Christmas is a Christian celebration marking the birth of Hazrat Isa (as) which takes place on 25th of December in the West, but not in the Eastern Orthodox community, who in fact celebrate it on the 7th of January. The celebration was created some hundred years after Christianity began and the way in which people celebrate it has changed too.
It used to be a time for reflection on the teachings of Hazrat Isa (as), visiting Church for mass and praying. Now it is more focussed on buying presents, having parties, drinking and decorations. You may even find that your non-Christian friends are celebrating Christmas too. So why don’t we celebrate it?
It is important to remember that Christmas is not an Islamic celebration. As Muslims, we don’t even celebrate the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammed (saw), so why would we celebrate the birthday of any other prophet? The reason we don’t celebrate birthdays of prophets is because birthdays aren’t important, what is more important are the teachings and examples that the prophets have given us.
What is strange about the 25th of December is that this date is actually incorrect, as Hazrat Isa (as) was not born in Winter.
The Holy Quran teaches us that he was born at a time when fresh dates are found on palm-trees in Judea. After delivering Hazrat Isa (as) under a palm-tree an angel spoke to Hazrat Maryam (as) saying:
And shake towards thyself the trunk of the palm-tree; it will drop upon thee fresh ripe dates. (19:26).
So, not only are Christians celebrating a prophet’s birthday, which is below the esteem that Allah has granted him, but they’re also doing so in the wrong month! This shows two very good reasons why we as Muslims shouldn’t join in with Christmas celebrations.
As Muslims we get the chance to celebrate two Eids every year and both have meaning as well as many blessings associated with them. This isn’t to say that you can’t enjoy the winter season; we can enjoy the lights, eat mince pies and send season’s greetings cards to our friends. Each year, the jamaat prints out season’s greeting card which you can distribute to friends and neighbours.
Moreover, we can respect their festivities by taking extra care of the elderly who are lonely at this special time in their lives. We can visit sick children in hospitals, and we can feed the homeless who are neglected. Not forgetting our neighbours, to check to see if they are in need of anything which you can help them with. This is how an Ahmadi would celebrate this festive holiday.