A Merry Muslim Christmas an American-Muslim, I Was Taught to Love and Revere Jesus Christ. and I Do
Hassaballa, Hesham A, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)
I am a first-generation American Muslim, born of Egyptian parents. Thus, growing up, never once did I decorate a Christmas tree in my house. Never once did I exchange gifts with my family on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. Never once did I decorate our house with Christmas lights. For me, Christmas Day was just like any other day -- except that it was quite boring because everything was closed.
But I did grow up with Jesus Christ in my life.
I was taught that Jesus Christ was "God's word communicated unto Mary, and a spirit emanating from him." I was taught that Jesus was strengthened with the "Holy Spirit." I was raised to believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, Mary, and that he spoke in the cradle.
With God's permission, Jesus cured lepers and the blind, and he raised the dead to life. Christ was a "symbol [of God's grace] unto all people," and he will be "held in honor in this world and the Hereafter, and in [the company of] those nearest to God."
All this, and I never once opened a Bible for worship or scriptural study. That is because this was all in the Quran:
"Lo! The angels said: 'O Mary! Behold, God sends thee the glad tiding of a Word from Him, [a son] who shall become known as the Christ Jesus, son of Mary, of great honor in this world and in the life to come, and [shall be] of those who are drawn near unto God." (3:45)
"We vouchsafed unto Jesus, the son of Mary, all evidence of the truth, and strengthened him with the Holy Spirit." (2:87)
"And [remember Mary] who guarded her chastity, whereupon We breathed into her of Our spirit and caused her, together with her son, to become a symbol [of Our grace] unto all people." (21:91)
This is just a smattering of the record of Jesus Christ in the Quran. Christ, in fact, is mentioned more by name in the Quran than is the Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet himself has said: "Both in this world and in the Hereafter, I am the nearest of all people to Jesus, the son of Mary. …