Christmas is celebrated as the day marking the birth of the Prophet ʿĪsa AS, Jesus Christ and is commemorated on the 25th of December. According to the Fatimi calendar, the birth of Prophet ʿĪsa AS falls on ʿāshūrā, the 10th of Muharram.
The birth of the Prophet ʿĪsa AS is a blessing from Allah TA. According to the Holy Quran, when the Prophet ʿĪsa AS was born he uttered these profound words:-
*قَالَ إِنِّي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ آتَانِيَ الْكِتَابَ وَجَعَلَنِي نَبِيًّا * وَجَعَلَنِي مُبَارَكًا أَيْنَ مَا كُنتُ وَأَوْصَانِي بِالصَّلَاةِ وَالزَّكَاةِ مَا دُمْتُ حَيًّا * وَبَرًّا بِوَالِدَتِي وَلَمْ يَجْعَلْنِي جَبَّارًا شَقِيًّا * وَالسَّلَامُ عَلَيَّ يَوْمَ وُلِدتُّ وَيَوْمَ أَمُوتُ وَيَوْمَ أُبْعَثُ حَيًّا*
‘I am indeed a *servant of Allah*: He hath given me the revelation (al-kitāb) and made me a prophet; And He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me prayer and zakat as long as I live; (He) hath made me kind and dutiful to my mother, and not arrogant or miserable; So salaam (peace) is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be resurrected.’ (30:32)
There are 25 verses in the Holy Quran that refer to the Prophet ʿĪsa AS. Allah TA sent blessings and benedictions and salaam towards humanity by sending his rūh (spirit), as a prophet, intercessor, a witness (shahīd) unto Allah TA, and one who spent his life in servitude and preaching the Message of Allah TA to all mankind.
The inner peace of Jesus Christ is evident in the accounts of his life. He lived in the glory and benediction of Allah TA and the true belief of salvation. He called each and every Christian towards this inner peace that he portrayed as peace and goodwill towards all living beings. Fatimi texts provide an account whereby the Prophet ʿĪsa AS once met the prophet Yayha AS (John the Baptist). ʿĪsa AS was beaming with happiness, so Yahya AS asked him, ‘how is it that you smile so? Do you not fear the wrath of Allah TA?’ ʿĪsa AS replied, ‘why do you frown so? Are you not hopeful of Allah’s TA mercy?’ Allah TA sent his archangel Jibraʾīl with the following judgement between the two prophets, ‘the one who smiles more is dearer to me.’
During ʿAshara Mubāraka, the sermon on the 5th of Muharram, is dedicated to the legacy of Prophet Mūsa AS and Prophet ʿĪsa AS and narrates the events leading up to his eventual crucifixion. Each year, hundreds of Bohras travel on pilgrimage to Jerusalem to pay respects at the tomb of Prophet ʿĪsa AS.
ʿĪsa AS is the spirit of Allah TA (rūh Allah) and performed many miracles during his lifetime. The story of Jesus and the third loaf of bread is regularly narrated to remind believers of his miracles and is a constant reminder to abstain from greed. Some sayings of Prophet ʿĪsa AS form the foundation of Fatimi beliefs. For example, the saying, ‘He who is not born twice cannot attain the kingdom of the heaven’ expounds on the importance of the everlasting soul over the perishing body.
His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS remembered the sacrifice of the Prophet ʿĪsa AS in one of his speeches in Nairobi. He said:
‘His (ʿĪsa’s AS) sacrifice for the sake of humankind was of great consequence. Similarly, the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson Imam Husain AS made many sacrifices for the sake of humanity. These sacrifices are a constant source of guidance that remind us that no sacrifice is too great for the causes of haq: what is true and right.
Imam Ali bin Abi Talib AS has provided us with an unmatched lesson which aids us in our acts of sacrifice. He has told us: ‘show kindness to those who have done you ill.’
The Prophet ʿĪsa AS spent his entire life spreading the message of salaam (peace). As we rejoice in his memory, we pray that peace prevails across the globe.