Imam tells everyone: Stop saying Christmas has pagan origin!

Imam tells everyone: Stop saying Christmas has pagan origin!

Saturday, December 26, 2020 4:43 am


Father Christmas

This is the time of the year when critics of the Christian faith come out with arguments around the pagan origin of Christmas, a season set aside by followers of Jesus to mark his birth. However, a Muslim leader, an Imam has criticized those who always peddle such thesis.

Imam Mustapha Adebayo Bello (PhD), Director, Center for Theology and Spiritual Intelligence, submitted:

“On the often mouthed pagan origin of Christmas, how many vestiges of this our historical past that is rooted in idolatry that we are going to query and demonize? Has anyone spared a thought about the etymology of the names of the days of the week such as Monday, Sunday, Thursday and Saturday? Who has cross checked and found out the origin of the Olympic Games which has come to be the foremost assemblage of all peoples of the world including Muslim nations for the purpose of friendship through sports? 

“Who has asked the question about the origin of the symbolic kindling of fire and its continuous burning at local, national, continental and global sporting events? The question is, how many of these vestiges of the past can be wished away on the platter of affirmative religious exclusivity? The truth must be told that even though these events had idolatry beginning yet the world has risen together beyond their fetish background and has unanimously adopted them for the use and convenience of the modern man.”

Below is his full essay: 

Demonization of Christmas! Why?

Mustapha Adebayo Bello

We are yet again in this period of the year when it has become a ritual to engage in hair splitting theological arguments on the rightness or wrongness of exchanging greetings with Christians on the marking of the birth of Jesus Christ on 25th December. While some of us see nothing wrong in felicitating with our Christians relations, friends and well-wishers based on our understanding of Divine regulations and Prophetic precepts, others who feel such a gesture is compromising are now digging deep to demonize the Christian festival in order to justify their strong aversion to the former’s position. 

The basis for my “compromising” stance has been well ventilated by my earlier postings and the postings of other scholars like Dr. Lawal Nuha Jinadu which I need not repeat here. However, it must be stated that the allusion of the anti-Christmas group to the well-known pagan origin of Christmas is accentuated by the fact that few Christian denominations (of the Pentecostal extraction) like the MFM and Deeper Life and the cerebral London based Nigerian pastor Reno Omkri see it as unscriptural and as such ungodly. 

However, the question is, is it enough for any Muslim to throw his support behind this minority opinion against the millions of Christians world over who see the festival as the core of their faith? Intra religious dissension is not peculiar to Christianity, after all there are some Muslims who vehemently perceive the marking of the birth of the Prophet (SAW) as irreligious and unIslamic. The opposition of this anti-Mawlud-n-Nabiyy minority notwithstanding, those who subscribe to its legitimacy has continued to celebrate it yearly, particularly in a country like Nigeria where it is marked with national public holiday. 

 

On the often mouthed pagan origin of Christmas, how many vestiges of this our historical past that is rooted in idolatry that we are going to query and demonize? Has anyone spared a thought about the etymology of the names of the days of the week such as Monday, Sunday, Thursday and Saturday? Who has cross checked and found out the origin of the Olympic Games which has come to be the foremost assemblage of all peoples of the world including Muslim nations for the purpose of friendship through sports? 

Who has asked the question about the origin of the symbolic kindling of fire and its continuous burning at local, national, continental and global sporting events? The question is, how many of these vestiges of the past can be wished away on the platter of affirmative religious exclusivity? The truth must be told that even though these events had idolatry beginning yet the world has risen together beyond their fetish background and has unanimously adopted them for the use and convenience of the modern man. For instance, if as a Muslim you were born on a Sunday; does it make you a worshipper of sun? 

Has the reckoning of our dates of birth along the Gregorian months whose origin is rooted in idolatry made us lesser Muslims to our brethren in Islamic monolithic societies? For Muslims therefore to now engage in theological subtleties to demonize the festival of people of other faiths (particularly the Christians who are charitably referred to by the Qur’an as the People of the Book) for whatever reason is to me a clear violation of divine ordinance as clearly stated thus “Had Allah willed, they would not have taken others besides Him in Worship. 

And We have not made you a watcher over them nor are you a Wakil (disposer of affairs, guardian, trustee) over them. And Insult not those whom they worship besides Allah, lest they insult Allah wrongfully without knowledge. Thus We have made fair-seeming to each people its own doing…” Qur’an 6: 107, 108. As a Muslim, I will terribly feel bad if a Christian cast aspersion on any aspect of my faith for whatever reason and as such I won’t attempt to do same to Christian doctrines even if it is expedient in deference to the foregoing divine instruction. In essence, in order not to endanger the peaceful coexistence amongst us as a people; everyone should see every religion from the lenses of the practitioners rather than from their own prejudiced perspective. 

While, it is not out of place to intellectualize religious beliefs and doctrines in order to deepen scholarship in comparative religious studies, no one should impugn extraneous interpretation to matters that are entirely predicated on inner conviction rather than rationality and empiricism.

  

In conclusion, living as a Muslim in a plural society like ours is quite challenging and every Muslim has a choice to make from the different variables available to him in his relationship with peoples of other faiths. While I do not quarrel with the choices of others, my people and I have chosen to express friendship not enmity, love not hate, understanding not antagonism, conciliation not confrontation and peace not war! None would ponder over this except those with understanding!

-Imam Mustapha Adebayo Bello (PhD) Director, Center for Theology and Spiritual Intelligence

 

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One Comment

  • john Sorg says:

    Lol,

    Center for theology and spiritual intelligence?

    There was nothing about that ignorant diatribe which was either spiritual or intelligent!

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