The Maslaha argument against Christmas festivities.

“O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.” [Holy Qur’an 7:31]- Sahih International Translation

“O Children of Adam! wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and drink: But waste not by excess, for Allah loveth not the wasters.” [Holy Qur’an 7:31]- Yusuf Ali

Though this particular article is not proof established against Christmas -as we have already addressed it, it is strong evidence against Christmas practices.

So you could make an argument against the idea of practicing Christmas altogether based on this.

I also want to say that Muslims generate unnecessary waste during Ramadan as well as during the Eid Al Adha as well.

Paper cups and paper plates are often used by Masjids as something convenient and disposable during the breaking of the fast.

There certainly is much waste that happens during Ramadan and rest assured there is no barakah in that.

So inshAllah as we get closer to Ramadan, Allah willing and the creek don’t rise I’ll be sure to address that.

However, as we are still in the “Christmas season” I thought it would make sense to share the maslahah argument against practicing Christmas.

Maslahah is a tool in Islamic jurisprudence which means: public interest is a concept regarded as a basis of law by some schools of jurisprudence. It is understood as the prohibition or the permission to do a thing according to the necessity and particular circumstances, on the basis of whether it serves the public interest of the Muslim community.

The last part should be changed to ‘on the basis of whether it serves the public interest of humanity.’

Here is an interesting article on the ecological impact that Christmas celebrations have.

https://www.housebeautiful.com/uk/lifestyle/eco/a1158/recycle-christmas-waste/

“When you’re looking up at the frosty sky tonight, be aware that UK households will be throwing away more than 277,000 miles of Christmas wrapping paper – that’s enough to stretch to the moon.”

By the way that is just U.K households.

“Waste collection company, Biffa, also estimates that we create 30 per cent more rubbish than usual at this time of year, using more than 300,000 tonnes of card and sending more than 100 million bags of garbage to landfill.”

Again that is only the U.K.

Around six million real Christmas trees will end up in landfill, according to Fresh Start waste management company. These will take years to decompose, releasing methane, which is said to have 25 times the potency of carbon dioxide. Your local council may run a recycling scheme which takes trees and turns them into wood chippings and compost to be used on parks and gardens. Find out about tree recycling schemes in your area by entering your postcode into the Recycling Locator at recyclenow.com Or try the charity Just Helping, which collects trees on behalf of hospices and other charities. Artificial trees can’t be recycled, but charity shops or voluntary organisations may welcome them.”

Actually artificial trees and throwing your real trees in landfills are both very bad ideas.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/dec/08/are-real-or-fake-christmas-trees-better-for-the-planet

” It is the manufacture of the plastic tree, from oil, which creates most of its carbon footprint; around two thirds, according to Dr John Kazer of the Carbon Trust. Another quarter is created by the industrial emissions produced when the tree is made. They are also often shipped long distances before arriving in the shop and then your home.”

A 6.5ft artificial tree has a carbon footprint equivalent to about 40kg of greenhouse gas emissions – which is more than twice that of a real tree that ends its life in landfill and more than 10 times that of a real tree which is burnt. Most local authorities now offer a collection service for real trees which they shred and use on gardens and parks – the greenest way to dispose of your real tree.”

“A real tree that is recycled – by chipping – or is kept growing in a pot or the garden, can have negligible or even negative emissions, according to Kazer. But a 6.5ft tall real tree could result in a carbon footprint of 16kg CO2 if it ends up in landfill because the tree decomposes and produces methane gas – which is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2.”

According to National Geographic: “70 percent of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests, and many cannot survive the deforestation that destroys their homes.”

Look at this. This is so cute and sad at the same time.

Here are 9 animals that literally can’t live without their “Christmas trees.”

Not to mention insects and insect colonies and other flaura and fauna.

https://www.thedodo.com/animals-and-christmas-trees-885506984.html

Now there will be some immediate push back to what is being said here. People will argue that natural Christmas trees are primarily produced on farms ….primarily mind you.

So they argue that if you go such tree farms they produce more trees than what is cut down. You have to wonder about row upon row of spruce or pine trees with little to nothing else growing along side it is very likely not producing the same level of species variation, not at all.

The other point is as mentioned not all those trees are purchased every Christmas, some grow too tall for a home or have to much width. So guess what happens? Are those trees left to grow and grow? No, not when there is money to be made. They get cut down.

So what is the real environmental cost when we factor disposing of these trees, including equipment usage, the use of fertilizer and pesticide as well as the usage of water for irrigation?

You also have to take into consideration of economic factors on why people may make arguments one way or another. For example for the U.K and the United States it would make sense to argue for tree farming and or exploitation of forest which benefits the local economy rather than import artificial trees from China, which benefits the Chinese economy.

So often not only are economic considerations taken into account when a person makes an argument on behalf of these ‘tree farms’ but also consider that they maybe Greenwashing. Yes, greenwashing like whitewashing something but we call it ‘green washing‘.

Like when the scientific American called out the Christmas Tree industry here:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/greenwashing-green-energy-hoffman/

This was another fascinating article again the focus is solely on the U.K let alone the United States and other nations.

https://www.phswastekit.co.uk/blog/posts/20-11-2018/how-much-waste-does-the-festive-season-create

The impact upon the environment, the natural habitat, the utter and complete waste that is produced all so that for one day or for a couple of days one can marvel at this:

Is it necessary? What about those Christians who celebrated Christmas all over the globe that lived no where near such forest? How did they celebrate Christmas?

Mind you this tree becomes a focal point, not the cross, and not Jesus. Not what I am going to give but what I am going to get.

Is it beautiful? I think it is. It is aesthetically pleasing. I think it is. Is it necessary giving the situation that our world is facing? No, it is not necessary, nothing in Christian theology necessitates that it is.

In fact some Christians who do not celebrate Christmas have used the following Biblical reference to warn their fellow Christians of this indulgence:

Thus says the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.” [Jeremiah 10:2-4]

Obviously this text is a reference to the times in which the Prophet Jeremiah lived but it is also a prophetic book.

In fact it would be interesting for those of you reading here is a research paper idea for you. Those of you in comparative religion studies, or studying in university right now here you go. You can do a paper or research on religious holidays and their comparative environmental impacts.

There you go and you are welcome. You can always count on Prima-Qur’an to give you ideas for your research papers –

In closing It can be readily shown that the argument from Maslaha against Christmas festivities is very strong.

Hopefully some of our brothers from Ahl Sunnah Wal Jammah will use Maslaha to counter reckless fatwa’s that do not even put criteria or restrictions in as a clause.

There are many ways Muslims and Christians can establish close bonds and cordial relations together that do not have a destructive impact on the environment.

We don’t need to jointly blow up an iceberg together and say, “Look what we did together.”

May Allah [swt] guide us to what is beloved to Allah [swt].

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