Holidays: Celebrating God or man?

Notes on Ergun Mehmet Caner and Emir Fethi Caner’s
Unveiling Islam
Chapter 10: Holy Days (A Calendar of Islamic Community)

“Christians must understand that Islamic holidays differ in both essence and meaning from the holy days that Christians observe.

First, and of most importance, Christian holidays remember divine interventions, while Islamic holidays are based upon human accomplishments. In Christianity, we celebrate Easter as the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and His completion of the sacrifice for our sins. In Islam, ‘Eid-ul-Adha celebrates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Ishmael, not Allah’s substitution of the ram in the thicket. In Christianity we celebrate [Christmas] the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ, for our redemption. Islam celebrates Mawlid al-Nabi, the birth date of Muhammad, their warrior. Christianity and Judaism recognize Passover as the work of God sparing the firstborn children of the Israelites. Muslims mark the end of their own personal sacrifice in Ramadan with ‘Eid-ul-Fitr. The complete inversion of the purpose of holy days cannot be overstated.

Second, the communal activities and meals celebrated in Islam are exclusively for Muslims. In Christian terminology, Muslims believe emphatically in “closed communion.” While Jews often make a point of inviting their Christian neighbors to celebrate Shabbat or the Passover Seder with them, non-Muslims (even if they are friends or family) are unwelcome at Muslim celebrations….

Christians take note: While we should understand Islamic customs, we can easily fall into syncretistic idolatry [by participating in Islamic prayer or other forms of Islamic worship that the Muslim considers a pledge of devotion to Allah]. Respecting other religious traditions enables us to witness more effectively. Validating their traditions waters down the gospel witness. We center our celebrations on the provision of the Lord, not on our personal endeavors.”

-Caner and Caner, Unveiling Islam, pages 159-160

Addendum (May 10, 2010): Ergun Caner’s testimony as a converted Muslim has been challenged by several bloggers who claim that he has grossly exaggerated the extent of his Muslim upbringing. Readers of this book ought to be aware that the Caners may or may not have the experiential knowledge of Islam that they claim to have, and should therefore be careful to test the statements found in this book against other reliable sources.

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