THE UBIQUITOUS NATURE OF CHRISTMAS
Muslims who live in a predominantly non-Christian neighbourhood can breathe a sigh of relief.
They do not have to endure fireworks thrown at them as they walk down the street. Nor do they have to exercise self-restraint at fireworks hurled into their premises.
Christians are not exempt from these signs of Christmas mania either. An acquaintance informed me her pastor had fireworks hurled at him as he delivered the Christmas sermon. Who knows what the fireworks bombers are protesting?
Nor do Muslims refrain from participating in the mania. Several years ago while in Lagos, I had to restrain myself from taking decisive action against my Muslim neighbours for throwing fireworks right at the threshold of my home.
While Christians and misguided and misguiding Muslims celebrate Christmas, what should the rest of us do? Do a manicure or pedicure perhaps? How about get a sexy hair-do? You can add your suggestions.
Now, what will the rest of us do when a Christmas greeting is extended to us? Personally, it has been over a decade since I received such, until a few days ago when I read an email from a Linkedin connection. In my response, I thanked him and explained that as a Muslim I do not mark Christmas. You can add your thoughts.
What if a Christian friend or acquaintance presents a dish on the day? Tomorrow is about to be the first time I consume such in two decades. A few moments ago, on a line to my friend to enquire after her health, she, a Christian, promised to send my children (not my biological children, but hers, who are connected to me through friendship and care) to me tomorrow Christmas day.
“You know I do not do Christmas”, I tendered thinking she meant for them to celebrate the day with me. She repeated her words, this time with emphasis “I will send them to you”. I immediately understood what she meant.
Well, if we do live to see tomorrow and the meal arrives, I shall enjoy it fully. Why? You ask. First, why not? Back to the why and without going into the Sharee’ah rulings on Christmas and other non-Muslim celebrations which my dear Ulema have done justice expounding for our comprehension, I shall state my reasons.
1) This friend of mine is well aware I have no inclination to Christmas.
2) Her promise is more of friendship than of her religious beliefs concerning Christmas.
3) For that, there is no way under this sun I can reject her meal tomorrow, barring some unforeseen circumstances.
4) She has often sent me meals which I fully enjoyed.
Note that I have avoided making statements such as “Christmas meals are not sacrifices offered to other gods, in derogation of Allah” for the simple reason that such statements deal with her religious beliefs which for all purposes are not my concern until such beliefs are vocalized.
Let us live to see tomorrow and the day after that and after that.