If you live in the West, chances are you are being inundated with Christmas themed everything- parties, music, decorations, lights, food, etc. At work, school, and everywhere in between- the Christmas spirit is hard to escape!
Some Muslims can feel especially awkward during this time of year. They remain adamant that they don’t celebrate Christmas, and so try to isolate themselves from everything Christmas related. They don’t want to wish people during the holidays, don’t know how to respond when someone wishes them, and avoid anything holiday related.
Christmas isn’t celebrated in Islam, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t help others in celebrating it. As Muslims, sometimes we get so caught up in the things we CAN’T do that we forget the things we CAN and should do. As Muslims, our manners are as important as our behaviours. Praying 5 times a day and reading Quran mean nothing if you are not kind and welcoming to your fellow human being. Wishing someone you know, like a co-worker or a neighbour, Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays are not tickets to Hell! Instead, they are part of living with people of other faiths and showing them the respect they show you.
Being critical of a holiday you don’t believe in isn’t a way that’s going to endear you to your fellow human beings, nor to God, no matter how good a Muslim you think you are. Part of being a good Muslim is being a good person, and that means being kind and respectful to others. When someone wishes you a happy holiday or Merry Christmas, thank them and wish them back. Their intention is to be kind and warm, so return the warmth. Don’t stomp all over it. If someone invites you to a holiday party, don’t reject them outright. Explain to them that you don’t actually celebrate the holiday, but would still like to join them for a little while. If someone at work gives you a gift for the holiday, thank them for their kindness.
Preaching to others about Islam is one way to share the message and beauty of our faith, but it’s not the only way. The way you act and your manners are indicative of the principles of Islam, so make sure they’re the right ones.