With Christmas and New Year's around the corner, you might have questions about what you should and should not do as an Ahmadi Muslim Khadim. MKAUSA has compiled the following Q&A's to help guide you through the holiday season.
A: No. Christmas is a Christian Holiday that celebrates the birth of the Prophet Jesus. While we as Ahmadi Muslims believe in Jesus as a great Prophet of God, we do not believe in celebrating birthdays, not his, not that of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), and not our own. As a result, we should not celebrate Christmas.
Q: Can I wish my friends a "Merry Christmas?"
A: Yes, you can wish your Christian friends a Merry Christmas to show respect for their holiday and their faith.
Q: Can I go to a Christmas Party?
A: It is better not to. It depends. Generally Christmas Parties are mixed gatherings where the Islamic limits on interaction between men and women are not observed. Also, alcohol is sometimes served at Christmas Parties. As a result, this is If this is happening, then it is not the best environment for an Ahmadi Muslim Khadim to be in and it is better to not go. That being said, it is not absolutely forbidden to go to a Christmas Party. If you decide to go, follow consider the following guidelines:
-plan ahead of time to go early and leave early
-plan to limit your interaction with women at the party
-plan to not drink alcohol and to tell people that you don't drink so that you know what to say if this comes up
Q: Can I go to a Holiday Party?
A: Same answer as above for Christmas Parties.
Q: Can I give people gifts at a Christmas or Holiday Party?
A: Since we do not celebrate Christmas or any Holiday at this time of the year, you should not give people gifts on this occasion as this is a form of celebrating Christmas. While participating in gift exchanges such as "Secret Santa" may not be a religious activity per se, it still celebrates their holiday. However, if someone has given you a gift and you feel an urge to reciprocate because it was a gesture of goodwill, then search your heart for good intentions and then respond with the best action. In general, gift exchanges are encouraged in Islam to promote friendship, but not in a way that you begin celebrating Christmas.
Q: Can I accept gifts at a Christmas or Holiday Party?
A: Yes, if someone surprises you with a gift, you should politely accept it. Participating in "Secret Santa" may not necessarily be a requirement at work or at school. Use that opportunity to talk to others about your faith. It's OK to be different sometimes.
Q: Can I celebrate New Year's?
A: It depends. The types of parties where people stay up through the night partying and counting down to the New Year, drinking and dancing is, of course, not allowed in Islam. Instead, we should thank Almighty Allah for his mercy and blessings on us during the past year and should pray for the year to come -- not harm in that. In fact, to celebrate the New Year as Ahmadi Muslim Khuddam, many Majalis hold congregational Tahajjud and Fajr Prayers on the first morning of the New Year. This is a great way to celebrate the New Year.
Q: Can I go to a New Year's Party?
A: It may be better not to, depending on the kind of party. More so than even a Christmas or Holiday Party, New Year's Parties happen late at night and may involve drinking alcohol -- a New Year's tradition. Hence, it is better not go to such an event. There are wholesome ways to celebrate the New Year. If your Majlis isn't already planning to hold congregational Tahajjud and Fajr Prayers on the first morning of the New Year, ask your Qaid if such an event can be arranged.
When it comes to any non-Islamic customs such as Christmas or New Year's or anything else that you encounter growing up in this society, remember that you are an Ahmadi Muslim Khadim. Think about this and let it sink in: you are an Ahmadi Muslim Khadim. You are not like any of your friends. Do not go with the flow with what everyone around you is doing just to fit in or to be liked by your friends. You are a member of the community of the Holy Prophet (saw) and the Promised Messiah (as). Reflect upon their blessed lives! Did they do what the entire world around them was doing? Were they worried about fitting in! There is no way! They had amazing courage and resolve to be different, and to do what they knew was right despite immense pressure to do otherwise. They were the seeds of change sown by the hand of God, and they changed the world. Do you understand that you are members of their community? If you understood this, how could you be worried about doing things like going to parties just to fit in? Dear brothers! Your goal is much grander and much loftier than this! As Hadhoor (aba) said in his Friday Sermon on 12/14/2012, your goal is to be shaheed, a person who attains such power of steadfastness and resolve from God so that no upheaval or shock can shake him or move him from his stand. This is your goal. So, always remember your principles and always pray to Allah. Inshallah He will be your Guide and your Protector and He will reward your steadfastness in following His path. Any time you feel like you have to choose between anything in this world and your faith, remember this verse of the Holy Quran:
"That which is with Allah is better and more lasting. Will you not then understand?" --The Holy Quran (28:61)
--MKA Department of Tarbiyyat
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