Note: This article is an opinionated piece and expresses the personal views of the writer only.
The Debate Is Much Bigger Than Wishing Christians Christmas Or Not
Pakistan – a country that earned independence after blood and sweat of our ancestors, who fought for this land for years. No matter how many plays or dramas we direct to show how Pakistan gained independence, none of them will be enough to shed light on the amount of horrible sacrifices the people of sub-continent went through to get this piece of land. While many think that Pakistan was only about Muslims, many ignore how we inhibited a number of Sikhs and other minorities who wanted to be a part of our country as well.
Pakistan achieved independence on the 14th of August 1947. The flag of the country was coined on 11th August 1947, 3 days before the historical event marked its presence in the history of nations. Years later, today, the Pakistanis have forgotten what this flag actually symbolizes.
The Meaning Of Pakistan’s Flag
The green color in Pakistan’s flag holds majority area in the flag, depicting the majority part of the nation, which is Muslims. On the other hand, the white strip depicts the minority religions that were and still are a part of Pakistan since independence took place. The crescent and star show light and progress. If you take the meaning of the flag just in the literal terms, it signifies the importance of both, the majority and the minorities to gain progress and prosperity; hand in hand, this is what Pakistan’s founding fathers imagined.
Years down the lane, the extremist Pakistan fails to understand the rights of the minorities, and the only representation they have left is on the flag of this country itself.
Among the minorities, Christianity happens to be a very common religion practiced in our country. There are a number of well-established and highly reputable missionary institutes that were founded in Pakistan years ago. As a Muslim who has studied in these institutes for six years, let me tell you what it is really like studying with Christians:
Christians In Pakistan Respect Your Festivals
There is always a debate on social media whether you should wish Christians “Merry Christmas” or not. Keeping all the religious notions aside for a while, Christians will always wish you on your religious days. There is no hate in them – there are no religious obligations they feel they have on them that they must abide with when it comes to wishing us Muslims.
Studying with Christians for years, they respect our religious observations. They do not eat in front of us during Ramadan. They celebrate Jummah by wearing shalwar kameez even when they do not have to offer their prayer. They indulge in religious conversations to know what happens in our religion. I have even come across Christians who had more knowledge about Islam than many of us do, sadly.
It is more than just wishing them a Merry Christmas.
Religion Has Started To Divide Us, But God Wants Us To Love Each Other
Whether you are a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu or a follower of any other religious belief, every religion eliminates hate. Every religion tells you how you need to accept someone’s beliefs. Christians and Muslims make more than 50% of the entire world population.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) Commanded the Muslim Ummah to Protect the Christians
A St. Catherine’s Monastery in 628 AD came to our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and asked for protection. As a response, Prophet SAW granted them their charter of rights:
The Promise to St. Catherine:
“This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.
Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.
No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses.
Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.
No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants.
No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).”
Today, we are torn in our own religious beliefs, discarding what our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) preached and not caring about the ideology of this country. We no longer care about the minorities and their basic rights that were given to us 1400 years ago through our religion and 67 years ago through the foundations of Pakistan.