Tag Archives: Christmas

Christmas is just like al-Mawlid: A Bid`ah!!!

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Author’s-Note:
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 pic

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-

Mawlid pic

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.

Gareth Bryant/2012

The Reasons Muslims do not celebrate Non-Islamic Holidays:

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We must first examine the meaning of the word “holiday”.

Holiday (from the Old English; Haligdaeg, which means holy-day):

The day or days of a religious festival.1

It is obvious that even from the definition of the word means that inherently this term has deep religious significance. As Muslims, we are only allowed to partake in celebrations & festivals that have been specifically dictated to us by our Lord, who is Allah; the Lord of the Heavens & the Earth, He who has neither parent nor child, and His Messenger who is Muhammad, the Son of `Abd-il-lah (Peace be upon him); the Seal of the Prophets & Messengers. The one whom the Qur’an was revealed to.2 As Muslims, we only have two holidays; the first being the 1st day of (the 10th month of the Islamic Calendar) Shawwal, which indicates the end of (fasting) Ramadhan. The name of this holiday is called the Celebration of the Feast.3 The second being the 10th day of (the 12th month of the Islamic Calendar) Dhul-Hijjah, which commemorates the sacrifices that Allah commanded Abraham (Peace be upon him) to make, like sacrificing his first born son, Ishmael (Peace be upon him). The name of this holiday is called the Celebration of the Sacrifice.4 Muslims are not allowed to participate in any celebration or festivity, which has any Non-Islamic origins, like the glorification of false gods.5 We also do not celebrate our holidays whenever we want to. Our days of festivities & merriment are standardized, and are only to be observed on the days which Allah and His Messenger (Peace be upon him) legislated.

Examples of some Non-Islamic holidays & their origins:

Valentine’s Day:

Initially, an annual Roman holiday of fertility, the Lupercalia (also called the Lupercalis)6 in honor of Lupercus, the “god of Livestock”. Each year eligible men & women (in every city, town, or village) would be paired together in a lottery. One of the rituals of this holiday was to slaughter innumerable amounts of goats, take the goat blood and smear it upon the eligible women, in the hope that it would give them the potential to conceive. As Christianity spread across continental Europe, the Catholic Church wanted to legitimize the Lupercalia. So, on February 14th, 496 C.E., the Lupercalia was renamed Saint Valentine’s Day in commemoration of two Catholic Saints, both named Valentine.

Easter:

From the name Eastre, the ancient Germanic “goddess of Spring & Fertility”,7 the celebration of Easter was originally a festival commemorating the (Spring Solstice) first day of Spring. Many traditions of early Germanic Easter-type folklore have been preserved to the present-day, like the legend of the “Easter Bunny”. According to Germanic traditions, the Rabbit represented fertility. Another people that contributed to Easter were the ancient Greeks. According to Greek mythology, Persephone,8 (daughter of Demeter the “goddess of the Earth”9) was brought back to life, and returned to the Earth from the Underworld. This legend inspired the Greeks to formulate the belief that Spring represented life, while Winter represented death. Even the Hebrew word Pesach,9 which means “Passover” is linguistically synonymous with the Greek word Pasha, which means “Easter”. Many early Christians (who were of Jewish origin) added the celebration of Easter to Passover, in commemoration of the “Resurrection” of Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him).

Halloween:

Originally a Celtic holiday (from the ancient religion of Druidism). This celebration commemorated the arrival of Autumn & Winter. The name of this holiday was originally called Samhain, which used to begin on the night of October 31st. According to the Druids, the spirits of those who had died the previous year were roaming the Earth on this day. In order to appease these “lost souls” the Druids would make sacrificial offerings; things like food, and other types of gifts were thought to please the dead. Even humans & animals were sacrificed on this day. Large bonfires were also part of the general festivities. By the end of the 1st century, the Roman Empire swept across Europe, even to the British Isles, the home of the Druid-Celts. As a result, the Romans began to emulate religious rituals, and festivals of its conquered peoples. When Christianity became the dominant religion in Europe, the Catholic Church would often Christianize pagan holidays, in order to satisfy their newly converted (formerly pagan) populous. The holiday Samhain was no different. In 835 C.E.,  Pope Gregory IV10 changed the name of Samhain to “ All Saint’s Day”. It was later changed to “All Souls Day”, in 998 C.E., and would later be change to Allhallows Day or Hallowmas, and finally to Halloween. The night before Halloween was named Hallows Eve.

Thanksgiving:

Thanksgiving draws its roots from traditional European harvesting festivals. These festivals commemorated successful harvesting seasons. In the British Isles, a very similar festival was observed on August 1st. According to the traditional method of celebration, this festival was only commenced when a harvesting season was successful; if not then the festival was usually cancelled. The official holiday (modern version) of “Thanksgiving” began in North America, with the Puritans. At first, Thanksgiving was observed on a non-annual basis, depending on circumstances. Usually, Thanksgiving was specifically observed because of times of crisis, or after some type of misfortune had passed.

Christmas:

Originally, a seven-day Roman festival known as the Saturnalia.11 This celebration began on December 17th, which commemorated Saturn the “god of Agriculture”, as well as the (Winter Solstice) first day of Winter. During the Saturnalia, the Romans halted trade, warfare, exchanged gifts, and even gave their slaves temporary freedom. There were many additions to this holiday, like the festival of Mithra12 the Persian “god of Light”. They would glorify Saturn & Mithra by making sacrificial offerings, along with other regular acts of worship. With the combination of the Saturnalia and the festival of Mithra, these festivities extended all the way to January 1st.

This marked the first day of the month of the new year (According to the Julian Calendar). As Christianity swept across Europe, the Catholic Church began to adopt and Christianize traditional pagan holidays once practiced by their new converts, as an incentive to keep them as Christians. The Saturnalia was eventually renamed “Christmas”, in honor of the “birth” of Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him), even though there is no known religious, or historical proof that Jesus (Peace be upon him) was even born in the Winter, much less on December 25th. In fact, December 25th was the birth of Mithra, according to ancient Persian mythology.

It has become very clear that the holidays so many people from around the world know & love have pagan origins. For those who claim to be monotheistic (particularly Jews & Christians), you must now evaluate what you allow yourselves, and your families to celebrate as holidays. If you claim to be an upright Jew or Christian, yet still partake in these types of holidays, then you have a serious theological dilemma. According to the teachings of the Old Testament (the Torah), idolatry is the worst thing that a human being could commit. However, the holidays that represent this same type of abomination have been preserved by the same people who claim to shun polytheism, and are still celebrated as though nothing is wrong, why?

Allah tells us: “They took their Rabbis, and Priests, and the Christ, the Son of Mary as lords besides Allah, and they were not commanded except to worship one god. There is no god except Him. Glorified is He above whatever they associate”.13

When Muhammad (Peace be upon him) related this verse for the first time to his Companions (May Allah be pleased with them all-together), one of them, a former Jew, by the name of `Ady bin-Hatim proclaimed that the Rabbis were not worshiped.

Then (Muhammad) he asked him: “Did they not make unlawful what Allah made lawful, and lawful what Allah made unlawful, so you also made it lawful? He (`Ady bin-Hatim) replied: Of course!!! He (Muhammad) said: That is their worship”.14 Based on that Prophetic statement, the Jews & Christians definitely worshiped their scholars, because they made unlawful what Allah made lawful for them, and lawful what Allah made unlawful for them, and they listened to their scholars. They worshiped them because they listened to them when they were wrong.

The fact that so many pagan holidays (like Halloween & Valentine’s Day) are celebrated by the Christians validates that statement. Allah also tells us: “So do not make with Allah rivals, and you know better”.15 The meaning of this verse is not to worship anything other than Allah, or give anything the same status that Allah possesses, like Divinity. Only Allah possesses Divinity, and does not share His Divinity with anything. Both the Jews & Christians are guilty of making rivals with Allah.

As He says in His Book: “And the Jews say Ezra is the Son of Allah, and the Christians say the Christ is the Son of Allah. That is their statement from their own mouths. They (imitate) repeat the statement of those who disbelieved from before. Allah has cursed them, they are rejectors”.16

1 Webster’s Dictionary

2 Noble Qur’an: Chpt. 4, V. 39

3 Fataw-al-Islamiyyah (Islamic Verdicts), the Permanent Committee of Islamic Jurists, Saudi Arabia

4 Fataw-al-Islamiyyah; Qasas-ul-Anbiya’ (Stories of the Prophets), Isma`il Ibn-Kathir ad-Dimashqy

5 Noble Qur’an: Chpt. 7, V. 138; Kitab-ut-Tawhid (The Book of Islamic-Monotheism), Muhammad ibn-`Abd-il-

Wahhab; The Right Way, Ahmad ibn-Taymiyyah

6 www.ask.com

7 Encarta Encyclopedia

8 Encyclopedia Britannica

9 Encarta Encyclopedia

10 Encyclopedia Britannica

11 Encarta Encyclopedia

12 Encarta Encyclopedia

13 Noble Qur’an: Chpt. 9, V. 31; Kitab-ut-Tawhid

14 Musnad-Ahmad, Ahmad ibn-Hanbal; Sunan-ut-Tirmidhy, Muhammad ibn-`Isa ibn-Surat ibn-Musa ibn-ud-Dhahhak as-Sulaymy at-Tirmidhy ; Kitab-ut-Tawhid

15 Noble Qur’an: Chpt. 2, V. 22; Kitab-ut-Tawhid

16 Noble Qur’an: Chpt. 9, V. 30; Qasas-ul-Anbiya’

Gareth Bryant/2011