I just returned to Doha, Qatar, from Sudan, early Friday morning, which happened to be Christmas Day, so I decided to do the Friday Khutbah on Celebrating Christmas and the Mawlid. I addressed the fact that greeting Christians or others with the traditional Christmas greeting “merry Christmas” or “happy Christmas” was not permissible for a Muslim because it meant celebrating the day of “God’s” birth – a concept absolutely abhorrent to Muslims and in direct contradiction to the Qur’aanic verse, “He (Allah) did not give birth nor was He born.” I also pointed out that the date of birth of Prophet Jesus, like that of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was unknown and that it was chosen to match the Saturnalia, the festival of the harvest dedicated to the Roman god of the harvest, Saturn. Christians did not celebrate the birth of Christ for the first 3 centuries after Jesus’ departure because birthday celebration was a known pagan practice. Similarly, Muslims did not celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s birthday until 4 centuries after his death. The practice was started on a state scale by the Fatimid Shi’ite caliphate in Egypt and the date of the Prophet’s death was chosen for the celebration.
The previous week I did a Khutbah for Jumu’ah on Celebrating New Year’s Day on the 1st of Muharram and January 1st in the Sudapet Mosque, in Khartoum, Sudan. In that khutbah I focused on the pagan origin of New Year’s Day which was chosen by the Roman Emperor, Julius Caesar, in 46BC in honor of the Roman god of gateways and doors, Janus, after whom January is named. Even the orgies on New Year’s Eve re-enact the chaotic world before the gods ordered the cosmos, according to Roman legend. Thus, for Muslims to participate in New Year’s Day Celebrations, or imitate it with 1st Muharram celebrations is completely unacceptable and actually haraam, as the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever imitates a people becomes like one of them.”