CHRISTMAS IN THE CONTEXT OF ISLAMIC FESTIVALS.
It's not far from the truth that Christmas is one of the biggest festivals celebrated by Christians in the world today. According to them, it is said to be in honour of the birth of Jesus but the date that has been chosen (December 25) has no biblical traces.
Jesus is an important figure mentioned in the Glorious Qur'an to the extent that her mother, Mary was described with a whole chapter of the noble Qur’an called Surah-al-Maryam. This shows how Islaam revered Jesus, yet we do not celebrate his date of birth because there is no basis for such.
The only difference is that Muslims don't believe Prophet Jesus is the son of God or that Jesus died on the cross and rose to the heavens. Jesus himself confirmed his prophethood in the Quran:
He said: “Surely I am a servant of Allah; He has given me the Book and made me a prophet”.
“And has made me blessed wherever I may be; and has enjoined on me prayer and charity, so long as I live” (Q19V30-31).
A large number of denominations among the Christians do not celebrate Christmas as they also claimed that the celebration has no verifiable source while some among them state it more of an idolatry festival which was inducted into Christendom.
If there is no consensus among the Christians themselves on the birth of Jesus, one then begins to wonder how Muslims have joined in celebrating this festival when the guide book of the Muslims, Qur’an have warned us to shun falsehood.
“So shun the impurity of idolatry, and shun words of falsehood.” [Quran 22: 30]
One wonders how Muslims of today are in one way or the other celebrating with them in the name of Christmas. No religion has near-zero tolerant in terms of relationship with other faiths except Islam, but when it comes to the issues of innovations we have to be on a different path.
“To you be your Way, and to me mine”. (Q109V6).
However, this article will succinctly focus on questions that usually arouse or pop up from Muslims annually concerning Christmas celebration under the following headings.
We should know that Christmas was pagan before it was adopted (and renamed) by Christians. It has nothing to do with the reverence and the love of Jesus, the mighty Messenger of Allah that we Muslims hold in the highest regard and respect. If we are celebrating the teaching of Jesus and other Prophets, we must do so every day, not secluding a specific day.
Doing so means to completely follow his teachings and engage in the will of God. The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1908 states that “Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the church.
Can Muslims Celebrate Christmas
During the Christmas season, Christians all over the world illuminate their houses with lights, put Christmas trees, and exchange gifts. Air (TV, Radio, e.t.c.), Schools (Father Christmas Day) are full of jingles, and stores are decorating for Christmas. All these serve as a temptation to small children and pop up to different questions. Mother, are we not celebrating Christmas? After all, is it a holiday?
Don’t be deceived
Christians lure some Muslims into the celebration by pretendedly claim that Christmas is a holiday and it’s for everybody. It's not a holiday and not for everybody. Muslims can not celebrate Christmas because is not ordained in our book and not practice by any of the Prophets of Allah. As we cannot celebrate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad ( ﷺ) likewise, we cannot do that of Prophet Issa, even though the acclaimed date is not found in the bible. Muslim parents should try and educate their children by:
Telling them the story of Jesus and why we cannot celebrate Christmas.
Enlighten their children on Islamic festivals such as Eid-l-Adha, Eid-l-Fitr, and every jum'ah.
“The Messenger of Allah( ﷺ) said: Allah has given you
something better instead of them: Yawm al-Duhaa
(Eid al-Adha) and Yawm al-Fitr (Eid al Fitr)”.
As decoration entices most of the small children, a parent should also decorate their houses during Ramadhan until after Eid-ul-Fitr and during Eid-al-Adha. Muslims should also decorate their home with Islamic ethics during Ramadhan as Allah closes the gate of hell and opens the gate of paradise. Exchanging gifts with our Muslim friends on both ‘Eids will give them excitement and a sense of belongingness to our festival.
Congratulating Non-Muslims on Their Festive Occasions
No Muslims can live in isolation. We live amidst believers and non-believers.
“It is He Who has created you, and of you are some that are Unbelievers, and some that are Believers: and Allah sees well all that ye do”. (Q64V2).
We have them as family, neighbors, friends at work, and Islam encourages us to live harmoniously with them, share things, eat food together, and maintain a good interaction. Any interaction that is against Allah and His Messenger should be avoided by Muslims. Shortly, we cannot greet them on the occasion of Christmas because the source is idolatry in nature.
“Whoever imitates a people belongs to them." [Ahmad and Abu Daawood]
Remember, in Islam; a family is not related by blood, believers are your family. The rule that guides not celebrating with Non-Muslims is also applicable to Non-Muslim families.
Can We Eat Christmas Food
Ordinarily, it’s not forbidden for Muslims to eat their foods as a backup by the below verse.
[…The food of the people of the scripture is lawful to you and yours is lawful to them, lawful to you in marriage are chaste women from the believers and haste women from those who were given the scripture before your time……] (Q5V5).
We can deduce from this verse that we can eat their food and they can eat ours, but in another way round, any of their food attached or tagged with specialty, like Christmas among others, that’s not in the book should be avoided. Do you know that intentionally eating Christmas food can invalidate one’s religion? Therefore, don’t invalidate your DEEN because of Rice and Chicken.
“On the authority of an-Numan ibn Basheer (Ra), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah ( ﷺ) say,” That which is lawful is clear, and that which is unlawful is clear……………” [Bukhari & Muslim]
It’s also not allowed for Muslims to prepare food in the name of Christmas as well.
In conclusion, Islam holds the Prophet Issa (AS), with utmost regard as one of the Prophets of Allah, he also testifies to the coming of Prophet Muhammad ( ﷺ) as a comforter who is coming to explain more of the religion to the world in the bible. This is where the Christians failed to comply with the Messengership of Prophet Muhammad ( ﷺ). All their believes such as the crucifixion of Jesus, died on the cross oppose Islam belief as the Quran clearly stated that he did not die likewise, he did not crucify.
“That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not.” (Q4V157)
Celebrating with them is just as if you’re also opposing Allah. My respected brothers and sisters in Islam, let's move away from all these to avoid the wrath of Allah.
“If anyone contends with the Messenger even after guidance has been conveyed to him, and follows a path other than that becoming to men of Faith, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen, and land him in Hell,- what an evil refuge!”. (Q4V115).
May Allah guide us to know falsehood as falsehood and what is right as right. Aamin.