Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas – A Celebration of Capitalism

This is a transcript of a circle given in the past.

“The Jews & Christians will not be pleased with you until you follow their way” [TMQ 2: 120]

• Christmas – atmosphere everywhere, decorations, christmas trees, xmas gifts, parties, Santa claus even in non-Christian society as it is a celebration of Capitalism, not just a celebration of Christianity

On the eve of the mid-winter Christian festival of Christmas in 2002, the leader of the Anglican Church, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams in UK, bemoaned the decline of religion in Britain and urged that ‘morality’ guide life in Britain:

“We are still, in this country, at sea over what concrete moral content we want to see in our children’s education . . . Family continuity is rare, conventional religious practice is minimal, shared public activity unusual.”

Christian clergymen regularly vent their frustration at the decay of the family unit and the decline in religious practice in Western Capitalist societies. The frustration is no doubt borne out of the fact that about half of the UK population say they have no religious affiliation and that only a very small minority attend Church.

Peter Brierley, the leading expert on church attendance in Britain, suggested that Christian life will be all but dead in 40 years with less than 0.5% of the population attending a church service. A recent survey showed that a staggering 14 % of the UK population did not even know who Jesus [Isa (as)] was.

While December 25 was a celebration of the Christian Trinity of, “The Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost” it has been conveniently superseded by the Secular Trinity of escapism, consumerism and materialism. This is not all that surprising given that Christmas was instituted in place of the popular Roman pagan festival, the “Day of the Invincible Sun (Des Sol Invictus)”, at the winter solstice. Christmas is therefore an apt time of celebration not only for Christians, but also for agnostics, atheists and secular pagans alike.

The domination of the Capitalist ideology around the globe has meant that Christmas has become yet another outlet for materialism. Western societies plagued by spiritual and political voids have made Christmas yet another opportunity to anaesthetise the masses with desire for the inconsequential, materialism and greed. The anaesthetised masses forget about the starving Ethiopians and the impending butchery of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

Now is not the time to dwell on these issues. Now is the time for treating oneself and ones loved ones. So food, booze, party clothes, CDs and DVDs are bought in a month long shopping fest. The Family Welfare Association estimates that a family on average income spends £564 on trimmings (food, drink and decorations) on Christmas day alone. According to Switch, the debit card company, each person spends on average £862 around this period. Britain notches up £10 billion worth of debt on a credit-card bonanza.

In Britain, Christmas is supposedly a heart-warming festival that brings an atmosphere of cheer and goodwill in a climate that is harsh at the best of times. And these are not the best of times. Western liberal values have left three million children in the UK living a life of poverty. There are more than 200,000 crack cocaine addicts, with moves afoot to introduce drug testing for ten-year-olds. Street crime, murder and rape continue to be on the increase as freedom goes on the rampage. Thousands have lost their jobs in the pension’s industry while the pension schemes themselves have been shown to be nothing more than a scam. It turns out that people will have to work until they are seventy-years-old and still retire to a life of poverty. The elderly are dumped in care homes for Christmas by children who have become obsessed with Capitalist values that know no humanity. Western societies have turned into jungles of wild animals in which the strong devour the weak and man degenerates to the level of the animal. People in Western societies make the issue of attaining as much physical enjoyment as possible their only concern. The Capitalist ideology considers this as the peak of happiness, despite the fact that these societies know not even the slightest taste of happiness.

In this climate, Christmas has become no more than an unholy celebration for the Trinity of Secularism. The Church believes in secularism- i.e. the creed of detaching “religion” from life, a creed that is a compromise between two contradictory ideas; the idea which the clergy used to call for in Medieval times, namely the submission of everything in this life to “religion”, i.e. Christianity and the idea which some thinkers and philosophers called for, namely the denial of the existence of a Creator. Western societies are built on the idea of the detachment of “religion” from life - a compromise solution between these two sides. A compromise solution is conceivable between two similar views where there is some disparity, but it is inconceivable to exist between two contradictory views. Either there is a Creator who created man, the universe and life or there is no Creator and accordingly religion would not be detached from worldly life but rather would be rejected from it completely.

The Church accepted that the affairs of life be “rendered unto Caesar” and that God be relegated to Sunday if that. The Psalms, Romans and Corinthians may be the recognised text for the Sunday sermon but Machiavelli, Rousseau and Hobbes are the required text for the rest of the week, for both parishioner and preacher alike.

Therefore mankind became arrogant enough as worshippers at the altar of Capitalism to believe that they were in the best position to determine the shape – not only of their own lives – but also the direction of the whole society. They set initial limits but introduced all kinds of freedoms as a precursor to the evolving society. The state would not set laws in stone to govern human existence - human organisation was deemed an elastic model that changes according to the needs of the people. So it was only natural for Christmas, which has its origins in Roman paganism, to become a mere outlet for the celebration of the Capitalist way of life.

Islam, on the other hand, is built on the decisive rational evidence that there is a Creator Who created man, the universe and life, and that this Creator has prescribed a system for man to follow in this life and He will account him after death on his adherence to this system. Islam organised the instincts and needs of man in a way that ensures their satisfaction. However, this was not done at the expense of some over others, or by suppressing or setting others loose, or setting all of them loose. Instead, Islam has coordinated all of them and satisfied them through a precise system that produces delight and comfort for man and prevents him from lapsing to the level of the animal.

The celebration of Christmas and the Christian New Year are part of the Western culture that is imposed on Muslims so that Muslims accept Christian worships and rituals, believe in the equality of Islam and Christianity and thereby reduce Islam to mere spiritualistic rituals conducted in the places of worship and a few pages in books of history. This is the vision espoused by Western politicians for Muslims when they call for a “European Islam”:

The mid-winter Christian festival of Christmas is yet another opportunity to encourage Muslims in the West to bow down at the altar of the Capitalist way of life. While Muslim children in schools are bombarded with nativity plays, Christmas carols and myths about Santa Claus and his reindeers, office workers are encouraged to exchange Christmas gifts and drown their sorrows with alcohol at Christmas parties. In the whole atmosphere of festivities some Muslims feel obliged to extend Christmas greetings to their neighbours, to exchange gifts, to attend Christmas parties and even to erect Christmas trees in their houses.

The celebration of Christmas or any of the holidays and occasions of the Kuffar is certainly Haram in Islam. Muslims are not permitted to celebrate them at all since it is considered an imitation of the Kuffar. Imitating the Kuffar in any of their religious affairs or in any gesture that distinguishes them is forbidden.

Al-Bukhari narrated in his Sahih that Abu Said Al-Khudri (ra) reported that the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:

“You will indeed follow the ways of those before you, hand span by hand span, and an arms length after another. Even if they enter into a lizard’s hole, you will follow them.”

We asked, “Is it the Jews and the Christians” He (Sallalahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied, “Who else!”

This hadith condemns the imitation of the Jews and the Christians. It is an evidence for the prohibition of imitating the Jews and the Christians in their religious occasions, symbols or any matter related to their belief. Celebrating Christmas is an act of imitation that is forbidden in Islam. The Messenger (Sallalahu Alaihi Wasallam) warned us against it.

At-Tirmidhi narrated that Ibn Abbas (ra) reported that the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:

“He is not one of us who imitates other than us. Do not imitate the Jews or the Christians.”

At-Tabarani and Abu Dawud narrated that Ibn Umar and Hudhaifah (ra) reported that the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:

“Whoever imitates a people, he is one of them.”

Furthermore, there are many Islamic evidences that forbid the Muslims from having holidays other than Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha. Al-Baihaqi reported in his Sunan that Anas bin Malik (ra) said: “When the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi Wasallam) came to Madinah, the people had two holidays from the days of Jahilliyah.” He (Sallalahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:

“When I came to you, you had two days which you used to celebrate in Jahilliyah. Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) has replaced them for you with better days, the days of slaughter (Adha) and the day of Fitr.”

Also Imam Ahmad in his Musnad reported that Uqbah bin Amir (ra) reported the Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi Wasallam) to have said:

“The day of Fitr and days of Tashriq are our holidays, the people of Islam.”

• These evidences are clear in forbidding the Muslims to have any Eid other than what Allah (swt) prescribed for them. Thus, they are not allowed to participate in or celebrate the holidays of the Kuffar and nor are they allowed to attend them, even if invited. Moreover, holidays, such as the New Year are filled with corruption and vice. Such occasions, where sins are committed and liquor is served, have become avenues to commit acts of fisq (disobedience). The official media uses its creativity to corrupt the tendencies and morals of the people by spreading the corrupt programmes that contain nothing but vice in order to eliminate any sign of purity and morality.

(24/12/05)

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