By Paul Salahuddin Armstrong
Why would anyone phone someone on Christmas day only to start an argument about Christmas? Regardless of anyone’s views and it’s true there are different valid perspectives on Christmas, why would anyone want to spoil another person’s day. How is that in the spirit of Islam?
Even if one person thinks another person is wrong, they shouldn’t phone them up only to question their integrity, the roles they hold in society, their knowledge and understanding of religion, and to insult them, claiming they’re poisoning peoples minds with an evil ideology and will make whole nations of people leave Islam! Why, because they put up a Christmas tree, are you kidding me?!
How is a person who behaves in such a manner fulfilling the Quranic advice to return a greeting with a greeting that is equal or better (4:86)? Or the advice to agree to disagree – a long established principle in Islamic scholarship since the time of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
When the person who was called said at the beginning of the conversation that they really don’t want to argue and already understand the perspective of the caller from previous conversations and their own research, advising the caller that we should agree to disagree, why is this so difficult for the caller to do?
There isn’t always one perspective everyone can agree upon. Where this is the case and people are both convinced based upon their understanding of the facts and scripture, it’s best to acknowledge the validity of both perspectives. When this is not possible, it is not civilised conversation, it is emotional and egoistic. Nothing good will ever come from that.
Over the years, I have discussed the subject in question with a number of scholars of Islam. Most have been indifferent in their responses and said there is nothing wrong with celebrating Christmas or other festivals so long as a person doesn’t do anything which is itself haram. All the scholars were respectful and could discuss the subject in a civilised manner.
No one is Allah’s mouthpiece in our time, may Allah ﷻ grant us all a modicum of humility in this respect and to acknowledge and appreciate the beautiful diversity Allah ﷻ has inspired within our human family in so many different ways. (See Quran 5:48, 49:13)