What Should Be the Muslim Reaction to Christmas?

Published on: Tuesday 25 Dec, 2007

By: administrator
Ibn Juferi

Alhamdulillah, all praise be to Allah alone, for making us Muslims and bestowing us the Deen of Islam to distinguish right and wrong. The holiday season is upon us again, and the ugly head of Satan is rising again to inspire people to indulge in innovation and shirk. What proceeds is an analytical view of Christmas and appropriate Muslim conduct during the Christmas season.

What Every Muslim Should Know About Christmas?

Quite a number of Muslims today, especially those living in Christian-dominated countries or those influenced to a large degree by western culture, have been led to consider that taking part in the Christmas celebrations of friends and relatives is, at very least, a harmless past time if not a legitimate source of pleasure for children and adults alike. In many instances, pressure to conform with the practices of society is too great for those of weak resolve to withstand. Parents are often tempted to give in to the pleading of children who have been invited to parties. They do not know a lot about why this happens because the parents do not tell their kids about it.

Any belief system or ritual (Christmas or otherwise) in any religion should satisfy each of the following criteria to be labeled as authentic:

1. It should have its evidence from the scriptures or from the authentic sayings of the Messenger.
2. The Messenger himself and his companions should practice and propagate it.
3. The Scripture or the Messenger’s sayings in which this belief system is present should be preserved from alterations or perishment.

Was Jesus Born on December 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.”1 This date was chosen perhaps in keeping with the holidays already indoctrinated into the 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.”2 “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.”3 Other pagan “gods” born on Dec. 25th are: Hercules, the son of Zeus (Greeks); Bacchus, god of wind (Romans); Adonis, god of Greeks; Freyr the Greek-Roman god.

What about Santa Claus?

The “Santa” character was further developed in 1809 when an amusing but inaccurate history of Dutch traditions was written. Washington Irving, influenced by north European Christmas customs, pictured St. Nicholas riding in a wagon merrily over rooftops, dropping presents down chimneys, the first time this had been sighted. Needless to mention, the word “Santa Claus” appears nowhere in the Bible. However Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus) was a real bishop who was born some 300 years after Jesus (P). According to legend he was extremely kind and went out at night to distribute presents to the needy.

“Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases, and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin.”4

Christian belief states that the one God reveals himself in the three persons of Father, Son (Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit. These three persons are nevertheless regarded as a unity, sharing one “substance”. Prophet Jesus (P) is elevated to divinity, sits on the right hand of God and judges the world. The Holy Spirit, who in the Hebrew Bible is the means by which God exercises his creative power, in Christian thought becomes a part of the God-head. Paul made the Holy Spirit the alter ego of Christ, the guide and help of Christians, first manifesting itself on the day of Pentecost.

Consequently, Shirk in Ruboobeeyah occurs in the Christian belief that Jesus (P) and the Holy Spirit are God’s partners in all of His dominion, in their belief that Jesus (P) alone pronounces judgment on the world and in their belief that Christians are helped and guided by the Holy Spirit. This form of Shirk occurs when any act of worship is directed to other than Allah.

“Indeed they do blaspheme those who say that Allah is Jesus, the son of Mary, but Jesus said “O children of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord”. Whoever joins other gods with Allah, Allah will forbid him heaven and the fire will be his abode.”5

‘Abdullâh ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Allâh’s Messenger (P) said: “Anyone who dies worshipping others along with Allah will definitely enter the Fire.” I said, “Anyone who dies worshipping none along with Allâh will definitely enter Paradise.”6

Muslim reaction towards Christmas

Being the custodians of Truth and the “best Ummah created for mankind” and “witnesses unto mankind” (ummatan wasatan), we Muslims just cannot stay still as the society around us is entrapped by Satan. Enjoining good and forbidding evil should be our theme.

The foremost thing to realize is that Christmas is a big innovation which is leading a big part of humanity to Shirk (associating partners with God). Christianity has transgressed the limits set by Allah; therefore showing happiness and joy on Christmas, Halloween, Easter and Good Friday is like shaking hands with Satan and telling him to carry on the good work.

Remember that Allah commandment to us in the Qur’an:

“Help you one another in virtue and righteousness, but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah, verily Allah is severe in punishment”.7

It is highly recommended for all Muslims to carry brochures on Islam with them to pass on classmates, co-workers, neighbors etc. after discussing Islam. Thus the hearts and minds of non-Muslims should be exposed to the beautiful message of Islam.

Say: “He is Allah, the One and only,
Allah, the Eternal, the Absolute,
He begetteth not, nor is He begotten.
And there is none like unto Him.”bismika tombstone What Should Be the Muslim Reaction to Christmas?

  1. Encyclopedia Britannica, 1998 ed. [back]
  2. The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, 1995 ed [back]
  3. Encyclopedia Britannica, 1998 ed. [back]
  4. Qur’an, 4:48 [back]
  5. Qur’an, 5:72 [back]
  6. Bukhari and Muslim [back]
  7. Quran, 5:2 [back]

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Category: Christian Doctrines ,Christianity ,Introducing Islam ,Islam


  1. Lailah says:

    First of all Christmas is not a “religious” holiday. It never has been. Christians who desire to create a theme or idea that it is the birthday of Isa do it because they want to.
    Its the failure of the Christian church to redirect this problem. Christmas basically is a secular holdiay. As a Jew Isa certainly would not have wanted his day of birth memoralized in this fashion. Lets not blame Isa or Christianity for this de-evolution. If a person who is Christian desires to celebrate the birth of Isa from a purely spiritual standpoint I find nothing wrong with it. What I dislike is the flagrant and often overdone spending and decorating and European themes that permeate Christmas. Should a Muslim celebrate Christmas? Well that depends, it a Muslim appreciates Isa, and his words, and his journey and the fact that he was a prophet why not? Muslims celebrate Mohammads birthday (pbuh). I have seen big parties thrown for that particular celebration, with lights, food, and songs and so forth. Don’t get confused, Christianity has alot of problems and archeology is helping with that. Many Christians are fearful of not “worshipping Isa” its built into the religon. Since the council of Nacea when the vote was taken, should Jesus be equated with God or no? It was a slim vote. But its gone that way ever since, directed by MEN, not by God. No where in the New testament does Isa say worship me. No was manufactured by men for a purpose which has been lost to everyone who isn’t a theologist. So I don’t fault people for following blindly, should Muslims do what Christians do? No. They are muslims. However to honor Isa isn’t wrong in my opinion, the Quran speaks highly of him and his mother Maryam.

  2. Lailah says:

    I struggled with this article primarily because the author makes the common mistake of attempting to say that Christianity is doing wrong things according to muslim standards. You can’t compare apples and oranges. Christianity and its belief system is their belief. Now are they more responsible for evil because of their beliefs? I don’t think so, Christians are as varied in their level of belief and organization as anyone else, so we can’t make them a monolith. Instead we should try to see the separation and be supportive of that separation. We do as we do, and they do as they do. Simple isn’t it? Why should a muslim site even discuss Christmas and Santa Claus? Santa Claus is an imaginary figure and all Christians know this. Even when he was “invented” he was brought to America from Europe where he is known as Father Christmas in England and Sinter Klaus in Dutch countries. (I may have spelled that wrong). Either way how does that impact an intact and healthy muslim? Well I guess the fear is the glitz of it, the glamour of it is like an entrapment for those not strong in their deen. And perhaps some fear the loss of the younger muslims to this. I feel this way, if a person is drawn to something it speaks of their conviction to their belief system, and to what degree? There is an assumption that muslims are all from the same cloth, and all should be. Nothing is farther from the truth, even in the Middle East and Africa and Persia how Islam is practiced varies a great deal. We can say its cultural, and it is. I am not offended by Christmas, as a former Christian I see it for what it is, no more than a show. Time off from work, and time to spend with loved one’s. Yes, people spend too much money, and they eat way too much, and also alcohol flows in plenty yet again though I ask, what does this have to do with a muslim? Nothing what so ever. If you want to discuss social issues, keep it social, if you want religious discussion than even more so, this idea is dead. If a muslim has a Christmas tree what does that mean? If a muslim has a Christmas tree than that person isn’t muslim, that is the answer I would expect to get. But there are muslims who see themselves as progressive, and modern. Yet can we judge their hearts? Perhaps that is to Sufi an idea for this site.
    At any rate I think that Christmas is a baccanal for Christians and we should never step into the path of judging others religions by our guidelines. We simply can’t. it sounds and looks like either jealousy or worse picking a fight were none needs to be picked. If my nieghbor is Christian and has a tree, good for them. If my other neighbor is jewish and has a Menorrah good for them. I will celebrate Eid. And when the day is done no one is hurt and none the wiser. Does celebrating Christmas bring evil to the world? Of course not. Evil lies in the hearts and minds of men who mostly are secular. If a Christian invites a muslim co-worker to the office Christmas party should they attend? Well, a wise person will go, and do the politics because celebration is in the heart, and belief. Not to mention the words. “Merry Christmas” which is not religious. I am a muslimah in the workforce. I do not wear Hijab because I lost two jobs because of it, though the employers were very careful to say other things such as too many complaints about you. Well, was I too muslim for my mostly Christian clients? I certainly didnt’ use any language to suggest such, but my clothing told them, this is an oddity, and perhaps an evil, so we can’t keep her. In short I believe that the more we pour on the religious rhetoric to prove points the worse we make it. We want to live peacefully with each other, this is America and it is, despite some Atheist beliefs, a Christian country. But it is a tolerant country and it can be more so. I believe we should as muslims be in the community and not hidden away in our cliques and separate ourselves from everyday life. We should be obvious in that we are polite, and well spoken, and clean, and that we keep to “our” belief systems. I don’t go to office Christmas parties but I do say to friends and co-workers, “enjoy” there is no harm in that.

  3. Cj says:

    I agree with Lailah.

    Regardless,

    I did not seem to find anywhere in the article why Muslims are not allowed to partake in Christmas. I don’t see the harm in taking part in the SECULAR part of the holiday.

  4. Quazi says:

    Salamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

    I read the post and the replies of Lailah and Cj. One question may arise is what Prophet (peace be upon him) did during christmas etc.? Did he send wishes to Christians or he kept silent or he did something else? I also had problems for keeping beard in office and also in society (even from my family)…. but thanks to Allah rabbul alamin… that He made it easy for me…. i did not have to go through hard times too much……all praise belongs to Allah.
    I know non-muslims look with weired way if they see me praying Maghrib in the train station… but due to time restrictions, i dont see any other alternative…. Seen Muslims and Muslimahs come and greet me after that…. again praise belongs to Allah…. feel stronger and better….. we Muslims should back each other up…..as Allah asked us not to divide among ourselves……
    About the Christmas issue, personally I dont go to any such parties after started to follow Islam — because its full of wine/beer, pork, gambling, semi-dressed girls, drunk boys — all goes against Islam….. We Muslims should fear Allah much…as He said in the Quran.
    Another reason I dont go to such parties is because it affects my prayer timetable…..
    But for Lailah, not wearing hijab as she already lost 2 jobs….. may Allah give her strength and give her something out of His bounty so she can maintain her hijab….. we guys also need to maintain our hijaab….. wearing a skin-tight t-shirt and roaming around in the shopping centers… is not what Allah commanded the Muslim boys to do….. rather it goes against Islam…… not too many people talk about the hijab of a Muslim comparing to the hijab of a Muslimah…..

    May Allah guide us all His pious servants to Siratul Mustakeem. Ameen
    Quazi