The following article is based primarily, but, not exclusively, upon two previous articles that I’ve already written, one about Non-Islamic holidays, generally (http://www.garethbryant.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/thereasonsmuslimsdonotcelebratenonislamicholidays), and the other specifically about the celebration of the Psuedo-Islamic holiday, known as al-Mawlid (http://www.garethbryant.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/mythoughtsonthemawlid).
It’s so very ironic, how Muslims condemn Christians for celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him), when many Muslims, themselves, celebrate the birth of a Prophet as well: Muhammad ibn-`Abdillah, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). So, in light of this, I intend to highlight some of the very ironic similarities, between both Christmas & al-Mawlid, respectively.
Brief history of Christmas-
Christmas, literally meaning, “Christ’s Mass”(Dictionary.com), has been designated to be on December 25th. It is on this day that basically all Christians believe that Jesus was born, even tough there is absolutely no religious nor historical records proving that Jesus was born on the 25th of December, or even during the Winter, for that matter. Anyway, this particular holiday emerged as the power of Christiandom began to spread & grow within Europe, Africa & the Middle-East. This holiday, “Christmas” was originally a Pagan-Roman holiday, called the Saturnalia, literally, meaning the festival of Saturn.(Encyclopedia Britannica) The Catholic-Church, at the time, was trying to strengthen it’s congregant-base, and realized that the masses of the people, especially in Europe were deeply invested into celebrating the ancient holiday, Saturnalia. So, what began to happen was, in order to keep these newly-converted Christians from turning away from Christiandom, they allowed the common-people to keep their former pagan-holidays, even though, ironically, these holidays represented everything contrary to classic Christian-Doctrine. And, this is how the Saturnalia evolved from celebrating Saturn, to celebrating Jesus, during the 4th-century, which is the closest known time-period when Christmas was officially celebrated.
Brief history of al-Mawlid-
The Mawlid, literally, meaning “birthday”, in the Arabic-Language(Lisan-ul-`Arab/The Arabic-Language: Lexicon of the Arabic-Language, Muhammad ibn-Manzhur), was something that Muslims began to celebrate about 3-centuries after the death of Muhammad, commemorating the month & day of his birth, even though: one, he, himself, personally, neither told, nor encouraged, anyone to celebrate his birthday, during his own lifetime; two, none of his Companions (May Allah be please with them all-together) ever celebrated al-Mawlid, neither during nor after the lifetime of Muhammad; three, none of the members of either generation of the Tabi`in (the followers of the Companions of Muhammad [May Allah mercify them all-together]) ever celebrated al-Mawlid; also, ironically, there’s even scholarly debate as to when the actual date of the birth of Muhammad was. Since the Pagan-Arabs were mostly an illiterate people & relied mostly on memory, it’s not definitive to say exactly when the birth of Muhammad truly was, without any credible, historical, tangible record. Moving right along: the formation & origin of the Mawlid, based upon surviving record, begins during the reign of the Khilafah (Islamic-Rulership) of Harun ar-Rashid, the 5th & most well-known of all the Khulafa’ (Islamic-Rulers), from the `Abbasi-period.(Encyclopedia Britannica)
Now…let’s see what’s ironically-similar between these two holidays-
1. They are both celebrations, which are not sanctioned by any revelation from Allah, via textual-scriptures, nor examples of any Prophets/Recipients-of-Revelation.
2. These holidays were never celebrated in the presence of either Jesus or Muhammad; so, there’s no basis of justification to celebrate the births of any of these two Prophets, when even they, themselves, had never celebrated their own birthdays, during their own respective times.
3. Both of these holidays emerged at least 3-centuries after the times of these two respective Prophets (after the ascension of Jesus [Islamically, Muslims don’t believe that Jesus even died in the 1st-place, which is one of the reasons why he has to return] & death of Muhammad).
4. Both of these holidays involve commencement of specific acts of worship, almost exclusively during the celebratory times of the year for these holidays.
5. Both of these holidays have resulted in full-fledged personality-worship of these respective Prophets, like calling upon them for salvation, when salvation is only from Allah, directly, and when worship, in it’s intrinsic/inherent totality, is solely for Allah, and not for anything or anyone created.
Let’s examine the word that I used to describe both Christmas & al-Mawlid: Bid`ah-
There is a purposeful reason why I’ve chosen this word, “Bid`ah”, to describe both Christmas, as well as al-Mawlid, respectively. This term Bid`ah, literally, meaning “Innovation”, is from the Arabic-verb, “Bada`a”, to change/evolve-Both of these holidays, just like any other holidays which had evolved out of the celebrations of dead-persons, or presumed to be dead-persons (as in the case of Jesus, whom, according to Islamic-texts, has not died as of yet[Noble Qur’an: Chpt.4, V.157], making it one of the reasons why he must return to Earth: to live out the remainder of his life and to die), are not based upon any credible revealed-texts, from Allah. And, the actual religious, Islamic, definition of the term Bid`ah is the following: any action of worship, adopted by Muslims, which is in opposition to the Shari`ah/Islamic-Law.
One of the signature-proofs of this is simple: the story of the 5-righteous individuals who lived before the birth of Noah (Peace be upon him), the names of these persons were: Yaghuth, Ya`uq, Suwa`, Wadd, and Nasir.(Qasas-ul-Anbiya’/Stories of the Prophets, Abul-Fida’ Isma`il ibn-Kathir ad-Dimashqi) His people allowed themselves to be deceived by ash-Shaytan/the Devil, building monuments on their graves; but when the initial generation of people, who did this, died-off, their descendants weren’t informed as to why this was done. Therefore, ash-Shaytan had then encouraged them to take the commemoration of their reverence further, by celebrating firstly, the days of the births of these people, then, the deaths of these people, then, it went further & further, until these people were fully worship, aside from Allah, all together.(Qasas-ul-Anbiya’) And, this is why, Islamically, any & all acts of worship (particularly, in lieu of our discussion, to/for a dead-person) are automatically classified as Mahrum/Prohibited, unless there exists non-abrogated, textual, evidence, from either the Qur’an or the Sunnah/Prophetic-Tradition, which warrants the lawfulness of any & all acts.
Why do Muslims condemn Christmas but not al-Mawlid?
Considering the fact that both Christmas & al-Mawlid are meant to celebrate & commemorate the religious status of two Prophets, both dearly regarded, by both Muslims & Christians, this would actually mean that, if anything, the Muslims would have more of a right to celebrate Christmas than any other Christian…why? I’ll sure tell you why: one day, Muhammad had encountered Jews in al-Madinah (the 1st Islamic-State/Capitol of the Islamic-State, during the lifetime of Muhammad) & he was informed that they were fasting on the 10th-day of Muharram (the 1st-month of the Islamic-Calendar), popularly known as Yawmu-`Ashura’, or simply `Ashura’, literally meaning tenth, in Arabic.(Lisan-ul-`Arab) So, when he learned of this, naturally, Muhammad wanted to know why the Jews were doing this. And, they had explained to him that this fasting, on this day, is meant to commemorate the day that Allah had rescued the Children of Israel from the tyranny in Egypt, by the Reigning-Pharaoh of that time, and Moses (Peace be upon him) had fasted, to show gratitude to Allah. Upon being told this, Muhammad had mentioned that he has more of a right to fast on this day, than any of them.(al-Bukhari)
The reason why he said this is because of the fact that although the Jews religiously claim Moses, it is the Muslims whom are truly more adherent to the revelation that Allah had given Moses than any Jew. Likewise, if the Christians want to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, then, by nature, by default, the Muslims would be more justified, religiously, to celebrate Christmas, by virtue of the fact that Muslims are more in-line to the true teachings of Jesus than any Christian. However, most Muslims will not accept this, because, they’ll be quick to say, “Well Jesus is not our Prophet, Muhammad is.”. Yet, this is not the point: it doesn’t even matter whether or not Jesus was sent to us, as a Prophet or not. I mean, let’s go back to the `Ashura’-Issue: The Muslims were actually commanded to fast during `Ashura’, until Allah had revealed that the obligatory fasting-period for Muslims is during the month of Ramadhan.(Muslim)
So, in conclusion, I know that a lot of people (both Muslim & Non-Muslim alike) will have an opinion/opinions about this particular article. But, that’s okay…it’s just what I expect & this comes with the territory…it’s all in a day’s work. So, please, share your thoughts, concerns, criticisms (as I’m pretty sure that there will be many), and let’s get a discussion going about this entire issue.