In the Name of God, the Compassionate and Dispenser of Grace
Claremont Main Road Mosque Christmas Message 2016
The Claremont Main Road Mosque sends greetings of peace and well wishes to all our Christian compatriots and friends on this joyous occasion of Christmas.
In Islam, both Mary and Jesus are held in the highest esteem and are greatly revered and admired for their virtues. The Glorious Qur’an confirms the significance of the day of the birth of Jesus (known in Arabic as`Isa). In a chapter of the Qur’an, named after his mother, Mary (or Maryam in Arabic), Jesus is documented as proclaiming:
“Peace was upon me the day I was born, and will be upon me the day of my death, and on the day I shall be raised to life (again).”
(Qur’an, Chapter 19, Verse 33)
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) also testified to the honoured position of Jesus and to the proximity of his own mission and message to that of the son of Mary. In a prophetic tradition (hadith), he is reported to have declared the following:
“I am close to Jesus the son of Mary, both in this world and in the hereafter. Prophets are brothers; their mothers may be different, but their religion is one.”
Christmas is a time when our Christian family, friends, and neighbours celebrate the birth of Jesus who emphasized the values of kindness, empathy, justice and goodness towards fellow beings – values that are dear to each one of us, regardless of our beliefs. One of the most frequently used words during the festive season is peace, and during this time the yearning for peace is intensified. We pray for peace with justice all over the world, and specifically in conflict zones such as Syria, Palestine and the Democractic Republic of the Congo.
In this spirit of peace and justice, we commend and express gratitude to the thousands of students at universities across South Africa who have re-awakened a spirit of activism by protesting for the right to free education and against structural socio-economic inequalities in a movement known as #FeesMustFall. This movement has bravely sought to redress systemic challenges of socio-economic exclusion and injustice. As part of their lament for an inclusive society, students have called for the decolonization of university spaces, the removal of symbols of oppression and colonialism from campuses, and a revision of the curriculum to include black thought and intellectual traditions.
May the coming year be one in which we offer greater support to our students in exercising their right to peaceful assembly, as is sacrosanct in South Africa’s democracy and enshrined in our constitution. Additionally, we pray that the non-violent protests and activism extends to exposing the moral decay in our country’s leadership and holding our leaders accountable for corruption and malfeasance. May we recommit ourselves to building a cohesive society that is free from hate, prejudice, and corruption.
We lament the increasing incidents of racism that continues to undermine noble attempts at building a cohesive society and we pray for a new society that is liberated from racism and prejudice and rooted in peace and justice for all. We pray that those who have enjoyed priviledges in our society make a sincere effort to listen to the margins of society and to strive towards justice.
May we devote ourselves to celebrating the good tidings of Christmas by practicing compassion, kindness, love, and forgiveness towards each other as this is the essence of the message of the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon both of them).
During this hallowed time, we pray that the Grace of God be with us, and that we are all inspired to use the highest aspirations of our spiritual traditions to attain social justice, to redouble our efforts in the struggle for dignity for all, and to strive for even greater harmonious relations between all people regardless of their worldview.
We pray that the New Year brings healing and peace to our suffering world and that we continue to strive towards the ideals of truth, justice and equality.
We wish you all a spiritually rejuvenating Christmas.
May the peace and joy of this season be with you always.
Imam of the Congregation Chairperson of the Board of Governors
Dr Rashied Omar Yusuf Abrahams