To those Muslims who are living in the western community, the Christmas period is one of the most stressful times. Most of them are confused, they are not able to determine what is Christmas in Islam and whether to share Christmas celebrations or not.
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Christmas In Islam
Most Muslims do not know enough about this matter in Islam, and they really need someone who makes it clear to them. If you are one of them, this essay is addressing you in particular.
Here you will be provided with a brief account of Christmas, and its origin. Also, this essay will contain the Islamic perspective regarding Christmas, what does Quran say about it, and why Muslims must not celebrate or even wish anyone merry Christmas. To find the answers to all of these inquiries, read the full explanation below.
Is Christmas Celebration Haram In Islam?
Yes, Christmas is haram in Islam because of many reasons mentioned below: the pagan origin of the celebration, the celebration of the broth of the son of God (Unislamic belief), and the real celebration of the birth of PRophey Jesus in Islam would be by following his teachings. We will discuss these points below.
What is the exact meaning of “Christmas”?
In advance, we need to understand what does this word mean? Actually, the word Christmas is a combination of two words: “Christ” which is a name that was given to our prophet Jesus (Jesus), may Allah exalt his mention, and “mass” which means birth. This word comes from Middle English “Cristesmesse”, literally meaning Christ’s mass, which is the birth date of Jesus as they allege.
Christmas celebration Date?
Most Christians celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December however this date was not mentioned in our Quran or even in their Bible. As Allah says in His Book through Jesus`s tongue:
“And peace is on me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive“(Quran 19:33).
No one knows the exact birth date of our prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, as this is what Allah says about Essa`s birth. Some Ulamah said that: Jesus, peace be upon him, was not born in winter as Christian alleged, but maybe it was around august and September; as evidence was mentioned in the Quran:
“And shake towards yourself the trunk of the palm tree; it will cause fresh ripe dates to fall upon you”(Surat Maryam, Ch. 19).
This verse is clear evidence that our prophet Jesus was born in the season of dates not in winter. Also, the “New Testament” Bible, gave evidence that Jesus was born in autumn; it is mentioned in Bible that (when Jesus was born, shepherds slept outside in the open to tend to their sheep, and date palms were the seasonal fruit).
In addition, we have clear evidence that lies between the Christians themselves; as some of them are celebrating on the 25th of December, others agreed its the 6th of Jan and another group announced on the 7th of Jan. How come that one person may have 3 or 4 different birth dates
So, who determined the 25th of December as Jesus’ birth, and why they are especially celebrating that day?
Why Muslims must not celebrate Christmas:
Of course, there are several reasons why we are not celebrating Christmas; but before listing them, let us review what Allah says about this issue and how our Muslim sheiks commented.
1. Celebrating Christmas is prohibited in Islam, as we believed that Jesus is just a prophet and nothing more.
In fact, the Holy Quran mentions the name of Jesus, may Allah exalt his mention, 25 times and that of Alsyda Maryam bent Imran 43 times. So, as Muslims, we know more about the prophet Jesus and his mum, and we believe in him as a prophet and servant of Allah exactly as our beloved prophet Mohammed, peace be upon them; as Allah says,
“We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers”. “Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the scripture and made me a prophet “this is what Jesus said and it is mentioned in Quran.(Quran 19:30)
2. Muslim celebration is by following the teachings
Here is the first reason; we believe that celebrating a prophet`s birth amounts to adopting that prophet`s teachings as a way of life. And if the teachings are not followed, Allah will not be pleased with us. So, we do not celebrate the birthdays of any other prophet.
We have to follow the teachings of our prophets and take the time for reflection, rather than make their birthdays` an occasion for enjoyment and disobedience.
Secondly, we have to keep in mind that, Christians take Jesus to be the son of God (and a god within the trinity).
3. Sharing Christmas celebration is considered to be a “Shirk” in Islam
Christians are celebrating the birth of their god on earth; so, whoever shares their celebrations will be “Mushrik” as he will share with them the same idea. As evidence that Abdullaah Ibn ‘Amr (the prophet’s companion) peace be upon him, said:
“Whoever lives in the land of the non-Muslims and celebrates their new year and festivals, and imitates them until he dies in this state, will be gathered with them on the day of resurrection”.
Actually, this hadith implies that any Muslim who joins in with them in those matters is a mushrik exactly like them. And shirk is one of the “Kabaar” is one of the major sins that will doom one to Hell. Now you become certainly sure that celebration is not allowed in Islam.
4. Is it haram to congratulate them without sharing the celebration?
You may ask; what about if we, as Muslims, just congratulate them by wishing them “merry Christmas”? Is it ok to do so, or will this be the same as if we are sharing a celebration?
Alhamdulillah, our prophet made it clear to us by informing his ummah that, we are not allowed to celebrate any other festival rather than our two Eids, neither his date of birth nor any other prophet’s birth. Mohammed, peace be upon him, said:
“ Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came [to Madinah] and they had two days in which they would (relax and) play.
He said, “What are these two days?” They said, “We used to play (on these two days) during the Jahiliya.”
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be ¹upon him) said: “Allah has given you something better instead of them: Yawm al-Duhaa [Eid al-Adha] and Yawm al-Fitr [Eid al-Fitr].”(Reported by Abu Dawood).
Is Christmas A Pagan Holiday?
As we mentioned above that the 25th is not the exact birth date of Jesus, so for sure now we are questioning ourselves, who chose this date and why?
Actually, it is a long story to be written all; so, to cut it short, the origins of Christmas stem from both the pagan and Roman cultures. The Romans celebrated two holidays in December. The first was Saturnalia, to honor their god of agriculture Saturn. On December 25th, they celebrated the birth of Mithra, their sun god.
As well as the Pagan; in December when the darkest day of the year falls, the Pagan cultures lit bonfires and candles to keep the darkness at bay.
Later on, as Christianity spread across Europe, the Christian clergy were not able to curb the Pagan customs and celebrations. Since no one knew Jesus’ date of birth, they adapted the pagan ritual into a celebration of his birthday.
I think now you are about to judge whether it is a “shirk” to share their celebrations or not.
After showing that Christmas is borrowed from the Pagan traditions, we have to give some evidence for those who are still in confusion.
Let us consider some of the signs of celebration, to show you that every single thing is really borrowed from Pagans.
The pagan origin of the Christmas Tree
As a way to celebrate Solstice, pagan was decorating their homes with green to welcome the coming of spring. Their Evergreen trees remained green during the coldest and darkest days, so they were thought to hold special powers.
The tree tradition we are accustomed to today comes from northern Europe, where Germanic Pagan tribes decorated evergreen trees in the worship of their god with candles and dried fruit. The tradition was incorporated into the Christian faith in Germany during the 1500s.
The pagan origin of Christmas carols
Also, the carols they sing for Christmas are traditionally Pagan. The way how they are going door to door singing to their neighbors comes from a pagan tradition called “Wassailing”.
In the pagan tradition, Wassailers were roaming through their villages in small groups, singing loudly with the aim of banishing evil spirits and wishing good health to those around them. In the 13th century, St. Francis was inspired by those choirs, and he decided to start the tradition of Christmas caroling.
The pagan origin of Santa`s image:
In fact, the idea of an old man giving gifts to children back to the time of the pagan. Living around the 4th century, there was an old man called St. Nicholas who was a generous bishop who was known for giving gifts to the poor. But even before Nicholas, there was a bearded old man called Odin. this man was worshipped by the Germanic pagan tribes.
This man was described as an old man with a long white beard with an 8-legged horse that he would ride; during the winter Odin was used to giving good children little presents. So, Nicholas imitated Odin and it became a Christian tradition.
I think this is totally enough for this point; as now you become aware of the origin of Christmas as it all comes from the traditions of the non-believers, those who were worshiping idols, not Allah.
Are you still asking whether to share a celebration or not?!! If any one of you is still questioning yourself, let us make it clearer by having a look at our Quran about this issue.
The difference between Christmas and New year in Islam.
In conclusion, many people are confused about whether Christmas and New year are one thing or whether New year is something else rather than Christmas. To make it clear, New year is a totally different occasion that has it is origin and reasons.
Today, I was discussing this matter with my students, who are living in the western community. I asked them are we as Muslims allowed to celebrate New year. I was surprised when they said yes as we are celebrating the change of the year and the beginning of a new one. So, what do you think? Is it haram as well?! If so, why⁉️
If you want to know what Islam says about New year and whether it is haram or not, so enroll in our Islamic Studies online courses and learn more about all the Islamic Teachings and beliefs.
Written By Khadja Alshreef.