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Interfaith Dialogue (24 Dec 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Why Must Muslims Celebrate the Birth of Hazrat Jesus Christ (pbuh)

By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam

25 December 2019

Few Muslims celebrate the Merry Christmas today, especially in the contemporary Indian Muslim society plagued with Wahhabism, but nearly all Muslims believe Hazrat Eisa Alaihis Salaam (Jesus Christ PBUH) not only as a Prophet (Nabi) but also an Apostle of God (Rasool Allah). Most of them also know of the numerous holy verses of Qur'an and authentic Hadith texts which speak so highly of Jesus' sanctity and his message's historicity. One of such significant and, yet, most forgotten verses of the Qur'an are the one which mentions Jesus, son of Mary (as) and quotes him as saying:

 “And Peace be upon me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive!” (Qur’an 19:33).

Notably, the Qur'an mentions Jesus Christ 25 times with great exaltation and high epithets such as the Messiah, Sign of Allah (Ayat min Allah), Spirit of Allah (Rooh min Allah), Word of Allah (Kalima min Allah), a servant of Allah (Abdullah), the son of Mary (Isa bin Maryam), a prophet of Allah (Nabiyullah) and as the last apostle to the children of Israel. More to the point, it reminds us of the birth of Jesus Christ as a great divine miracle (Mu'jizah min Allah) as he was born only to a mother. Thus, the birth of Jesus is also spoken of as “a sign of Allah” in the Qur'an which says:

“And make mention of Mary in the Scripture. When she withdrew from her people to an eastern chamber, and choose seclusion from thine, and we sent Our Spirit unto her, and it assumed for her the form of a perfect man. She said: Behold! I seek refuge in the Beneficent One from thee if thou art God fearing (begone from me!). He said: I am only a messenger of your Lord that I may bestow upon you a holy son. She said: How shall I have a son when no mortal has touched me, and I am not unchaste. He said: So (shall it be). The Lord sayeth: It is easy for Me, and We shall make him a sign unto mankind, and a Mercy from us. And it is a thing decreed. And she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a far place. (10: 16-22).

In other verses, the Qur'an highlights the attributes and miracles of Jesus Christ such as:

When God said, "Jesus, son of Mary, recall My favours to you and your mother. (Recall) how I supported you by the Holy Spirit, made you speak to people from your cradle and when you grew up, taught you the Book, gave you wisdom, the Torah, and the Gospel. (Recall) when, by My will, you made a sculpture of a bird out of clay, blew into it, and it turned into a real bird by My Will. (Recall) how, by My will, you healed the deaf, the lepers, and raised the dead. (Recall) when you came to the Israelites in the house with clear miracles and I saved you from their mischief, even though the disbelievers among them said, "This is obviously magic"(5:110)

Several verses like the above give us a distinct portrayal of Jesus Christ (pbuh) and exhort that Muslims should have no issue in celebrating the Christmas as birthday or Milad of Hazrat Eisa Alaihis-Salam. But surprisingly even those who unfailingly celebrate and legitimise the holy birthday of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as 'Milad' or 'Mawlid un Nabi' find the Christmas unlawful within their purview of Islamic Shariah. Only a handful of Sufi divines like Shaikh Hisham Kabbani or for that matter, Islamic scholars like Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri who are a little open to interfaith dialogue instruct their followers to celebrate the Christmas as an 'occasion of festivity that marks the birth anniversary of Jesus Christ'. They emphasize that by celebrating the festivals like Christmas, Muslims can reinforce their position as harbingers of universal message of peace, love and harmony espoused by Jesus Christ and thus they can steadily and patiently tackle the challenge of Islamophobia particularly in the western world, notwithstanding the theological and doctrinal conflicts between Muslims and Christians.

But the common Muslims are largely unaware of the true spirit of reverence which the Qur'an displays towards Jesus (a.s) and his holy mother Mary or Maryam Alaihas Salam. Our local clerics and imams in India hardly tell the masses in their Friday sermons or on other occasions that there are authentic Hadiths (Prophetic sayings) in which Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) reportedly said that in his Prophethood (Risalat), he was the closest of all prophets to Jesus Christ (pbuh). Significantly, this Hadith report is narrated by both Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim, whose compilation of Hadiths is considered the two most authentic of all, as the following:  "Both in this world and in the hereafter, I am the nearest of all the people to Jesus, the son of Marry. The prophets are paternal brothers, their mothers are different but their religion is one." Even the Prophet’s companion Hazrat Abu Hurayrah reported him as saying that "I am akin to the son of Mary among the whole of mankind and though prophets are of different mothers, they all are of one religion, and no prophet was raised between me and him (Jesus Christ)".

Thus, on the occasion of Merry Christmas, the aforementioned Hadiths remind us of the eternal divine instruction that all messengers of Allah, regardless of their messages being kept intact today or not, are worthy of the equal veneration and their birthdays are of the same paramount importance. Since the Almighty sent them all to mankind to disseminate the same sacred message of God's oneness (Tawhid), they all share a strong bond of prophetic fraternity. The difference, if any, as expounded in the Qur'anic exegesis, was not in their core teachings and socio-ethical and moral values, but in the offshoots termed as Shari`ah in Islamic terminology.

The common grounds enshrined in the Qur'an and Biblical scriptures highlight the essence of Jesus Christ's core teachings as peace, tolerance, inclusiveness and love for all humanity. Thus, Muslims should attach equal amount of importance to the Christmas much like the Milad un Nabi (Prophet Muhammad's birthday) in terms of their basic teachings and universal messages. Just as the Qur'an honours all prophets and messengers of Allah on the same footing, Muslims should retain this basic Islamic tenet on the occasions like the Christmas to rejuvenate the Qur'anic message of mutual and amicable esteem towards different faith traditions.

One way forward is that our Ulema and imams embark upon this noble task systematically and enumerate the moving stories from Prophet Muhammad’s life in which he is reported to have shown abundant respect towards people of other faiths, especially Christians of Najran and Habsha. For instance, one of those reports goes like this: “The holy Prophet was sitting with a group of his companions and a Jewish funeral passed by, and the Prophet stood up to show his respect for the deceased. When some of his companions (Sahaba) asked him as to why he stood up for the funeral of a Jew, the Prophet replied: “Was he not a human soul?” Though this Hadith is very inspiring to tell and preach, one wonders why many Muslims, for instance in India, do not show respect to non-Muslim funerals like Arthi and funeral rites like Antyesthi (the last rituals of the dead in Hinduism) when the Prophet himself showed it towards the Arab non-Muslims--Jews and Christians.

In India, Christian-Muslim relations have been, by and large, peaceful and non-confrontational throughout the post-colonial decades. But now, Muslims need to open more opportunities and avenues for more genuine scriptural dialogue and mutual understanding on the grassroots level. From Madrasas to schools and colleges, educational centres should be gateways to this dialogue to ensure that Muslim children and youths build brotherly bonds with their non-Muslim peers and develop more amicable feelings for people of other faiths and creeds.

Muslim countries, especially the Gulf region which in recent years has been wracked by grave gender injustice besides religious radicalism, violent extremism and sectarian strife, are now striving to ensure gender equality— fair representation of men and women. Significantly, gender equality is gaining ground in the Gulf countries where there used to be a plethora of reports on violence and abuse against women. The GCC has traditionally been behind other regions in terms of gender disparity. But that’s dramatically changing now, with countries like the UAE leading the way. A strong case in point is the recent consensus of a group of international experts who participated the SALT Conference in Abu Dhabi that the Gulf countries are likely to boost women’s empowerment and employment to reap economic rewards. The prognosis is that by 2025, almost every Gulf country will be brought up to the best regional standard for women’s workforce participation, that would roughly add $180 billion to the size of the bloc’s combined economy , while full gender parity would add $830 billion. This is going to be a tangible and unprecedented push towards gender-equality in the Islamic world.

Regular Columnist with Newageislam.com, Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is a classical Islamic scholar and English-Arabic-Urdu writer. He has graduated from a leading Islamic seminary of India, acquired Diploma in Qur'anic sciences and Certificate in Uloom ul Hadith from Al-Azhar Institute of Islamic Studies. Presently, he is pursuing his PhD in Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/interfaith-dialogue/ghulam-rasool-dehlvi,-new-age-islam/why-muslims-must-celebrate-the-birth-of-hazrat-jesus-christ-(pbuh)/d/120615

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  • I understand True Hinduism and True Islam well. One thing is very common between both religions, which comes after deep spiritual exploration, that Ahankar in Hindi and Takabbur in Urdu is very destructive obstacle in the path of spiritual journey. The followers of both religions should eliminate this Ahankar and Takabbur first and then develop the relationship of harmony. This will be a pure relationship. Religions, when used for politics or personal needs, do not do not leave their spiritual impact on their followers. a href=google.com/">.</a>

    By rboert - 3/29/2020 6:41:48 PM

  • I wrote the very first comment in this discussion. Is Hats Off blind?
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 12/28/2019 6:32:51 AM

  • इंसान कितना बेवफा हो गया है
    मुहब्बत का चिराग दूसरों के अंदर देखना चाहता है लेकिन पहले अपने दिल से नफरत का चिराग बुझाकर मुहब्बत का दीप तो जलाए 

    By GGS - 12/28/2019 4:43:29 AM

  • It seems to me that your American sponsored sir has blocked your mind by instilling his impression into your mind.

    Actually this American system has blocked the minds of people around the world. When we make our mind only to accept what is in American system of reasoning we only have to copy their developments. We are not independent thinkers or free thinkers.

    Let us start using light of heart along with light of mind. We will never become slaves of their way reasoning.

    After all, you are Indian. be a good example for americans. be the one who is appreciated by american and not the one who is busy appreciating americans.

    do not take it seriously. there is hidden meaning which you can see only when you open the gate of your heart and close the gate of your mind inspired and tired by worldly business

    By GGS - 12/28/2019 3:44:27 AM

  • GRD SB,

    Genuine people in classical Islam used to instill light of faith in hearts so that hearts of the people could be at peace and enjoy real happiness in the world and the Hereafter. They treated all the people for good cause but the people could not understand yesterday nor today that they were the real and true friends. Even Muslims could not understand those friends today in this 21st century.

    The problems with radicalism today are appearing because the radical people themselves have lost the light of faith which can only keep them at peace. After losing peace, they are creating havoc around the world. It is loss of light of faith that is creating havoc around the globe. On the other hand, those who think they are promoting peace and brotherhood are actually creating disharmony and hatred by developing so-called attitude of love. They are missing the real feeling of love and heart because every they use their reasoning power and not the heart-power. Perhaps this is because they have lost light of faith which connects hearts of humanity.  


    Light of faith connects hearts of humanity

    Light of mind keeps minds of humanity busy in differences 
    By GGS - 12/28/2019 3:37:52 AM

  • ایک انسان یہ دعوی کرے کہ وہ اسلام کے پیغام امن کو پھیلائے  اور نفرت کا خاتمہ کرے  پھر وہ خود پیغام امن کی روحانیت کو ہی نہ سمجھ سکے تو کیا وہ پیغام امن کو پھیلاسکتا ہے ۔

    امن کیا چیز ہے ؟ امن نام ہے قلب ودماغ کے سکون کا ۔ جس کا دل دماغ سکون نہیں وہ کیسے سکون کو پھیلا سکتا ہے ؟ یہ سوال ہے جس سے اگر ہم واقف ہو جائیں تبھی ہم پیغام امن پھیلا سکتے ہیں۔

    دماغ میں سوالات بھرے ہوں ، جوابات کی تلاش میں لگا رہے ، لیکن یہاں دو طرح کی باتیں ہو سکتیں ہیں کبھی اطمینان بخش جواب مل بھی سکتا ہے اور کبھی نہیں ۔جب اطمینان بخش جواب مل جائے تبھی دماغ کا سکون ۔ لیکن یہ دماغ کا سکون ملتا کیسے ہے ؟ تو اس کا جواب یہ ہے کہ یہ تبھی حاصل ہو سکتا ہے جب ہم اپنے حقیقی خدا کی معرفت حاصل کرنے میں کامیاب ہو جائیں ۔قرآن ہمیں بتاتا ہے کہ اللہ کے ذکر میں ہی دلوں کو اطمینان ہے لیکن سوال مسلمانوں کے پاس ہے کہ آخر انہیں اللہ کی معرفت حاصل کر لی ہے ؟ اگر نہیں تو انہیں سکون کیسے ملے پھر وہ سکون کیسے پھیلائیں گے ۔جب انہیں امن وسکون ہی نہیں ملے گا کیوں کہ وہ دنیا کے بے جا سوالات میں اپنے دماغ کو الجھا رکھا ہے تو خود اپنا چھوڑ کر کیسے وہ دوسروں کو چین مہیا کر سکتا ہے ؟

    جو لوگ دنیا میں امن وشانتی پھیلانا چاہ رہے ہیں ، ان کے حال پر غور کیا جائے تو معلوم ہوتا ہے وہ صرف دماغ استعمال کر رہے ہیں اپنے قلب سے ایمان ویقین کی روشنی کو الگ کئے ہوئے ہیں اور پھر جب چین وسکون نہیں تو دماغ سے کیسے چین وسکون حاصل کر سکتے ہیں ؟ ویسے دماغ کو چین مل بھی گیا تو اگلے دن کوئی اور دماغ والا شخص اسے اپنی باتوں میں الجھا کر یا مختلف اقسام کے سوالات میں پھنسا کر پھر اس کے دما غ کا چین وسکون چھین لے گا ۔

    قلب میں ایمان کی روشنی لیکر جب دنیا کے حوادثات اور خدا کے نظام کو سمجھنے میں کامیاب ہوگا تو پھر اس کے سامنے کتنے بھی دماغ والے آجائیں ان کے چین وسکون کو چھین نہیں سکتے ۔ نتیجہ یہ بھی ہوگا کہ جب وہ خود امن وشانتی سے ہیں تو دوسرے کو بھی امن وشانتی میں دیکھنا پسند کرے گا۔

    ہم یہ بات جانتے ہیں کہ جس کے اندر نفرت ہوتی ہے  اسے ہی ہر بات میں نفرت نظر آتی ہے ۔ جس کے اندر محبت ہو اسے ہی ہر بات میں محبت نظر آتی ہے ۔ اسلام سے محبت کرنے والوں کا بھی یہی حال ہے جب انہیں اسلام سے محبت ہوتی ہے اس کی ہر تعلیم اچھی بھلی لگتی ہے لیکن اسلام سے نفرت ہو تو اسے صرف موقع کی تلاش ہوتی ہے کہ کب کوئی موقع ملے کہ اسلام پر انگشت نمائی کرے  ۔ اس انگشت نمائی کرنے کو اگر ہم امن پھیلانا والا پروجیکٹ سمجھیں تو میرے خیال سے اس مقصد میں ہم ناکام ہیں ۔ہمیں پہلے اپنے قلب وایمان میں امن وشانتی کرنے کی ضرورت ہے ۔

    امن وشانتی در اصل ایک نعمت ہے جس  کی صحیح معرفت در اصل درکار ہے ۔نام نہاد امن وشانتی در اصل نفرت ہی پیدا کر رہی ہے ۔

    By GGS - 12/28/2019 1:15:41 AM

  • "Abbu, why can't I celebrate

    Christmas  like theirs?" asked my youngest brother from my father the other day.

    In this day and age of internet, kids and children pose the toughest questions. Especially tough when this question was never adequately answered for us when we grappled with it as children. 

    By GRD - 12/27/2019 11:29:22 AM

  • GG Saheb, my definition of Wahhabism is 'theological exclusivism', ISLAMO-SUPREMACISM and all attempts to project and preach Islam as culture -unfriendly. Arabisation of Islam in India and everywhere else is their idealogical project.

    Going by this definition, almost all Sunni creeds, except a few Shias and Akbarite Sufis (practioners of Shaikh-e-Akbar Ibn alArabi's Wahdatul Wajud) are Wahhabism-influenced, if not intentionally inspired. They are indulged in what can be called "Wahhabisation of Sufism". 

    By GRD - 12/27/2019 7:21:51 AM

  • Further to your comments at length in this thread, I really enjoyed GG saheb. But at the same time, it felt to me as if I was reading Dr Imran Nazar, the founder of the Islamic eschatology-based movement in Iran and Malysia known for his Millinarian thesis.  
    By GHULAM RASOOL DEHLVI - 12/27/2019 4:24:38 AM

  • Love you GGS, and whole-heartedly appreciate your spirited words that "The followers of both religions should eliminate this Ahankar and Takabbur first and then develop the relationship of harmony. This will be a pure relationship".

    With this, I expect a way forward:)

    By GHULAM RASOOL DEHLVI - 12/27/2019 4:19:52 AM

  • where is the forum's greatest "moderate" muslim? why so silent.

    c'mon, this forum will wilt and fall to powder without the shower of your moderation.

    By hats off! - 12/27/2019 3:59:34 AM

  • Every debate can’t be held by the use of wahhabism. Wahhabism has nothing to do with this subject. This is purely academic and a matter of personal intention. You yourself wrote article and then in a comment you targeted some particular people in a way that is not based on justice and honesty. This is simply a part of your own problem. Peaceful Christians and Muslims have no time to debate over this issue the way you have expressed in your comment.

    Wahhabism is not a new debate. It was ideologically and successfully defeated by the past classical scholars. For the first time who refuted Ibn Taymiyya was Ibn Hajar Haythami (not hajar asqalani) and as a result the wahhabism disappeared but again after centuries it was restored by Ibn Abdul Wahhab who was first refuted by his father and elder brother and then by Sufis including Allama Ziyauddin whose spiritual students are also affiliated with Indian Barelvis.

    If i check similarities and differences between you and wahhabism, can you be able to reject all similarities? You too will not be able to do so. Wahhabism also claims to believe in Tauheed. You too claim to believe in Tauheed. Then can I say you ‘wahhabi inspired’? No, not at all. Therefore I would request you to change the attitude to call everything ‘wahhabi inspired’. Because getting offeneded is also believed to be an act of ‘wahhabism’.

    The ideas of wahhabism are spreading around the world but you have yet not succeeded in stopping them. Show me how many followers have agreed with your version of defeating wahhabism. Actually you too take Barelvi version to defeat but all you are showing your hatred against Barelvi or Wahhabi is merely an expression of anger or hurried approach. Your use of the words “Hegelian Disalectic” has made me understand your systematic approach that you have learnt from you new American sponsored sir. Anyway I have not yet got inspired by your sir.

    I use my reason and heart. The lights of both together help me a lot and this is enough for me to live life with exploration of reality.

    By GGS - 12/27/2019 3:44:42 AM

  • GRD SB, I would like to share that the “deeper inter-religious, inter-scriptural cohesion” that you are talking about is not a single dogma where all unanimously agree. Different people differently interpret this inter-religious and inter-scriptural cohesion. Differences donot harm but they do harm when the people force on others, their respective part of differences in their religions, intentions or scriptures.

     There is no chair where all our differences can rest together. The reason is that people have used such differences by their logic and not by their hearts.

    You should know why Imam Ghazali went away from the path of exploring everything by logic towards the path of exploring realities by heart. He had experienced both the paths well and understood it well. Mind works and creates technology and material benefits but when heart works it helps understand the Real Existence Who is Everlasting and Who has created energy that is working to benefit technology. The light of mind is not greater than that of heart. Many even failed to understand Ibn Rushud’s tricks which were used to propagate the path of heart but he had to take support it by the path of logic and what we call the path of reasoning.     

    By GGS - 12/27/2019 3:13:12 AM

  • GRD sahib, you say, “Now you greatly help us understand the mindset of the easy-going Indian Muslim clergy—including the self-styled Sunni Barelwis (under the guise of Sufis).

    Yes it helps you understand how to create hatred in the hearts of the people against a Barelvi/Sunni or a Sufi class of Muslims. It indeed helps you to develop hatred. However it helps me think that the people are known for their umda akhlaq and sublime character. The man who is not good with his own people cannot be good for others. The man who is trustworthy for his own people can be liable to be trusted for others. Truth is always good, although we Indians say it Kadwa.

    You are talking about the “guise of Sufis”. But the real Sufis never sought worldly fame. They had purified heart for all human beings equally. They treated both Muslims and non-Muslims as human beings. They kept away from Muslim rulers. It is also true some Mulsim rulers sought help from some Sufis and it benefitted them. Sufis had the spiritual power and ruled the hearts of the people. They were practical believers not the ones who simply speak of words of faith and harmony. There are also slaves of such Sufis today but they do not take interest in politics of topics such as demonstrated in your comment. 
    By GGS - 12/27/2019 3:12:30 AM

  • Ghulam Rasool sahib, you say, “The Gulf oil money was used to finance the spread of ultra-conservative Saudi Wahhabite Islam around the world from Afghanistan to Bosnia to Egypt to India, to replace the beautiful cultural moorings of the indigenous Muslims. No wonder then, F. William Engdahl has alleged the same.”

    What is there new for me to learn from your statement?! This knowledge is very common. The question is; why is “the beautiful cultural moorings of the indigenous Muslims” being replaced today? Why are we letting it happen to us? What suited well to radical Saudis and some radical Yahudis is known to us. How they worked together to blame each other and appear as if they were enemies for each other is also known. They are making the world fool by their mutual policies in a bid to rule the world. Why are we not stopping their shared cunning plan from taking its root in India which is known for its pluralism and peaceful coexistence? We have no time to think of such issues. We are just wasting our time in debates over our own differences. This is what they want. They want us to remain making debates over something that can benefit their goal. They are marketing with so-called “progressive humane agenda” and by their actions and words to convince the world that Islam is a threat to them and therefore it should be abolished from the face of the earth. This is spreading across India in a bid to take differences to be in the clutches of civil war, whereby they can start their dream of remaining superpower and ruling the world. Our Indians are fool who always trust angrez talks and start giving them their hearts, without thinking that it is their chaal to weaken the power of their opponents.

    Our differences are our signs. If we do not have sufficient knowledge and spiritual training how to share differences, we should stop debating over useless debates “how to make interfaith dialogue”? you can understand it if you are able to. Faith is the matter of heart and not the matter of logic or words. For example, the Quranic words are the words which can be understood by heart and not by simply. Those who have understood it well, do not need to develop so-called “interfaith dialogue” because their hearts are already at peace. You may get offeneded, but sorry for that, today most of the people who are doing interfaith dialogue to demolish differences have the hearts which are not at peace for themselves, let alone talking about their thinking of peace for others’ hearts. Real peace comes when we start feeling the spirit of peace in our practice.  

    By GGS - 12/27/2019 2:31:22 AM

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