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Aziz Bezza
canton, ma USA
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Holidays Dilemma.
10:53:07 AM Wednesday Dec 21, 2005

Is it Ok for Muslims to celebrate Christmas? Or for that matter, Can Muslims tell each other Merry Christmas? Does anybody who celebrates Xmas falls into some weird category of Muslims? Some might argue that we believe in Jesus why not celebrate his birthday; others may reply to the latter_ he is not our prophet_ why don?t they celebrate Achora.
This year I went to my work Xmas party, but later on a dear friend of mine disapproved of my doing. In our discussion I told him how I invited a Christian friend over my house to break my fasting during the month of Ramadan. In this case? no problem? he said!

I guess it all boils down to some hidden ethnocentrism. Are we afraid to fall in some sort of cultural discrepancies? Or our religious background is so strong to the point of no flexibility?

I love my Moroccan Holidays, and if I have the privilege to share other cultures celebrations I?ll certainly do it.

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8:50 am    October 12, 2006
L'ann?e derni?re, Le 19 d?cembre,a M?kn?s (Maroc) une dame marocaine (#50 ans) m'a dit :
Je lui ai demand? : Quelle est l'occasion?
Elle m'a r?pondu : No?l.
J'ai r?pondu : LLah ybarak fik

4:01 am    December 24, 2005
Man under the Hood
If you are a muslim and poeple around you know it, then one would not wish you a merry Chrismas , EXCEPT if he does not mean it religiousely, which is the case in general...Otherways, it would sound like wishing a happy Lailat Al Qadr to a Christian immigrant living in Morocco.

Christmas is like 3ashoura in Morocco, everybody celebrate it but not that many think about it's religious signification .

Having said that, it is Ok to wish a Christmas Kareem to poeple who wish me a Merry Ramadan .

Hak W'Ara !


5:38 pm    December 23, 2005

hudhud message
i'm curious: did the prophet 3alayhi ssalate wassalame ever wish his dearest uncle abu talib (a moushrik/pagan) a happy-anything? or his jewish neighbor? or the christians he encountered in trade? or the majous? or any others?
he was the most compassionate, caring, tolerant, respectful, merciful, and welcoming human being whom we could ever have as a role model. he showed respect to everyone, even to those who persecuted, hated, and tried to kill him.
but did he wish them a merry-any-of-their-unislamic-holidays? or join them in their celebrations?
he proved to us that we don't have to, and also showed us the best way to share true genuine humane caring while still preserving our tawheed.
so why should i go wish someone merry-xmas?
and then, if i wish one person merry x-mas but not another person happy kwanza, happy hannukah, happy nirooz, happy buddha's b'day.. that would be discrimination, to single out x-mas as more important and give less significance to other religious holidays. like eid. like ramadan.

4:42 pm    December 23, 2005

Adnane Ben. message
You could find a kippa the size of your head ?

7:09 am    December 22, 2005

Aziz Bezza message
I still don't get the religious aspect against wishing merry xmas. Do we as muslims approch others less human because they hold different believes? or may be we maintain the absolute historical facts related to religion. besides, why read into somebody's faith when we can end up with different conclusions than the reality. just because we believe(mentally), we decide on behavior. i don't mean to sound like a psyco a hole, but let's face it: we think god exists therefore we believe in him, aborigines in australia do not think of god therefore he never existed for's a mental picture get it!!!!
I had a wonderful neighbor who died of cancer 3 years ago. on her funeral i had to wear a yarmulke(skullcap) to have access to the synagogue. I felt strange because my background is different may be the people inside thought of me as an enemy, just like millions of us think of them. the time was very sensitive, september 11 stil boiling, the palestinian intifada at its peak, the US was about to attack Iraq. Yes all this was in my mind, but the person of interest was my neighbor and the reason why i stepped into the synagogue was her funeral.I will never regret paying respect to that peaceful soul.

2:12 am    December 22, 2005

fender (full stop) message
I wish all my friends a merry x-mas and I can't see why I shouldn't.
My self, I don't care at all, but knowing it would make someone happy
to be wished a merry christmas...why not do it. And about wishing a
happy eid, wel the one that know what it's all about do the same,
others don't! X-mas is so mediatised, it surrounds almost everything;
Bars, Restaurants, Tv, Radio, malls..., when "Ramadan, Eid, Aachoura"
(chkoun daha fik...) and it's understandable. I mean what if the roles
were inversed, imagine we all are living in morocco, algeria etc..., they
live their too. Ramdan on Tv, Eid kbir, eid sghir,....I can't imagine my
friends wont wish me a ramadan moubarak just because they don't belive in it.
It purely to pay respect to the others and their faiths. no more or less.
Wa lah ou a3lam.

6:51 pm    December 21, 2005
...two points about this debate:

My Jewish colleagues do not wish anyone a merry x-mas. So, why should I? They don't believe in it, and neither do I. Not wishing people a merry x-mas doesn't mean I don't respect the people. It means, you have your faith and I have mine. I respect everyone's right to their own faith, but trying to make Christmas seem like an innocent celebration is a little naieve, and being laissez-faire about casual things like "merry christmas" is harmless on the face of it, but only makes people confused about you as a Muslim stand for.

Everyone tries to sanitize christmas and make it just seem like a lovey-dovey time of warmth, but it is, at the end of the day a holiday for Christians, with all the baggage of modern-day Christianity. And, as some of you note, not even all Christians observe Christmas.

The Qur'an gives us an example of how to behave with respect to holidays that are not our own. Prophet Abraham (PBUH) who is the father of the three Abrahamic faiths avoided the celebration of the people who were living around him because of it being rooted in polytheism, not because he was against family time or being friendly with folks. I think this is an important lesson for us to learn. Also, when the companions of the Prophet (PBUH) asked him for a celebration like that of the people of Quraysh, he told them that Allah (SWT) has replaced those holidays with Eid-el-Fitr and Eid el-Ad ha (Which is coming up soon btw).

Secondly, so far, everyone who knows me never wished me a Happy Ramadan. Even when they know it is Ramadan and even when I let them know that I'll be taking a day off for Eid. Isn't that telling? Yes, I could say, "who cares. a party is a party", but that attitude doesn't change the essence of what you're doing and what's going on. Like they say, "A goat's a goat, even if it flies."'s pretty simple, I don't understand why there has to be such a fuss.


4:28 pm    December 21, 2005

hudhud message
"Only drawback is that I had to disclose it to the SEC"

yeah, that sect i forgot what they're called.. is it the seventh day adventists maybe? they don't consume pork or alcohol, believe jesus was a prophet, etc. very close to islamic values. i know i asked about them once, can't remember what it was that kept them from being considered mouwa7idine.. interesting.

eastern orthodox christians celebrate x-mas in january i think (like in serbia, croatia, greece, armenia, coptic egypt, russia..) i remember my croatian prof told us about that. but i can't remember why they do it then. elmouhim.. i still feel "lakoum deenoukoum wa liya deen" :)


3:06 pm    December 21, 2005

Rasta Gnawi message
Hahaa... good timing. Someone just me a whole turkey, smoked. It said happy holidays. They called me last week and asked if I ate meat. I wasn't sure why they asked since my relationship with them is purely research related. I said I do eat meat, but wondered why asked; never got a real answer so I brushed it off as one of those weird things that happen at work every now and then.

Well, happy holidays to them too. Me and the turkey are going to enjoy each other's company this evening. Adnane, what do you say? Fancy some turkey tonight? Figgy sure would appreciate it. Only drawback is that I had to disclose it to the SEC.

You know, I remembered something. I think it was hudhud that said stuff about pagan holidays and some christians not celebreting christmas etc. I knew this persos a long time ago that was protestant. she told me that they didn't believe in the trinity either and that they believed that Jesus was a prophet and not a god. But it was a small sect of christianity, but it made wonder about a lot of things at the time. Anyway, they christmass celebrations were at a different date in december.


2:29 pm    December 21, 2005

Adnane Ben. message
I have concerns about Muslims who do not observe their own holidays (eid fitr, eid ad7a and ramadan) properly and go on celebrating other holidays like there is no tomorrow. That's one.

Second, Most of these people are attracted to the party and familly gathering aspect, and not the religious aspect. Even if there is a religious meaning to it they would convince themselves that it is merely a time-off and vacation. That's all fine. Familly good time is encouraged in Islam and a great way to strenghten relations and bonds. ..Until they don't celebrate the next Muslim holiday as time-off, as familly gathering and as a spiritual observation.

Third, nowadays let's be honest, who celebrates christmas other than big stores, filene's, best buy, macy's, and a fictional Santa (sorry kids..) etc. Everyone else celebrates X-mas, where they've crossed Christ with an X. The season is nomore strongly related to religion.

Fourth, people today look forwards to celebrate New Year's eve in parties and clubs or exotic vacations to high-nrg beaches.

Personnaly, I cannot help but love the christmas season, I love the snow, I love the happy music, the malls, the music in the malls, the discounts, the red, green and white. I love the love in the air. It is obviously a worldly event, but it does help bring peace to people: people give each other gifts, those who were fighting mend. Famillies get together again. The values are shared with Islam no doubt.

But then again, a Muslim should not lose sight of his/her holidays when they come around, and give them the proper observation and celebration. I bet you, if he/she doesn't, and if the holiday goes unnoticed, they will feel guilty. If they don't then maybe time to review their inner belief system.

I would share the joy, happiness, gifts and food with those that are observing the holiday especially if they are close to me. On the question of encouraging the trinity as hudhud mentioned, that is a valid point. However with close friends and familly, the religious differences are an ongoing topic that each person, each couple, each familly, each clique of friends will deal with uniquely. At the end it boils down to inner intention and respect. God says that we cannot guide people we love in this matter, we can only continue to love them and continue to behave accordingly to our belief. He is the only who can guide them. How do we do that with christmas? I think we share their joy while making sure we express our point of view about the purpose of the holiday and limit our participation only to what is inline with Islam.. and here, one tries their best to figure what is inline with Islam, it's not always clear. But you do your best. It is the effort that counts.


2:16 pm    December 21, 2005

Aziz Bezza message
Nice addressing you again hudhud,
everyone is free to voice his/her opinion however suitable, no need for ambrige. after all diversity of ideas make discussion great. nontheless, i really don't see faith compromising in sharing others fiestas. xmas is just one example may be if we are living in zamounda i may feel the same about their holidays.
for your social life, you are right it shouldn't be affected because of your personal believes. after all we live in a multicultural society the era of assimilation is gone and has proven less functional anyway.
i disagree however on being tied on holiday greeting. i didn't see people screwing their faiths when they greeted me with happy ramadan.

1:36 pm    December 21, 2005

hudhud message
haya sidi. I just opened another email that begins "Merry X-mas dear..."
my reply begins "Thank you dear ... !! I actually don't celebrate x-mas, but I appreciate the thought :-) ...."
do you know how many x-mas cards i have sitting on my desk? did i say anything more than thank you? i certainly did not and will not wish anyone a merry x-mas, and i do not have to.
et alors? is the world going to stop befriending me or excommunicate me just b/c i don't celebrate x-mas? no. does my job hinge upon me attending the work holiday party? no. and believe me i wasn't the only person to skip. i have many non-muslim coworkers who dont celebrate x-mas, don't consume alcohol, and dont' attend these kinds of events. so? freedom of faith, of choice. this is america. i do what i want/celebrate what i want/skip out on what i want, as long as i'm within the bounds of what's legal.
so why on earth should another muslim (who ideally would understand and at least respect -- albeit from a distance -- my pov and my decision) get mad at me or call me names??

1:20 pm    December 21, 2005

hudhud message
aziz, party as much as you want, but do try to understand the origins of the celebration that you are partaking of. i merely expressed my understanding and reasoning for why i-- as an individual, as a muslim, and as a person who likes to know the reason "why" behind things -- don't celebrate x-mas.
rasta, i hear you, someone told me smthg very similar when i got to see some friends over another holiday and we had a grand time. but specifically regarding x-mas, is it a hardline to remind ourselves that tawheed is the core aspect of our faith? taking advantage of time off during these holidays is one thing, everyone does that, of course we make use of that extra vacation time to enjoy our company with friends and family. whoever gave you and me and doubtless others that input had their own issues to deal with, obviously. there's nothing wrong with us enjoying vacation time, and i can understand and agree with your reaction. i intend to enjoy my time off from work during x-mas, i'm certainly not going to work or try to make some loud pointless statement.. some ppl are just illogical...

but for a muslim to wish merry x-mas to a non-muslim and encourage and partake of that celebration means that we wish someone to enjoy something that goes against what islam teaches about 3issa, about tawheed.
aziz, why do you ask for ppl's input if you've already made up your mind to join an x-mas party and say merry x-mas to ppl? and no i don't attend x-mas parties. i can be friendly and respectful without compromising my tawheed.
like i said, wallahou a3lam. do what you see fit for yourself, and ulitmately it's b/t god and ourselves individually..


12:36 pm    December 21, 2005

Rasta Gnawi message
Man... this reminds of when I was at the islamic society in college. Once we wanted to take advantage of the thanksgiving break to go camping and 'eat' a feast. Boy did we ever hear about this when we proposed it and when we arrived afterwards. The hardline people took on this surprised me a lot at that time.

When someone says to you happy Ramadan or whatever they would say on that occasion, how do you reply and how do you feel about their comment to you?

I don't think saying merry christmass should shake the foundations of your faith, but I understand where the others are coming from. The fragility of faith these days might require such hard lines in order to limit the evolution of faith. Khalif from past centuries were into the habits for sending gifts and congratulations to kings of other lands during their holidays. Maybe if they didn't, things might have been different now ;)


11:49 am    December 21, 2005

Aziz Bezza message
Hello hudhud,
Nobody has asked to observe xmas or any other holidays. If a friend invites you to a party would you go? it happen that i love partying and i DO NOT read extensively into the religious meaning of events. if someone wants to pray on a xmas party, good luck, me!! Iam dancing. Do i share a moment of happiness and joy with good friends= you bet.
I am not in church or place of worship I am partying.

11:25 am    December 21, 2005

hudhud message
I don't celebrate x-mas. when asked i openly, diplomatically expressed that to my colleagues and non-muslim friends, who respect me and my faith very much. They don't celebrate my holidays though they ask questions about my faith. that's cool. I ask about theirs too. But that doesn't mean I have to observe it.
x-mas is based on pagan scandinavian traditions, and many religious christians don't celebrate it either. Jesus didn't. We don't even know when his b'day was, really. (oh btw, b'days are another pagan tradition, started by the ancient greeks who would take little round moon-cakes with a candle on top to the temple of one of their goddesses...)

From an islamic pov, we are taught to love 3issa 3alayhi salam, respect him, and believe in the same 1 god that he did. we pray (salat) the way he did. we want to join him and the other prophets 3alayhim asalam in jannah. what we have in quran and hadith suffices for me, makes me content and happy..

bottom line for me: i dont' wish anyone a happy-something-that-reinforces-the-trinity. i answer, enjoy the break, or your vacation, or your time off, etc :) sharing, learning, and respecting our diverse backgrounds/faiths is a good thing, but observing that faith's traditions which may contradict our core belief in tawheed is a different story...

wallahou a3lam! :)


Aziz Bezza's notes (3)
Holidays Dilemma...
Morocco in Mexico 1986..
Those were the days.....


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