True, Islam is based on the fundamental principle of Oneness of God (Tauheed). Accordingly, associating any partners with God (Shirk) is the biggest sin in Islam. The Holy Quran preaches that God begets none and is not begotten. But is there “shirk” in wishing someone a happy Christmas?
Islam is the only faith (other than Christianity) that makes it mandatory for its followers to believe in the truth and divine mission of Jesus (on whom be peace). The Holy Quran teaches that Jesus (on whom be peace) was a true prophet of God. In this role, he was similar to other prophets viz. Prophet Adam, Prophet Abraham, Prophet Moses, Prophet David and Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all). Jesus (on whom be peace) was sent as the Messiah to the Children of Israel to reform and lead them spiritually.
Christmas is the supposed birthday (though this is debatable) of Jesus Christ. Millions of Christians around the world celebrate this day in different ways. How saying “happy birthday to Jesus” implies an agreement with the notion that he was son of God is beyond me? I believe this is a long over-stretch.
If saying Happy Christmas implies belief in Jesus’s godhead, so would saying the phrase “GoodBye”, originally “God be with ye” (http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/1505/what-is-the-origin-of-the-word-goodbye). You know of course what a Christian means by God when he uses the word – not Allah but Jesus, whom he believes to be son of God. Is saying GoodBye “haram” and equal to Shirk too?
Similarly, when a Christian says “God Bless you,” do we question what they mean by God and are we guilty of equating partners with Allah?
It is narrated that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) even allowed a delegation of 60 Byzantine Christians from Najran in Yemen to worship in his own mosque in Madinah. Lead by their bishop, they had come to discuss a number of issues with him. When time of their prayer came, they asked the Prophet’s permission to perform this in the mosque. He answered, “conduct your service here in the mosque. It is a place consecrated to God.” Did Prophet Muhamamd (pbuh) commit shirk (Nauzubillah) by allowing Christians to worship in his mosque, knowing that they believed Jesus (as) was son of God?
It is also argued that Christmas was originally a pagan celebration. It was adopted much later around three centuries after Christ and was meant to appease the pagans. History aside, how does a mere birthday wish imply that we have become pagan or followed a pagan ritual? Once upon a time, the pagans did Tawaaf around the Kaaba with 365 idols within its majestic walls. Even though I agree that the Kaaba was originally a House of the one true God, saying that wishing Merry Christmas makes one guilty of paganhood is simply ridiculous.
The names of the days of the week are based on pagan gods too – Sunday is Sun’s day, Monday is Moon’s day, etc. (http://www.crowl.org/lawrence/time/days.html) Is it shirk to say these names too? May be we should replace the names of pagan gods with our own and just call every day Allah’s Day?
Here’s my point. All that matters is your heart and Allah rewards all actions according to intentions. If your intention when wishing a fellow colleague, “Merry Christmas” is to admit Jesus’s partnership to godhead, you might as well not say it. My intention is to wish my fellow Christian friends and brethren a happy day and express my happiness on Jesus Christ’s miraculous birth. Other than spreading love and tolerance, I intend to read and study a full chapter from the Holy Quran dedicated to Hadhrat Maryam (Mary) (on whom be peace) on Christmas- Surah Maryam
“Oh but they drink alcohol and do other haram stuff on Christmas,” someone said on a forum I was discussing on. Well, just so you know, “they” do that everyday! Stay away from the “haraamland.”
GoodBye (God be with ye) and by God I mean Allah. Just saying!