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April 18, 2014 | Jumada Al-Thani 17, 1435
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IslamiCity > Articles > Jesus in Islam and Christmas
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Regardless of historical facts and theological differences that Christians may have among themselves or theological differences Muslims may have with Christianity we cannot disregard the sentiments of practicing Christians ..
Audio Jesus in Islam and Christmas

Jesus in Islam and Christmas
12/24/2013 - Religious Interfaith - Article Ref: IC0312-2171
Number of comments: 117
Opinion Summary: Agree:72  Disagree:12  Neutral:33
By: IslamiCity
IslamiCity* -

Many Christians are unaware that the true spirit of reverence which Muslims display towards Jesus and his mother Mary spring from the fountainhead of their faith as prescribed in the Holy Quran. Most do not know that a Muslim does not take the name of Jesus , without saying Eesa alai-hiss-salaam i.e. (Jesus peace be upon him).

Many Christians do not know that in the Holy Quran Jesus is mentioned by name twenty-five times.  For example: 

.. We gave Jesus the son of Mary Clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the holy spirit. .. Quran 2:87

Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah gives thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah. Quran 3:45

.. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an apostle of Allah .. Quran 4:171

 And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him .. Quran 5:46

And Zakariya and John, and Jesus and Elias: all in the ranks of the righteous: Quran 6:85

The Quranic Titles of Jesus

Though Jesus is mentioned by name in twenty-five places in the Holy Quran he is also addressed with respect as: "Ibne Maryam" - son of Mary; as Masi (Heb) Messiah - translated as Christ; "Abd-ullah" servant of Allah; "Rasul -Ullah" - Messenger of Allah.

He is spoken of as "the word of God", as "the spirit of God", as a "Sign of God", and numerous other epithets of honor spread over fifteen different chapters. The Holy Quran honors this great Messenger of God, and over the past fourteen hundred years Muslims continue to hold Jesus as a symbol of truth.

Christmas and 25th of December

Jesus is commonly considered to have been born on the 25th of December. However, it is common knowledge among Christian scholars that he was not born on this day. It is well known that the first Christian churches held their festival in May, April, or January. Scholars of the first two centuries AD even differ in which year he was born. Some believing that he was born fully twenty years before the current accepted date. So how was the 25th of December selected as the birthday of Jesus ?

Grolier's encyclopedia says: "Christmas is the feast of the birth of Jesus Christ, celebrated on December 25 ... Despite the beliefs about Christ that the birth stories expressed, the church did not observe a festival for the celebration of the event until the 4th century.... since 274, under the emperor Aurelian, Rome had celebrated the feast of the "Invincible Sun" on December 25. In the Eastern Church, January 6, a day also associated with the winter solstice, was initially preferred. In course of time, however, the West added the Eastern date as the Feast of the Epiphany, and the East added the Western date of Christmas". 

So who else celebrated the 25th of December as the birth day of their gods before it was agreed upon as the birth day of Jesus ? Well, there are the people of India who rejoice, decorate their houses with garlands, and give presents to their friends on this day. The people of China also celebrate this day and close their shops. Buddha is believed to have been born on this day. The great savior and god of the Persians, Mithras, is also believed to have been born on the 25th of December long before the coming of Jesus .

The Egyptians celebrated this day as the birth day of their great savior Horus, the Egyptian god of light and the son of the "virgin mother" and "queen of the heavens" Isis. Osiris, god of the dead and the underworld in Egypt, the son of "the holy virgin", again was believed to have been born on the 25th of December.

The Greeks celebrated the 25th of December as the birthday of Hercules, the son of the supreme god of the Greeks, Zeus, through the mortal woman Alcmene Bacchus, the god of wine and revelry among the Romans (known among the Greeks as Dionysus) was also born on this day.

Adonis, revered as a "dying-and-rising god" among the Greeks, miraculously was also born on the 25th of December. His worshipers held him a yearly festival representing his death and resurrection, in midsummer. The ceremonies of his birthday are recorded to have taken place in the same cave in Bethlehem which is claimed to have been the birth place of Jesus .

The Scandinavians celebrated the 25th of December as the birthday of their god Freyr, the son of their supreme god of the heavens, Odin.

The Romans observed this day as the birthday of the god of the sun, Natalis Solis Invicti ("Birthday of Sol the invincible"). There was great rejoicing and all shops were closed. There was illumination and public games. Presents were exchanged, and the slaves were indulged in great liberties. These are the same Romans who would later preside over the council of Nicea (325 CE) which lead to the official Christian recognition of the "Trinity" as the "true" nature of God, and the "fact" that Jesus was born on the 25th of December too.

In Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Gibbon says: "The Roman Christians, ignorant of his (Christ's) birth, fixed the solemn festival to the 25th of December, the Brumalia, or Winter Solstice, when the Pagans annually celebrated the birth of Sol " vol. ii, p. 383.

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