Home » Articles » Why Celebrating Christmas is Haram in Islam [full explanation]

Why Celebrating Christmas is Haram in Islam [full explanation]

Every year, different people from all around the world anticipate Christmas and its joyful celebration from decoration, to food, to exchanging gifts. There is a constant controversy surrounding it among Muslims nonetheless. Interestingly, by the end of each year, a recurrent question is popular among Muslims: Can Muslims celebrate Christmas? Throughout this article, we shall provide you with all you need to know about this holiday and its celebration among Muslims.

What is Christmas?

On December 25th, a holiday is celebrated each year by many people from all around the world. It is Christmas, the day Christians believe the anniversary of the birth of Jesus. Since Christians believe Jesus is the son of God, Christmas day holds a great value in their calendar and is regarded as a sacred religious day. It is worth mentioning however that Christmas day is not exclusive to Christians only as it’s celebrated by various people from different religious groups nowadays.

Christmas in islam

What does Islam say about the birth of Jesus?

Islam and Christianity differ in one crucial point and that is Jesus. While Christians see him as the son of God that died for the sins of humanity, Muslims see him as a Prophet of God and they call him Prophet Isa. Consequently, there would be different accounts concerning his birth. According to Islam, the day of birth of Jesus is mostly unlikely to be on December 25th per the Christian celebration of Christmas. 

In the Quran, Allah (SWT) described the miraculous birth of Jesus in the following verses:

“˹There is˺ also ˹the example of˺ Mary, the daughter of ’Imrân, who guarded her chastity, so We breathed into her ˹womb˺ through Our angel ˹Gabriel˺. She testified to the words of her Lord and His Scriptures, and was one of the ˹sincerely˺ devout.” (Surah At-Tahrim 66:12).

In this verse Allah (SWT) explains how Prophet Isa was born without a father. He is the son of Virgin Mary (Maryam) daughter of Al Imran (Jesus’s grandparents). This is also believed by Christians. As to the specifics of date and place, further details about his birth are given in Surah Maryam as follows: 

 “Then the pains of labor drove her to the trunk of a palm tree. She cried, “Alas! I wish I had died before this, and was a thing long forgotten!” So a voice reassured her from below her, “Do not grieve! Your Lord has provided a stream at your feet. And shake the trunk of this palm tree towards you, it will drop fresh, ripe dates upon you.” (Surah Maryam 19:23-25).

From these verses, we can notice two important details. First, it is mentioned that Prophet Isa (Jesus) was born under a palm tree. Second, Maryam (Mary) could eat fresh ripe dates. Such details contradict the assumption that Prophet Isa (Jesus) was born in winter especially during the cold weather of December. Islamic scholars have not agreed upon a specific season nevertheless. Some would say he was born in summer or even early autumn. This however is only a presumption based on Quranic studies similar to that regarding how old was Jesus when he became a prophet. Only God Almighty knows such information.

The real reason Muslims can’t celebrate Christmas:

Jesus in Christianity is the son of God. Reinforcing such belief by celebrating Christmas is Shirk (disbelief) in Islam. Allah (SWT) says:

“O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.” (Surah An-Nisa 4:17).

As a result, it is only reasonable that Muslims are prohibited from celebrating such holiday. It is a common misconception that Islam degrades Jesus and Christians and thus prohibits the celebration of Christmas. In fact, Islam highly speaks of Prophet Isa (Jesus) as per this verse:

“He has made me a blessing wherever I go, and bid me to establish prayer and give alms-tax as long as I live” (Surah Maryam 19:31).

Simply put, since Muslims believe Jesus is a prophet (Prophet Isa) and not the son of God, it is haram to celebrate his birth as do the Christians. Therefore, Christmas is not considered a holiday and is not celebrated in Muslim countries.

Islam encourages us to have fun and share happiness with family and loved ones during 2 religious holidays which are Eid al fitr and Eid al Adha.

Can Muslims have a Christmas tree?

The simple answer is NO because it entails the celebration of a holiday that is not permissible in Islam. We, as Muslims ought to distinguish ourselves from non-believers as per Prophet Muhammed’s (pbuh) hadith:

 “He who imitates any people (in their actions) is considered to be one of them.” (Narrated by Abu Dawud).

Can Muslims say Merry Christmas?

While many scholars deem this Haram, others believe it depends on the person’s intention. If you wish a Christian a Merry Christmas out of politeness, there is no harm in doing so. However, if you say Merry Christmas with full knowledge and understanding of its implication, then it is considered a major sin of Shirk for Muslims do not consider Jesus the son of God.

Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) said:

“The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended” (Sahih al-Bukhari).

Can converts celebrate with their non-believing families?

Yes, they can. Islam highly values family. As long as the Muslim is there to share some good time with the family and not to celebrate Jesus’ birth as the son of God, it is perfectly fine.

Many new Muslims or people who want to convert to Islam are afraid of facing such struggles. Islam never was and never will be an extremist religion. Rather, it is and will always be a religion of ease. Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) said:

“Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded” (Sahih al-Bukhari).

To conclude, Muslims cannot celebrate Jesus’ birth because of the implication that he is the son of God. This goes against the Islamic religion. However, this does not mean in any way disrespecting other people’s holidays and celebrations. Islam is a religion of modesty and respect after all. In such circumstances, all Muslims can do is treat such holidays as regular days and not imitate the non-believers. 

 May Allah guide us all to the right path.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *