against not celebrating Christmas. It has been my favorite holiday since I was a child and over the years has come to be a more and more precious time for me. I love the whole lot of it: gift shopping, music, decorating the tree, baking treats, parties, and watching movies. It’s such a warm, happy time of year where I know I’ll be surrounded by love and good memories. But this year, I’ve become rather indifferent. At first, it seems harmless to celebrate it. It’s just a day that has been ravaged by commercialism over the years, what’s the big deal? But commercialism or not, the fundamentals of the Christmas seasoning is that it is meant to be a celebration of the birth of Jesus (AS) as he is known in the Christian faith. For me to actively participate in this holiday tradition is for me to stand behind the history and meaning of the day. I hadn’t given the whole idea much thought until I came across the hadith below:

The Prophet (SAW) said: β€œWhoever imitates a people is one of them.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 4031; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 5/109.

The core of being a Muslim is to believe in one God (SWT), the true God (SWT). Christmas is a celebration of the birth of whom Christians worship as the “messiah” and “saviour”. While Muslims believe Jesus (AS) existed, we believe he inhabited this earth as one of Allah’s (SWT) prophets and not as His son.

Everything we do is a representation of who we are and what we believe, whether we like it or not. And while I still thoroughly enjoy the energy of this time of year, I want to be more conscious of how I’m spending it for my own sake. Living in an area that isn’t heavily populated with other Muslims or Islamic influence can make being a revert difficult. I’m surrounded by ideals and activities that aren’t in alignment with what I’ve chosen to believe, so holding fast to my new lifestyle takes a lot of willpower and discernment or else I’ll fall off. I still love to indulge in the time with family, the baking, and the occasional showing of Love Actually and It’s a Wonderful Life. I’m human and this time of year is something important to my family, also those are my favorite movies. But, as a new revert, I want to be cautious of the things I am still holding onto and understand why I’m holding onto them. This is in no way a condemnation of Christmas or the activities associated with it, this is simply me trying to make the best decisions for my own life. Besides, I like Eid better anyway…