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“Christmas and Lessons learned for Muslims…”

“Christmas and Lessons to Learn…Yes, for Muslims Too.”

 

As we enter the Christmas period we notice an evident festive fervour wherever we may be or whatever we may be doing. There are for example:

  1. Open church congregations.
  2. Christmas carols.
  3. Charity groups and volunteers.
  4. Nativity plays.
  5. Films and programmes on Christ and Christianity.
  6. A general spirit of goodwill.
  7. Gifts and presents.
  8. Santa Claus and Christmas trees (although one wonders what connections they have with Christmas!)

But what do Muslims learn from this? What is that we ought to reflect on? Perhaps the following: SEASONAL WORSHIP.

Islam is a comprehensive way of life, i.e. it has a creed (`aqida) and a collective set of systems that are built upon this creed that direct how individuals and communities should live their lives – whatever area it may be in. There is no separation between religion and life, i.e. no secularism or a reduction to merely a personalised spiritual and ethical system. Neither is worship Allah and adherence to His commandments temporary or only for a limited time. It is one of the most serious dangers that worship of Allah is reduced to a seasonal display of devotion such as in:

  1. Ramadan.
  2. Eid al-Fitr.
  3. Eid al-Adha.
  4. Fridays.

In just the same way as Christians have moments of worship dotted throughout the year or weekly on Sundays, Muslims could see themselves falling into this pattern of worship leading to a truncated practice of their religion. The Qur’an completely refutes this idea of worship in the holy verse: {And worship your Lord until the certainty comes}.[1] Ibn al-Jawzi comments on this verse as follows:

قوله تعالى: { حتى يأتيَك اليقين } فيه قولان: أحدهما: أنه الموت، قاله ابن عباس، ومجاهد، والجمهور، وسمي يقيناً، لأنه موقَن به. وقال الزجاج: معنى الآية: اعبد ربك أبداً، ولو قيل: اعبد ربك، بغير توقيت، لجاز إِذا عبد الإِنسان مرة أن يكون مطيعاً، فلما قال: { حتى يأتيَك اليقين } أُمر بالإِقامة على العبادة ما دام حيَّاً. والثاني: أنه الحق الذي لا ريب فيه مِنْ نصرك على أعدائك، حكاه الماوردي

“Allah’s saying {until the yaqin comes…} has two opinions: one of them is ‘death’ (mawt). This is what Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and the majority held. The reason it is referred to as “yaqin” (‘certainty’) is because it is inevitable. al-Zajjaj wrote: the meaning of this verse is: ‘worship your Lord forever’. Because if it were to be said: worship your Lord – without specifying the period of time –  then  it would be reasonable for a person to worship Allah once and be considered an obedient person (muti`an). However, when it was said {until the yaqin comes}, the command came to establish the worship Allah as long as one is alive (ma dama hayyan)…”[2]

Imam al-Qurtubi al-Andalusi comments:

فيه مسألة واحدة: وهو أن اليقين الموت. أمره بعبادته إذ قصر عباده في خدمته، وأن ذلك يجب عليه. فإن قيل: فما فائدة قول: ” حتى يأتيك اليقين ” وكان قوله: ” واعبد ربك ” كافيا في الامر بالعبادة. قيل له: الفائدة في هذا أنه لو قال: ” واعبد ربك ” مطلقا ثم عبده مرة واحدة كان مطيعا، وإذا قال ” حتى يأتيك اليقين ” كان معناه لا تفارق هذا حتى تموت. فإن قيل: كيف قال سبحانه: ” واعبد ربك حتى يأتيك اليقين “ ولم يقل أبدا، فالجواب أن اليقين أبلغ من قوله: أبدا، لاحتمال لفظ الأبد للحظة الواحدة ولجميع الأبد. وقد تقدم هذا المعنى. والمراد استمرار العبادة مدة حياته، كما قال العبد الصالح: ” وأوصاني بالصلاة والزكاة ما دمت حيا”

“In this is one matter for discussion: this is that “yaqin” refers to ‘death’. Allah has commanded to worship Him and has restricted it to His servitude making it obligatory. If it is asked: what is the point in the phrase {until the yaqin comes} because the phrase {worship your Lord} is sufficient to establish the command to worship, it will be replied to this that: if it was only said ‘worship your Lord’ and left general and a person worshipped Allah only once, he would reasonably be called a worshipper. However, if it is said, ‘until the yaqin comes’, then its meaning would hold until death. If it is asked why is that He Most Glorified said {worship your Lord until the yaqin comes} and did not say ‘worship Him forever’, the answer is that the word “yaqin” (‘certainty’, ‘death’) is rhetorically more suited than the word “abada” (‘forever’) because of the ambiguity in the word as it could mean ‘one moment’ or ‘forever’. The meaning was already discussed before. The meaning of the verse is continuing to worship Allah throughout one’s life…”[3]

Therefore:

  • Muslims cannot restrict their acts of worship to a limited time period.
  • Muslims cannot be seasonal devotees – they cannot be involved in religious devotion for a set season/period of time and then neglect it for other periods of time.
  • The Christmas season should remind the Muslims that a secularised and corporate form of worship is not acceptable but that the commandments of Allah must be fulfilled and adhered to at all times and until the very last minute.

 

And with Allah Most High is true success.

s.z.c.

2009

 


[1] Q. 15:99.

[2] Ibn al-Jawzi, Zad al-Masir, 4:423-424.

[3] al-Qurtubi, al-Jami` li-Ahkam al-Qur’an, 10:64.

One thought on ““Christmas and Lessons learned for Muslims…”

  1. Pingback: “After Ramadan…” Seasonal Worship only? | دار نيـقـوسـيــا

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