The holiday season: I’m dreaming of a nasheed-filled Christmas

The holiday season: I’m dreaming of a nasheed-filled Christmas December 20, 2005
Hu Hu Hu!

At work, in stores, on hold on the phone, in the street, at school, and on the radio – Christmas music in the holiday season is inescapable. In America – between Thanksgiving and Christmas – carols, hymns, songs and other seasonal fare saturate the sonic environment.

Nowadays, every musical artist seems to have a Christmas album. Christmas music is big business. In the past ten years, the number of Christmas albums on sale has doubled to over 2100, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Everyone from Garth Brooks to Snoop Dogg cuts a Christmas release.

Even veteran or washed-up musicians see Christmas albums as opportunities to get back into the arena, if only for the possibility of a little December radio airtime. According to Inside Radio, almost 300 radio stations switch to all-Christmas formats for the Holiday Season after Thanksgiving. Some radio stations flip their programming to the Christmas format even earlier.

How do the savvy amongst us cope with the ubiquity of the Holiday Sonic Season? If we can’t tune out, we make up our own lyrics! Having attended Anglican and Episcopalian schools, this author became adept at adapting what he heard each Yuletide.

Here are 10 Christmas melodies – probably already inexorably etched in your brain – with suggested lyrics for Muslim listeners:

1. Silent Night
Melody, based on Austrian folk music and Yodeling, composed in 1818 by Austrian headmaster Franz Gruber.

The Shahada can be cantillated perfectly to Silent Night:
La-ila-ha-Il-lal-la� Mu-ham-mad-Ra-sul-lul-lah�
There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.

2. Jingle Bells
Originally composed for an 1857 Boston Thanksgiving service.

Allah Hu, Allah Hu, Allah Hu Allah
Allah Hu, Allah Hu, Allah Hu Allah

3. The First Noel
A Cornish/English melody from the 16th century.

Instead of�
Noel Noel, Noel Noel
Born is the King of Israel

Allah Allah, Allah Allah
He is the Lord of the U-ni-verse

4. Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer
Melody by Johnny Marks; song based on a 1939 seasonal promotion for Montgomery Ward department stores in the US.

Hasbi Rabbi Jallallah
Ma fi Qalbi Ghayrullah
My Lord is enough for me, Glory be to God
There is nothing in my heart except God

5. Hark the Herald, Angels Sing
Melody, composed by Felix Mendelssohn in 1840, originally honored Johann Gutenberg and the invention of the printing press.

Tala’a al-Bedru ‘Alayna
Min Thaniyyat Al-Wada’
Wajaba al-Shukru ‘Alayna
Ma Da’a Lillahi Da’

6. O Come, All Ye Faithful
Christmas carol composed around 1743 by John Francis Wade, a Catholic layman.

O Come All Ye Pilgrims
Joyful and with Taqwa
O Come Ye, O Come Ye
To Holy Mecca!


7. We Three Kings
An Epiphany carol composed by Reverend John Henry Hopkins in 1857 for a New York City Christmas pageant.

Ya Habibi Ya Muhammad
Ya ‘Arus Al-Khafiqayn
Ya Mu’ayyad Ya Mumajjad
Ya Imam Al-Qiblatayn

8. Rocking around the Christmas tree
A popular American melody that hit the top of the charts in Christmas 1958 when released by Brenda Lee, who was fourteen years old at the time.

We should be mindful of the creeping consumerism around Muslim holidays too:

Flashing a credit card with glee
Have a happy holiday
Everyone’s spending merrily
In a new old fashioned way

9. Deck the Halls
Originally a Welsh melody for “Nos Galan”, a winter carol that Mozart used in the 18th century for a violin and piano duet.

Nabi Yun Nabi, Nabi Nabi

Nabi Yun Nabi, Nabi Nabi

Nabi Yun Nabi, Nabi Nabi

Fa la la la la La la la la is also easily morphed into:
Allah Hu Allah, Allah Allah

10. A Challenge to Readers
I deliberately left this one blank to invite readers to submit suggestions for additional songs. How do you cope with the Holiday Sonic Season?

Mas’ood Cajee lives in San Joaquin County, California. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
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