Yesterday, a number of my alumni were wishing everyone “Eid Ul Aza” or “Eid Mubarak” or similar. November 6, 2011 is associated with an Islāmic festival, sometimes called Eid al-Adha. Essentially, Muslims contend that it was Yishmael who Avraham Avinu was commanded to sacrifice on the Akeyda. They celebrate this act of faith with a feast and wish each other Eid Mubarak. I had discussed this issue in the past with some of my more open-minded alumni, and one of them said “forget who it was, just celebrate an act of extreme faith”.
I have always considered religious festivals to be a private matter. It never made sense to me that someone should wish me a Happy Chanukah anymore than I would wish them a Merry Xmas. To be sure, Muslims are not considered בעלי עבודה זרה and so the issue in this instance is somewhat different from a halachic point of view. On the other hand, this particular festival grated on me because it was contradicted by all ancient sources.
We contend that it was Yitzchak who was on the Akeyda. Even if some Muslims seemingly acknowledge that Yitzchak was also charged to be on the Akeyda with Avraham, I always viewed that as apologetic and a cop-out.
So what does one say, if anything? In the end I settled on “Enjoy your feast”. Is that kosher in the spirit of שלום?
What do you say when someone wishes you Merry Xmas? In the case of Roman Catholics Xmas is עבודה זרה.
Do you feel uncomfortable if someone wishes you Happy Chanukah? Are you as über sensitive as me?
I admit that I am overly sensitive. Towards the end of the year, our office is bedecked with Xmas decorations. I feel uncomfortable just entering the office at that time, and avoid doing so at all costs. I don’t so much care if someone pays for and displays their own personal decorations, but I do not care for University money being used for one particular religion. Are my views too extreme?