At this time of the year, Muslims are often asked if we are permitted to say ‘Merry Christmas’ to our fellow non-Muslim acquaintances. In response to this, God says in the Holy Quran: “Allah forbids you not respecting those who have not fought against you on account of your religion… Allah loves those who are equitable.” (60:9). Islam teaches that Muslims must be respectful to people of all faiths and cultures; the Holy Quran prohibits discrimination of any sort numerous times.
For Ahmadi Muslims, this time of the year is a reminder to value and practice the teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who strived to develop and implement inter-faith harmony. More than 1400 years ago, the Prophet of Islam wrote the Charter of Medina, which guaranteed equal rights and freedom to Christians and Jews of that time. Within this covenant, he declared that the religious liberties of all Christians must be ensured by all Muslims:
“Christians are my citizens, and by God, I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. Their churches are to be respected. No one of the Muslims is to disobey this covenant till the Last Day.”
According to the teachings of Islam, Muslims are also further instructed to protect places of worship for people from other faiths, and to ensure freedom of religion for everyone. The practice of justice for all humanity is a fundamental component of the true teachings of Islam. Any Muslim acting contradictory to this does not follow the true teachings of Islam, and also acts against the teachings of the Prophet of Islam.
While Ahmadi Muslims don’t celebrate Christmas, the birth of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) is a significant event in the history of the world. During this Christmas season, we say to everyone celebrating – A Very Merry Christmas! We send a message of peace, unity and brotherhood to everyone. May peace and blessings of our Lord, be with you all. May we all continue to strive towards togetherness, and uplift our commonalities to spread love and peace.