By Ansar Khan
”As to those who are righteous, when a suggestion from Satan assails them, they remember God: and behold! they begin to see things rightly.” [The Holy Qur’an, 7:202]
Imran ibn Husain (ra) relates that he heard the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: ”Between the creation of Adam and the Judgement Day there is no affair greater than the mischief of the Anti-Christ (Dajjal).” [Muslim, Gardens of the Righteous, 1820]
For many Westerners, Christmas (or Christ’s Mass as it was known) is supposed to be about the birth of the Christian Messiah Jesus (peace be upon him). But as Ahmadi Muslims, we all recognise that no Prophet of God would ever have condoned this. However, what many of us don’t realise is the real philosophy and underlining origins behind today’s Christmas and New Year celebrations; a history that, once known, would lead any righteous believer to immediately start to beg forgiveness from the Almighty.
The true history behind these celebrations, rooted in the veneration of pagan idols and idolatrous customs, is both serious and troubling for a believer in the Oneness of Almighty God. It underlies the extent to which most people truly don’t realise how entrenched some of the prominent events around us are in idolatry.
The problem is further compounded when one considers the numerous books, school nativity plays and films presenting over and over the falsehood of this holiday period and its fake ‘moral foundations’. This form of shirk is made more prominent by the malevolent and hypnotic box placed at the centre of most homes – the TV. The shiny eye-catching decorations in houses and shops, and the fake promise that an imaginary person will deliver presents as rewards for nothing done, are just some of the ways pre-school children are entwined into its philosophy.
Nearly all primary school children in English schools are required to participate in the nativity play. Whether a child is asked to dress as an animal or snowflake, to the keen observer it’s an obvious attempt to instil wrong ideologies into the minds of receptive children. One such thing you might notice is the scene of the nativity depicts shepherds. Common sense tells us that shepherds don’t tend their flock during December in the Middle East. The other would be that the guiding star in the shape of a Satanic symbol and the three kings are actually metaphorical for something far more sinister than they are portrayed to be.
The historical data available to us makes us non the wiser about the precise day of Jesus’ birth; no one has been able to prove which day Hadhrat Jesus (peace be upon him) was born. And in the first 400 years of Christianity it was not celebrated at all. Of course, if the birth of Hadhrat Moses (peace be upon him) is not celebrated by Jews then why would it?
So, a little digging around and we find that it was much later, that it was ‘decided’ that a ‘holy’ day should be created to conveniently coincide with the Roman Pagan Winter Solstice and ancient Norse Pagan Winter Festival and replace them with a Christian festival. It was the Catholic Church i.e. the incumbent Pope and the Church of Rome that created this as a form of revival for the Christian faith. But not all Christians are Catholics.
In as recent as the 16th and 17th century, significant groups of English Protestant Christians – called the Puritans – strongly condemned the celebration of Christmas. They considered it a Catholic invention and the ‘trappings of popery’ or the ‘rags of the beast’. They refused to be dragged into these immoral innovations. The ‘beast’ incidentally being a metaphorical name for the Anti-Christ (the Christian name for the Dajjal).
Soon after the English civil war, England’s Puritan rulers banned Christmas from 1647 to 1660. In Scotland the Presbyterian Church of Scotland also discouraged the observance of Christmas. This ideology of banning and suppressing Christmas spread across states and countries as they realised the damage it could do to the moral fibre of their communities.
With the beginnings of colonial America the Puritans of New England shared the Protestant disapproval of Christmas celebration and they too outlawed it in Boston from 1659 to 1681. And amazingly it took till as recent as the mid 19th century for Christmas to become fashionable in Boston, America. This of course upset those who secretly wanted to destroy the strength of Christianity, so they devised one of the first and most successful plans of mass media control.
In 1843 the iconic Victorian novelist, Charles Dickens, wrote ‘A Christmas Carol’ to revive the ‘spirit’ of Christmas. Published widely, it became an instant hit not only in Victorian England but also in Europe and America. It played a major role in re-establishing Christmas. The story created in the mind of the reader a yearning to embrace and celebrate Christmas. This was even though he wasn’t even a Catholic. In 1843 and 1845 he again wrote about Christmas in his follow up stories ‘The Chimes’ and ‘The Cricket on the Hearth’. Further reinforcing the pagan holiday into the minds of society.
Dickens’ influence is very synonymous still today. For example, words such as ‘scrooge’ becoming a word meaning ‘miser’. And the term ‘Merry Christmas’ became popularised by him.
Christmas Day was originally a pagan day of worship.
Contrary to modern media Christmas is not universally celebrated by all Christians. The orthodox Christians in Russian and its surrounding countries, including Slovakia, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria etc, the Coptic Christians in the Middle East and Africa, and most of the churches in the West Bank of Bethlehem and churches in Greece, do not celebrate the 25th of December as the birth of Hadhrat Jesus (peace be upon him).
They all believe that according to the Holy Bible his birth was in August / September and thus his miraculous conception was 9 months earlier i.e. around the 7th of January. So they celebrate not the birth, but the ‘immaculate conception’ on a day after the pagan festival dates.
In the Holy Qur’an we are told that Hadhrat Mary (Peace be upon her) went into the desert on her own to have Hadhrat Jesus (Peace be upon him) and was helped only by the Arch Angel Hadhrat Gabriel, (peace be on him). He is narrated as having provided her support with dates and water as she leant upon the trunk of a date palm in pain.
History also tells us that the Romans, who conquered, built and named Britannia (Britain) and Londinium (London) were idol worshipers. And one of the chief official deities worshipped by them was Jupiter or Jove (as pronounced by them) – the god of the sky and thunder, the god of war, the one they believed that gave them victory. Jupiter’s sacred animal was the eagle, which is still used by some countries today. Jupiter was the equivalent of the Greek king god Zeus.
Jupiter was associated with kings and kingship. And one of the most religious periods in the Roman Julian Calendar was the 17th December to 23rd December. Called ‘Saturnalia’ the Roman day of giving gifts.
The Roman festival for the birth of the ‘unconquered sun’ (Dies Natalis Solis Invicta) was also celebrated in the winter solstice. This was to commemorate the rebirth of the sun. And as Jupiter was the sky god it was in awe and adoration to him.
During later periods of Roman History, sun worship gained more importance and led to ‘solar monotheism’ i.e. only worshipping the sun god. The feast of Sol Invictus (unconquered sun) on 25th December was celebrated with great feasts and sinful fornication. Similar to today’s celebrations.
In the year 321 AD the first Christian Roman Caesar Constantine the Great was instrumental in creating a turning point for the Christians. He instructed that both Christians and non-Christians should worship ‘the venerable day of the sun’ in an attempt to create harmony across the Roman Empire.
This was one of many reasons why Christians later took this festival and used it to commemorate the birth or conception of their ‘son of god’ as apposed to the ‘sun god’. It has been noted in many reputable commentaries that this is one of the ways that the sun god was substituted and represented as the son of god.
As the Roman Empire spread over time it saw both the spread of Christianity and the pagan ideology of northern Europe across its vast empire.
Christmas Trees are Pagan Idols
In 1832 just a few years before Dickens wrote ‘A Christmas Carol’, a young Queen Victoria after her marriage to her German cousin Prince Albert had her first Christmas tree. It is reported that she was delighted to have decorations and lights on it and having had gifts placed under it.
Prince Albert of Germany had brought his pagan north European traditions with him. By the mid 1840’s, due to the popularity of the Queen and her customs, and Charles Dickens’ novels, it become widespread in the UK and by 1870’s it had become widespread in America too.
It is a curious fact that there are no Christmas type trees in Bethlehem, Nazareth or Galilee, in fact throughout the Middle East coniferous trees do not naturally grow. Coniferous trees or evergreens, as they are also known as, grow naturally only in cold snowy climates such as northern Europe and northern America.
The northern European pagans use to worship nature and trees. And it was during the Roman Empire that this pagan worship was popularised across Germania (known today as Germany).
The month of December was already a pagan holiday before the advent of Hadhrat Jesus (peace be upon him); Like in Roman traditions it was also to celebrate the winter solstice i.e. the increase in daylight hours.
The northern Europe pagans came from areas today known as Iceland, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and they believed that trees held spirits within them that could benefit them. That is why they would decorate coniferous trees and place gifts underneath them to appease these spirits so they would bring them good fortune in the coming year. The very same type of worship as was popularised by Queen Victoria and Charles Dickens.
What Muslims must realise is that just because a Christmas tree doesn’t look like a brightly coloured Hindu deity with colourful garlands and presents at its feet. The two are still venerated in the same way. And it doesn’t make it any less shirk in the sight of God Almighty.
During the Roman ‘Saturnalia’ celebrations, evergreens were hung on buildings, wreaths hung on doors and holly across halls in the form of pagan charms to ward of evil spirits and invoke spells. This is where we get the term ‘deck the halls with holly’. To decorate using evergreens is to acknowledge the powers of the nature gods.
The bright red coloured berries were important in pagan traditions and to create a circular shape like a wreath was supposed to accentuate its magical powers. And mistletoe was used in the casting of druidic spells to make a woman open and helpless to exploitation. This is where the custom of kissing under the mistletoe comes from. And those traditions and modern plastic equivalents are still around today. Ever wondered why people say it’s much better to have a real tree than a plastic one?
Yule or Yuletide (meaning Yule time) is meant to be a supernatural winter period. Celebrated by historical Germanic pagans and their neighbouring people as a religious festival. Originally Norse, it too was absorbed into Christ’s Mass.
Yule was a pre Christian Norse fertility god pronounced ‘Jul’, and was worshiped over the December period. The Yule log was a very large and extremely hard log that was cut down and fashioned into a fertility symbol and then burned.
It was supposed to hold magical power and was the centrepiece of a large bonfire that required 12 daily sacrifices to Yule. The sacrificial victims to appease the god were usually Yule goats or Yule boars. And they were burned alive in the fire. Sometimes horrifically but not always there were also human sacrifices too. This is the true evil origin of the modern 12 days of Christmas custom. To this day some people still continuously burn an open fire in their homes for 12 days.
So in an attempt to blur the origins of this horrific ritual the incumbent Pope and the Church of Rome placed the first day of the Mass of Christ on December 25th and the 12th day on January the 6th. Despite no scriptural references the 6th was selected to represent the day the 3 Kings supposedly came to visit Hadhrat Jesus (peace be on him). This day become known as Epiphany.
In days past European people placed an oil-burning lamp in their windows to show passers-by that they were participating in the pagan worship of the phallic idol Yule. And in today’s commercialism this is where we have the custom of decorating the house and windows with lights.
Carol singing came from the ‘kolyada’ or ‘koleda’ singing. An ancient Slavic winter ritual celebrating the old year. The singing was in honour of another pagan sun god – Dazbog. It too was also assimilated into the Christmas tradition by Charles Dickens.
The original names and types of singing are still in use today in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Croatia. In western culture Russian and Polish immigrants have changed it into singing on Christmas Eve.
When we read in Christmas cards ‘Yuletide greeting’ that is in fact invoking the power of the fertility god Yule upon that person, another form of shirk.
Santa Claus or the Norse god Odin
Most children know that Santa Claus (Father Christmas) doesn’t exist. But the true origins of this fantasy person are also surprising and disturbing.
It may be surprising to know that the Norse god Odin looked like Santa. He was a major god for the Germanic pagans and was also remembered over the Yule festival. Icelandic traditions say Odin had an 8-legged horse named Sleipnir and legend says that Sleipnir could leap great distances in a single bound. The origin to the story of Santa and his eight magical flying reindeer.
In Norse traditions we find that children use to put straw, carrots or sugar in their boots near the chimney for Sleipnir to eat, and Odin would reward them by replacing the food with candy and gifts. With this tradition surviving even to this day in Germany, Netherlands and Belgium.
As traditions moved to other countries the boots near the chimney became colourful stockings hanging by the fire.
And it was some time later that the story of a man titled Sinterklaas (Dutch for Saint Nicholas) appeared in places like the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. A huge annual feast was commemorated by some Church denominations in his honour.
Legend has it that he was supposed to have conquered Satan and put him under his control. In historical artwork of Sinterklaas it is usually depicted with a pet goat. The goat may have been symbolic for the devil as even today the goat is used to symbolise the devil in pagan symbology.
Interestingly narratives about Sinterklaas are always told where he is helped by Zwarte Pieten (Dutch for Black Peter). A racist and pagan name for an evil spirit. And the two of them went around visiting children on the 5th or 6th of December.
Zwarte Piet was supposed to be his bound Satan. It is said that Zwarte Piet carried with him a book, which had a list of good and bad children. And that Sinterklaas referred to this book and asked children to recount some scripture or good deed before Zwarte Piet rewarded them with apples, nuts and gingerbread. If a child was bad or unable to recount scripture Zwarte Piet punished the child with a beating with willow canes.
In some historical pictures Zwarte Piet was depicted as a goat or a small black horned devil. In Germanic tradition Sinterklaas’s satanic helper was named Knecht Ruprecht. Ruprechet, commonly meaning the devil in German.
And further research reveals that the first known origins of Sinterklaas were not from a Christian Saint but from Anglo-Saxon pagan mythology. Borrowing heavily from Norse mythology. It was said that he rode a white horse named Sliepnir, (the same name as Odin’s horse) and he flew through the air as the leader of a special wild hunt. It is narrated that he had with him two ravens that would listen at the chimneys about the good and bad behaviour of the mortals. And then Sinterklaas returned to his master Woden to report. Woden was a pre Christian Anglo-Saxon god. Note how similar the name sounds to the Norse god Odin.
So the roots and origins of Santa Claus and his helper elves and flying reindeer are from Norse gods, Devils and Evil spirits. It’s a little surprise then that the name Santa can very easily be rearranged to spell Satan.
When analysing historical references during Christianisation, Pope Gregory I argued that conversions were easier if people were allowed to retain their outward form of traditions. So by claiming the traditions were in honour of the Christian God, the Saint Nicholas tradition was created as part of the Catholic church’s conversion process of exchanging Odin and Woden, to a Christian counterpart.
There is history of a Saint Nikolaos of Myra and that he had a habit of secret gift giving but it is far from the story that he wore red clothes, carried a staff and had with him a small goat that carried his presents on its back.
So it was no surprise that Protestant churches changed the story further and named this mythical gift giver Christ Child or Christkindl and moved the date of his giving to Christmas Eve.
Some worldwide Christians dislike any depiction of Santa Claus saying it detracts and even parodies the religious celebration. One such denomination that refuses to celebrate Christmas are the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
New Year celebrations are for Janus
Even New Year celebrations on the 1st of January are a Pagan ritual – the fireworks and all night partying are nothing more than Roman idolatrous celebrations. History tells us that January is named after the Roman god Janus, a 2 headed god. With one face looking forward and the other back.
The faces as depicted on his statues, show his ability to see and control the years past and future. And the Romans believed that if they were to drink and feast to him this would please him and he would grant them a prosperous new year.
So singing and drinking around the world on the 1st of January is again nothing more than shirk. By staying up all till 12.01am is to inadvertently recognise that Janus holds the power to grant you a successful new year.
The 1st of January is also not celebrated across the World. Many religions and cultures have their own new year date and calendars. The question for us as Ahmadi Muslims is how many of us celebrate or fast on the first day of the Gregorian Calendar but don’t even know or fast on the date of the start of the Muslim new year?
So in conclusion it is quite clear that the Christmas and New Year traditions are nothing short of getting the mass public to inadvertently appease pagan gods and their traditions. To make the world forget God. And early Christian’s resisted as long as they could. But the unrelenting and repeated attack upon Christianity by the system of the Dajjal both from inside and outside resulted in them eventually embracing these sin infected traditions.
Today we see Muslims and Muslim countries across the world are without thinking quickly adopting these sin infected traditions in a foolish attempt to appease and walk in step with their Western contemporaries. But to stop Islam from following in the footsteps of Christianity, was exactly the purpose for the advent of the Promised Islamic Messiah, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (peace be upon him).
May Allah guide us to recognise and avoid the illusions and trappings of the dunya, and hold firm to the Word of Allah attaining His Special Protection and Mercy. Ameen.
1. Christina Hole, cover sheet, Christmas and Its Customs.
2. Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, p. 91.
3. Ralph Woodrow, Babylon Mystery Religion, p. 160.
4. Ibid., p. 162.
5. The New Catholic Encyclopaedia, 1965 Ed., Vol. 2. p. 656.
6. Wycliffe Bible Encyclopaedia Vol. 1, p. 259.
7. The Bible, Rom. 3:24-25; 5:1,9; Col. 1:22; Heb. 9 :14- 15,26,28; 10:10,19-20.
8. George W. Curtis, Christmas, p. 9.
9 Charles Haff, The Message of the Christian Jew, newsletter, Nov./Dec. 1977.
10. Ralph Woodrow, Babylon Mystery Religion, p. 163.
11. Encyclopaedia Americana, Vol. 6. p. 623.
12. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1968 Ed,. Vol. 5. pp. 704, 705.
13. George W. Curtis, Christmas, p. 5.
14. 0. M. Spencer. Christmas Throughout Christendom, p. 19.
15. L. R. Shelton. Christmas, A Demon Holiday, pp. 3,4.
16. Christina Hole. Christmas and Its Customs, pp. 21,22.
17. Albert James Dager, “The Origins of Christmas Tradition,” Media Spotlight, p. 2.
18. R. F. Becker. The Truth About Christmas, pp. 19.20.
19. The Bible, Deut. 12:2. I Ki. 14:23; II Ki. 16:4; 17:10; Eze. 6 :13.
20. Ralph Woodrow, Babylon Mystery Religion. pp. 165, 166.
21. William Sansom, A Book of Christmas, pp. 45,46.
22. Lasley F. Gober, The Christmas Lover’s Handbook, p. 64.
23. Ralph Woodrow. Babylon Mystery Religion, p. 164.
24. Christina Hole, Christmas and Its Customs, p. 35.
25. Ibid., p. 36.
26 Ibid ., p.13.
27. Ibid., p. 42,43.
28. Ibid., p. 50.
29. Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons p. 93.
30. “Lagniappe,” The Times Picayune, Dec. 19. 1982.
31. Ibid. 32. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 5