Thursday, December 26, 2019 6:58 am
By I. B. M. Haruna
Christmas is one of the most important days in the Christian calendar, and many Christians celebrate the religious significance of this day.
For Muslims to felicitate with their Christian friends and neighbours on this day does not make the Muslim a Christian but rather encourages interfaith harmony which was exemplified by our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) himself.
When the persecution of Muslims got out of hand in Mecca, in the early days of Islam, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) asked his followers to migrate to Abyssinia, where the righteous Christian King Negus “would not tolerate any injustice.”
After our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) migrated to Medina and was anointed the head of state, many Christian delegations went visiting. They were always well received by our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW). During one of such visits, an envoy asked for a place to pray. He was not sent out in the open. He was rather offered the mosque. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was quoted as saying, “Conduct your service here in the mosque. It is a place consecrated to God.”
In the covenant with Christians of Najran, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) had stated; “I will protect their religion and their Church wherever they are found, be it on earth or at sea, in the West or in the East, with utmost vigilance on my part, the People of my House, and the Muslims as a whole.”
Again, in the Covenant with the Christians of Persia, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said; “No Christians shall be brought by force to confess Islam, and Muslims shall extend over the Christians everywhere the arm of MERCY and KINDNESS, protecting them from the exactions of oppressors.”
Also in the Covenant with the Monks of Mount Sinai, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) stated; “If a monk or pilgrim seeks protection, in mountain or valley, in a cave or in tilled fields, in the plain, in the desert, or in a church, I am behind them, defending them from every enemy; I, my helpers, all the members of my religion, and all my followers, for they [the monks and the pilgrims] are my protégés and my subjects.”
In the Charter of Medina, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) guaranteed equal rights and freedoms to Christians and Jews. “Christians are my citizens, and by God, I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. The Muslims are to fight for them. Their churches are to be respected. No one of the Muslims is to disobey this covenant till the Last Day.”
We therefore must hold these covenants very dear. That is why this same hospitality must be displayed by us who follow the true teachings of our Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his legacies.
He showed us that Christians are not our enemies, but our brothers and sisters in humanity.
Show them Islam is a religion of love not hate. Pray to God to guide them to Islam.
Eat the jollof rice with them, laugh with them tell them what qur’an says about Jesus. Show them you love Jesus more than they do.
Eating their food is justified by the quote from the Holy Qur’an as follows. Quote from the Holy Quran, Al-Maaida (5:5)
الْيَوْمَ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتُ ۖ وَطَعَامُ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ حِلٌّ لَكُمْ وَطَعَامُكُمْ حِلٌّ لَهُمْ ۖ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ إِذَا آتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ مُحْصِنِينَ غَيْرَ مُسَافِحِينَ وَلَا مُتَّخِذِي أَخْدَانٍ ۗ وَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِالْإِيمَانِ فَقَدْ حَبِطَ عَمَلُهُ وَهُوَ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ
Alyawma ohilla lakumu alttayyibatu wataAAamu allatheena ootoo alkitaba hillun lakum wataAAamukum hillun lahum waalmuhsanatu mina almuminati waalmuhsanatu mina allatheena ootoo alkitaba min qablikum itha ataytumoohunna ojoorahunna muhsineena ghayra musafiheena wala muttakhithee akhdanin waman yakfur bialeemani faqad habita AAamaluhu wahuwa fee alakhirati mina alkhasireena.
This day are (all) good things made lawful for you. The food of those who have received the Scripture is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them. And so are the virtuous women of the believers and the virtuous women of those who received the Scripture before you (lawful for you) when ye give them their marriage portions and live with them in honour, not in fornication, nor taking them as secret concubines. Whoso denieth the faith, his work is vain and he will be among the losers in the Hereafter.
Allah (SWT) knows best!
-IBM Haruna, a retired Major General, was a Federal Commissioner for Information and Culture who established the National Television Authority (NTA) in 1975 and the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), he also advocated the Press Council of Nigeria. He is a Solicitor, Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and a Notary Public.
-As shared on social media by Babafemi Ojudu