Christians worldwide will once again be celebrating Christmas on December 25th 2013. Although the actual date of birth of Jesus is unknown, for centuries his birth has officially been celebrated on this day. Considering the ever increasing commercialism related to this holiday, a lot more non-Christians around the world are beginning to take part in this celebration as well.
But for a Muslim like me, does Christmas have any significance at all? Muslims do not celebrate Christmas but Jesus Christ is revered by every Muslim in the world. This is because Islam is a religion which requires belief in not only the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) but all the prophets of God, including Jesus. The Quran relates in detail the accounts of his virgin birth, his mission as a prophet to the Israelites, and his crucifixion. Muslims believe that these narratives are in harmony with the Gospels. Indeed, a whole chapter in the Quran is named after the mother of Jesus, Mary (Chapter 19 - Maryam). In addition, Jesus is mentioned more times than the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
Since Islam and Christianity are both monotheistic religions, many similarities can be found within the teachings of both religions. For example, Jesus taught to love your enemies, to help the poor, to do good to others and to be righteous. Similarly, in the Quran it says, “And worship Allah and associate naught with Him, and show kindness to parents, and to kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and to the neighbor that is a kinsman and the neighbor that is a stranger, and the companion by your side, and the wayfarer, and those whom your right hands possess. Surely, Allah loves not the proud and the boastful.” (4:37)
Islam presents Jesus as a human who believed in the absolute unity of God. For this reason, Muslims do not believe in the divinity of Jesus or in the trinity. We consider these doctrines as later changes to the teachings of Jesus.
Nevertheless, although Muslims do not participate in the celebrations of Christmas, we certainly believe Jesus to be one of the greatest prophets, and a special servant of God.