To say those words or not, that is the question.
Ever find yourself, as a practicing Muslim, in the quandry of wondering whether or not to wish your Christian, Jewish, agnostic, or atheist co-worker a very Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year? Sometimes we get into that zone where we think to ourselves, “But that is kufr (or shirk or bid’ah) and I should not be participating in such a thing!” Fair enough. I don’t mind, as I don’t believe in telling you what to say, think, or do.
However. Having said that. Think about the following:
- Do you find yourself looking forward to the Holiday Season? If for no other reason than the much-needed rest it brings you in your hectic life? And for the opportunity to catch up on all kinds of activities that fall by the way-side during the rest of the year?
- Do you find yourself taking advantage in the absolutely marvelous sales that prevail during this season? Oh, look at sweater! That coat would make a gorgeous abaya! And that pashmina–such a beautifully modest hijab! etc... (Don’t tell me you haven’t!)
- Do you find yourself stocking up on all that fabulous green gift wrap that is so widely abundant right now? (Green being the representative color of Islam).
When you do this, and many other things, aren’t you participating in the spirit of season in a far more meaningful way than offering a single salutation of kindness to your co-worker, neighbor, or gardener? What is the appropriate line to draw? Is it a brilliant representation of Islam to not offer a kindness to others?
The point must have been made many times before this, that we are not the first Muslims to be living as minorities in a society. Our very own Ashaab Kareem lived among pagans, and had entire family members and tribal affiliations who were pagan. SubhanAllah, they provide such a fine example for us in showing us the moderate approach to a beneficial co-existence with those who are non-Muslim. As a single example, I will leave you with the following, from Sahih Bukhari:
The daughter of Abu Bakr Radiallahu Anha, sayyidina Asma (radiaAllah anha), was in Madinah, and was paid a visit by her pagan mother and grandfather. This was at a time during which the Quraysh of Makkah were at peace with the Muslims. She inquired of Rasullullah Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam as to whether she should treat them with kindness, and was told “Yes.” Thereafter, the following verse was revealed:
Allah does not forbid you that you show kindness and deal justly with those who did not fight you in your religion and did not drive you out from your homes [Al-Mumtahinah 60: 8]
I don’t think there is any one of us reading this right now who has been fought with or driven from our homes (alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah!). As people who earn our living in this country, who still do enjoy very many liberties living here (enjoy them while we have them), I don’t think an offering of Happy Holidays would be amiss. Allahu Alam.