What Christmas means to me as a Muslim
Islamic teachings hold that Jesus (Eesa, pbuh) was a prophet and messenger, Messiah (Christ), similar to all other prophets that came before him and also similar to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who came as the final prophet and messenger of God to revive God’s message.
Jesus (Eesa) from a Muslim’s Perspective
Jesus is referred to as Eesa (peace be upon him) in the holy Quran. Eesa (pbuh) has been referred to in the holy Quran several times, a whole chapter is dedicated to his mother Mary (Maryam, peace be upon her). The holy Quran was revealed to the last Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The holy Quran along with prophet Muhammad (pbuh) guidance forms Muslim’s understanding of Jesus, the events behind the birth, life, teaching and miracles of Jesus. In Islam, Eesa (pbuh) is the penultimate prophet and messenger of God sent with the Ingil (the gospel, part of the Bible).
Jesus was born to Mary (Maryam, pbuh). Mary was from a pious and devout family, niece of prophet Zachariah (peace be upon him) and cousin of John the Baptist (Yahiya – peace be upon him). Mary devoted her life to the worship of God in the holy sanctuary in Jerusalem. She was visited by the angel Gabriel (Jibraeel) to give her the news about the birth of a child named Jesus (Eesa, pbuh). This shocked Mary (Maryam), who questioned how it was possible for her to have a child when no man had ever touched her (Quran 19:21). Thus, she withdrew from people to hide her pregnancy and when she finally delivered the baby, she was commanded by God to go back to Jerusalem with Jesus.
When Mary (Maryam, pbuh) was reproached by people for committing a sin, she pointed towards Jesus (Eesa, pbuh) who spoke that he was appointed as a prophet by Allah (Quran 19:30-33). Through Jesus, God wanted to revive the true message of Prophet Moses (Musa, peace be upon him) and all other prophets who had been sent before Jesus. The message of all prophets was the same: to believe in the oneness of God, to worship God and to follow God’s commandments.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was always respectful towards people from different faiths. Therefore, as Muslims we follow his guidance. We embody the values of generosity, spirit of togetherness, sharing food and company. As such, the fact is that Muslims do the same as everyone else who is not a practicing Christian at Christmas. We re-charge our batteries, spend time with loved ones and enjoy the festive period. There is usually a lot of food involved too!!
This year, An-Nisa (The Women’s) Network and Green Academy Trust are visiting Cherry Trees Residential Home and The Oaks Residential Home to extend the sense of togetherness and unity by spending time with them and sharing gifts. If you wish to either donate or volunteer your time to this project, get in touch with An-Nisa Network team.