Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Why Muslims do not Celebrate Christmas

The Muslim religion was propounded by Mohammed in the 6th century AD. The Koran which Muslims believe is the word of God forms the basis of the Muslim religion. Both Christianity and Islam have a close affinity in the sense that Muslims consider Jesus as a prophet, but they do not consider him the son of god. The Koran has many passages and stories about the life of Jesus Christ and his teachings. Jesus in Arabic is referred to as Isa and there are many verses regarding him in the Koran. Muslims also believe in the virgin birth of Mary. But despite repeated reference to Jesus and acceptance that he was a messiah, the Muslims do not celebrate Christmas. With the passage of time the Muslim feelings have hardened against Christianity and for centuries there has been a perpetual conflict between Islam and Christianity. The Crusades and the Holy wars that led to the spread of Islam more by the sword than any other means, the position against Christianity has hardened. The situation has reached the Nadir with Christians being refused permission to practice their religion in Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia as well as barred from spreading the gospel in these Islamic nations. It is a matter of wonder that the Koran which accepts Jesus as a prophet does not allow his followers to preach or pray or observe their rituals in Islamic countries. Even in so called ‘secular’ countries like Egypt and Pakistan many hurdles are put in the path of Christians. One can recall that a few years back the Bishop of Lahore committed suicide as he wished to highlight to the world the plight of Christians in Pakistan. The Coptic Christians in Egypt have long felt discrimination against them from the ruling Muslims. Though nowhere does the Koran mention or pass any injunction that the birth day of Jesus should not be celebrated, yet no Muslim will celebrate Christmas. One of the basic reasons for this non observance of Christmas is that Muslims do not consider Jesus to be the son of god. The Koran clearly mentions that God cannot have a son as he is omnipotent and pure and has no animal like qualities. The Koran is explicit on this definition and there are many verses that mention the qualities of god. Thus Muslims believe that God cannot have a son, but only a messenger and Mohammed was his messenger. Another reason is that Muslims do not believe that Jesus was born on 25 December. The date of 25 December in Islam is associated with pagan rights. The new testament as per Islam was written about 300 years after the death of Jesus and thus cannot be considered sacrosanct. Muslims also do not believe that god can be inside a location or icon. They are firmly of the view that Jesus was a prophet, but he is below Mohammed in spiritual level, as he was only a prophet while Mohammed was a messenger of god. Thus Jesus is on a lower plane and though the Koran recognizes Christians as ‘Children of god’, yet anything that goes against the grain of Islam cannot be tolerated. Islam is a rigid religion and the fact that Mohammed slaughtered his prisoners after the battle of Badr and the killing of 800 boys and men at Qurayza shows that Islam is incompatible with any other religion. With this base it stands to reason that no Muslim can celebrate Christmas. The positions are now more hardened and with a resurgent Islam and the dream of an Islamic caliphate, the question that Muslims will ever celebrate Christmas, just does not arise.