MV: Most of you will know that this season is Christmas time for people of the Christian Religion. As Muslims it is against our religion to celebrate this holiday because it is not part of Islam. But the question is, is Christmas even a part of Christianity?
Does Christmas have Biblical Evidence?The word ‘Christmas’ is not even present in the entire Bible. The Bible has closed lips on the entire feast of Christmas with one exception, the decoration of tree. Fortunately, for the Christians, the Bible does has a word or two to say on the decoration of the Christmas tree, but unfortunately for them, their own Bible criticizes the use of decorating tree:“The customs of the people are worthless, they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel, they adore it with silver and gold, they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter” (Jeremiah 10:3,4).Pre-Christian pagans superstitiously believed that the evergreen tree has special power of protection. In fact, the use of Christmas tree began in the 17th century, in Strasbourg, France and from there it spread to Germany, Britain and then to the U.S. “Tree worship was a common feature of religion among the Teutonic and Scandinavian peoples of northern Europe before their conversion to Christianity…German settlers brought the Christmas tree custom to the American colonies in the 17th century. By the 19th century its use was quite widespread”. (Compton’s Encyclopedia, 1998 Edition)Was Jesus Born on Dec. 25th?Neither the date 25th Dec. nor any other date on Jesus’ birth is mentioned in the Bible. Not until the year 530 C.E., that a monk, Dionysus Exigus, fixed the date of the birth of Jesus on Dec. 25th. “He wrongly dated the birth of Christ according to the Roman system (i.e., 754 years after the founding of Rome) as Dec. 25, 753”. (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1998 ed.) This date was chosen perhaps in keeping with the holidays already indoctrinated into pagans.Roman pagans celebrated Dec. 25th as the birth of their ‘god’ of light, Mithra. “In the 2nd century A..D., it (Mithraism) was more general in the Roman Empire than Christianity, to which it bore many similarities” (The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, 1995 ed.)“The reason why Christmas came to be celebrated on December 25 remains uncertain, but most probably the reason is that early Christians wished the date to coincide with the pagan Roman festival marking the “birthday of the unconquered sun” (natalis solis invicti); this festival celebrated the winter solstice, when the days again begin to lengthen and the sun begins to climb higher in the sky”. (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1998 Ed.)Other pagan ‘gods’ born on Dec. 25th are: Hercules, the son of Zeus (Greeks) Bacchus, god of wind, (Romans),Adenis god of Greeks Freyr the Greek-Roman god.What about Santa Claus?Once again the word ‘Santa Claus’ appears no where in the bible. However Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus) was a real person, bishop, who was born 300 years after Jesus (pbuh). According to legend he was extremely kind and went out at night to distribute presents to the needy. After his death on the 6th of Dec., school boys in Europe celebrated a feast day every year on the anniversary of his death. Queen Victoria later changed the celebration date from Dec. 6th to Dec. 24th eve.Thus Christmas is an innovation (bidah) in their religion, associating it with Santa Claus, and changing the original date of death anniversary of Saint Nicholas are further deviations.Did Jesus or his companions celebrated Christmas?Of course not. If Jesus meant his ‘Ummah‘ to celebrate Christmas, he would have practiced it himself and enjoined it on his followers. Even the ‘supposed pseudo-companions’ of Jesus (and not the companions of Jesus mentioned in the Quran who called themselves as Muslims) mentioned in the bible made many innovations in their religion, but celebrating Christmas was not their endeavor.“In fact, the church did not observe a festival for the celebration of the event until the 4th century” (Grolier’s Encyclopedia).
Christmas was a pagan custom which was adopted into Christianity; it has nothing to do with reverence and love of Jesus, the mighty Messenger of Allah that we Muslims hold in the highest regard and respect. If Jesus were to come today, whether or not he would identify himself with those who celebrate Christmas is a question one should ask seriously.If we are celebrating the great teachings of Jesus or other prophets, we must do so everyday. To do so means to practice love, mercy, justice and compassion and to be actively engaged in doing the will of God.