Short Answer: Modern Christmas is not about honoring Jesus or about family; it’s about consumerism and materialism. Sure, you could celebrate Jesus, some might say, but is this pseudo-religious “holiday” really the best way to celebrate him? Isn’t it better to obey his teachings? Isn’t it better to be kind and generous and family-centered all the time, rather than on one “special” day, a day which no one is even sure of its precise date, and which Jesus himself never mentioned in either the Bible or the Quran?
Peace be upon you dear questioner,
Thank you so much for trusting About Islam with this question and for your earnest desire to know the right course.
May Allah Almighty reward you immensely and guide you to all that is good and pure in this life and the next.
Regarding your question, Islam encourages us to think and reflect on all we do and why we do it.
Islam also encourages us to link all of this to our purpose in life and the purpose of our creation.
There are many cultural norms and traditions that–if you study them thoroughly and track their roots–are flawed and not in line with our beliefs.
Modern Christmas: Consumerism, Materialism
With regards to celebrating Christmas, did you know that this holiday is not even mentioned in the Bible?
Nowhere in the Bible is it mentioned that one must celebrate Christmas.
Never did Jesus (peace be upon him- PBUH) instruct people to celebrate his birth, let alone indulge in all the activities that happen in this season, which are mostly focused on consumerism, commercialism, and materialism.
If you love Jesus (PBUH), then you should love to follow all he did and said, and not follow innovated traditions that he wouldn’t have done or approved of.
Celebrating Christmas has now become a commercialized season in which people indulge in drinking, over eating, partying, going into debt, acting lewdly, and so much more.
If it were true that Christmas is about gathering of families and giving gifts, then these are matters that we are instructed to follow and do every day of our lives.
It is a shame to reduce these good habits to one day and ignore them the rest of the year.
Follow Jesus’ True Teachings to Celebrate Him
Also, one needs to pause and think: How do you really celebrate someone?
Is it merely by exchanging gifts on his behalf?
Or is it by deeply knowing him, remembering what he taught, and living his words and actions so that his example may live on and bring goodness to everyone?
It is easy to talk the talk, but it is not as easy to walk the walk. It is easy to say that you love Jesus (PBUH) and that you want to celebrate him.
But it is not easy to walk the walk and actually follow him.
Muslims Love Jesus
Muslims love Jesus (PBUH) truly, actually, and practically. We follow what he did. We avoid what he avoided.
As Jesus (PBUH) said and is recorded in the Quran:
[Jesus] said, “Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet. And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and zakah (almsgiving) as long as I remain alive. And [made me] dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me a wretched tyrant. And peace is on me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive.” That is Jesus, the son of Mary – the word of truth about which they are in dispute. (Quran 19:30-34)
So, we cannot celebrate Jesus by ignoring his teachings and following irreligious cultural traditions that mainly serve materials ends.
The Message of Jesus
Indeed, celebrating Jesus is to live what he taught every day.
It is to believe in his message; the message of pure monotheism and dedication to the One and Only God of all mankind.
It is to respect and follow the messengers of God, and take them as guides; to be steadfast in prayer; to help those in need; and never be an ally of tyrants or those who divide and discriminate.
This is something that one should be reminded of, strive for, and celebrate every day.
It is the essence of our purpose on this earth: truly knowing our Creator, following the right course of the messengers, and striving for all that is good and pure in this life.
And Allah knows best.
I hope this helps.
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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