Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Hohoho...But Xmas Is What It Isn't

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.
Never would the Messiah disdain to be a servant of Allah , nor would the angels near [to Him]. And whoever disdains His worship and is arrogant - He will gather them to Himself all together.
Surah An Nisa, Verse 171-172

And the world celebrates Christmas today, and some parts of the world will start celebrating soon, depending on time zones. Christmas today is one of the most commercial celebrations across the world, where even non-Christians are swept up in this Yuletide season. Christmas will always be associated with snow (depending on countries), sleigh-bells, Santa Claus, caroling and presents. Christmas even has its own market segment in the business world.

Biblical representation on the birth of Jesus
The date 25th December will always be associated with the birth of Jesus Christ for the Christian faith, or at least by the Pauline sect. How far does this stretch?

Many of us remember the story, either from books or movies, on how Jesus was born in a stable and was placed in a manger, later visited by the 3 wise men from the East, purportedly to be Magis who followed the sign of the North star.

The Holy Quran also describes the birth of Jesus being in the outdoors but only describes that it was below a palm tree.

Persian inscription of the story from Surah Maryam
So she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a far place. And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a date-palm. She said: "Would that I had died before this, and had been forgotten and out of sight!" Then [the baby 'Isa (Jesus) or Jibrael (Gabriel)] cried unto her from below her, saying: "Grieve not! Your Lord has provided a water stream under you; "And shake the trunk of date-palm towards you, it will let fall fresh ripe-dates upon you."

"So eat and drink and be glad, and if you see any human being, say: 'Verily! I have vowed a fast unto the Most Beneficent (Allah) so I shall not speak to any human being this day.'"

Surah Maryam, Verse 22-26

The date of his birth is supposedly to be the 25th of December 00 AD. So, was Jesus born on that day in that year?

In the Bible, Luke described the scenario of the day Jesus was born with "shepherd abiding in the fields, keeping watch upon their flocks by night" which are activities carried out during Spring. Even today, with the information obtained through the internet, we know that the temperature in Bethlehem (Bayt-ul-Laham) is 10C, indicating that it is winter time. It's much too cold to be born outside, or even in a barn.

Historians today conclude, based on events as stated by Christian historians that Jesus was actually born somewhere between 7 to 2BC, and the date, nobody knows, but it is widely speculated to be during Spring.

Pagan Sun-god, Mithra
So, how did 25th December become Christmas? For the first 2 centuries, nobody knew and few cared about birthdays. In fact, at one point, the Church even announced that it is sinful to celebrate Jesus' birthday as if he is "the Pharaoh." The 25th December has long been celebrated by pagans of Europe, announcing the end of Winter and the birth of their mighty sun-god, Mithras. The festivities were known as Natalis Solis Invincti, or "Birthday of the Invincible Sun God." It was almost 300 years after Jesus when the Church decided to adapt the date as a strategy to convince the pagans to convert, which worked quite well. It was almost 100 years later when the Christians of the East adapted the same as they used January 6th as the date for the birth of Jesus.

The Christianization of Europe absorbed a lot of paganistic elements, mish-mashed with history. The name and figure of Santa Claus was derived from Sinterklaas, Odin and several other paganistic deities, while the character was based from Saint Nicholas of Myra, a 4th century Greek Christian bishop in Turkey. He is famous for his generous gifts to the poor, in particular presenting the three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian with dowries so that they would not have to become prostitutes. During the Middle Ages, often on the evening before his name day of the 6th of December, children were bestowed gifts in his honor. This date was earlier than the original day of gifts for the children, which moved in the course of the Reformation and its opposition to the veneration of saints in many countries on the 24th and 25th December. So Saint Nicholas was changed to Santa Claus. This was also a strategy to capture the minds of the children and youths, although well intended where encouraging to be good always and that they are watched always.
Saint Nicholas and the evolution to Santa Claus

So far, we have seen that today's Christmas celebration is more of a festival that resulted from marketing strategies designed to convert people. In today's advanced communication world, the strategy doesn't stop there.

It seems that the completion of Islam caused a lot of the old religions, whether paganistic or scriptures, problems. Despite in some parts agreeing and enhancing, many of the revelations dented their long-standing doctrines. The Quran revealed that Jesus never died but was ascended to Heaven by Allah, leaving their doctrine of "Jesus died on the cross to absolve the crimes of humankind" drowning. Further damaging to them is the fact that Allah revealed that Jesus was a Prophet and a man, not the Son of God or even God.

And when Allah will say: O Jesus, son of Mary, didst thou say to men, Take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah? He will say: Glory be to Thee! it was not for me to say what I had no right to (say). If I had said it, Thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my mind, and I know not what is in Thy mind. Surely Thou art the great Knower of the unseen.
Al-Maeda Verse 116

Today, especially in this season, movie studios will churn out heart-warming, romantic and touching movies that glamorizes Christmas. Some movies might not even be religious but it will always move people to see how Christmas, the supposedly birth date of Jesus as something magical, or even miraculous.

And [they are] those who do not testify to falsehood, and when they pass near ill speech, they pass by with dignity.
Surah Al Furqan, Verse 72

Not surprising to see why there are so many Muslims out gallivanting around on Christmas eves. With Christian doctrines being adjusted to suit the social and political climate, such as allowing pre-marital sex and LGBT to increase their audience, Islam remains steadfast in its stand as commanded by Allah. To this, Christmas, even not targeted as religious, is also used to turn young Muslims away from his/her religion.

Many of the People of the Scripture wish they could turn you back to disbelief after you have believed, out of envy from themselves [even] after the truth has become clear to them. So pardon and overlook until Allah delivers His command. 
Indeed, Allah is over all things competent.
Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 109

Based on all that, do we Muslims supposed to celebrate Christmas? Should we agree to celebrate a theological strategy that gives a fictional birth date to a great Prophet who will return one day to save us from the One Eyed and the descendents of those were barriered behind an iron wall. Do we conform to their system of belief where they worship a Prophet as God and does things which the Prophet Himself has said not to? We have been warned before, and a Hadith narrated:

The companion of the Prophet, Abdullaah Ibn Amr Ibn al-'Aas said: "Whoever celebrates the Persian New Year's Day or their carnival and imitates them till his death he will be resurrected with them on the Day of Judgment."

The Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) said: "Whoever imitates a nation is but one of them." [Abu Daawood]

With all the so-called liberalism influencing from the west...and the One Eyed, I am not surprised that even the planned riots of 31st December 2013 are planned and will begin from churches. With pluralism demanding itself to be worshipped by Muslims in Malaysia, one would wonder how long we can last...


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