Rich fruit Cake or Plum Cake is commonly known as Christmas Cake. In India,Christmas is not believed to be complete without Plum Cake. Its one of the commonly found in the Indian bakeries. It is a moist,dark brown cake with plenty of nuts and dried fruits in it. Fruits and nuts are soaked in rum or brandy several days ahead for the plum-cake.
So believers please be cautious when you are offered a Plum cake. You might as well just ask the person offering you the Plum cake if there is any brandy or rum added to it. Or if you’re somebody who likes Plum cakes ask your baker to make it without the intoxicants. If you would like to make it at home, here’s a recipe :
- Always mix your fruit with the flour so the fruis will be scattered all over instead of sinking in the bottom of the cake.
- Try to preserve the fruits with apple or orange juice for about a week prior to making the cake, as the flavour will be more amalgamated and makes the cake tastes better.
- Ensure caramel is brown but not burnt (!) as this distinctly determines the flavour of the cake
Christmas official, but not generally observed:
In 325AD, Constantine the Great, the first Christian Roman emperor, introduced Christmas as an immovable feast on 25 December. He also introduced Sunday as a holy day in a new 7-day week, and introduced movable feasts (Easter). In 354AD, Bishop Liberius of Rome officially ordered his members to celebrate the birth of Jesus on 25 December.
However, even though Constantine officiated 25 December as the birthday of Christ,Christians, recognising the date as a pagan festival, did not share in the emperor’s good meaning. Christmas failed to gain universal recognition among Christians until quite recently. In England, Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas festivities between 1649 and 1660 through the so-called Blue Laws, believing that Christmas should be a solemn day.
When many Protestants escaped persecution by fleeing to the colonies all over the world, interest in joyous Christmas celebrations was rekindled there. Still, Christmas was not even a legal holiday until the 1800s. And, keep in mind, there was no Father Christmas (Santa Claus) figure at that time.
Christmas becomes popular:
The popularity of Christmas was spurred on in 1820 by Washington Irving’s book The Keeping of Christmas at Bracebridge Hall. In 1834, Britain’s Queen Victoria brought her German husband, Prince Albert, into Windsor Castle, introducing the tradition of the Christmas tree and carols that were held in Europe to the British Empire. A week before Christmas in 1834, Charles Dickens published A Christmas Carol (in which he wrote that Scrooge required Cratchit to work, and that the US Congress met on Christmas Day). It was so popular that neither the churches nor the governments could not ignore the importance of Christmas celebrations. In 1836, Alabama became the first state in the US to declare Christmas a legal holiday. In 1837, T.H. Hervey’s The Book of Christmas also became a best seller. In 1860, American illustrator Thomas Nast borrowed from the European stories about Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of children, to create Father Christmas (Santa Claus). In 1907, Oklahoma became the last US state to declare Christmas a legal holiday. Year by year, countries all over the world started to recognise Christmas as the day for celebrating the birth of Jesus.
What Did Jesus Say About Christmas?
Busy with Christmas fever, wonder did you ever, did the Bible or Jesus made any injunction on Christmas ever?
Ponder upon the following analysis on Christmas, and the Truth will become clearer and clearer.
“The customs of the people are worthless, they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel, they adore it with silver and gold, they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter” (Jeremiah 10-3,4).
European Pre-Christian pagans superstitiously believed that the green trees had special protective powers. In fact the use of the Christmas tree began only in the 17th century in Strasbourg, France and from there it spread to Germany, Britain and then to the U.S. “Tree worship was a common feature of religion among the Teutonic and Scandinavian peoples of northern Europe before their conversion to Christianity…German settlers brought the Christmas tree custom to the American colonies in the 17th century. By the 19th century its use was quite widespread”. (Compton’s Encyclopedia, 1998 Edition)
Jesus (peace be upon him) not God. HE never claimed Divinity:
Al-Qur’an (chapter 5: verse 72)
The Bible does not support the Christian belief in trinity at all. One of the scribes once asked Jesus (peace be upon him) as to which was the first commandment of all, to which Jesus (pbuh) merely repeated what Moses (pbuh) had said earlier:
“Shama Israelu Adonai Ila Hayno Adonai Ikhad.”
This is a Hebrew quotation, which means:
“Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord.” [The Bible, Mark 12:29]
Roman pagans celebrated Dec. 25th as the birth of their ‘god’ of light, Mithra.
“In the 2nd century A..D., it (Mithraism) was more general in the Roman Empire than Christianity, to which it bore many similarities” (The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, 1995 ed.)
Other pagan ‘gods’ born on Dec. 25th are: Hercules the son of Zeus (Greeks); Bacchus, ‘god’ of wine (Romans); Adonis, ‘god’ of Greeks, and ‘god’ Freyr of Greek-Roman pagans.
Queen Victoria later changed the celebration date from Dec. 6th to Dec. 24th eve.
“The church did not observe a festival for the celebration of the event of Christmas until the 4th century” (Grolier’s Encyclopedia)
Thus we see that neither the Bible nor Jesus and his companions say anything about the celebration of Christmas which currently involves fanfare, commercialization, and extravagant spending, devoid of any spiritual relevance.
Ruling on Christmas & New Year for Muslims:
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah. have mercy on him) said in his commentary on the ayah (interpretation of the meaning), “And those who do not witness falsehood [al-zoor]…” [al-Furqaan 25:72]:As regards the festivals of the mushrikeen: they combine confusion, physical desires and falsehood, there is nothing in them that is of any religious benefit, and the instant gratification involved in them only ends up in pain. Thus they are falsehood, and witnessing them means attending them.This ayah itself praises and commends (those who do not witness falsehood), which has the meaning of urging people to avoid taking part in their festivals and other kinds of falsehood. We understand that it is bad to attend their festivals because they are called al-zoor (falsehood).It indicates that it is haraam to do this for many reasons, because Allah. has called it al-zoor.
Allah knows best.
On the other hand, Islam has not prescribed any festival for the birthday of any person, however great or significant he may be. The prophets of Allah are the persons of the highest status amongst all human beings. But the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, or his noble companions never observed the birthday or anniversary of any of them. Even the birthday of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, which was the most happy day for the whole mankind was never celebrated by the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, himself, nor by his blessed Companions.
The Companions of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, remained alive after him for about a century, but despite their unparalleled and profound love towards the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, they never celebrated the birthday or the death anniversary of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Instead, they devoted their lives for promoting the cause of Islam, for bringing his teachings into practice, for conveying his message to the four corners of the world and for establishing the Islamic order in every walk of life.
Halloween is a Western celebration originated by Celtic pagans and traditionally applied to the evening of October 31. It is completely based on rituals involving dead spirits and devil worship. Moreover, it symbolizes the beginning of the ancient Druid new year, who hold that the dead revisit their homes at that time, thus in essence, Halloween represents the devil worshipper’s New Year’s celebration. Mexico, which has a similar celebration at the same time, calls the day, “El Día De Los Defuntos” (The Day of the Dead). Therefore Muslim commemoration of such a day is absolutely haram; as it involves the worst elements of shirk and kufr. Indeed, participation in it is similar to one commemorating Christmas or Easter, or congratulating the Christians upon their prostration to the crucifix. In fact, it is worse than congratulating them for drinking wine, fornication and so on. Muslim parents therefore should advise their children accordingly and not allow them to participate in these celebrations.
Historically, Halloween precedes the Christian feast of Hallowmas, All Hallows, or All Saints’ Day. The observances connected with Halloween originated among the ancient Druids, who believed that on that evening, Saman, the lord of the dead, called forth hosts of evil spirits. The Druids customarily lit great fires on Halloween, apparently for the purpose of warding off all these spirits. Among the ancient Celts, Halloween was the last evening of the year and was regarded as a propitious time for examining the portents of the future. The Celts also believed that the spirits of the dead revisited their earthly homes on that evening. After the Romans conquered Britain, they added to Halloween, features of the Roman harvest festival held on November 1 in honor of Pomona, goddess of the fruits of trees.
The Celtic tradition of lighting fires on Halloween survived until modern times in Scotland and Wales, and the concept of ghosts and witches is still common to all Halloween observances. Traces of the Roman harvest festival survive in the custom, prevalent in both the United States and in Great Britain, of playing games involving fruit, such as ducking for apples in a tub of water. Of similar origin is the use of hollowed-out pumpkins carved to resemble grotesque faces and lit by candles placed inside.
How therefore is the Muslim to understand this matter in the light of the shari‘ah? Firstly, the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said in an authentic narration: “Whosoever resembles a people is from them.” This is a general statement prohibiting the Muslims from imitation of the kuffar. Any Muslim, who thereby, participates with the non-Muslims in their celebrations, particularly those which involve clear shirk and kufr— is asking for the wrath of Allah and misguidance to descend upon him like it has descended upon them. Allah ta‘ala says: “And those who do not witness falsehood, and if they pass by some evil play or evil talk, they pass by it with dignity.” [Al-Furqan, 25:72]
According to the major Companions and their students such as Mujaahid, Rabi‘ ibn Anas and Adh-Dhahhak, the word “falsehood” used in above verse refers to “the holidays of the mushrikeen.” Others like Muhammad ibn Sireen are more explicit, stating that the verse defines “the people of shirk practicing their shirk, and (the verse admonishes us) not to participate with them.” Thus the believers are those referred to in the verse as “not witnessing falsehood.”
At-Tabari explains this aspect, when he says: “It is not allowed for Muslims to attend their [the disbelievers’] holidays and festivals because they are a type of evil and falsehood. If the people of good mix with the people of evil without putting an end to what they are doing, then they become like those who are pleased and influenced by the evil. And we fear falling into Allah’s anger because of their gathering.” The resemblance referred to here includes all the aforementioned ways. At-Tabari further explains the above mentioned verse, (And those who do not witness falsehood), “They do not assist the people of idolatry in their idolatry, nor do they associate with them.”
It was the sunnah of the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam to differ from the non-Muslims, particularly in those matters which were specific to non-Muslims. In Sunnan Abi Dawud, Anas ibn Malik says that when the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam came to Medinah, there used to be two festivals in which the people engaged in playing sports. So the Prophet asked, “What are these two days?,” they replied, “We used to play sports during these in the jahiliyah (time period before Islam).” The Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam then said, “Verily Allah has given you two better days, the Day of Adha and the Day of Fitr.”
This not only shows that the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam did not acknowledge these days, but also shows that Allah has dignified the Muslims with days which are pleasing to Him and superior in merit. Indeed, the glorious companions understood this and applied its ruling to the fullest extent. Abdullah ibn ‘Umar said, “One who settles in the lands of the non-Muslims, celebrates their New Year’s Days, and behaves like them until he dies, will be raised with them on the Day of Resurrection.”
I pray that this brief response clarifies this issue about the origin of Halloween and the Islamic position on it. And Allah knows best, and to Him is our return. Ameen.
Allah is our witness, there is no better example of one’s love, adoration, reverence, and respect for another human being than the love the noble companions had for the Messenger of Allah (SAW); but never ever did they touch his feet as a sign of their respect.
Respect is not displayed by one’s touching another’s feet; but one’s respect and adoration for an elder should be displayed by saying a kind word of salutation, being absolutely mindful and obedient to their every legal wish, and being absolutely kind, humble, tender, just and merciful with them in all their matters.