JAKARTA - Indonesia's largest Islamic organization has urged people to avoid saying Christmas wishes, referring to their religious and ritual nature.
It's better if they don't say Merry Christmas,' Ma'ruf Amin, Chairman of the Indonesia Ulemas Council (MUI), was quoted as saying by Jakarta Globe, Al Arabiya reported.
It's still up for debate whether it's halal or haram, so better steer clear of it. But you can say Happy New Year.
The Christian holiday has always been part of the yearly December discussions tackled by Muslim scholars in Indonesia.
Referring to the celebrations religious nature, Indonesia's top Muslim scholars' body said that it is best for Muslims to avoid saying greetings such as Merry Christmas to others.
According to the council's fatwa, it is Haram for Muslims to attend Christmas parties or celebrations.
The MUI has issued an edict forbidding Muslims from attending such rituals, because they are religious in nature, Ma'ruf was quoted as saying.
It would be haram for any Muslims to take part, he added
Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim state with Muslims making up around 85 percent of its 237-million population.
Christians, both Protestants and Catholics, make up nearly 12 percent of the country's population.
Christmas is the main festival on the Christian calendar.
Its celebrations reach its peak at 12:00 PM on December 24 of every year.
On the other hand, the country's second largest Muslim organization allowed greetings for Christians to keep peace in the society.
If it's just a matter of the greeting, that's not forbidden, Din Syamsuddin of Muhammadiyah said.
However, he advised Muslims to not say Merry Christmas, adding that they should respect the rights of Christians from all over the world to celebrate it.
We hope that all Muslims will respect the celebration of Christmas and help to keep peace [at churches] during the occasion, he said.
Muslims believe in Jesus as one of the great Prophets of God and that he is the son of Mary but not the Son of God. He was conceived and born miraculously.
In the Noble Qur'an, Jesus is called "Isa". He is also known as Al-Masih (the Christ) and Ibn Maryam (Son of Mary).
As for his crucifixion, Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified but was lifted up to heaven.
Muslims believe that Jesus will come back to earth before the end of time to restore peace and order, fight the Anti-Christ (Al-Masih Al-Dajjal) and bring victory for truth and righteousness.
The true followers of Jesus will prevail over those who deny him, misrepresent him and reject him.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net