Sunday, December 28, 2014

End of the Year: Celebration of Vanity

December - the month of revelry

The end of the Gregorian year is drawing to a close; everyone is so busy, so much that he forgets his own soul. December is a month of great temptations. Everyone is preparing for the end of year party, because the fun and entertainment are paramount whatever the circumstance, as an excuse just to relax after a long year of hard and stressful job.

Joy or excitation reigns in the atmosphere especially when people have a lot of money. It’s time to spend the hard-earned money. Like you know, the last month of the year allows officials, employees and workers to receive their bonuses or their rewards. So they feel a desire to buy, spend. But buy what? All they have under the eyes, little everything and nothingness. This is a first sign of temptation. They buy clothes and expensive footwear, alcoholic beverages that cost thousands of rupees, they organize parties, banquets, open buffets that cost a fortune. They buy firecrackers and fireworks at very high prices. Everyone thinks to do more than the other, if not to compete for more glory.

As for the merchant/seller, he is there to attract customers and to satisfy their needs as much as possible. Often, the (market) place (or place where the sales are being done) is invaded by loud music or songs that wreck the ears. We find the men and women mixed, especially in very narrow places. Many of these Muslim traders do not perform Salat (prayer) or do not close their stores for Salat-ul-Jummah (Friday prayers); for the simple reason of not losing a single client and not to leave any money to escape from their crates.

'Celebrating' Christmas

The Christmas festival, which was only a legend for some time, became international and is even practiced in many religions. The emphasis is on the Fir tree, Christmas tree, symbolizing the tree of paradise. It is decorated with balls of all colours, garlands and small lamps, in such a way to make the wonder of the eyes and to reinforce this party atmosphere. This festival symbolizes the birth of Jesus at midnight on December 24-25. As for Santa Claus, his role is to distribute gifts: toys, dolls, candy for the good and obedient children.

The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years to a monk named St. Nicolas. The general thought is that Nicolas was born 280 years AD in Patara, near Myra in modern Turkey. Admired for his piety and kindness, St. Nicolas became the subject of many legends. It is said that he gave all his inherited wealth and travelled the countryside helping the poor and the sick. Over many years, the popularity of Nicolas spread far and wide and he became the protector of children and sailors. His festival is celebrated on the anniversary of his death on 6 December. This was traditionally considered a lucky day to make large purchases or to get married.

At the time of the Renaissance, St. Nicolas was the most popular saint in Europe. He made his first eruption/entrance into American popular culture in the late 18thcentury. The name Santa Claus evolved from Dutch Sinter Klass, a shortened form of Sint Nikolass (the Dutch name for Saint Nicolas). Changes in the name of Saint-Nicolas have been gradually included in the Christmas celebrations. The story of Santa Claus is therefore invented from scratch. Associated with him is the marvellous, magical, fantastical, in the same line as fairy tales.

Today this concept is so ingrained in the imaginary of the child who is completely disoriented, when he learns while growing up that all along this concept was a lie. The reality is hard to accept for a child. But while growing, cherishing the memories of their childhoods dear to their hearts, these children agree in turn on becoming grown-ups/adults to perpetrate this false notion to their children hoping to give them a bit of joy while knowing the false notion of the existence of Santa Claus. In this way a non-Christian festival and which is harmful and contrary to the teachings of Jesus has taken root in the heart of Christians who without realizing it are offending their religion. Today it is the same with Muslims who accept to please their children by agreeing to celebrate Christmas for them, and play the role of Santa Claus as do the parents of classmates of their offspring. It is very wrong in Islam to get caught in the traps of Satan’s temptations that invite believers to abandon their true beliefs.

After Christmas, the New Year’s party is welcomed with great fervour and enthusiasm. For most people, this opportunity is very significant because it is widely believed that it shall bring happiness and prosperity the following year. At night, the 31th December, many festivals are organized with music, songs, dances, drinks, and fireworks etc. The most important for these people is that they are ‘amuse’ themselves completely. These people confirm their misleading ideology through these words (the reason they give): “We need to have fun in this world as long as we live.”

Lure of the Satans and the Faith

Islam as a divine religion, the only true religion that exists on earth, announces that our purpose in this world is to worship Allah, our only Lord and submit to His commandments. 

This world is certainly a prison for the believer and a paradise for infidels. New Year celebrations, Christmas Eve, alcoholic drink, music, dancing etc. are all works of Satan to divert people from the right path. Billions of rupees are thrown in games of chance, in fireworks and so on, while Islam forbade us wastages and overspending. But of all the most serious question is the following: Does the Muslim know that Christmas and New Year does not concern us? How can it be that many Muslims are ignoring the law of Allah and His commands?

Implications of Blind Imitations

Allah tells us clearly that the one to imitate the infidels in their festivals, rites or gestures, is certainly one of them. “O you who believe, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are (in fact) allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you – then indeed, he is (one) of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.” (5: 52).

Let every believer ponder serious over this, before it’s too late. Let him disavows with all his heart all these deceptions that take him away from his Iman (faith). Let him become aware of these dangers in the course of his life and whose aim is to drive him to his destruction. We say all that Allah has commanded us to say:

“Say, “O disbelievers, I do not worship what you worship. Nor are you worshippers of what I worship. Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship. Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship. For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.” (109: 2-7).

Let us give the best example for our children, dear parents. Let’s us not be ashamed to fully practice our religion. Let us spend in Allah’s way to help the needy, the poor or fund charitable projects and avoid spending that will cause the wrath of Allah Almighty. We ask Allah to guide us and keep us on the right path. Ameen.

 - Friday Sermon of 19 December 2014 ~(26 Safar 1436 Hijri) delivered by the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius

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