In a Christmas and New Year’s message published in the ‘Trinidad Guardian’ (December 25th, 2005) the misguided head of the ASJA (an acronym for a Muslim Organization in Trinidad and Tobago) declared:
“Once more, as we approach the end of another year and the great event of Christmas, we join with the rest of society and particularly our brothers and sisters of the Christian faith in celebrating this joyous season. Certainly, the Muslim community recognizes the common beliefs and practices that we share and which are the embodiment of the respective faiths that are represented in this blessed country and emanate from the central doctrine of the fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of mankind.”
Although some time has passed since the publication of this strange statement, the leadership of ASJA appears to have made no effort to retract or modify it in any way. Nor has there been any response to it so far from the many scholars of Islam in this country, or from the leaders of the Muslim community. This could perhaps be so because many people, very sensibly, no longer read the daily newspapers. But it could also be the result of either unwillingness or incapacity on their part to recognize anything so profoundly wrong and dangerously misguided in that message as to warrant a response.
We choose to respond however, by directing attention to the signs of the Last Day as prophesied by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah Most High be upon him), in which he declared that “knowledge would be taken away” and that “the worst member of a tribe would become its leader”.
We live today in an age of such profound ignorance and such alarming misguidance that money is now being lent on interest (while disguising the transaction as a sale) from the very compound of the Masjid itself right here in the island of Trinidad. This continues to take place without any public response (that we are aware of) from those who ought to respond. It is therefore hardly surprising that in an age of such profound ignorance, a so-called Muslim leadership of an Islamic organization should publicly declare its intention to “join with the rest of society and particularly our brothers and sisters of the Christian faith in celebrating this joyous season … i.e., the great event of Christmas”. It is also hardly surprising that the declaration should go even further than that to make the absolutely false and dangerously misguided declaration that Islam possesses such a thing as a “central doctrine of the fatherhood of God”.
Certainly Islam requires of Muslims that they show respect for the Christian religion; and Islam also permits Muslims to establish fraternal relations of peace, friendship and mutual respect with Christians as well as with other non-Muslims (on the condition that they do not wage war on Islam, and do not support those who do so). But it is most certainly not the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to join with Christians in the celebration of Christmas, or with Jews in the celebration of Hanukkah, or with Hindus in the celebration of Divali, or with the godless world in the celebration of Halloween, etc.
If the leadership of the ASJA wishes to join with Christians in celebrating Christmas, and if we cannot persuade them to desist from such, then we should at least attempt to direct the members of the ASJA to the Sunnah of the blessed Prophet (peace be upon him), and that is the primary purpose of this response of ours.
The ASJA statement went on to describe Allah Most High as “father”. Such a description of the One true God constitutes in Islam a manifest falsehood and an act of blasphemy (Shirk) and it is the one sin that Allah Most High has declared that He would not forgive (if someone were to die without repenting for such a sin).
This writer has repeatedly pointed out to Muslims that the fundamental statement of the Inter-Religious Organization of Trinidad and Tobago, i.e., the belief in the fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man, constitutes blasphemy since Allah Most High is not “father”!
He now considers it to be his duty to the members of the ASJA, who are his dear brothers in Islam, to write to urge them to do the following:
• Firstly they should immediately and publicly dissociate themselves for their own good from that statement concerning a so-called central doctrine of Islam of “the fatherhood of God”; and they should also very politely refrain from joining with people of other faiths in the celebration of Christmas, Hanukkah, Divali, Halloween, etc.;
• Secondly they should take appropriate steps to ensure that their misguided leaders are made to recognize the great sin they commit when they declare “the fatherhood of God” to be a “central doctrine of Islam”.
• If the members of ASJA do not respond appropriately to the statement made by their own leaders, then they also, and not just their leaders, would be held responsible for that Shirk on Judgment Day. Now it is quite true that Muslims and Christians share certain common beliefs such as:
– Jesus was born of a virgin mother;
– he was the true Messiah;
– he performed many miracles;
– the Israelites were denounced for their wickedness;
– they conspired to crucify him;
– Allah Most High raised him unto Himself;
– Jesus will one day return to rule the world with justice (from Jerusalem);
– his return would result in the triumph of truth over falsehood and justice over injustice in the world;
– his return would bring an end to history;
– most Muslims as well as Christians believe that his triumphant Messianic return is now imminent, etc.
But we hasten to point out that Islam most certainly does not share with Christianity the belief in a so-called “central doctrine of the fatherhood of God.”
The Qur’an has described Abraham (peace be upon him), for example, as “your father”, but it has never so described Allah Most High. On the contrary, it has specifically declared in Surah al-Ikhlas that Allah is not ‘father’:
“Say He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; and there is none like unto Him.”
(Qur’an, al-Ikhlas, 112-1-4)
The words beget and begotten are now hardly ever used and so it is necessary that we explain these terms. When a woman is in labor she would give birth to a child. But the man whose seed was in her womb would beget that child. Only a man begets a child, and when he does so he becomes a father. A woman, on the other hand, does not beget a child; rather she gives birth to a child, and when she does so she becomes a mother.
And so, when the Qur’an declares of Allah Most High that He begets not, what it means is that:
• Allah does not father a child,
• Allah has not fathered a child,
• Allah would never father a child, and, hence, that
• Allah is not father,
• Allah was never father, and that
• Allah would never be father.
And when the Qur’an goes on to declare that He, Allah, was not begotten, the implication is that:
• Allah is not born as the child of any father,
• Allah was never born as the child of any father, and that
• Allah would never be born as the child of any father.
The Qur’an has specifically declared that He (Allah Most High) does not father any child, nor was He born as the child of any father, and it has done so to expose the falsehood of the (Christian) belief in ‘the fatherhood of God’. Most Christians believe that God, the father, begat a son and that ‘Jesus is the only begotten son of that father’. The Qur’an responds to such false beliefs with very harsh language indeed:
“No (proper) knowledge have they of Him (when they assert such a thing about Allah Most High), and neither had their forefathers: dreadful is this saying that comes out of their mouths; (and) nothing but falsehood do they utter!”
(Qur’an, al-Kahf, 18:5)
No one has the freedom, no matter how well-intentioned, to ascribe to Allah Most High such false names and attributes as ‘father’ that they themselves create. That is a very grave sin indeed. Rather Allah Most High has Himself provided all His beautiful names (al Asma al-Husnah) in the Qur’an, and ‘father’ is most certainly not one of them, and can never be one of them. Neither is Allah Most High father, nor can He be even compared with father, since He is incomparable. Indeed elementary common sense reveals that He cannot be father since, although He created both the male and the female, He is neither male nor female. While the English word ‘He’ connotes masculinity, the Arabic word Huwa does not! The ‘moon’, al-Qamar, for example, is in the masculine gender in Arabic and yet is never considered to be male.
We have used only one reference from the Qur’an in order to expose the falsehood of the description of Allah Most High as ‘father’. There are many more verses of the Qur’an on this subject which can be quoted if that necessity should arise. But we do not anticipate that such would be the case. This response should suffice for all those whose hearts long for true guidance and the straight path (al-Sirat al-Mustaqim).