By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
December 24, 2020
Christmas is the festival of the Christian Church observed annually on the 25th day of December in memory of the birth of Jesus Christ.
The birth of Jesus Christ marks an exceptional event in human history. Islam has also attached great importance to it. The Quran has this to say:
‘Peace be on the day Jesus Christ was born” (Quran, 19:33).
These words are extremely meaningful, for the most distinctive aspect of Christ’s personality is that he became a symbol of peace in human history. In his life, he demonstrated that peace is a power, rather it is the greatest power.
Peace is not the name of just one quality. It is in fact a combination of certain qualities, like love, compassion, kindness, mercy, forgiveness and tolerance.
Jesus Christ was a model of these qualities which he was able to transmit in his followers. These human qualities were responsible for making his followers into a distinctive group, and, without doubt, these were the qualities, that guaranteed their success despite all the odds they faced in the early days of their history. This finds expression in the Quran in these words:
“We gave Christ the Gospel and imbued the hearts of those who followed him with compassion and mercy.” (The Quran, 57:27)
In another chapter the Quran States:
“The nearest in affection to them are those who say, ‘We are Christians.’ That is because there are priests and monks among them; and because they are free from pride.” (5:82).
From Jesus Christ’s life we have many lessons of guidance. In his life, there is a major role model for us. Some of these are being given hereunder.
Unilateral Good Character
Jesus Christ says:
‘‘But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you”. (Luke 6: 27-28).
The same teaching is echoed in the Quran:
“Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend,” (The Quran, 41: 34)
Responding positively even to the negative behaviour of others is a practical code of conduct for us in society. It shows us the way to live in peace and harmony.
The people asked Jesus what they should do under the oppression of the Romans ruling over them. He replied: “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” (Mark 12: 17)
A similar tradition of Prophet Muhammad is given in Sahih al-Bukhari: “Give the ruler his rights. Ask for your rights from God. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Hadith No 7052)
Peace under All Circumstances
Another saying of Jesus Christ is of relevance here: “To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods, do not ask them back.” (Luke 6: 30)
The festival of Christmas is an occasion which reminds us of these Christian values of peace. It is an occasion for re-establishing these cherished human values. These values, in their reality, are universal human values. They address the entire humanity and are a source of fulfilling the dream of a better society. Looked at in this respect Christmas becomes a festival that serves to promote social betterment.
The importance of a festival lies in its being the source of social interaction on a vast scale. Christmas reminds us of the greatest of human values–of peace under all circumstances which is imbibed in his teaching: ‘Love your enemy.’
I can aptly formulate this Christmas message for all of us in these words: “Love all, including your enemy.”
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is an Islamic scholar who is well-versed in both classical Islamic learning and modern science. He has made peace and interfaith as the mission of his life and presents Islam in the modern idiom. He has translated the Quran in English, Hindi, Urdu and Arabic and has authored more than 200 books on prophetic wisdom and peaceful co-existence in a multi-ethnic society. The latest of which are: The Seekers Guide, Discovering God, The Age of Peace, The Secret of Success and Leading a Spiritual Life and The Prophet of Peace, which not only offers a peaceful solution to the menace of terrorism but also helps people understand the concept of peace in Islam. To carry on his mission of peace, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan set up CPS International and Islamic Centre and prepared a team of Ambassadors of Peace to spread the message of peace to the world.
Original Headline: Universal message of Christmas
Source: The Times of India
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