What is Christmas? The entire reason behind celebrating Christmas across Europe was to give people hope that the difficult days of cold weather would soon pass. It was seen as a symbol of the resurgence of the sun, the casting away of winter and the rebirth of spring and summer. The churches claimed this is the day Jesus was born, although there is no one document that proves this.
It’s then believed that God sent his son into this world to redeem it from the original sin of Adam and Eve. Hence why Christmas is seen as the time when Jesus was born.
Today Christmas is celebrated very differently from the way it was years ago. At that point in time, almost everyone went to church. For some, it was time to celebrate with family and friends.
Others who were more religious-minded, saw it as a religious festival, celebrating Jesus and his sacrifice. They did not focus on spending huge amounts of money, partying and getting drunk but instead focused on thanking God.
True Christians feel Christmas has been altered by the media. There is pressure on parents to buy gifts and toys for their children and grandchildren, not to mention that many people borrow money to cope with the financial burden that Christmas brings.
What do Muslims believe?
Muslims do not believe that Jesus was God’s son. There is nothing for them to celebrate and the festival plays no part in the Muslim calendar. Celebrating anything apart from the two Eids would fall into one of 2 things.
- It is an innovation – Bid’ah – if the purpose is to draw close to Allah, e.g. by celebrating Prophet’s birth
- An imitation of the Kuffar – if it is celebrated as a tradition and not an act of worship – as new festivals are being introduced into Islam that go against the command of Allah (swt)
The Prophet Muhammad (saw) said “whoever imitates a people is one of them” (Taymiyah)
You might be wondering why it is important to write the above, it is simply to get an overall understanding of why Christmas is not celebrated. Unfortunately as new Muslims, this means that it can be very tough on you as you have suddenly been isolated from family and friends. You may not have a lot of new Muslim friends yet, so you may feel lonely.
Christmas traditions have roots in pagan festivities.
Saturnalia was a festival celebrated by the Romans to commemorate Saturn, the god of the harvest. This festival took place during the winter solstice and was celebrated with lots of immorality and indulgence. So The church basically adopted Christmas around the same time, helping pagans convert to Christians.
Tips on What to do around Christmas Time
So here are a few tips on how you can spend your time during holidays to make life easier!
If you’re new to Islam;
- Don’t push yourself to give up everything at once. You’re still learning and giving up everything in one go will just lead to depression. Even Prophet Muhammad (saw) was taught about Islam over a number of years!
- You can go visit family during Christmas time. Just don’t get involved in haram things such as music, haram food, dancing etc. Spend some quality time with the family. Listen to them, don’t say you can’t listen to them when they talk about Christmas, just be firm about your own beliefs and let them enjoy their festivals at the same time!
- Remember to be patient, over time things will get easier. Our family will also become more understanding and things will start to fall into place.
- You could try fasting in those days, which can help bring things into perspective.
- If you’re really struggling with feelings of emptiness, spend time with friends. Do other things to distract yourself like joining an Islamic circle. Keep busy during these times. Make the most of events that often go on in the mosques such as special talks at this time of year. Have a day out, as the roads are generally clear, and parking is free. if you have kids go for a fun walk in the park or forest!
- Open up a facebook group discussion, maybe you could run a class or a book club with a group of girls. This would be fun and take your mind away.
- Like point 6, but open up a book club local to you. Could be on Islamic books or fiction books, but it’s a good time to get together and have a little fun. This will mostly work before and after Christmas!
- Remember, Eid is around the corner and you get 2 of them! Go all out on both Eids and make the most of it with your family, Muslim or not! If your non-Muslim family doesn’t like to celebrate, be understanding and don’t take it personally.
- Remember every sacrifice that you give for Allah (SWT) will be recompensed. Your sacrifices are never in vain!
- Learn more about Salah, why not look out our Salah Step by Step guide?
I hope some of the above information was helpful and that Allah (SWT) makes it easy for you to cope with Christmas. Remember, you have made a commitment to yourself and Allah, it will be difficult but over time it gets easier. If your new to it all, YOU need to give time to adapt, don’t try to suddenly change and cut out everything. It will make you unhappy. Understanding Islam and understanding the reasons why Christmas should not be celebrated will make it easier for you.
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them below!