'Tis The Season to Be Jolly ...and Muslim!
by Reem Faruqi • Dec. 20, 2011 •
It's that time of year again. Christmas music is playing on the radio and the telly, and every single shop out there is having a fancy shmancy Holiday Sale. I've often been wished, "Merry Christmas!" at this time of year by students, parents of students, clerks, and more.
During the Christmas season, it can be easy to join in the Christmas festivities. It is normal to participate in Secret Santa at work, to send your school child money to donate to the poor children who need Christmas presents, and to be able to sing Christmas carols under your breath at any given time. Hey, 'tis the season to be jolly, right?
As Muslims, we sometimes tend to think it is fine to participate just a little in Christmas activities if needed to blend in with the mainstream population. I am guilty of the above. I realized I was guilty when I taught 2nd grade in a public school and I had an adorable Jehova's witness child in my class. When you teach in a classroom where almost everyone believes in Christmas, with the exception of a lone few, it is no wonder the lone few want to blend in with the rest and "do" Christmas, too. Similar to the Muslim-Blending-In-With-Mainstream-Population dilemma! Alas, my adorable Jehova's Witness student was driven by temptation and borrowed a library book on Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends celebrating Christmas. This furtive-book-borrowing would have gone unnoticed by me were it not for the note I received the next day. If you're a teacher, you know that sometimes you dread reading 'The Parent Note.'
The aforementioned Parent Note was not bad at all, and just said Please Do Not have Adorable-Jehova-Witness borrow any books from the library that are about Christmas. I was impressed by this mom's adherence to her faith, especially over a matter that may seem trivial, a library book. Lesson learned: Be proud of what you believe in.
It is wonderful to learn about other religions. Yet at the same time, it is oh-so-important to be proud of your faith and not compromise your beliefs: Yes, 'Tis the season to be jolly, but you can be Jolly, Muslim, and not "do" Christmas.
I am a freelance writer and photographer who loves to doodle, write about, and capture the little unnoticeable things in life. Through my art medium of pencils, paint, potting soil, and pixels, I thrive. I am also a teacher and have taught 2nd grade in Fulton County Schools in Atlanta, Georgia for 4 years. I am currently a Stay-At-Home-Mom to a _ month old toddler(she was born in June 2010---you can do the math!) who is exploring my creative outlet via the aforementioned 4 P's on www.reemfaruqi.com.