Education

Kids & how to deal with Christmas | An Islamic Perspective

Kids & how to deal with Christmas | An Islamic Perspective

What you tell your children about Christmas depends on their age and level of maturity. It is also essential to start by explaining that people have different beliefs and we must respect that, in the same way as we want to be respected. The Quran highlights how we should be tolerant of others as it states,

“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted” (49: 13).  

It is well known, even among Christians, that Jesus was not actually born on the 25th of December, but this will be something difficult for a young child to comprehend. Point out that Father Christmas and Christmas trees are part of the celebrations. You can also explain that the winter nights in the UK are long, as in December it gets dark around 4.30, so people have always put up lights and decorations to make it more cheerful. Also, don’t condemn this too much, but acknowledge that yes the lights are pretty when it’s so dark and cold outside; otherwise you will create a psychological conflict within the child who is attracted to the beauty of the festivities.

When your child is older, you can go into the history of Christmas and how before Christianity, people in Northern Europe would celebrate the shortest day of the year on the 21st of December as once that point is reached, the days start to slowly get longer. This festival was called “yol” or “yule” and this word is still used by some people at Christmas, for example chocolate yule logs. In addition, Father Christmas or Santa Claus has become part of the Christian celebration as a way of making children excited about the gifts they will receive. Father Christmas is based on a Christian called Saint Nicholas who was a kind man living in Turkey who gave gifts to children. Over the years, the story evolved and was mixed in with other legends and traditions, such as the Viking Oden.   

   All credits belong to National Geographic 

As for the date, the description in the Quran and the Bible suggest that Jesus was actually born in the spring time. The Quran states,

“And shake towards you the trunk of the palm-tree; It will drop upon you fresh ripe dates" (19:25)

With regard to when Maryam (Mary) was giving birth to Jesus, and the bible mention that the grass was green- ripe dates and green grass suggest it was spring.

It is also important to mention the important of Jesus (Prophet Isa) to us as Muslims, and how he is one of our most important prophets: “our vice-captain” is the excellent description I recently heard. In addition, Maryam is one of the four most honoured women in Islam, and the Quran contains a whole chapter in her name- Surah Maryam. In addition

Muslims believe in the virgin birth, and that Isa (Jesus) spoke when he was he was a baby, healed the sick, and was an example of kindness and humility. The difference is that we do not believe that he is the son of Allah (God), but was created just like Adam, as in the Quran it says

“the example of Jesus to Allah is like that of Adam. He created Him from dust; then He said to him, "Be," and he was” (3:59).

 But well before Christmas, you must do something really, really important, and that is make our two Eids special for your children. Anas ibn Malik (RA) said:

“The Prophet (SAW) came to Madinah during two days in which the people played. The Prophet (SAW) asked: What are these two days? They said: These are two days we used to play in, during the time of ignorance. The Prophet (SAW) said: Allah has replaced them with two better days: Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr.”

Therefore the two Eids are our holidays and we should treat them as such- go out with your children, take them to Eid salat, eat the best food you can afford, treat your family. In this way, you will remove any jealousy of Christmas from little hearts.

Table showing some of the similarities and differences between Muslims and Christians:

 

Islam

Christianity

Jesus’ (Isa) status

In Islam Jesus (Isa in Arabic) is a prophet and not the son of God. In the Quran it states that Allah said ‘be’ and Maryam became pregnant with Jesus/Isa in the same way that God said ‘be’ and Adam was created; actually Adam was created without a father or a mother.        

Christians believe that Jesus is the son of God and part of the trinity (God the father, God the son, and God the holy ghost). Therefore Christians pray to or through Jesus’ name. 

Jesus/Isa’s miracles 

Isa/Jesus healed the sick

Jesus/Isa healed the sick

Virgin birth

God (Allah ) said ‘be’ and sent the Angel Gibreal (Gabriel) to tell Maryam (Mary) she was pregnant, which caused her surprise as she was unmarried and had never been close to a man.

God sent Angel Gabriel (Gibreal) to tell Mary (Maryam) that she was pregnant and would give birth to a boy, which caused her surprise as she was unmarried and had never been close to a man. 

The New Testament

Muslims must believe in the four books sent down by Allah (God), including the Injeel (the New Testament), although Muslims only follow the Quran as it is the latest book from God and remains unchanged. 

Christians believe in the New Testament which contains four main chapters- Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, which were written by religious men around that time, as well as other chapters mostly written by Paul, a late convert to Christianity.