Being raised in a non-Muslim country I grew up watching all the excitement and glitter that the Christmas season brought. The wintery warm feeling, the brilliantly decorated Christmas tree, beautiful Christmas cards, the delicious food and not forgetting the perfectly wrapped Christmas presents placed neatly under the tree. A vision of warmth, family and peace…It was heart-breaking when my parents said “we don’t celebrate Christmas, its haram!” and that was it! I wished that I would miraculously get a present from Santa on Christmas morning and remember secretly making my “what I want from Santa” list and promised I’d been a good girl!
It’s perfectly natural as a child to have all this wonder and curiosity about the Christmas season and the best possible thing to do is talk about it – A LOT! Don’t leave your child puzzled and confused. Answer their questions, research the topic, get yourself “prepared” and explain the reasons (age appropriately). Most importantly, remind them about Allah, the One who loves them so much and insha Allah they will grow to understand and accept the reasons that Christmas is not part of Islam in a gentle, loving manner, at the right time in the right way.
The following steps are a great way to get yourself prepared for “the season” and insha’Allah will give you positive “strength” and support to get through Christmas with your kids!
1. Respect the beliefs of others!
Show your kids to have the utmost respect for people with other faiths and their celebrations. Islam requires all Muslims to respect the faith of others. We should never be critical of the religious beliefs of others no matter how much we disagree with them.
Our prophet Muhammad (SAW) was a great example of how he treated people of different faiths with respect and peace, Allah SWT says in the Holy Qur’an:
“And insult not those whom they worship besides God, lest they insult God wrongfully without knowledge. Thus We have made fair-seeming to each people its own doings; then to their Lord is their return and He shall then inform them of all that they used to do”. (Al An’am 6:108)
2. Start early!
Teach them about Prophet Jesus at an early age and let them know similarities between Muslims and Christians beliefs within Christmas. This will empower your child to respond to questions from friends and teachers confidently and with great respect insha’Allah.
3. Prepare all appropriate adults!
From a very early age, inform your child’s nursery teachers and carers (that are not Muslim) about what you believe, explain why we don’t celebrate certain events and clearly the reasons why in a positive and informative manner. If the adults are prepared, they can support you and your child when they ask questions regarding Christmas. It makes it much easier to deal with as your kids get older and actually becomes the norm for their teachers and carers, and in fact it may also be a great opportunity to invite people to Islam!
4. Tell them the real story about our beloved Jesus – Eesa (AS)!
This is a fantastic opportunity to have a lovely story time about Jesus – Eesa (AS) with your little ones. The fact that he is also loved and highly respected by ALL Muslims is very eye opening. Telling Eesa’s story is a great way to get your kids to get to know about him, his life and most importantly the facts.
5. Do your homework!
Get prepared for the Christmas season by reading the specific chapters in Holy Qur’an relating to Jesus. Mainly Surah Ali-Imran, Surah Mariam (Mary) and Surah Maidah. Share this knowledge with your little ones in a fun story time manner with lots of expression!
6. Clear up the differences!
Make sure you make it clear to your child about the differences between Islam and Christianity, some crucial points to remember:
- Jesus was NOT the “son of God” (he was a Messenger and Prophet of God)
- Jesus had no father (he was a miraculous conception)
- Jesus spoke as a baby to defend his mum (from false accusations about her chastity)
- Jesus gave life to a clay bird with the help of Allah SWT (not mentioned in Christianity)
- Jesus was not crucified but taken up to the heavens (another person who betrayed Eesa was crucified in his place as Allah SWT made him resemble Eesa (AS)!
7. Celebrate being Muslim!
Let your kids know that there is nothing wrong with being different and to be proud of being Muslim! Christmas tends to makes our kids feel left out, however when we are able to confidently educate our kids about the root of Christmas and engage them with the message of Prophet Jesus, they will be more confident with their faith and their own identity insha’Allah!
Subhan Allah – I did grow out of the “Christmas” phase! Learning about my deen as an adult strengthened my knowledge and reasoning about Christmas and I was able to inform my kids confidently and with love (don’t get me wrong, I made a ton of mistakes too!) I shared their fascination about the Christmas season and there’s nothing wrong with that! However it always brought us back to the beautiful stories of our beloved Eesa the son of Maryam.
With all the uncertainty in society and media it’s a must that we equip our little ones with lots of love and know-how about our Deen and of course Christmas! I pray that all our children grow up with confidence and understanding in this turbulent world. May they be blessed with wisdom and knowledge that can lead them through this life and the hereafter successfully – Ameen!