Assalaamu alaikum [peace be to you],
I got several people asking me about Christmas and what should Muslim response be to this event. so here is the reply:
First part: Bid'ah: Religious Innovation
Before any discussion on the origin of holidays such as Christmas, it is important to define a term called bid'ah.
A bid'ah is any invention, creation or addition of any religious matter, which was not found in the original teachings.
The Prophet Mohammed -peace be upon him- once said: "He who innovates something in this matter of ours (religion), will have it rejected."
To illustrate the bid'ah involved in Christmas, simple questions beg asking. Did Jesus -peace be upon him- celebrate his birthday? Did his mother, Mary -peace be upon her-? Did his disciples? The answer, of course, is no.
To believe that Jesus -peace be upon him- came with the full truth, and to then add or delete from his message is to mix truth with falsehood. Christmas finds its origins in pagan rites and rituals. I have heard Christian learned men and leaders acknowledging the true origins of Easter and Christmas, but putting it off as "all in good fun." So, I ask, would Jesus -peace be upon him- approve of mixing his teachings with those of the pagans? Solstice Celebrations:
From Babylon to Rome, for thousands of years, virtually every culture has had some sort of celebration for the solstice. The winter solstice is the darkest, shortest day of the year, and since it marks the time at which the glorious light returns, the solstice has long been an occasion for great celebration and rejoicing.
On the surface, the solstice celebration is often a rejoicing of the return of the sun with the promise of the greening of the earth and the warming of the days. But on a deeper spiritual level, the solstice celebration honors the birth and rebirth of the glorious Holy Light which guides and sustains all of creation, the One Light that illuminates every heart and promises new growth, the warmth of loving-kindness and the brilliance of illumination to all of mankind.
The sun god Mithra was highly honored and well known across the entire region from India to Rome. The Romans had a great number of temples dedicated to Mithra, and the winter solstice celebration dedicated to the sun god Mithra was indeed a major event in their lives.
In the ancient world, much of the day to day life was centered on a keen awareness of the sun, the stars and the seasons. For thousands of years, the return of the sun at the time of the winter solstice has been a time of good cheer and great celebration, both secular and spiritual. What about early Christians:
The early Christians did not celebrate the birth of Jesus. The early church fathers Origen, St. Irenaeus, and Tertullian do not include Christmas or its date on their lists of feasts and celebrations.
In fact, nobody really knows when Jesus was born. Many modern scholars, using the details given in the bible, suggest that Jesus' birthday was likely before October or after March. So, although we don't know when Jesus was born, it seems quite unlikely that it was on December 25th. What about Muslims:
a Muslim can't enjoin in any aspect of Christmas in the disguise that "Jesus is our Prophet too; we are just honoring him by celebrating Christmas". We should recognize the Bid’ah of Christmas and the Prophet's warning that all Bid’ah should be rejected. Therefore, accepting Christmas invitations, attending Christmas parties, buying small plastic Christmas trees to please the kids (some Muslims actually do) should be avoided.
By greeting Christians with 'merry Christmas' we are legitimizing Christmas. We are supporting those who celebrate it. and this is hypocrisy. In Islam, there are no compromises, there is no hypocrisy. therefore, each Muslim has to make himself/herself clear and easy to understand. stating that we Muslims do not celebrate Christmas could open doors of dialogue and could be a good chance for the Muslim to talk about Islam and for the non-Muslim to understand the Islamic perspective on the subject. After all, tolerance is all about understanding...
I hope this was beneficial.
for more about Islam and Christmas:
- Christmas - For Muslims? [link]
- What Every Muslim Should Know About Christmas [link]
- Do Muslims Celebrate Easter and Christmas? [link]
if I am right, it is from the God. If I am wrong, it is from myself.