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Was December 25 the birth date of Prophet Jesus, son of Virgin Maryam?


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Author Topic: Was December 25 the birth date of Prophet Jesus, son of Virgin Maryam?  (Read 1115 times)
Zeynab
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« on: January 04, 2008, 09:10:29 pm »

 
BismEm




Jerusalem on Dec.28 of 2006


How did it begin?
A 3rd century theologian of the Catholic Church in Rome named Hyppolytus was the first person who proclaimed December 25 as the birth date of Jesus.  Very little is known about Hippolytus in history except that he was a 3rd century priest, a Greek speaking Roman cleric and an anti-pope who often came into conflict with the popes.  He was exiled in the island of Sardinia in southern Italy where he died.  He was given the title of 'saint' much later.

The earliest mention of some sort of observance of the birth of Jesus on December 25th is in the Roman Calendar, which indicates that this festival first began being observed by the church in Rome by the 2nd century (or the year 336 A.D.).  Later, most influential Christian personalities began favoring the same date.  Thus, the practice began and got established gradually.

All known figures in the history of the Church who asserted and confirmed the 'correctness' of this date did so by accessing the Roman birth census.  There is absolutely no record prior to that indicating December 25th as the birth date of Jesus.  Thus, it eventually became the officially recognized date for Christmas.  However, there's little doubt that this was entirely arranged by the authorities in Rome for purposes of convenience rather than any historical truth.  

Weather conditions and what the Bible says?
It's important to consider the weather conditions at that time of the year in Bethlehem, where Jesus was born. The Jewish month of Chislev (corresponding to November/December) was a month with cold and rainy weather. The month after that was Tebeth (December/January). It saw the lowest temperatures of the year with occasional snow in the highlands. The Bible does not say when Jesus was born, but it does give sound reason to conclude that the birth of Jesus did not take place in December.  Let's discuss what the Bible mentions about the climate of that region, and the Bible's own contradiction of the period of Jesus' birth.

Bible writer Ezra shows that 'Chislev' was indeed a month known for cold and rainy weather.  After stating that a crowd had gathered in Jerusalem "in the ninth month [Chislev] on the twentieth day of the month," Ezra reports that people were "shivering . . . on account of the showers of rain." Concerning weather conditions at that time of the year, the congregated people themselves said: "It is the season of showers of rain, and it is not possible to stand outside." (Ezra 10:9, 13; Jeremiah 36:22).  The shepherds living in that part of the world made sure that they and their flocks were no longer out of doors at night in December.  The Bible reports, however, that shepherds were in the fields tending their flocks on the night of Jesus' birth.  In fact, the Bible writer Luke states that at the time of the birth of Jesus, shepherds were "living out of doors and keeping watches in the night over their flocks" near Bethlehem. (Luke 2:8-12).   Notice that the shepherds were actually living outdoors, not just strolling outside during the day. They had their fields at night. Does that description of outdoor living fit the chilly, rainy and sometimes even snowy weather conditions of Bethlehem in December?  It obviously doesn't.  Judean winters were too cold for shepherds to be watching their flocks outdoor, particularly at night.  Many historians and scholars note that Luke's descriptions of shepherds' activities at the time of Jesus' birth suggest a spring or summer birthdate.

For the purpose of upholding the tradition of December 25th, many orthodox Christians argue by refuting the actual climatic conditions of Bethleham and the regions around.  They claim that these regions come under the umbrella of the Mediterranean climate of mild winters with February at its coldest.  Thus they argue that December can be balmy enough to graze sheep.  However, according to weather analysts and the residents of this part of the world, such a claim completely contradicts the actual and existing winter conditions of the region.

Modern research on ancient weather trends of the Holy Land
Palestinian and Western meteorologists tracked December weather patterns for many years and concluded that the climate in this region has been essentially constant for at least the last 2,000 years. The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible states that, "broadly speaking, weather phenomena and climatic conditions as pictured in the Bible correspond with conditions as observed today" (R.B.Y. Scott, Vol. 3, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1962, p. 625).

The temperature in and around Bethleham in December averages around 44 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius) but can drop to  below freezing, especially at night.  Snow is common for two or three days in Jerusalem and nearby Bethlehem in December and January. These were the winter months of increased precipitation at the time when the roads became practically unusable and people stayed mostly indoors.

This important piece of evidence along with the narration of Luke 2:8 stating: "Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields keeping watch over their flock by night" goes much against a December birth date for Jesus.   A common practice of shepherds was keeping their flocks in the field from April to October, but in the cold and rainy winter months they took their flocks back home and sheltered them.

Roman census
The Roman census presided by Roman officials took place every year by law in every province under Roman rule.  Census was also imposed on Syria and Judea (ancient name of a portion of Palestine) when these two provinces came under direct Roman rule.  It involved the enrollment of every citizen for evaluating their assets for tax purposes.  It was mandatory for every person living within the jurisdiction of the Roman Empire to participate in the census every year.

The Roman census recorded by Luke is yet another evidence arguing against a December birth.  Let us read the census described by Luke 2:1-7 that mentions: "And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered... So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem..., to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son..."

Authors, historians and scholars argue that the Roman and Judean rulers knew that taking a census in winter would have been impractical and unpopular.  Generally a census would take place after the harvest season, around September or October, when it would not seriously affect the economy, the weather was good and the roads were still dry enough to allow easy travel. According to the dates for the Roman census, this would probably be the season of the birth of Jesus, son of Mary -- September or October.
 
Does Christmas have pagan roots?
The date of December 25th coincided with a particular festival among the Romans in the pre-Christian era called Saturnalia that was observed during the winter solstice.  This festival was dedicated by the Romans to one of their pagan gods named Saturn.  It was considered a big event and celebrated for an entire week.

Depending on the shift of the calendar, the event of the winter solstice occurs some time between December 20th and 23rd each year in the Northern hemisphere, and between June 20th and 23rd in the Southern hemisphere.  It is supposed to be the shortest day or the longest night of the year.  Though the Winter Solstice lasts an instant, the term is used to refer to the full 24-hour period.  Winter festivals in ancient Rome associated with the winter solstice were known as 'Yule.'

As Wikipedia puts it - "Christmas is an annual holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus...  The date of the celebration is traditional, and is not considered to be his actual date of birth.  Christmas festivities often combine the commemoration of Jesus' birth with various customs, many of which have been influenced by earlier winter festivals."
 
After the Romans embraced Christianity, the church thereby offered people (many of whom were new converts to Christianity still devoted to their pagan traditions) a Christian alternative to the pagan festivities and eventually re-interpreted many of their old pagan symbols and actions in ways acceptable to Christian faith and practice.
 
Not just Christmas, but several Christian holidays were put around the pagan dates and customs, and replaced with Christian names by the Catholic Church.  For example:

Valentines Day (pagan title, Imbolgc)
Easter (pagan title, Ostara)
Halloween (pagan title, Samhain)
Christmas (pagan title, Yule)

Thus, December 25 has now become the birth date of Jesus.  But all historians and biblical scholars are fully aware that it's unauthentic.  They are quite sure that the birth occurred in some other season, most likely fall. 

Comments / opinions of Western authors and researchers
Another study source agrees: "These humble pastoral folk are out in the field at night with their flock—a feature of the story which would argue against the birth [of Jesus] occurring on Dec. 25 since the weather would not have permitted it" (The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1971, note on Luke 2:4-7).

A source known as The Companion Bible, Appendix 179 says: 'Shepherds and their flocks would not be found "abiding" in the open fields at night in December (Tebeth), for the paramount reason that there would be no pasturage at that time. It was the custom then (as now) to withdraw the flocks during the month Marchesven (Oct.-Nov.) from the open districts and house them for the winter.'

The controversy of the birth date of Jesus is common knowledge among Christian scholars and historians themselves.  Grolier's encyclopedia says: "Christmas is the feast of the birth of Jesus Christ, celebrated on December 25.... Despite the beliefs about Christ that the birth stories expressed, the church did not observe a festival for the celebration of the event until the 4th century.... since 274, under the emperor Aurelian, Rome had celebrated the feast of the "Invincible Sun" on December 25. In the Eastern Church, January 6, a day also associated with the winter solstice, was initially preferred. In course of time, however, the West added the Eastern date as the feast of the Epiphany, and the East added the Western date of Christmas."

Edward Gibbon says:
"The Roman Christians, ignorant of his (Christ's) birth, fixed the solemn festival to the 25th of December, the Brumalia, or Winter Solstice, when the pagans annually celebrated the birth of Sol"

Why was Jesus's birth date ignored for more than 2 centuries?
It's important to know that in the first 200 years of Christian history, no mention is made of the calendar date of Jesus' birth.  Not until the year 336 A.D. does one find the first mention of a celebration of his birth.  Why this omission?  According to the church, for 3 centuries after Jesus, the event considered most worthy of commemoration was the date of his "death."  In comparison, the date of his birth was considered insignificant.  As the Encyclopedia Americana explains, "Christmas... was, according to many authorities, not celebrated in the first centuries of the Christian church, as the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth..." (1944 edition, "Christmas").  Origen, a Christian theologian in the early days of the Christian church (185-254 A.D.) strongly recommended against birthday celebrations. "In the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birthday. It is only sinners who make great rejoicings over the day in which they were born into this world" (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908 edition, Vol. 3, p. 724, "Natal Day").      
 
A final decision hundreds of years after Jesus
Speculations on a specific date of birth of Jesus began as late as the 3rd and 4th centuries. A loud controversy arose among the various church leaders. Several of them were strongly opposed to such a celebration. During this time, eight specific dates during six different months were proposed by various theologians.  December 25th, although one of the last dates to be proposed, was the one finally accepted by the leadership of the Roman church.
 
Just as all authentic Biblical history is completely lost at present, so is the authentic birth date of Jesus, son of Virgin Mary.
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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2008, 03:00:14 am »

Alhumdulilah, very good step by step break-up of the matter, sister.  It is accepted even among the Christian community that Dec.25 is not the birthday of Jesus son of Mary (peace be on them).  But nobody wants to hear about it.  I really like your research and proofs.  There's another very logical point I heard brother Shabir Ally mention in one of his lectures.  In the Quran, Allah says that when virgin Mary was expecting and was about to deliver, the pangs of childbirth made her run outside in desperation and she stood close to a date tree.  Then Allah commanded her to shake the trunk of the tree which made the dates fall on the ground for her to eat.  Allah also placed a stream of clear cool water close to her, and told her to eat and drink the pure fruit and water and feel refreshed.  Date is a fruit which grows in that region only in summer, not winter.   Allah also talks about the cool drink of water from the stream provided to Mary to feel refreshed.  This would only be in summer because in the cold winter of that region, one would need a warm drink like some beverage to keep oneself comfortable.

This is out of topic, but I'd like to put it here.  Someone listening to this lecture asked that how could a frail pregnant woman have the strength to shake the trunk of a date tree.  This poor person never understood the Mercy and Bounty of Allah (The Greatest).  This very point shows the kindness of Allah towards Mary.  No doubt she was weak and frail at that time.  But when she was commanded to shake the trunk of the tree, all she needed to do in that frail condition was to simply touch the tree.  That was enough to make the fruits fall by Allah's command. 

Thanks a lot for this post sister.
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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2008, 03:04:32 am »

Similarly the tradition of christmas tree also has a pagan origin from the Roman era. 

InshAllah, I'll put some information on that soon.
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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2008, 11:57:58 pm »

Very good read.  Immensely informative.  I did know that Christmas is a constructed ceremony that has nothing to do with Jesus son of Mary .. and despite the Bible being altered so many times, I don't think Christmas is even mentioned in any of the versions of the Bible.  Though at present it's supposed to be one of the biggest celebrations in the Christian world, Christmas is at the same footing as all those totally unfounded traditions mentioned in Hadith. 

Another truth here is, Christmas has in most Christian societies completely lost its religious link.  The Christian world has by & large gotten so secular that Christmas is only a social celebration, mainly fun for the kids and a 2-week break and rest from work for adults which they utilise to cheer themselves up with family gatherings, food and gifts. 

The most important significance of Christmas in modern era is it's commercial value.  The business community, manufacturers and importers / exporters prepare for it throughout the year by enhancing their various productions.  And thus, by end October you see the markets flooded with bunches of new products, be it food, clothing, cosmetic, kitchenware, linen, toys, fir trees, decorations .. just name it.  The prices are exhorbitant till Dec.25, and then the same products are sold at 50% lower prices on Dec.26 (boxing day sales) when most stores almost experience a stampede  Grin  The business community keeps watching the sale like a hawk till they finally make a graph of their profits and losses by mid January.   

Considering the fact that Christmas has a purely pagan origin, I would say that the modern day secularisation and commercialisation of this event is perhaps the better of the two evils. 

How misguided can humans be?  They'll either be drawn toward paganism .. and then when they acquire education they get drawn toward secularism.  But they just refuse to see the real and ultimate Truth, the Light of Allah, the Greatest.
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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2008, 12:06:45 am »

Brother PT, thanks for mentioning that point from the Qur'an as elucidated by Br. Shabir Ally.  That really sounds logical.  It had never occured to me before. 

AsSalam Alaykum to all and peace
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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2008, 12:12:29 am »

You are very welcomed sister rose.  And all your comments make a lot a sense.  You are right on to suggest the commercialisation of Christmas.  and yes - this might be a step better than concocting it into a religious event.  I do get your point there  Grin
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« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2008, 08:24:08 pm »

 salamem all.  Thanks a billion for your most enlightening comments.

One more point to add.  Russian Christians usually celebrate Christmas on January 7th because they follow the solar Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar.  Gregorian calendar is the one presently  followed throughout Europe and North America.  However, be it Dec.25 or Jan.7, both the dates for the birth of Jesus, son of Mary, are based on myths connected with pagan traditions in the pre-Christian Roman era. Neither of the two dates correspond to any historical truth. 

Difference between Julian and Gregorian calendars:
The Julian calendar was a reform of the Roman calendar which was introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BC and came into force in 45 BC.  It was slightly modified by Augustus, establishing the 12-month year of 365.25 days with each 4th year having 366 days and the months having 31 or 30 days except for February.

The Gregorian calendar is the the modern western calendar, a replacement for the Julian Calendar. It was introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII as a revision of the Julian calendar marked by the suppression of 10 days and having leap years in every year divisible by four.  In leap years, February has 29 days instead of the usual 28.

Link of this original post at Islam Online
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2008, 06:48:31 pm »

Btw today on Jan.30 there's been snowfall in Jerusalem and South Lebanon.  In Jerusalem roads are blocked, schools closed and traffic safety warnings issued.  Media around the world wants to make it appear unusual.  But it's not unusual.  This happens every 2 or 3 years despite modern-day global warming.  Snowfall usually takes place 3 or 4 weeks earlier in the season.  It was a bit late this year.  Even when there's no snowfall, the very cold weather persists with frequent rainfall from early Dec. thru mid Feb.  The trees are bare, grass turns russet and no flowers to be seen.  Check the pics below.  Would any shepherd take his sheep to graze at such a time of the year?


Snowfalling in Jerusalem. (Nir Hasson) Jan.30, 2008.
Source: Haaretz
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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2008, 11:50:16 pm »

Many thanks for this feedback with photos + video.  It supports my original post very well. 

May Allah bless you dear brother.  Salaams and peace.
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« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2008, 10:01:00 pm »

Uniquely interesting thread.  Every analysis is irrefutable.  Great work, MaashAllah.
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« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2011, 12:45:30 am »

Not only the date, but the large majority of Christmas symbols are also pagan rituals. Christmas largely comprises of nature worshiping with "christmas trees, hollies, wreaths" etc.  which is typically a pagan tradition.  Check the article "Christmas a pagan holiday."
http://enjineer.ca/archives/60
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« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2011, 12:49:33 am »

100% correct sister Heba.  It's all about pagan traditions with nature worshiping as its central theme. 

Allah will deal with these people for such distortions and then the later secular generations being so complacent about it.   The minds of so many generations have been twisted with such falsehoods.   
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« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2020, 01:24:29 pm »




This is a "Christmas" painting of birth of Prophet Essa (son of Virgin Maryam) that appeared on Twitter this season, posted by a Christian with the acknowledgement that Dec. 25 is not the birthdate of Essa (son of Virgin Maryam). This date was chosen as late as the 4th century to replace the pagan Roman feast. From the time of early Christians (the Nazarenes .. from Nazareth), they are sure he was born in April or May.  Even the Christians admit that.  So, why at all celebrate the day as his birthdate?  Just call it an annual social event.   But the world always loves false stories more than facts.




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« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2020, 01:31:15 pm »



Yes Sister Ruhi, I also saw this image posted on Twitter with the paraphrased/translated message you stated.  The caption was in Arabic, apparently by someone from the Middle East.  That brings another point on focus too, and as the art depicts, Prophet Essa (son of Virgin Maryam) and the people of their household were ethnically very, very Arabs, not Caucasians with blue eyes and blond hair as commonly depicted.
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« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2020, 01:33:24 pm »



Exactly, Sister Zeynab.  Spot on ....
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