If 2020 has taught us anything it is that compassion for other human beings was our greatest struggle and our greatest achievement as humanity. We may have empathy, an innate ability to feel for another person, but to help another person reach their potential, or give away our selfish nature in order to provide for another is a struggle we must all live with and work on.
“Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.” They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” Allah said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.” [Qur’an, 2:30]
To some it is a religious festival, to others it’s a cultural holiday, both filled with gift giving, joy, family, lights, peace, and hope for better days ahead.
To me Christmas was when my journey in believing in miracles started.
My favorite memory of Christmas growing up was a specific Christmas Eve, when I drew something on a piece of paper. I drew a colorful teddy with lots of circles and ovals on it and prayed really hard to get it. I don’t remember telling my mom what I was going to draw or whether we had any discussions prior in regards to it (I could easily be forgetting) but she said, “Pray and maybe you will get it, In’shaa’Allah”. So I drew it and asked my parents to ask Santa (from Gymkhana Club) to bring it for me the next morning – I was really worried it wouldn’t be possible as my demand was so late in the making but I just kept praying for it. The next morning the exact replica (to a child’s eye) of my drawing was In front of me in the form of a styrofoam puzzle. I was in absolute disbelief. How could it have been that accurate? Now it’s quite possible I saw it somewhere and subconsciously drew it. But that moment to me as a child was so awe inspiring, it struck me with such intensity, that I couldn’t not start believing in the impossible. I remember it so vividly like it was yesterday because it was the moment I started believing in miracles – well also that I had ESP – but from then on the beauty of miracles was forever etched in my heart. I knew Santa wasn’t real, I knew that Christmas wasn’t my religious holiday, but a way for my parents to teach me about my favorite Prophet and Messiah, Jesus (PBUH) and Mother Mary (PBUH) – tenets of Islam that I had to learn more about in order to be Muslim. But that particular Christmas taught me so much more.
It was beyond anything I had experienced as a kid. That day I experienced magic. I experienced something impossible. So I hope and pray that no matter how I manage to bring up my kids, I end up sharing some of that magic with them. Their little piece of joy and the intense belief in the impossible, In’shaa’Allah. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
“So she pointed to him. They said, “How can we speak to one who is in the cradle a child?” [Jesus] said, “Indeed, I am the servant of Allah . He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet. And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and zakah as long as I remain alive And [made me] dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me a wretched tyrant. And peace is on me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive” [Qur’an 29:33]
Ever wondered why the followers of Islam are called Muslims?
“Islam” is derived from the Arabic word “sal’m” which. literally means peace. When the “Mu” prefix is attached to a root word in Arabic (in this case sa’lm), the resulting noun means “a person who does that particular thing”.
A Muslim is someone who submits with peace in their heart, having complete Tawakkul (trust in God’s plans) in Allah (SWT) The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful.
Inner peace cannot be forced, so no one can force you to become a Muslim, nor can they entice you. Intention of the heart along with proclamation of the faith is a requirement of being a Muslim.
“ Let there be no compulsion in religion…” [Qur’an 2:256]