How To Navigate The Holiday Season...While Muslim
‘Tis the Season
Contrary to popular belief, Muslims LOVE Christmas-time; at least THIS Muslim mama does. In fact, I am watching “A Christmas Prince” at this very moment and probably for the 5th time since Thanksgiving. The time of year is filled with catchy songs, magical decor, good cheer, and fabulous food how could anyone in their right mind not feel swept away at such a glorious time? When the world starts becoming darker literally (daylight savings anyone) and your surroundings light up around you, its hard not get caught up in the wonder. As a Muslim parent, it does make it difficult to explain to your five-year-old that Santa doesn’t REALLY exist (spoiler alert) and will NOT be leaving presents for you (though PLEASE don’t tell your kindergarten friends this). Ba-hum-bug!
Though we as a family don’t celebrate Christmas we very much participate in the celebration of the Christmas season and we primarily do this through acts of service. Here are the 5 C’s of why you as a Muslim mama should have your children engage in acts of service this holiday season:
One of the major tenets of our faith is the act of charity (zakat) and what a better way to help build good cheer than by donating to a local charity. Each of my children picks a mitten off the “Share” tree at their school and we purchase a gift for a local needy child. It’s heartbreaking to read that a lot of these children simply request things of need, like coats, mittens, and hats. Which is the perfect segue…
I always remind my children that because their grandparents emigrated here a generation ago they won the life lottery for that simple fact. They are blessed to be raised in a situation where they are able to practice their faith in the most holistic way possible, with freedom. But one of the downfalls of that is they tend to be living in a bubble of our own creation. So when my child picks that green or red mitten off that school Christmas tree and it reads that a “local six-year-old” requests a coat instead of a toy, their eyes are now open and can see that not everyone lives as they do. Even in America.
Engagement in your local community whether it is through giving or volunteering during this time of year is a way to create commonality and shared experiences with your local brethren. This inevitably breaks down walls of judgment and misunderstanding and in breaking down those walls, we in turn can build a bridge of love for the common good of the community that unites all members of all faiths.
"…And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers…" [Quran 3:103]
There is no greater gift in life than the gift of time. Whether it is going to visit local retirement community and singing carols, wrapping presents for kids in need or cooking meals for a homeless shelter, you can never go wrong by giving someone else your time. The added bonus of participating in these activities is the ability to spend that same time with your loved ones. Nothing makes my heart sing with happiness more than watching my kids think of someone other than themselves, even if it is for a short period of time.
It's a little-known fact that Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him) is a very important part of the Islamic faith. In fact, he is mentioned in the Quran indirectly 187 times and directly 25 times and his mother Mary (or Miriam) 32 times. We Muslims LOVE Jesus and his mother Mary. Though we may not celebrate Christmas in the traditional ways that Christians do. We celebrate in our own way and for our family that is by giving back to our local community.
In taking the time to read this I hope it inspires you and yours to give back during this holiday season. Regardless of how you choose to celebrate may your days be merry and bright.
Until Next Time,