Christmas is a holiday celebrated globally. Christians believe that December 25 is the day that Jesus was born. It’s very interesting to note however that the church did not actually observe a festival or tradition for the celebration of Jesus’s until the 4th century. December 25 was actually the Roman festival of the “Invincible Sun.” As a side note, Hindu’s honored the birth of their god Ganesh on December 25 as well. In China, people believe that Buddha was born on this day. Ancient Persians also held the belief that Mithras (Main Persian god) was born on the 25th of December. Greeks celebrated the 25th of December for the birth of Hercules, the son of the main god Zeus.
In Rome, December 25th was a day where presents were exchanged, and there was great illumination in the streets. These Romans were the same ones who presided over the council of Nicaea in 325 CE. For those who are not aware, the Council of Nicaea was was where Christianity’s main doctrine of the “Trinity” became standardized. This included recognizing December 25th as the birth of Jesus. Roman Christians were obviously very ignorant about Jesus’ birth and tied their winter solstice festival on the 25th to the birth of Jesus. Later on, as the core beliefs of this new Christianity spread throughout Europe, other tribes and groups further polluted it with more shirk-based traditions and customs. The very practice of bringing an evergreen tree into one’s home is a pre-Christian Germanic custom. Before Christianity spread into Europe, people would bring evergreen trees into their houses to decorate during the cold winter. Greenery in the home would remind the people that greenery would soon return in the spring. The Christmas tree tradition took off especially during the rule of England’s Queen Victoria who decorated her own Christmas tree as a token of appreciating her husbands German heritage. Santa Claus himself is a pagan creation. According to Germanic and Scandinavian legends, Odin had an eight legged horse named Sleipnir. Children would leave treats for Slepinir and Odin hoping they would leave gifts in return.
For us Muslims, we revere Jesus who is Eesa bin Maryam (as) more than any other group on the face of the Earth. Eesa (as) is mentioned in the Noble Qur’an 25 times by name. He is given titles such as “the word of Allah,” “the spirit of Allah,” and “Sign of Allah.”
Christmas is a shirk-based tradition that Muslims should have nothing to do with. By celebrating and acknowledging Christmas, we are subconsciously accepting that this holiday is valid. We are congratulating the Christians on committing shirk. In today’s times, there are a plethora of festivals and parties such as ugly sweater parties, pajama parties, etc. At the end of the day, each one of those parties is a cover up for the actual Christmas themed festivals. Unfortunately, it’s very common now to see Muslims in the west following in the footsteps of the Christians. Are we not aware of the hadith regarding imitating the disbelievers? Allah (swt) says in Surah al-Maidah,
“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion”
-Surah al-Maidah, Ayah 3
Why must we adopt a foreign tradition as Muslims? Our religion forbids us from imitating the kuffaar, especially the Jews and Christians, but this prohibition does not apply to all their affairs, rather it applies to matters of their religion and things that are unique to them, by which they are known. Abu Saeed al-Khudri narrates that the Messenger of Allah (swt) said,
You will certainly follow the ways of those who came before you hand span by hand span, cubit by cubit, to the extent that if they entered the hole of a lizard, you will enter it too.” We said: “O Messenger of Allaah, (do you mean) the Jews and the Christians?” He said: “Who else?”
-Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim
In addition, Abdullah ibn Umar said that the Messenger of Allah (swt) said,
“Whoever imitates a people is one of them.”
We are living in times where we are witnessing the youth generation becoming extremely disinterested in Islam and rather more interested in the pop culture and traditions of the west. Each generation that comes after the previous will only get worse. May Allah (swt) protect us all and may He guide everyone on the correct path. Ameen.