Muslim Wishes for Happy Holidays

Tuesday, December 31, 2013
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I know what you are thinking:”Happy holidays” is just an in inclusive way for non-Christians to say “Merry Christmas,” particularly when Chanukah was celebrated earlier this year. Muslims don’t celebrate Christmas, right? Au contraire, mon frère, Muslims may not celebrate Christmas, but Muslims do commemorate and honor Jesus Christ and his mother, Mary — the true objective of the holiday.

Osaama Saifi

For one, the Bible and the Qur’an both describe Jesus’ high status when Mary is addressed by angels. The Bible states: “Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you. … Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ (Luke 1:28-34)

The Qur’an also reveals Jesus’ honored status and nearness to God. The Qur’an states: “When the angels said, ‘O Mary, Allah gives thee glad tidings of a word from Him; his name shall be the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, honoured in this world and in the next, and of those who are granted nearness to God; and he shall speak to the people in the cradle and when of middle age, and he shall be of the righteous.’” (3:46-47)

Both the Bible and Qur’an show that Mary is a very special person who gave the miraculous virgin birth of Jesus. Both show that angels guided Mary in naming Jesus, in foreshadowing Jesus’ righteousness, and in foreshadowing Jesus’ greatness in modern times. Muslims today continue to honor these great persons of Christianity. For example, the very first mosque in Ireland, the Maryam Mosque, is named after Mary.

The Qur’an is a bit more explicit in certain regards to the unity of God. The Bible speaks of Jesus as being the “Son of the Most High.” Muslims interpret this line to show that Jesus’ high status is represented by being metaphorically described as the son of God. Muslims corroborate this with the fact that Jesus never called himself God or implied he was God in the Gospels, and the term “Lord” as applied to Jesus is synonymous with “Master” and not “God.” The Qur’an states, “It does not befit the Majesty of Allah to take unto Himself a son. Holy is He. When He decrees a thing, He says to it, ‘Be!’, and it is. Said Jesus: ‘Surely Allah is my Lord, and your Lord. So worship Him alone; this is the right path.’” (19:36-37)

Just like Christians, Muslims try to learn from Jesus in the way that he submitted himself to the Will of God. As Jesus tells us in the Bible, “I can of my own self do nothing, as I hear I judge and my judgement is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which has sent me.” (John 5:30)

While Muslims do not believe God to be the literal father of Jesus, Muslims still honor the holy person of Jesus and his holy mother, Mary. While I may not be celebrating Christmas, my prayer this Christmas is a hope that we all study and learn from Jesus and Mary’s life. Ameen.

Osaama Saifi an award-winning member of the Muslim Writers Guild of America and a Santa Maria native. He received his bachelors of arts in Economics and Rhetoric, with honors, at the University of California, Berkeley. Saifi is currently pursuing a JD in order to combat blasphemy laws in countries such as Pakistan, ultimately to protect religious minorities throughout the world.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Here's the root of the issue:

Islam was founded by a warrior that led armies and slaughter people.

Christianity was founded by a near-pacifist who did not lead armies and did not slaughter people.

These are facts, not slurs.

realitycheck88 (anonymous profile)
January 1, 2014 at 7:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Great article Mr. Saifi! Challenge the status quo!

bauer (anonymous profile)
January 1, 2014 at 9:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Way to go Mr. Saifi and supporter "bauer"! Way to challenge the status quo!

1. First Mr. Saifi says that you might think that Muslims do not celebrate Christmas and says "au contraire", then goes on to confirm that Muslims do not celebrate Christmas.

Way to challenge the status quo!

2. Can Mr. Saifi explain why every Muslim majority country in the world is either at war with itself, brutally inhumane or horrifically unable to serve the basic needs of its inhabitants? Think: (1) the entire middle east, North Africa and Iran, (2) Parts of Central Eurasia and Pakistan, (3) Southeast Asia and (4) parts of Africa.

Way to challenge the status quo! Way to address real issues!
Three cheers from your fan!

realitycheck88 (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2014 at 2:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think he led warriors that fought against oppression.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2014 at 2:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Loonpt: you gloss over and duck and weave.

Mohamed, the originator of Islam, did not just lead warriors against the oppressed. He killed people and intentionally slaughtered them with weapons violently in battle himself and ordered and lead others to do the same.

Jesus, the originator of Christianity, did not.

realitycheck88 (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2014 at 7:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

realitycheck, have you heard of the Christian Crusades? The Inquisition?
NONE of the organized Religions are clean, and remember "Jesus" in your scripture is a God or Son of God, whereas Mohammed was always seen as a human, a husband, a general (yes), a poet... don't compare your Jesus to Mohammed.
agree with you, loon.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2014 at 9:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes DrDan (assuming that is your actual name) The Inquisition. Mel Brooks dealt with this issue many years ago.

Turn up your volume, watch, listen, and learn.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2014 at 1:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm no fan of any organized religion, but comparing events from long ago (the Inquistion, the Crusades, or the earlier Muslim invasion of the Iberian Peninsula, for example) rings a bit false, I think. Surely there are "evil" groups of people everywhere who profess to do things in the name of their religion: the KKK considers itself "Christian;" the clearly demented and likely inbred adherents of the Westboro Baptist Church provide another example. However, none of these groups are in the current headlines for blowing up buses and train stations. (Yes, I know the KKK blew up churches and murdered inocent people in the not too distant past. The IRA, a political group, was anchored in sectarian strife wherein some might find parallels to the current Middle East. )
I also see very limited responses from prominent Muslims decrying these recent attrocities. I know it's largely a decentralized system.
I think this is the cause of growing conceren for many today and what may lead to sometimes unfair labelling and generalizations about one particular religion and the prctices of some of its adherents _today._

You couldn't give me free tickets to Sochi. I certainly hope there's no further violence, but am less than confident that this will be the case.

zappa (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2014 at 5:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

how about the 30 Years War in the Germanies 1618--1648, which killed one-third to one-half of the population?
yes, with the umma idea and so on, the Islamic "system" is totally decentralized, and this has a lot of issues and baggage with it. Supposedly 'Buddhist' monks have been running amok and killing others in Myanmar, recently. But I agree, zappa, that "there are "evil" groups of people everywhere who profess to do things in the name of their religion" -- or Maoism, or Stalinism, or the Nazis... so sure, evil doesn't always or necessarily dominate Religion[s]. I was answering realitycheck's typical character attacks on the figure "Mohammed" -- and I kinda went too far.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2014 at 6:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)


I know this is really super difficult for you but...

1. I am referring to the originators/founders of Islam and Christianity
2. Jesus was not at the Crusades so...
3. Your comment, like most lib-dem responses, avoids the point and brings up a different point. The reason you do this is that my original point is true and relevant to the underlying drivers of the behavior of Muslims vs Christians and not something you want to address because its not politically correct or in line with your views.

realitycheck88 (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2014 at 7:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

oh, so these vastly complex world religions ONLY reflect their supposed founder's values and so on...? This is you, reality, keeping your understanding out of any complicated or "super difficult" stances. Try Reza Aslan's latest book about Jesus [ZEALOT]: the best comparison there is that Jesus would be much like Malcolm X in his fiery zealotry than the calm, non-violent Martin Luther King, Jr. Further, we in truth know very little about the early Jesus, very little indeed and much of it made up [see: quest for the historical Jesus]. But about Muhammed, who never claimed to be Son of God (a God himself), and lived 600 years after Jesus, we do know quite a lot [try Karen Armstrong's Muhammed biog. for starters]. And sure, not all of it is flattering, so what?
Odd how you ref "lib-dem" since that doesn't pertain in any way? Here's what you do, "avoid[s] the point and bring[s] up a different point." I know it's hard for you to get over your absolutely typical "Mohammed-hating" side, and your comments regarding him are in fact slurs.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 5, 2014 at 8:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Santa Barbara is place where all cultures can live together in harmony and set the example for others around the world. Happy new year to Osaama Siafi and a warm welcome to the new Goleta mosque.

All religions are celebrating the same "sun of god" going down at the equinox and resurrecting for a new day and new year. The rest is politics.

Best wishes to all.

native2sb (anonymous profile)
January 12, 2014 at 9:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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