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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Iligan City, Philippines | December 25, 2017

Don’t misunderstand me for I don’t aim to encourage my brothers in Islam to venerate Christmas as a way of life, maybe religious or traditional. I just want to bring out one universal point -- the universal aspiration for peace and harmony.

There is no Christmas in Islam. We believe it is wrong. But many of us Muslims still join our Christian friends in its celebration, or commemoration, whatever you may call it. They greet them “Merry Christmas.” Sometimes, they visit them on their yuletide parties and exchange gifts with them, and, to the exceedingly moderate Muslims, drink with them. But every Muslim believes Christmas is no more than a symbolic commemoration of the birth of Jesus, the Savior, introduced by the post-Christ Romans.

All these many Muslims do, not because they believe in Jesus (or, to the Muslims, Isa, peace be upon him) as among the most revered prophets of Allah whose life should be emulated, but, in order to show solidarity with the Christians, and, in general, the entire humanity, for the sake of peace, unity and harmony so that they can live side by side peacefully and harmoniously with each other to make the world a better place to live in.

It does not only show respect and understanding by the Muslims of other beliefs and practices even if they are contrary to their own. It also shows that Muslims respect the ways of life of others, especially other lives and properties. Thus, Islam is a universal religion and Muslims can live in peace with others. And if each of mankind has the same way of respect for other’s faiths and practices, there is no reason why we cannot make this earth a better planet for all.

In this Yuletide Season, and the New Year to come, may the spirit of peace and harmony reign in our entire midst.

To the Christians, my warmest greetings: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. (RSP)

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