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Chapter 3: The Christian Holidays and the Christian Calendar
Issa Ahmad Khalid
(A new convert from Italy)
CHAPTER 3: THE CHRISTIAN HOLIDAYS AND THE CHRISTIAN CALENDAR
I would now like to bring to light the origins of the Christian
holidays, as well as the Christian calendar, in order to reveal their pagan roots. My purpose is twofold; 1) To help our Christian brothers and sisters in showing them how far off from the Worship of the One True God
they are, InshaAllah(God Willing), and 2) It is also a warning to all Muslims
of the implications of celebrating said holidays, as well as adhering to the Christian
calendar in the so-called spirit of Good Will with our Christian
brothers and sisters. This seems to be ever more prevalent today as Muslims are
integrating with western ideologies not only in the
The Christian Holidays;
December the 25th is actually the birthday of the pagan Roman sun-god Quirinus. To the Persians, he is known as Mithra (see Appendix 3). This is in conjunction with the winter solactise, the time of the year when the days begin to get longer in the northern hemisphere. This day was not celebrated as the birthday of Jesus(as) until the 4th century, following the infamous Council of Nicea in 325 AD. The purpose was to meld the pagan rituals of Rome with the new religion of Catholicism that was being established. All the ceremonies of the sun-gods birthday were incorporated into this Christmas holiday. Ceremonies such as decorating trees(a pagan practice which is condemned by the Bible; see Jeremiah 10:2-5 and Isaiah 40:19-20), exchanging of gifts, etc Interestingly enough, the Orthodox Christian church celebrates Christmas a little over a week later on January 6th, as opposed to the mainstream Catholic and Protestant Christian.At this time we may ask ourselves; When was Jesus(as) actually born? We should not become to dogmatic about such matters, however, there is Biblical evidence, in conjunction with Quranic and historical evidence, which may shed some light on the actual birth date of Prophet Jesus(as).In the Bible we find the following;
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the Angel of the Lord came upon them and the Glory of the Lord shone round them and they were afraid. And the Angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ(Massiah) the Lord. Luke 2: 8-11
And likewise we find the following in The Holy Quran;
And the throes of childbirth drove her (Mary) to the trunk of a palm-tree. She said: Oh, would that I had died before this, and had been a thing quite forgotten. So a voice came to her from beneath her: Grieve not, surely thy Lord has provided a stream beneath thee. And shake towards thee the trunk of the palm-tree, it will drop on thee fresh ripe dates.
Surah Maryam: 23, 24 & 25
Both passages above deal with the birth of Prophet Jesus(as) and both contain clues as to the approximate time of his birth but before we do this, let us focus on the possible year of his birth.
Herod the Great reigned in Judea from 37-4 BC. Three years prior to the end of his reign, Prophet Jesus(as) was born. The Romans in those days took a census of the Empire every 14 years for revenue and military purposes, so that a census was taken in 7 BC during Herods reign. A Roman inscription discovered at Antioch indicates that Cyrenius(see Luke 2:2) was involved in taking the census in 7 BC, just as he was in 6-7 AD. The legate of Syria(Cyrenius) was responsible for supervising the governing of Judea, and although Pontius Pilate was not officially appointed governor of Judea until 25-26 AD, he evidently functioned as an agent for the legate as early as 7 BC. Annas was officially appointed high priest in 7 AD, while Caiphas became high priest about 18 AD, but evidence here and in other sources indicate that these men were leaders before their official appointments. It also indicates that Jesus(as) was born in 7 BC.
Now, let us focus on the date. In regards to the star of the east followed by the Magi or the wise men of the Gospels(see Matthew 2: 1-2), Babylonian astrologers considered Saturn to be the special star of Syria and Palestine, this according to Walter Keller, in his book, The Bible As History page 391. Walter Keller also stated on page 388 of said book that a Rabbinic writer named Abarbanel(1437-1508 AD), reported that Jewish astrologers had ascribed to the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in the constellation of Pisces, a sign of the advent of the Messiah. Residing east of Judea, to the Magi or wise men, the star would appear in the west. Evidence from the ancient observatory at Sippar in Babylonia, shows that on May 29, 7 BC, in the morning sky, for at least 2 hours, the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in the constellation of Pisces occurred giving the appearance of a large bright star. Sippar was advanced enough in their day to calculate the second conjunction on October 3rd, 7 BC and the last on December 4, 7 BC. Keeping this in mind, with the grazing practices of the shepherds(see Luke 2:8-11), who grazed their flocks from March until the beginning of November(scientific investigation of weather in this area of the world, which has not changed significantly in 2000 years, has demonstrated the wisdom of this practice) in conjunction with the astrological evidence from Sippar in Babylon, as well as the Quranic evidence of the fresh ripe dates on the trees(see Surah Maryam: 23,24 & 25), all evidence points to the birth of Prophet Jesus(as) being shortly before or after October 3rd, 7 BC. In light of the evidence provided, it is safe to conclude that Prophet Jesus(as) was not born on the 25th of December.
This relates to the entry of Jesus(as) into Jerusalem. The Jews held a festival of the palms dating back to the time of the Macabees, roughly 200 years before the birth of Jesus(as). The Jews would be celebrating this regardless of whether Jesus(as) entered into Jerusalem or not. It was merely adopted by the Catholic church.
Without question, perhaps the most celebrated of all the Christian holidays. It deals with the very foundation of the Christian faith;
And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain and your faith is also vain.
1 Corinthians 15:14
Yet, where did this festival originate? The Holy Quran is clear on the fact that Jesus(as) was not crucified;
and they killed him not, nor did they cause his death on the cross, but he was made to appear to them as such Surah Al-Nisa: 157
This pagan festival is actually a combination of both Astoria(from which the word Easter is derived from), the female goddess of fertility of the northern European Saxons and the Isis-Osiris cult. The lover of Astoria, Attis, dies and is reborn annually, in conjunction with the summer solactice (spring time), the time of the year of the Easter celebrations. The theology of Attis was incorporated into the events of Prophet Jesus(as), according to the Christian church that is. The symbol of Astoria is the EGG, which is part of the Easter celebration (Easter Egg).
In the Isis-Osiris cult of ancient Egypt, crucifixion was often a required means of sacrificing the King as the INCARNATION OF GOD for the SALVATION of man. Such bloody sacrifices were accompanied by the belief that the saviours flesh and blood had to be eaten and drank in a cannibalistic sacrament. This is currently practiced by the Catholic Church, metaphorically, in all their masses. Yet, one cannot ignore the pagan roots of this act. The Catholic Church actually believes in the transubstantiation of this ceremony, instituted by St. Thomas Aquinas in the 12th Century A.D., meaning, the Catholics believe that the bread and wine used turns into the actual flesh and blood of Prophet Jesus(as), exactly in line with the ceremony of the Isis-Osiris cult, which dates back to 1700 BC. The notion that Prophet Jesus(as) had to be sacrificed for the salvation of all mankind traces back to this older barbarism. Allah(swt) rejects this savagery(see Genesis 22:1-14, 1 Samuel 15:22, Psalms 4:5, 5:17 among many examples from the Bible).
I would like to state that, as a Muslim, it is my responsibility, as it is for all Muslims, to bring to light the truth of such pagan practices in the hopes that, InshaAllah(God Willing), Christians will see the errors of such acts which are nothing more than rituals that draws one away from the Worship of Almighty God.
The Christian Calendar;
Here now I wish to address the Christian calendar and its pagan origins. The majority of the western world follows the solar calendar as was implemented by the Christian Church centuries ago. It should be noted, however, that at one time the Christians, like the Muslims and Jews, followed the lunar calendar. Today, Muslims and Jews still adhere to the lunar calendar, whereas the rest of the world, with a few exceptions, adhere to the solar calendar.
Before we begin though, I would like to point out that the solar calendar is somewhat imperfect. It is this imperfection that causes the addition of an extra day in February every four years. This is called a Leap Year. I will not be discussing astronomy here however, but rather the origins of the solar calendar and nothing more.
When civilization was still young, and before people knew any better, the most brilliant object they could see was the sun. They thought the sun was God and as such worshipped it. This pagan idea remained with the Christians when they changed the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) to the Christian day of rest (Sunday). The Christians called this rest day Sun-day, a day dedicated to the Roman sun-god that I mentioned earlier. This pagan idea also had an influence on the names of the months as we shall now explore;
The Roman year originally began in March, but when the calendar was revised by the Christian Pope Gregory the 13th, January was made the first month in dedication of JANUS, a Roman god who was represented as having two faces, one looking backward and the other forward. Pope Gregory the 13th took this into consideration when making January the first month of the year because it suggested both looking back and looking forward.
February was named after FEBRUA, the Roman feast of purification. Before Julius Caesar, it was the last month of the year but it was placed as the second month on the Roman calendar and the Christians did likewise in their calendar.
MARS, the god of war, gave his name to the month of March, for the Romans considered it a noisy and blustering month. When they went to war, they carried a cage full of chickens, which was sacred to MARS. Before the battle, they offered corn to the chickens. If the chickens rejected the corn, the Romans feared defeat. If, however, the chickens ate the corn, the Romans were confident of victory.
The month of April, which heralds the spring season in the northern hemisphere, takes the name The Opener from natures opening Omnia Aperit, which is Latin for It Opens All Things. It was named as such because it is during this month, in the northern hemisphere, that the earth awakens from its winter sleep. The buds appear and bloom in the branches. The birds rejoice and it is heard in their songs. Oddly enough, this is also the time of the year of the Christian Easter celebrations.
May was dedicated to and received its name from MAIA, a female worshipped as a goddess, whose father was ATLAS. The whole weight of the world was supposed to have rested on the shoulders of ATLAS. Of his seven daughters, MAIA was considered to be the most famous because of her beauty and her lovely figure. Her son MERCURY became the winged messenger of the gods. Christians now consider May to be the month of MARY(ra), the mother of Prophet Jesus(as). It is easy to see the similarities between Maia and Mercury to that of Mary(ra) and Jesus(as).
June was considered by the Romans as the month of roses. It was dedicated to JUNO, the jealous, but beautiful wife of the Roman god JUPITER. JUNO is represented in her statues and pictures driving in a chariot drawn by peacocks.
Julius Caesar, considered to be one of the greatest men of his time, gave his own name to July. He ordered the seventh month to be named after him. Pope Gregory the 13th held Julius Caesar in high esteem and as such his name was carried over unchanged into the Gregorian calendar.
August owes its name to the grand nephew of Julius Caesar, AUGUSTUS, who was first named OCTAVIUS. In order to flatter him, the people around him changed his name to Augustus, which means Noble. However, since July had 31 days and August only 30 days, the Romans took a day from September and placed it in August, fearing that Augustus might be jealous of Julius Caesars extra day in the month of July.
SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, DECEMBER
The name September comes from the Latin word for seventh, as do the names October, November and December, which means eight, ninth and tenth respectively. These months kept their names from the time when the year began in March, before the time of Julius Caesar and was adopted into the Gregorian calendar. Oddly enough, December is also the birth month of the Roman sun-god which also influenced the decision to make January the first month of the new Christian calendar. The events of the birth of the Roman sun-god has now become Christian dogma as pertaining to the birth of Prophet Jesus(as).
Though the Gregorian calendar came into force long after the birth of Prophet Jesus(as), the Christian church was reluctant to sever its ties, its links and its umbilical cord from its idolatrous, pagan past. It is little wonder that Israel Zangwill, a Jewish author in his book Children of the Ghetto, summed up this phenomenon with these words;
Scratch the Christian and you will find the pagan-spoiled.
Again I remind the reader that my only wish was to show the extent in which paganism has crept into the lives of Christians and much of the world over the centuries. While there is no obligation of the part of non-Muslims to relinquish their following of the Gregorian Calendar, it is incumbent upon all who profess Islam as religion and call themselves Muslims to adhere solely to the Islamic Calendar and not allow yourselves to become influenced with the Christian Calendar which, without question, has its roots in paganism. As Muslims, and Christians for that matter, we must strive to everything in our power to please Almighty God, and to avoid such idolatrous practices, focusing all our worship to the One True God, to Whom all Praise is due. Christians must come to realize that any celebrations that have become ritualistic dogma over the centuries were never promulgated by Prophet Jesus(as), nor were they practiced by him. Prophet Jesus(as) sole purpose was to propagate monotheism, and to even attribute these pagan concepts to this great messenger of Almighty God would only serve to further dishonour him. As a Muslim, it is my duty and obligation to transmit this information to the best of my ability, and it is a task I take quite seriously. I pray that my efforts are not in vain with respect to not only my Christian brothers and sisters, but to my Muslim brothers and sisters as well who find themselves partaking of holiday cheer, contrary to Islamic teachings.
May Allah(swt) guide us all to the Truth, InshaAllah(God Willing).
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Articles by Issa Ahmed Khalid.
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