Vital Communication, Distinct Personality, Respecting Christmas
Issue 717 » December 21, 2012 - Safar 8, 1434
Maryam (Mary) Chapter 19: Verse 59
As generations succeed one another, faith in God and adherence to His message become progressively diluted, and people become more vulnerable to deviating from His true path.
Salah is a form of worship which represents a direct link between man and God. It lifts man's spiritual awareness, cleanses his soul, and gives him the necessary immunity against evil and temptation. Abandoning this vital means of communication with God opens the door for Satan to creep in and sow his insidious seeds of corruption. Corrupt and depraved behaviour in humankind inevitably leads to a gross distortion in man's understanding of the meaning and purpose of God's message to him.
"A Thematic Commentary on the Quran" - Muhammad al-Ghazali, p. 329
The Muslim personality is a distinct one due to its unique code of behavior, as well as its manners and appearance. Our appearance, tastes, manners, and character reflect our personality. Our Master, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) directed his companions by saying, "You are on your way to meet your brothers, so put on a nice dress and fix your saddles (place where a rider sits on the back of an animal), so that you appear distinct among people as a mole (on a face). Allah likes neither roughness, nor rough manners." [Muslim] This Hadith indicates that†the distinct look of Muslims†in their beauty, their cleanliness, and their pleasant smell, coupled with excellent character, enhances their personality,†just as a black mole enhances the beauty of an already nice face!
Once the Prophet said, "He will not enter Paradise who has a grain of arrogance in his heart." Upon hearing this a man asked, "(What about) a person who may like his dress to be nice and his shoes to be nice?" The Prophet (pbuh) replied, "Allah is beautiful and likes beauty. Arrogance is to deny the rights and look down upon people." [Abu Dawud, Ahmad†& Al-Hakim]
Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullah) said that beauty that Allah likes includes nice clothes! Hence it could be said that Allah likes all nice things. Therefore, a Muslim ought to be recognized by neat dress, cleanliness and graceful manners. Unfortunately, today many Muslims have lost sight of this distinction and commit errors that blemish their 'Muslim personality' that is meant to be unique in†its gracefulness and perfection.
"Islamic Manners"- Abdul Fattah Abu Ghudda
Christmas is an annual Christian religious holiday commemorating the birth of Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him. For many Muslims who even do not celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, it becomes an issue of what stand they should take.
There have been a number of legitimate criticisms of the holiday from Muslims and non-Muslims based on theological and cultural considerations. However, this cannot be used to disregard the holiday as merely an exercise in ancient pagan practices or excessive consumerism. Muslims have to remember that for many practicing Christians, Christmas really is about Jesus.
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was so accommodating of Christians that according to the two earliest Islamic historians, Ibn Saad and Ibn Hisham, the Prophet even allowed a delegation of 60 Byzantine Christians from Najran in Yemen to worship in his own mosque in Madinah. Lead by their bishop (Usquf), they had come to discuss a number of issues with him. When time of their prayer came, they asked the Prophet's permission to perform this in the mosque. He answered, "conduct your service here in the mosque. It is a place consecrated to God."
God expects us to stay away from mocking the religious beliefs of others, no matter how much we disagree with them (Quran, 6:108).
This may not be an occasion to emphasis the differences as much as the commonality of our beliefs, unless someone is really asking you about them.
Remember that respect does not mean compromise. You have freedom of religion given by God to believe in what you believe in. But in a world where conflict is increasing, a Muslim should be a bridge- builder and a peacemaker. It was due to the Muslim practice of Islamic ideals of respect and tolerance that the key of the holiest Christian Shrine in Jerusalem, the church of the Holy Sepulcher, remains entrusted with a Muslim family, as it has been for over 1400 years.
These are the lessons which need to be learned by those extremists who attack Christians during their worship in Nigeria and those extremists who burn Masjids in the USA.
"Treating Christmas with Respect" - Abdul Malik Mujahid