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Is wishing anyone a Merry Christmas blasphemous?

By Khaled-Oula Elomar

I am covering quite a bit of material within this post. Hence, I kindly ask for your patience and time in reading the entire post to understand my point of view and reasoning.

In my opinion, and that is purely my opinion, I don’t believe it is Sacrilegious if your intentions are correct and pure. You need not agree with me at all. I am not seeking to change your opposing point of view. The main objective of this post is to stop you from referring to me or anyone like me as a Mushrik (an associate with Allah) by alleging that I have agreed to the concept of Associating a Partner with Allah swt.

I do not intend to offend anyone with the below. If I do, I profusely and unconditionally extend my unlimited apology to those that feel offended by my unbiased and neutral perception of the topic.

There are several points to cover in order to convey my opinion and explanation. One needs to understand;

  • Islamic Interactions with the People of The Book (Ahl Al Kitaab) – Christians and Jews. This part deals with the Understanding and Appreciating the principles and morals of the Quran and Prophecies (Ahadeeth) that permit/condone honest dialect and relationships with Ahl Al Kitaab

1. Islamic Greeting and Reciprocation Majority of scholars reported that greeting Non-Muslims with “Peace Be Upon You” (Assalamu Alaykum) is not permitted. Imam Muslim reported that the Prophet pbuh said, “Don’t start with the (salam) Islamic greeting when encountering Jews or Christians.”

The Hanafies say that if a Christian or Jew, the people of the book, greet a Muslim person with Asslamu Alaykom, it is permitted to return salam and others say it’s obligatory. Ibn Abbass said, “Whoever says Assalamu Alakum to you, you have to return his greeting even if he was a Majos (fire-worshipper). He was referring to a verse from the Quran (Chapter An-Nesa’ verse 86), which is translated to; “When a courteous greeting is offered to you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous, or at least of equal courtesy.”

So when a Non-Muslim says to me Ramadan Kareem or Eid Mubarak in good gesture and not because he/she are about to convert/revert to Islam, it is obligatory for me to return the gesture and be courteous to wish them a Merry Christmas; and that does not mean that I am agreeing with the “reasons” of Christmas nor “associating” an entity with Allah swt.

2. Marrying into Ahl Al Kitaab – Christians or Jews.

It is permissible for a Muslim man to marry a non-Muslim woman if she is Christian or Jewish. The evidence for that is the Chapter Al-Maa’idah verse 4 in which Allah swt says:

“Made lawful to you this day are At Tayyibaat [all kinds of Halal (lawful) foods, which Allah has made lawful (meat of slaughtered eatable animals, milk products, fats, vegetables and fruits)]. The food (slaughtered cattle, eatable animals) of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) is lawful to you and yours is lawful to them. (Lawful to you in marriage) are chaste women from the believers and chaste women from those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) before your time when you have given their dowry (Mahr) desiring chastity (i.e. taking them in legal wedlock) not committing illegal sexual intercourse, nor taking them as girlfriends …”

One of the obligations of marrying a non-Muslim woman, who chooses to remain on her faith, is that you escort her, walk her, drive her etc to her place of worship. So is driving your non-Muslim wife to a Church or Synagogue associating you with Non-Islamic practices? I doubt that very much.

3. Actions are Measured and Judged by Intent: On the authority of Omar bin Al-Khattab (ra), who said: I heard the messenger of Allah pbuh say: “Actions are but by intention and every man shall have but that which he intended.”

Me wishing people a Merry Christmas is not associating an entity with Allah. My intentions are simply implementing what I am ordained and obliged to do which is:

  • Make Dawah
  • Be courteous to people
  • Respect others
  • Reciprocate with the same or better means
  • Show Love and Tolerance to others and simply
  • Being a Human

By the will of Allah swt, my actions, understanding and implementation of Islam has reverted a few people to Islam (Alhamdulilah) … Contrary to what some people say that I am committing Kufr or Shirk … My intentions are clear and pure. Whatever I do, I will be judged for those actions as so will you. So, when you judge me and call me a Mushrik or Kaffir for saying Merry Christmas you will be judged for those false, unfounded and completely unacceptable judgements.

Allah will judge you and I. We are not here to judge one another.

So in conclusion, to all my non-Muslim friends, on behalf of my family and I, I extend to you all a very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year. Stay Human, stay Loving and remain Strong for Humanity.

Much Love and Respect

Khaled

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38 comments

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  1. Jim

    ‘Christmas’ is an amalgamation of earlier traditions and beliefs that predate both the Christian religion and Islam. It was the Romans who ‘Christinised’ the traditions that are today ‘Christmas.’ That said, Christmas is celebrated by people all over the world, of all faiths/religions and by those with no faith/religion at all.

    So, Merry Christmas to all.

  2. Miriam English

    And love and respect to you too, Khaled.

    This article reminds me of a shaggy dog story. There is a long introduction in which the reader is not sure where it is going, but winds it up with a simple, uncomplicated statement. 🙂

    Some well-wishers will say “Merry Xmas”, or “Happy Summer Solstice”, or “Ramadan Kareem”, or “Happy holidays”. If some grinches get annoyed at that, then they really need get a life and grow some empathy. Thankfully they are a tiny, sour minority — even though their loudness makes them seem more numerous. This is a part of the year specifically meant to be enjoyed.

    I like to wish people a happy Xmas and an equally happy un-Xmas for the other 364 days of the year.
    Because all life should be celebrated.

  3. Matters Not

    Re (and several times in your piece)

    if your intentions are correct and pure … Actions are Measured and Judged by Intent … Actions are but by intention and every man shall have but that which he intended … My intentions are clear and pure.

    So as long as intentions are clear and pure then outcomes matter not? It follows (does it not) that even if your actions (say) cause the death of another, then no blame should be attributed if you had the right intentions or (to put it another way) if there was no intent to end the life of another then that’s all that counts? Innocence or guilt is not dependent on outcomes just intention?

    Good luck with that in a Court of Law.

    What would you say if someone was to argue – intentions are beside the point when a child is dead? And it was the result of your action(s)?

  4. Roswell

    Where’s your Christmas spirit, Matters Not?

  5. Roswell

    Khaled, much love and respect to you too. Thank you for your post.

  6. Matters Not

    Roswell I am taking Khaled’s point of view very, very seriously. Showing respect and all that by reading, thinking about every sentence he wrote and then asking related questions. And you?

  7. Roswell

    Trust me. I’m a very serious person.

  8. wam

    beauty khaled!!! I wonder if you believe men who kill men, women, children and themselves get rewarded by god giving them virgins in heaven??
    xstians believe their god forgives such men but they have to find their own sexual partners.in heaven
    ps I’m with you miriam
    happy xmas and a merry new year.
    This is in honour of my mother’s family in ayrshire who didn’t give a rat’s arse about xmas but hogmanay woweee.

  9. Keitha Granville

    Thank you Khaled for that very precise and clear explanation. The very best of wishes to you.

    I am encouraged that many many people of all faiths have the best and purest of intentions and that only the extreme, in all faiths, are of evil intent wishing division and hatred upon others.

  10. Khaled Elomar

    Matters Not,

    Many thanks for your comment. I always appreciate others peoples insights and perspectives. There is much to gain from them and enhance our own knowledge and prop our own positions.

    With respect to your comment though, unfortunately, I see nothing to learn nor gain from. I am absolutely bewildered at how you directed and associated the positivity of my article into a sinister act “death of another”.

    The article is attributed to actions and intent to promote unity among people of varying faiths. No sane human of any belief or disbelief would ever contemplate the dogma of killing others with an innocent and pure intent. This only happens in movies and fictional stories.

    For your own well-being and sanity, I strongly urge you to wake up and live the real life.

    Kindest regards
    Khaled

  11. Terence Mills

    I find it all very confusing but am reminded of the two Christian girls having visited the Vatican, entered one of the many gift shops in the area. They were particularly taken by crucifix necklaces on display.

    As they prepared to make their choices one was heard to ask the other “which one looks better, the plain one or the one with the little man on it ?”

    All the best to you, Khaled and may your God go with you.

  12. wam

    Scummo’s religious bill is getting some opposition. The point, Khaled is that religious politicians should not be able to keep the beliefs they use to make decisions a secret. They should be questioned on their religious beliefs.

    keitha that is the point of religious belief. The rabbott cannot lie because his heart is true and his end point is the glory of god. So he is free to say and do anything to be PM because god wants him to be the leader4. Pragmatics are free to do anything including murder f.or the glory of god.
    Atheists can also rationalise doing things for a future purpose. The purpose of boobby’s caravan was pure adani but the timing was deliberately chosen for maximum damage to labor and to attract their cash for first preferences. That was s8uccessful to the tune of $3m but at the cost of relevance in parliament. Was it worth it???

  13. Kaye Lee

    Khaled,

    I kinda think that you would be a good man regardless of anything written in ancient texts. You should not have to justify your behaviour to others. Being bound by rules as to how we can even greet each other is silly to me, no disrespect intended.

    We are just people who should be able to co-exist peacefully with the shared goal of making the world a better, more tolerant place for our children. That religion seeks to segregate us is one of the great tragedies in my opinion.

    I also will never agree with the different treatment of men and women in the church. It maintains the patriarchal fallacy that women are vessels and vassals – or even a reward for martyrdom? Why is men’s virginity never mentioned?

  14. wam

    It feels great after a session in the pool.
    I could not agree more, kaye.
    It is disgusting that the boys of the church can assesses men who rape children more valuable than any women and in full knowledge of their crime give them absolution and send them into a new parish to continue their abuse.
    The role of women and the confessional is something that must be aired and discussed as much as muslim beliefs of murder

  15. Matters Not

    Khaled, Your (outraged) response – the outcome in this case – demonstrates the point perfectly. Let me (try to) explain. While one may come with the absolute best of intentions (pure and clear) that does not guarantee the best of an outcome (perhaps the accidental results).

    So should I or anyone be judged on what was intended or what the outcome was? That’s the ethical problem. For example, how should the driver of a car that (accidently) killed a child be judged? By the driver’s ‘intention’ or by the ‘outcome’?

  16. Michael Taylor

    Each year Carol and I do a post wishing all our readers, writers and admin a merry Christmas.

    I’m wondering if it is worth it this year, given that messages of love appear to cause so much anger.

  17. Alex T

    Matter not,

    Intent is certainly relevant in determining how one would be judged for causing another’s death. That is the difference between murder and manslaughter.

  18. Kaye Lee

    Michael,

    It has been an exhausting bruising year.

    I have reread my last comment and want to apologise for not acknowledging the value of what Khaled always tries to do – bridge the gap.

    For that I admire him and I appreciate his felicitations.

    You make me think Khaled. That is a good thing. I am a talker. I hope I did not offend you.

    Seasons greetings to you and yours.

  19. Khaled Elomar

    Michael

    The anger is one-way. It is never and will never be reciprocated. Never allow anyone to deter you from wishing anyone a Merry Christmas including those that struggle with comprehension.

    Matters Not, clearly you have an issue with comprehension. You’re twisting and manipulating peoples words to suit your manic line of thinking. Once again, the article is attributed to actions and intent to promote unity among people of varying faiths.
    And before I forget, Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  20. Khaled Elomar

    By the way Matters Not, Intent to Kill is never categorized as an Accident.
    Just saying…

  21. Kaye Lee

    Khaled,

    I shouldn’t talk for others but I have been chatting with MN for years. His intent is not as you think. He does play word games, but not in order to deligitimise. It’s just his thing.

    Sorry for the womansplaining MN.

  22. Matters Not

    I’ll try to come at this from a different angle. Being the festive season, there’s any number of drivers who will be pulled over and breath tested. Invariably those ‘over the limit’ (the tested outcome) will claim something along the lines But Officer I didn’t believe I was over the limit. If I knew I was, then I certainly wouldn’t have driven. In short, their defense will be based on good/pure intent while the prosecution’s case will be based on – forget the intent (which may or may not be pure), the objective outcome is you’re guilty.

    Putting aside the Law, what I am interested is Khaled’s view on intention versus outcome. Years ago in Queensland those of good character could escape the full force of the law by claiming good intent. Religious people in particular exploited that loophole. So much so that the law was changed, Intent now can’t over-ride objective outcome even if you wear a collar.

    As for the ‘anger’ bit. Give me a break. Why would I be angry? As for not being able to comprehend. And so on. It’s hilarious. PS KL, they are not ‘word games’ at least in the pejorative sense. Just an honest attempt to ‘understand’ views that come from a different culture.

    But I’ve been around long enough to know when this level of misunderstandings reaches this stage, it’s time to depart.

  23. Kaye Lee

    I didn’t mean it pejoratively MN. And it is presumptuous of me to intercede. But my intention was good. (If I knew how to do emoticons I would add one).

  24. johno

    MN, I can see where you are coming from and also see that you meant no anger, just musing on different ways of looking at things. Cheers and love to all.

  25. Miriam English

    Khaled, I don’t think Matters Not meant any ill. He is interested in technicalities. They are genuinely intriguing and worth pursuing. He might have been able to make his point clearer if he’d chosen an example charged with less emotion and more relevant to the topic of the original post.

    For example, if I genuinely, and with the best of intentions wish someone a happy summer solstice and they take offense because, unknown to me, they are a Flat-Earther (so consider the idea of a tilted spherical Earth causing seasons blasphemous)… am I at fault despite my good intentions?

    Hmmm… that’s possibly not a good example because most people will think the well-wisher was in the right (probably because most people see Flat-Earthers as nuts).

    I’m struggling to think of an example where the well-wisher can be seen as accidentally culpable…

    What about if the Flat-Earther is holding a large sign identifying their beliefs? And I automatically, without thinking, wish them a happy summer solstice and they are momentarily appalled then drop dead of a heart attack… am I culpable then?

    How about if I saw the sign and knew they disagreed, but thought such stupid beliefs didn’t matter, so wished them a happy summer solstice anyway. I genuinely wish them well, but think such dopey beliefs aren’t worth changing my customary greeting for… am I culpable now?

    Matters Not, did I do your point justice? (My intentions were pure. 🙂 )

    Happy summer solstice everybody. 😀

    By the way, Kaye, there is a folder on my site that has lots of emoticon images that anybody is welcome to link to.
    http://miriam-english.org/symbols/
    It has been there for about 25 years and hopefully will be there for another 25, so is fairly stable.

    Also the website https://fsymbols.com/emoticons/ has oodles of text emoticons — some of them amazing! And Wikipedia has a page devoted to text emoticons, some of which get automatically converted to equivalent image emoticons here. The little laughing smiley face above is a colon “:” followed by “D”.

  26. M

    This would have been a wonderful argument played out by Khaled and Matters Not.But what we get is the same guy with power issues making a comment

    “Where’s your Christmas spirit, Matters Not? We all could have learnt something.

    Then we get everyone else answering for the 2 combatants defending their honour. Really. Dumbed down scared off and now the

    argument is shot to pieces.

  27. Genuinely Curious

    Khaled, you mentioned it is permissable for a Muslim man to marry a non-muslim woman. Is the reverse held to be equally permissable?

  28. Kaye Lee

    Muslim scholars and jurists unanimously agree on the fact that marriage of a Muslim woman to a non-Muslim man, whether he is polytheist, Christian or Jew, is strongly prohibited.

    ….forbidding the marriage of a Muslim woman to a Christian or a Jewish man is not based on any Qur’anic text or saying of the Prophet, but rather on a mutual agreement of scholars of all eras

    In the absence of any proof that justifies the prohibition of the marriage of Muslim women to the followers of other monotheistic religions, the contemporary scholars justify their attitudes by “the natural weakness” of Muslim women who may go astray under the “bad” influence of their Christian or Jewish husbands. They added that it will adversely affect the children’s education. But the Muslim man is able to dominate his Christian or Jewish wife and protect his children’s and own faith. This generalized idea is not always true and the “strength” or the “weakness” of the religious belief is not associated with the gender but rather with the person’s personality and character.

    http://www.asma-lamrabet.com/articles/what-does-the-qur-an-say-about-the-interfaith-marriage/

    I do understand that the question was not directed at me and I would like to hear Khaled’s input.

    M, all readers are welcome to join in discussions on this site. That is part of what makes it so special. And can I assure you, I very much doubt either of the “combatants”, as you want to call them, would be “scared off” by anyone. I don’t think either of them are looking for combat.

  29. wam

    beauty miriam if your god says he deliberately gave women a flaw and you arrange society around that premise because you believe it. Your intentions come from god and are pure.
    Kalhed like muslims and christiqans can lie under pressure or when the lie is pure to god’s wishes.
    Remember god’s wishes are what you are taught to believe.
    To my understanding some jews, christians no longer believe the literal words of the bible but all muslims still do?

    salman ali (pakistan) writes Depends on who you ask. Traditional Islamic clergy will tell you:
    It’s forbidden for Muslims to celebrate Christmas and participate in Christmas parties and proceedings.
    It’s forbidden for Muslims to say Merry Christmas for zillions of reasons.
    Committing any of the above sins may very well amount to infidelity and you may not remain a Muslim anymore.
    You may only utter the words Merry Christmas if there is a possibility that Christians will hate you for not saying it.
    Now, there are two types of Muslims. One who eat up the above uber-religious rhetoric and one who don’t give a single fck about it. I belong to the latter and many share that sentiment.

  30. Zathras

    There are more religions in the world than just Christianity and Islam and a multitude of religions within Christianity itself, each having its own individual beliefs and interpretations.

    Despite the horrors and suffering inflicted on society by all religions throughout history the problem really comes down to intolerance and ignorance and the exploitation of belief by those with questionable motives.

    Even the “72 virgins” for Muslim martyrs is used by recruiting extremists and others – on both sides – when scholars suggest it really refers to “white grapes” or “raisins”. If the translation of a single word has caused so much confusion where does that leave the entirety of religion?

    People also seem to latch onto the ill-informed ravings of some self-appointed spokesperson to be definitive, particularly if they agree with their own preconceptions or prejudices.

  31. RosemaryJ36

    I just think it is sad we can spend so much time debating matters of belief when the fact is the world is in danger – at least in part – because of faith. Not of a religious nature but faith in power and wealth to overcome problems.
    And the problems created in that process are the cause of destruction!
    As an agnostic, I think the only way the world can survive is on a basis of respect, and mankind shows little respect for others, let alone biodiversity and the environment.
    Let’s save the religious discussion until we are more certain of survival!

  32. corvus boreus

    If someone wishes me ‘merry christmas’ (or any other expression of positive but pointless sentiment) then I will usually return their meaningless well-wishes as a conscious form of courtesy.
    All part of training myself to be a little bit less of an arsehole.

  33. johno

    RosemaryJ36, good point.

  34. Khaled Elomar

    Peace be with you Genuinely Curios,

    It is agreed to within the Muslim Ummah that it is not permissible for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim because Allah, may He be exalted, says in the Qur’an [al-Baqarah 2:221]:

    “And give not (your daughters) in marriage to Al-Mushrikoon till they believe (in Allah Alone) and verily, a believing slave is better than a (free) Mushrik (idolater, etc.), even though he pleases you”.

    Regards
    Khaled

  35. Khaled Elomar

    Zathras

    On the subject of the 72 virgins for Martyrs, as this is not mentioned in the Qur’an, as a Muslim, I have no reason to believe that it is true. And yes it is only used by Extremist recruiters.

    This only ossifies what I have always said about Islam and Muslims; “Islam is perfect but Muslims aren’t”.

    Regards
    Khaled

  36. Zathras

    Khaled,

    How sad. The Virgins excuse was just a convenient way to ridicule, mock and demonise a religion – like the expression “Mad Arab” has always been deliberately used in the West to denigrate a culture.

    From one stranger to another and for no religious reason at all, I wish you and your family a peaceful, healthy and happy holiday period and a prosperous new year.

  37. Khaled Elomar

    Zathras

    Thank you. May Allah bless you and your family.

    Khaled

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