As the world prepares to celebrate Christmas, have you ever wondered what are the Muslims doing? If they love Jesus so much, why don’t they participate in the holiday? Why do they seem so awkward and unwilling to return holiday greetings and well wishes such as ‘Merry Christmas?’
Where Did December 25 Come From?
Before December 25 became the most popular date to celebrate Christmas in the 4th Century, it was already popular among many other religions and cultures who recognized it as the birth date of their gods. Hindus honor the deity, Ganesha. Throughout history, gods such as Horus, Osiris, Hercules, Adonis, Buddha and Mithras also shared the same birth date. Actually, the first Christian churches celebrated Jesus’s birth in January, April or May.
Christians Deny Christmas?
Puritans believed the church was corrupt because of the blending of Roman pagan practices with Christian teachings. This started when the Roman Emperor, Constantine, accepted Christianity in the early 300’s CE. There are still Christians today who condemn the holiday and the common practices associated with it. One example they use to justify their viewpoint is the Bible verse [Jeremiah 10:2-4]
‘This is what the LORD says: “Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them. For the practices of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter.” [New International Version]
Do Muslims Love Jesus?
Jesus is a mighty Messenger of God who beloved and respected in Islam. In the Quran he is mentioned 25 times and the story of his birth is detailed in the chapter titled, Mary. Just like Christians, Muslims believe in the miraculous virgin birth by his mother, Mary. The Muslims’ love for Jesus is not conditional to celebrating his birth. On the contrary, Muslims do not celebrate Christmas because it is a Christian holiday that has pagan traditions mixed in with the belief Jesus is the son of God. Instead, daily remembrance of the Prophets and applying their teachings is the only ideal way to celebrate their life and show love for them.
How do Muslims Celebrate Jesus’s Life?
Muslims adore Jesus by believing in him, his message, and his miraculous birth. Their lives resemble his by praying, fasting, and spreading love throughout the community. They also accept the many miracles he performed throughout his life. Islam teaches of his second coming to defeat the Antichrist and lead the believers to victory against evil.
“Certainly, the time of prayer shall come, and then Jesus, the son of Mary, will descend and will lead them in prayer. When sees he him, the enemy of God will [begin to] dissolve just as salt does in water. He (Jesus) will pursue the False Messiah until he captures him at the gates of Lydda and kills him.” [Muslim]
Is Saying ‘Merry Christmas’ Horrible For Muslims?
Muslims politely avoid participating in any action that is against the teachings of God. This includes such a simple thing like saying the phrase ‘Merry Christmas.’
The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“Whoever imitates a people is one of them.”
Yet Muslims strive to live in peace and show respect to all their neighbors as God explains in the Quran:
“And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge. Thus We have made pleasing to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them about what they used to do. [Noble Quran 6:108]
What Do Muslims Do During Christmas?
Just like all holidays of other religions, Muslims treat the day as any other normal day. A typical day of a Muslim involves: worshiping God through the five daily prayers, increasing in knowledge of God’s Will by reading and pondering the Quran, tending to family and loved ones, and being a productive role model for society and community. And above all else, a Muslim strives to earn eternity in Heaven by fulfilling the purpose of life, obeying God, just like Christians. Next time you see a Muslim during the holidays, consider greeting them with the phrase ‘I wish you a happy Hereafter.’ After all, isn’t that what we’re all seeking?
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