RINGG!!!!!, "That's it; the bell finally rang," thought Samir. As quick as lightning he jumped out of his seat, struggled to get on his jacket, ran out of the classroom, and flew down the stairs. Winter vacation was here at last and Samir was excited as the rest of his classmates about the two week holiday. He couldn't wait to get home and have all sorts of fun. When he got outside he paused and looked across the playground. From the other school buildings kids were pouring out from every doorway. It was a wonderful sight. "Boy," he thought, "This is going to be the best Christmas ever."
Before going on he waited for his friend Rick to catch up with him. Rick lived next door and was his best friend. They always walked home together after school. Rick came running up saying, "Samir, you sure got out of there in a hurry." "Yeah, I know, I was counting the minutes before the bell rang," said Samir.
As they walked, Rick asked, "Hey, Samir, did your parents get a Christmas tree yet?" "No, not yet. They usually wait till just before Christmas. By the way, what do you want for Christmas anyway?" replied Samir. "I asked Santa for a new bike but I don't know if I'll get it. I asked him for that last year but got a pair of roller skates instead. How about you?" "I'm getting an electric train, I hope" said Samir. As they turned the corner both of them spotted a Christmas tree lot with all kinds of blinking neon lights. "Boy, this place gets fancier every year," exclaimed Rick.
When Samir got to his house he opened the little gate and walked across the front lawn. He climbed up the steps to the front porch and used his key to get inside. "Mom, I'm home!" hollered Samir. No answer. "Hmm, must be out shopping," he said to himself. He went to the kitchen and pulled out some milk and a can of Nestle's Quik.
Just then he heard a knock. Samir ran to the front door, "Who is it?," he asked.
From behind the door Samir heard a muffled voice saying, "Hi, my name is Muhammad. Are your parents home?"
"No," Samir replied. He looked through the peephole and saw a man with a new vacuum cleaner in one hand and a big suitcase in the other. "This guy is probably a salesman," thought Samir.
"Well, could you give them my card?," said Muhammad, smiling. The boy opened the door and said, "Sure," and took the card. Muhammad began to make his way back to the sidewalk. He glanced at the mailbox and he suddenly stopped and said, "By the way, what's your name?"
"My name is Samir."
"Oh really? Are you a Muslim?"
"That was a strange question," Samir thought. He thought that there were no other Muslims living in Scarlet County except for his parents and himself.
After what seemed to be a long time Samir finally said, "Yes, I am." Muhammad told him that there was going to be a little gathering for all the Muslims in Scarlet County at his home and that he should tell his parents about it.
When his parents came home Samir told them about Muhammad and the Muslims. His mother and father were very surprised and wanted very much to meet them. So, after dinner they all went over to Muhammad's house and there they found other Muslims. "Assalamu-alaikum," they said as they greeted each other. Muhammad laughed a lot and they all got together and talked. Samir met a boy there whose name was Imran. They played with Tinker Toys and Legos and had all sorts of fun.
Samir asked Imran, What are you getting for Christmas?" Imran's eyes grew wide as he said, "We don't celebrate Christmas." Shocked, Samir then asked, "Why not?" "Christmas is a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus. To Muslims, Jesus is a Prophet. But Christians think that Jesus is the son of God." Samir had never thought about Christmas in that way. He had always thought that Christmas was just getting toys and having a Christmas tree. After a few minutes Samir said, "Do you ever get any gifts?" Imran smiled and said, "Sure, I get gifts from my parents for Eid. Eid is a big celebration for Muslims all over the world." "Oh, I didn't know that," said Samir.
Just then someone began reciting the adhan. Samir looked about him and saw people getting up and moving around. He didn't know what was going on. Imran showed Samir how to make wudu and stand for salat. Before the salat began Imran whispered in Samir's ear, "Just follow me," and winked at him. Samir did exactly what Imran did and when it was over, he was rather proud of himself.
After Isha prayer Samir's parents decided it was time to go. They said their salams to everybody and then his mother called for Samir. Upon hearing his mother's voice Samir said to Imran, "Hey, I've got to go, thanks a lot." Imran looked up and said, "No Problem. Assalamu-alaikum." When Samir got to the car he jumped in the back seat and said to his parents, "So, are we going to celebrate Christmas this year?" His parents looked at each other and then his father said, "Of course we are. What do you want from Santa?" Samir thought about what Imran said and then replied, "If we are Muslims we should celebrate Eid instead of Christmas, shouldn't we?" His mother said, "Do you want to do that?" "Yes," said Samir, "That would be better."
The next day Samir heard a knock on the front door. He ran to it and opened it. It was Rick. "Hi Rick, how's it going?" "Fine," said Rick. "Do you want to play some football?" "Sure, let's go," said Samir. While they were walking to the park Rick asked Samir, "So, did you guys get a Christmas tree yet?" "No," answered Samir, "I don't think we're going to celebrate Christmas this year." Rick stopped in his tracks. "What? Why not?" "Because we're Muslims and we are going to celebrate Eid instead." "Oh, I didn't know that. Well, tell me when your Eid is and maybe I'll come over and celebrate with you." "That would be great," said Samir, taking the football, "Now go out for a pass."
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