Do Muslims Celebrate Christmas?

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asked May 19, 2015 by admin (4,500 points)

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Summary

A celebration is an occasion that individuals or groups have as part of a festival or an event. Many celebrations are linked directly with religion, such as Christmas, Easter, Eid, Hanukkah, Nowruz and Diwali. In Islam, Muslims celebrate two main religious festivals every year called Eid ul-Adha and Eid ul-Fitr and are prohibited from taking part in any celebrations other than these. As with most faiths, Islam too encourages Muslims to hold strongly onto their religious identity, which takes precedence over cultural or secular practices within society. This includes not mimicking the actions and beliefs of non-muslims.

Christmas is a celebration to commemorate the birth of Jesus (peace be upon him) as the son of God or as a trinity (partner) with God, therefore Muslims do not celebrate this because although they believe in Jesus (peace be upon him) as a Prophet, they do not believe that he is the son of God. [To read more on the Islamic view of Jesus click here].

Full Answer

A celebration is an occasion that individuals or groups have as part of a festival or an event. Many celebrations are linked directly with religion, such as Christmas, Easter, Eid, Hanukkah, Nawroz and Diwali. Therefore, religious holidays are celebrated because they mark a significant importance in that actual religion. Other celebrations which are not modernly associated with religion, but have pagan roots include Halloween.

Muslims celebrate two main religious festivals every year called Eid Al-Adha and Eid Al-Fitr. Eid Al-Adhaa is celebrated after the Hajj; the pilgrimage to Makkah in Saudi Arabia. It is celebrated worldwide in commemoration of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael, which was replaced by a sheep as a sacrifice instead. Eid al-Fitr is celebrated to mark the end of Ramadan; the 9th month of the Islamic calendar in which Muslims fast each day from sunrise to sunset.

These Two ‘Eids are the only religious festivals (‘Eids), and the word ‘Eid’ in Arabic means, “an occasion that recurs each year.” When the Prophet Muhammad (May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon Him) came to Madina (the City of the Prophet in the West of Saudi Arabia) he saw that the people of the city were celebrating two festivals, and he said to them:

“Indeed! Allah has given you in their stead better than them, the ‘Eid of Fitr and the ‘Eid of Al-Adhaa.” [Abu Dawud: 1134]

As with most faiths, Islam too encourages Muslims to hold strongly onto their religious identity, as seen in the Hadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad [May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him]) above.

Besides the above two mentioned Eids, Muslims are forbidden from taking part in any Eids or recurring festivities, especially when they have a non-islamic religious background.

Furthermore, the Prophet Muhammad (May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” [Abu Dawood: 4031]

This Hadith reminds the Muslims not to follow or copy the ways of the other religions. This is in order to safeguard his (or her) faith because the easiest way to deviate from the true message of any religion is when its followers start imitating the ways of other beliefs. Hence, for Muslims, anything that goes against their religious teachings is not allowed to be practised. One could draw similarities to any individual who decides not to celebrate or do something because it goes against their religious, moral or ethical values.

With regards to Christmas, this is a celebration to commemorate the birth of Jesus (Peace be upon him) whom Christians regard as the son of God or as part of a trinity (partner) with God. Muslims therefore do not celebrate this because, although they believe in Jesus (peace be upon him), they do not accept or believe that he is God or the son of God. [To read more on the Islamic view of Jesus click here].

However, although Muslims do not partake in other religious festivals and celebrations, it is important, especially while living in a secular country or countries that are governed by a different religion, to remember not to cause enmity or physically express hatred towards those who are involved in these celebrations. This can be seen clearly in the example of the Prophet Muhammad (May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) when he dealt with people of other religions, he would not partake in their celebrations and would not interfere in the matter.

Although, a minority of Muslims celebrate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him), this is not based on any of the teachings of the Prophet himself, nor the actions of his disciples. Muslims are not supposed to base their choice of a celebration on their culture, emotions or preferences, but rather, base it on evidences in their religion. For a Muslim to not celebrate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) or the birthday of Jesus (Peace be upon him) does not mean in any way that Muslims lack the respect or love for them, but as mentioned earlier, they are doing as commanded by the Prophet (May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) himself.

answered May 19, 2015 by admin (4,500 points)
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