Wishing or Celebrating New Year ?
Question: What is the ruling of celebrating the New Year and wishing one another ‘Happy New Year’? بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
In Islam, we are taught to be kind to our fellow human beings, thus Muslims who live in western countries, e.g. Canada or America, should abide by the laws of their respective countries as long as it does not entail sin. If someone is a Canadian or American, it does not obligate them to celebrate the national holidays of the country they live in. In addition, refraining from celebrating a national holiday does not necessitate hatred towards one’s country nor does it contradict kindness.
Anas (r.a.) narrated in a Hadith: “The Prophet (s.a.w.) arrived in Madinah, and they had two days in which they would play. The Prophet (s.a.w.) inquired, ‘What are these two days?’ They replied, ‘We used to play during these two days at the time of Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic era).’ The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, ‘Verily, Allah has substituted them for you with something better--the day of Adha and Fitr.’” (Abu Dawud: Hadith 1134). In another narration, the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Verily, for every nation, there is an Eid (holiday, festival), and this is our Eid.” (Bukhari: Hadith 952) It is deduced from the above-mentioned Hadiths that the Prophet (s.a.w.) did not approve of Muslims celebrating non-Islamic holidays and that the Muslims only have two days of celebration (Eidul Fitr and Eidul Adha), hence they should suffice on them.
On the basis thereof, it is impermissible to celebrate the New Year or wish one another ‘Happy New Year’ on account of it being a non-Islamic holiday and entailing resemblance of non-Muslims in addition to other impermissible practices that transpire on the New Year, e.g. drinking, fornication, etc.
Many claim that the New Year has no relationship with religion, however this is incorrect. If one researches further, they will conclude that the origins of the New Year contain elements of Christianity and shirk (polytheism). ‘New Year's Day, also simply called New Year, is observed on 1 January, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar. In pre-Christian Rome under the Julian calendar, the day was dedicated to Janus, god of gateways and beginnings, for whom January is also named. As a date in the Gregorian calendar of Christendom, New Year's Day liturgically marked the Feast of the Naming and Circumcision of Jesus, which is still observed as such in the Anglican Church and Lutheran Church. The Roman Catholic Church celebrates on this day the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.’ (Extracted from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorian_calendar#Description)
The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Whoever resembles a nation, then he is from them.” (Abu Dawud: Hadith 4031) Even though the New Year, and its likes, is not currently considered a religious holiday, it is, however, a salient feature of a nation and can be traced back to unislamic religious practices and beliefs, thus, it would be impermissible to celebrate. (Iqtidaus Sirat Al-Mustaqeen Mukhalafatu Ashab Al-Jaheem: p. 271 [Al-Maktaba Al-Asriyya]; Fatawa Mahmudia: v. 29, p. 349 [Darul Isha’at]; Tuhfatul Ulama: v. 2, p. 122 [Darul Isha’at])
Only Allah knows best
Written by Maulana Mohammad Ahsan Osmani Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah Darul Ifta Birmingham