Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween are considered cultural and religious holidays on the globe for Christians. Christmas is coming and many Muslims, especially in Christian-majority nations, may question whether they should celebrate it or not. Do Muslims celebrate Christmas? Before moving to the answer to this question, we will understand the background of this festival. According to history, when and who did start to celebrate it first?
What is Christmas and Who Started to celebrate it?
Many people assume it’s because of Jesus’ birth, but that’s wrong. The Bible doesn’t indicate when Jesus was born, but shepherds tending their flocks suggest spring.
Christ’s birthday wasn’t celebrated until 375 years after his birth. Pope Julius, chose the date around 350 AD, and Emperor Justinian ratified it in 529 AD.
The date wasn’t random. Many historians think the Pope and Emperor favoured this date because it corresponded with pagan winter solstice rituals.
Combining Christmas with these old festivals enabled the church to retain the winter holiday custom while focusing the festivity on the “new” faith of Christianity.
Another hypothesis suggests choosing a date on the shortest day of the year was significant. The light became brighter each day following, just as the Christ child became everlasting.
The reality of Christ (Jesus) in Islam
A great number of Christians are completely oblivious to the fact that the Holy Quran mentions the name of Jesus no less than 25 times.
“.. We gave Jesus the son of Mary Clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the Holy Spirit. .. Quran 2:87“
“Behold! The angels said: “O Mary! Allah gives thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah. Quran 3:45“
“.. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an apostle of Allah.. Quran 4:171”
“And in their footsteps we sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him … Quran 5:46“
“And Zakariya and John, and Jesus and Elias: all in the ranks of the righteous: Quran 6:85”
Despite the fact that Jesus is mentioned by name 25 times in the Holy Quran, he is also referred to in reverent terms such as “Ibne Maryam” (which literally translates to “son of Mary”), “Abdullah” (which literally translates to “servant of Allah”), and “Rasul-Ullah” (messenger of Allah).
Do Muslims celebrate Christmas?
In countries where Christians are the majority, Christmas is a time when people take a break from their busy lives and hard work to enjoy themselves with their loved ones.
It’s also important to remember that Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus all through the holiday season.
Muslims, especially live in Christian countries, have only recently started celebrating Christmas by giving gifts and spending time with their relatives and friends.
Muslims, now do things like wish people a Merry Christmas, go to Christmas parties, and even decorate their homes or places of business for the holiday.
We Muslims don’t agree with all of the religious parts of Christmas. Being a Muslim, is it okay to take part in Christmas celebrations? And what happens when people do these things?
Here is a detailed fatwa given below about, why do Muslims not celebrate Christmas.
“There is no doubt that what is mentioned of celebrations is haram because it is an imitation of the unbelievers. It is well known that Muslims do not have any festival apart from ‘Eid al-Fitr and ‘Eid al-Adha, and the weekly “‘Eid” which is Friday (Yawm al-Jumu‘ah).
Celebrating any other festival is not allowed and is either of two things: either it is an innovation (bid‘ah) if it is celebrated as a means of drawing close to Allah, such as celebrating the Prophet’s Birthday (Mawlid); or it is an imitation of the unbelievers if it is celebrated as a tradition and not as an act of worship because introducing innovated festivals is the action of the people of the Book who we are commanded to differ from. So how about if it is a celebration of one of their actual festivals? “
“Can Muslims decorate their houses at Christmas?
Decorating the house with balloons at Christmas is obviously joining in with the unbelievers and celebrating their festival.
What the Muslim is required to do is not to single out these days for any kind of celebration, decorating or adornment, or special foods, otherwise he will be joining the unbelievers in their festivals, which is something that is undoubtedly haram.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymin (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
“Similarly it is forbidden for the Muslims to imitate the unbelievers by holding parties on these occasions or exchanging gifts, or distributing sweets or other foods, or taking time off work and so on because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.”
“Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in his book Iqtida’ al-Sirat al-Mustaqim Mukhalafat Ashab al-Jahim: Imitating them on some of their festivals implies that one is happy with the falsehood they are following, and that could make them (the non-Muslims) take this opportunity to mislead those who are weak in faith.”
Those who do any of these things are sinning, whether they do it to go along with them, or to be friendly towards them, or because they feel too shy (to refuse to join in) or any other reason, because it is a kind of compromising the religion of Allah to please others, and it is a means of lifting the spirits of the unbelievers and making them proud of their religion.” (Fatawa Ibn ‘Uthaymin, 3/44)
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked about a Muslim who makes the food of the Christians on Nawruz (Persian New Year) and on all their occasions such as Epiphany and other feast days, and who sells them things to help them celebrate their festivals. Is it permissible for Muslims to do any of these things or not?
“Praise be to Allah. It is not permissible for Muslims to imitate them in any way that is unique to their festivals, whether it be food, clothes, bathing, lighting fires or refraining from usual work or worship, and so on. And it is not permissible to give a feast or to exchange gifts or to sell things that help them to celebrate their festivals or to let children and others play the games that are played on their festivals, or to adorn oneself or put up decorations.
In general, (Muslims) are not allowed to single out the festivals of the unbelievers for any of these rituals or customs. Rather the day of their festivals is just an ordinary day for the Muslims, and they should not single it out for any activity that is part of what the unbelievers do on these days.” (Al-Fatawa al-Kubra, 2/487; Majmu‘ al-Fatawa, 25/329
And Allaah knows best.”
Do American Muslims Celebrate Christmas?
Do American Muslims celebrate Christmas? Before answering this question, it is important to understand that Christmas is not an Islamic festival.
Hence Muslims do not celebrate Christmas even those who live in America. Because the concept that Jesus is the son of Allah Almighty (نعوذ بالله) is in direct opposition to what Muslims believe on the most fundamental level.
For many Muslims, Christmas is simply another day, yet it’s a time to rest and relax while the rest of the nation shuts down.
Many Muslim parents in the United States encourage their children not to participate in Christmas celebrations at colleges, universities, or even in their neighborhoods.
Do Muslim Countries Celebrate Christmas?
One of the worst faults of Islam is to imitate Christians and adopt their religious traditions, which is what happens when Muslims celebrate Christmas and other Christian holidays.
“Whoever imitates a people becomes one of them,” stated the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) [Abu Daawood]
In reality, developing feelings of love and compassion for another person is a natural outcome of mimicking their outward look and behaviour.
Because of this, Muslims have no room under the law of Allah, the All-Wise, to identify with non-believers, find contentment in their false religion, or convert to it.
But on the other hand, for giving answer to this question, Do Muslim Countries Celebrate Christmas? In a country where Islam is the official religion, how should Muslims react regarding Christmas?
When establishing Madinah as the first Muslim-majority peace sanctuary, the Prophet of Allah Almighty addressed this problem. He said about the Christians of Najran (Yaman):
“The Christians of Najran may rest certain that their lives, faith, land, property, absent and present loved ones, tribe, and allies are all protected by Allah Almighty because of Muhammad (PBUH). They may continue to practise their customs without changing anything. No one has the right to have their religious practices stifled in any way, including the right to freedom of worship. No monk, priest, or church guard may be dismissed from his post.”
Islam’s longstanding commitment to its religious minority is reflected in the religion’s precepts towards non-Muslims.
Ibn Hisham and Ibn Sa’d, two ancient historians, claim that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself allowed Christian delegates to use his Mosque for their religious services.
Do Muslims Celebrate Christmas Holiday?
Christians celebrate different cultural and religious festivals like Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, etc. Muslim countries do not celebrate Christmas at an official level, so there are no official Christmas holidays are seen. But they can ensure that Christian minorities are able to celebrate their holidays in the fullest possible spirit. For this, they can do some possible things for them such as
- Allow your Christian employees a longer holiday.
- Take measures to ensure that the religious festivals of the country’s Christian minority are joyful occasions.
- A good neighbourly act over the Christmas season would be for Muslim neighbours to volunteer their time to assist keep churches secure.
Muslims must never forget that people who don’t believe in Jesus are not Muslims (Islamic and Christian View of Jesus). We have a lot in common with Christians, including our love for this great Prophet.
Muslims and Christians haven’t always had good relationships, but Muslims have always pushed for a society where everyone’s rights are not just tolerated, but also valued and protected.
What do Muslims Celebrate Instead of Christmas?
Muslims worldwide celebrate a wide variety of festivals, but there are really just two major ones that are universally observed. Each is honoured at the end of an Islamic ceremony.
Immediately after the end of Ramadan is the first of these celebrations. The name, Eid ul Fitr, comes from the Arabic phrase for “holiday of breaking the fast.”
That you were able to fast for a whole month and developed such strong self-discipline and routines deserves recognition and appreciation.
The second most significant Muslim festival is called Eid-ul-Adha. It means “sacrificial festival.” This event marks the completion of the Hajj (Pilgrimage) at Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
This festival commemorates the willingness of the Prophet Hazrat Abraham and his son who was also Prophet, Hazrat Ismael to offer a sacrifice to Allah Almighty as a sign of their devotion and faith in His mighty.
Some Reasons for not Celebrating Christmas for Muslims
Muslims have some solid reasons to not celebrate Christmas and according to Islam, these reasons are fact-based. The reasons are given below:
When it comes to the life of Jesus, Muslims and Christians do not share the same beliefs. It is important to note that Muslims do not see Jesus as God’s divine son. In Holy Quran Allah Almighty clearly answer this bogus blame of Christians.
Allah Almighty says in Quran:
قُلْ هُوَ ٱللَّهُ أَحَدٌ”
لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ
وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُۥ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌۢ
Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge.
He neither begets nor is born, nor is there to Him any equivalent.”
On one other occasion, Allah Almighty mentioned clearly about his Oneness.
“Allah has not taken any son, nor has there ever been with Him any deity. [If there had been], then each deity would have taken what it created, and some of them would have sought to overcome others. Exalted is Allah above what they describe [concerning Him]. (Quran 23:91)”
Christians believed that Jesus is the Son of God and celebrate his day of birth as a religious activity.
The second Reason
A Muslim should not try to emulate a non-Muslim. Adopting non-Islamic practices as a way to fit in, like drinking alcohol or celebrating a non-Islamic holiday like Christmas.
Muslims shouldn’t take part in Christmas celebrations because they are based on paganism. In Hadith Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) clearly forbid Muslims to imitate other religions.
“Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar said: The Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them. (Narrated by Abu Dawood, 3512)”
This is a cultural festival more than religious in American societies as well. Same as they celebrate thanksgiving and Halloween as cultural festivals. Thanksgiving and Halloween are also haram to celebrate Muslims.
It’s new for Muslims because its celebration is not mentioned in Quran or Hadith and invented new things in Islam are considered “Bid’ah” which is a sin.
“The worst of things are those that are newly invented; every newly-invented thing is an innovation and every innovation is going astray, and every going astray is in the Fire.’ (Sunan an-Nasa’i 1578)”
The above hadith not only explains Bid’ah but also the consequences that one may suffer after inventing something new.
Many of the customs we observe throughout the Christmas season have their origins in ancient pagan rituals. Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture, was honored with a holiday called Saturnalia.
As has previously been stated, Christmas is a pagan celebration with no religious significance. During his reign as Roman emperor, Constantine merged Christian practices with the pagan festival.
When the celebration in question was held in the dead of winter, revelers inevitably turned to alcohol and other vices in order to properly enjoy. As a means of converting non-believers, the church standardized Christmas to a certain time of year.
Different questions like Do Muslims celebrate Christmas? Do Muslims celebrate Christmas holiday? Do Muslim countries celebrate Christmas? etc all have different explanations that have been discussed in this article.
Muslims are forbidden to participate in any of the festivities of Christmas. Furthermore, it is not permissible to hold a feast, exchange presents, or sell products that help in celebrating their holidays.
Do not let your children or any Muslim engage in games linked to their holidays, or decorate or install decorations. During the celebrations of the festivals of the unbelievers, (Muslims) are not authorized to engage in these practices.
Muslims, on the other hand, it is important for Muslims to keep faith in Jesus. Without this faith, s/he cannot be a true Muslim. By virtue of our devotion to this great Prophet, we have a special bond with the whole Christian community.
Despite the fact that relations between Muslims and Christians haven’t always been cordial, it’s crucial to keep in mind that Islam promotes a society in which the rights of all individuals are valued and safeguarded rather than just tolerated.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q1. Do all religions or countries celebrate Christmas in the world?
Answer: No, only Christians, who believe in Jesus, celebrate Christmas throughout the world.
Q2. What is the belief of Muslims about Hazrat Isa (Alaihis Salam)?
Answer: According to Islam, Hazrat Isa (Alaihis Salam) was the Prophet of Allah Almighty. A Muslim cannot be a true Muslim until he accepts Hazrat Isa (Alaihis Salam) as the Prophet of Allah Almighty.
Q3. Did Hazrat Isa (Alaihis Salam) born on 25th of December?
Answer: According to the Bible, there is no exact date mentioned in the historical references. But some books say that it was springtime.
Q4. What do Muslims celebrate instead of Christmas?
Answer: Muslims celebrate their own religious festivals such as Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Azha.
Q5. What other cultural or religious Christian festivals should American Muslims not celebrate?
Answer: American Christians celebrate Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, and many other cultural or religious festivals throughout the year. Being Muslims, we are not allowed to celebrate any of their festivals.