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Although the role and importance of Jesus may be seen very differently, Islam does recognize the existence of Jesus of Nazareth and even give him some critical acclaim as a prophet. However, do they celebrate his birth in any way such as Christians do at Christmas? If so, in what way do they celebrate?

This question may seem basic, but we have:

لا نفرق بین احد من رسله

So if we accept all prophets then why shouldn't we celebrate their birthdays?

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4  
Thank you for posting on Islam.SE. Your question seems too basic for the site. Please do some research before posting a question in the future. –  Noah Dec 22 '12 at 9:57
    
Related: islam.stackexchange.com/questions/5780/… –  Marc Gravell Dec 23 '12 at 10:41
    
not really answering your question but still related - not even all Christians celebrate Christmas because it has nothing to do with Jesus (peace be upon him): ucg.org/doctrinal-beliefs/… –  user961627 Dec 26 '12 at 15:24

2 Answers 2

up vote 11 down vote accepted

@Abdullah answer is good about our belief towards Jesus but some part of it is not applicable to majority of Muslims. It might be true for some strict Sunni sects though. I will explain it here. You can also read this page which is from Sunni school of thought.

According to ibn timieh and his student ibn qaim it is haram to participate in Christmas celebration and say your greetings to them. He goes even further by saying that it is haram to response back if they congratulate you for the birth of Jesus (AS). If you do that you will be kafir. ref: http://eslahonline.net/29776

Although he is unique in his way of interpreting things. Apart from him the situation is totally different.

According to a couple of Shafe'i scholors:

being exactly like them is Makruh (better not to be done but not haram at all). ibn hajar: if a musilm participate in christians celebrations and rejoice just like them, his action is Makruh. However Ahmad and others were responding to Christians greeting them for their celebrations.

There are many Scholars who permit celebrating Christmass, and also congratulating christians and giving present to them. In fact in quran 8:9 says:

لَّا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّـهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِ‌جُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِ‌كُمْ أَن تَبَرُّ‌وهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ

Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes - from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.

So when they are happy and congratulate you should respond back. You can even give them present. Prophet Jesus (AS) is one of the greatest Prophet, we don't accept everything that his followers say about him but we honor him alot and also his true followers just because of him. In Iran for example, they announce the Christmas time from the public TV and congratulate to all the Christians.

According to Shia Muslim scholors, as long as you are not following their religion or they don't influence you by their religion it is good to congratulate Christmas on Christmas time. ref:here

In conclusion: It should not be like this that we celebrate exactly as they celebrate but nothing prevents you from greeting them and congratulating them for their celebrations even participating to some extent. We have our own celebrations, they have their own, but we can share and collaborate.

Hope this helps,

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+1, thanks for your good answer, however, as the original poster has updated his question it is good to also answer his question in more details, like that Muslims can congratulate the birthday of a prophet of Allah --peace be upon him-- to each other, however no Muslim scholar has approved Christmas to really be the birthday of Jesus the Christ, peace be upon him. –  owari Dec 23 '12 at 10:58
    
@owari, true. The authenticity of Chritstmas to be the birth of Jesus (AS) is sth else. Please feel free to edit the answer if you want. –  rowman Dec 23 '12 at 13:46
    
@owari: I don't think the Christian community does either, its a symbolic date - I don't think that thats wrong either. –  Mozibur Ullah Jan 3 '13 at 16:13
    
@MoziburUllah, totally agreed. –  owari Jan 3 '13 at 16:49

Do muslims celebrate Christmas like Christians?

No. Muslims do not celebrate Christmas like Christians. In fact, we do not know why Christians celebrate it when it has a pagan origin.

“No such festival as christmas was ever heard of until the THIRD century, and not until the FOURTH century was far advanced did it gain much observance.

“Long before the fourth century, and long before the christian era itself, a festival was celebrated among the HEATHEN, at that precise time of the year, in honor oft the birth of the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven; and it may fairly be presumed that, in order to conciliate the heathen, and to swell the number of the nominal adherents of christianity, the same festival was adopted by the Roman church, giving it only the name of Christ. This tendency on the part of christians to meet paganism half-way was very early developed.”

Source: Hislop, A., The Two Babylons, Loiseaux Brothers, Neptune, N.J. p. 93

I believe it is more of a custom thing than religious.

What do they do on Christmas?

It's just like any other day for muslims.

Does Islam reject Jesus?

No, not at all. All muslims believe in Jesus or Eesaa, peace be upon him like they believe in all prophets and messengers sent to humanity. However, we reject what the various factions of Christians say about him i.e. he is the son of Allaah or he is Allaah or he is the third of three.

Allaah (al-Ilaah, Eloh-im), the Sublime and Exalted, said in his final revelation to mankind, establishing the truth about Jesus, the Messenger (peace be upon him):

يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لاَ تَغْلُواْ فِي دِينِكُمْ وَلاَ تَقُولُواْ عَلَى اللّهِ إِلاَّ الْحَقِّ إِنَّمَا الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولُ اللّهِ وَكَلِمَتُهُ أَلْقَاهَا إِلَى مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِّنْهُ فَآمِنُواْ بِاللّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَلاَ تَقُولُواْ ثَلاَثَةٌ انتَهُواْ خَيْرًا لَّكُمْ إِنَّمَا اللّهُ إِلَـهٌ وَاحِدٌ سُبْحَانَهُ أَن يَكُونَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَات وَمَا فِي الأَرْضِ وَكَفَى بِاللّهِ وَكِيلاً

O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allaah aught but the truth. The Messiah Eesaa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was (no more than) a Messenger of Allaah and His Word (through which He created him), (a Word) which He bestowed on Maryam (Mary) and a spirit (Rooh) created by Him. So believe in Allaah and His Messengers. Say not: "Three (trinity)!" Cease! (it is) better for you. For Allaah is (the only) God (worthy of worship), Glory be to Him (Far Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is All-Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs. (An-Nisa 4:171)

Do Muslims believe he was a prophet ? or a leader, or any sort of deity?

Muslims believe, what Qur'an says about him, i.e. Jesus Is the Prophet and Messenger who called people towards Monotheism like other Prophets and he is the Messiah, the Word and the Spirit of Allaah, the Exalted.

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What do you mean he is the Spirit of Allah? –  Noah Dec 23 '12 at 11:16
    
@Noah That which Qur'an mentions as رُ‌وحٌ مِّنْهُ. A spirit (Ruh) created by Him. –  Abdullah Dec 23 '12 at 12:17

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