Is Celebrating New Year’s Haram?

Is Celebrating New Year's Haram

New Year’s Eve, a time of jubilation and anticipation, marks the transition from the old to the new. As the clock strikes midnight, festivities erupt across the globe, from grand fireworks displays to intimate gatherings among loved ones. However, beneath the glitz and glamour, a question lingers: Is celebrating New Year’s haram within the realm of religious beliefs?

Key Takeaways

📌 Historical Origins: New Year’s Eve celebrations have ancient roots in diverse cultures, marked by rituals and feasts. These traditions have evolved over time and continue to influence modern customs, such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day.
📌 Islamic Perspective: Islam’s stance on celebrating New Year’s Eve varies among scholars. While some deem it permissible within Islamic values of modesty and community spirit, others caution against potential un-Islamic behaviors accompanying the festivities.
📌 Permissibility: Based on various Islamic scholars’ opinions, celebrating New Year’s Eve is generally considered permissible (mubah) as long as it aligns with Islamic principles and doesn’t involve religiously inappropriate actions or beliefs.

Historical Origins of New Year’s Eve Celebrations

The historical origins of New Year’s Eve are as diverse as the cultures that celebrate it. Ancient civilizations, including the Babylonians and Egyptians, marked the onset of a new year with festivities that ranged from religious rituals to grand feasts. Over time, these practices evolved, intertwining with modern customs and celebrations such as Christmas, or Valentine’s Day.

The roots of New Year’s Eve celebrations stretch back to the ancient civilizations that laid the foundation for modern festivities. In Babylon, the Akitu festival marked the beginning of the new year, featuring religious ceremonies and processions dedicated to the deity Marduk. The Babylonians sought the gods’ favor for a prosperous year ahead through these rituals.

Similarly, the ancient Egyptians tied their new year to the annual flooding of the Nile River. The flooding was a vital event that brought fertility to their lands, ensuring bountiful harvests. Festivals were held to honor this natural phenomenon and offer gratitude for the blessings it bestowed.

As time marched on, these traditions evolved, adapting to the changing cultural landscapes. With the rise of the Roman Empire, the new year became associated with Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions, from whom the month of January derives its name. The Romans embraced the concept of resolutions and offerings to appease the gods for a favorable year.

Interestingly, the historical origins of New Year’s Eve celebrations continue to influence contemporary practices. While the religious rituals and grand feasts of the past have transformed into the revelry and countdowns of today, the essence of seeking blessings, renewal, and unity endures.

This convergence of tradition and modernity is evident not only in New Year’s Eve celebrations but also in the way various cultures commemorate other occasions, such as Mother’s Day, or Thanksgiving.

Islamic Perspective on Celebrating New Year’s Eve

In the Islamic world, opinions on New Year’s Eve celebrations vary. Some scholars argue that partaking in festivities is permissible, as long as they align with Islamic values of modesty and righteousness. They cite the importance of celebrating significant occasions as a way to foster community spirit.

On the contrary, other scholars caution against participating, expressing concerns about potential un-Islamic behaviors that can accompany the celebrations.

Is Celebrating New Year’s Haram?

The celebration of the Islamic New Year is mubah or permissible, as long as these celebrations do not violate Islamic religious rules.

This aligns with the viewpoint expressed by Professor Al-Azhar Asy-Sharif and the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Athiyyah Shaqr. In the compilation of Al-Azhar scholars’ fatwas, he stated:

وَقَيْصَرُ رُوْسِيَا “الإِسْكَنْدَرُ الثَّالِثُ” كَلَّفَ الصَّائِغَ “كَارِلْ فَابْرَج” بِصَنَاعَةِ بَيْضَةٍ لِزَوْجَتِهِ 1884 م، اسْتَمَرَّ فِي صُنْعِهَا سِتَّةَ أَشْهُرٍ كَانَتْ مَحِلَّاةً بِالْعَقِيْقِ وَالْيَاقُوْتِ، وَبَيَاضُهَا مِنَ الْفِضَّةِ وَصِفَارُهَا مِنَ الذَّهَبِ، وَفِى كُلِّ عَامٍ يَهْدِيْهَا مِثْلَهَا حَتَّى أَبْطَلَتْهَا الثَّوْرَةُ الشُّيُوْعِيَّةُ 1917 م. وَبَعْدُ، فَهَذَا هُوَ عِيْدُ شَمِّ النَّسِيْمِ الَّذِي كَانَ قَوْمِيًّا ثُمَّ صَارَ دِيْنِيًّا فَمَا حُكْمُ احْتِفَالِ الْمُسْلِمِيْنَ بِهِ؟

لَا شَكَّ أَنَّ التَّمَتُّعَ بِمُبَاهِجِ الْحَيَاةِ مِنْ أَكْلٍ وَشُرْبٍ وَتَنَزُّهٍ أَمْرٌ مُبَاحٌ مَا دَامَ فِى الْإِطَارِ الْمَشْرُوْعِ الَّذِي لَا تُرْتَكَبُ فِيْهِ مَعْصِيَّةٌ وَلَا تُنْتَهَكُ حُرْمَةٌ وَلَا يَنْبَعِثُ مِنْ عَقِيْدَةٍ فَاسِدَةٍ

Russian Emperor, Alexander III once sent a goldsmith ‘Karl Fabraj’ to make a headpiece for his wife in 1884 AD. The manufacturing process lasted for 6 months. The hat was studded with agates and gems. The white color is silver and the yellow color is gold.

Every year he presented a similar hat to his wife until his wife was overthrown by the communist uprising in 1917 AD. At first, this event was a celebration of ‘Sham Ennesim’ (the Egyptian national festival that marks the start of spring) which is a local Egyptian tradition then changed to a religious tradition. Then how is the ruling to commemorate and celebrate it for a Muslim?

Answer:
There is no doubt that having fun with the beauty of life, namely eating, drinking, and cleaning oneself is something that is permissible as long as it is in accordance with the Shari’a, does not contain elements of immorality, does not damage honor, and does not depart from a corrupt faith.

Wizarah Al-Auqof Al-Mishriyyah, Fatawa Al-Azhar

Corresponding to the fatwa issued by the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Sayyid Muhammad bin Alawi Al-Maliki (died 2004 AD), a prominent hadith scholar from Haramain, emphasized in his book:

جَرَتْ عَادَاتُنَا أَنْ نَجْتَمِعَ لإِحْيَاءِ جُمْلَةٍ مِنَ الْمُنَاسَبَاتِ التَّارِيْخِيَّةِ كَالْمَوْلِدِ النَّبَوِيِّ وَذِكْرَى الْإِسْرَاءِ وَالْمِعْرَاجِ وَلَيْلَةِ النِّصْفِ مِنْ شَعْبَانَ وَالْهِجْرَةِ النَّبَوِيَّةِ وَذِكْرَى نُزُوْلِ الْقُرْآنِ وَذِكْرَى غَزْوَةِ بَدْرٍ وَفِى اعْتِبَارِنَا أَنَّ هَذَا الْأَمْرَ عَادِيٌّ لَا صِلَةَ لَهُ بِالدِّيْنِ فَلَا يُوْصَفُ بِأَنَّهُ مَشْرُوْعٌ أَوْ سُنَّةٌ كَمَا أَنَّهُ لَيْسَ مُعَارِضًا لِأَصْلٍ مِنْ أُصُوْلِ الدِّيْنِ لأَنَّ الْخَطَرَ هُوَ فِى اعْتِقَادِ مَشْرُوْعِيَّةِ شَيْءٍ لَيْسَ بِمَشْرُوْعٍ

It has become a tradition for us to gather to revive various historical moments, such as the birthday of the Prophet, the commemoration of the Isra Mi’raj, the Nishfu Sya’ban night, the Hijriyah New Year, the Nuzulul Qur’an and the anniversary of the Badr war.

In my view, warnings like this are part of a tradition, that has no correlation with religion, so they cannot be categorized as something that is prescribed or sunnah. Nevertheless, it also does not conflict with religious foundations, because what is actually worrying is the emergence of belief in the law of something that is not legislated.

Examining the aforementioned references, it can be deduced that observing the commencement of the new year from an Islamic perspective falls within the realm of customs or traditions that hold no direct affiliation with religious principles. Consequently, it is permissible for a Muslim to partake in the celebration of New Year’s Eve, as long as such participation remains free from acts of disobedience.

Final Thought

Balancing religious devotion with festive celebration is a challenge that many individuals grapple with. This dilemma isn’t exclusive to New Year’s Eve. It’s a concern that echoes through other celebrations, including birthdays, or anniversaries. Striving to uphold religious values while partaking in joyous occasions requires introspection and conscious decision-making.

It’s beneficial to interpret the transition to the new year as an opportunity for self-reflection, enabling us to enhance future acts of worship while expressing gratitude. Equally significant is the practice of supplicating to Allah SWT during this juncture, seeking strength for righteous deeds and obedience, while safeguarding ourselves from harm.

Allahu a’lam (Allah knows best)

FAQ

Is saying happy New years haram?

With regard to the law of wishing a happy new year, one of the leaders of the Shafi’i school of thought Sheikh Ibn Hajar Al-Haitami (d. 974 H) in his book states:

قَالَ الْقَمُولِيُّ لَمْ أَرَ لِأَحَدٍ مِنْ أَصْحَابِنَا كَلَامًا فِي التَّهْنِئَةِ بِالْعِيدِ وَالْأَعْوَامِ وَالْأَشْهُرِ كَمَا يَفْعَلُهُ النَّاسُ لَكِنْ نَقَلَ الْحَافِظُ الْمُنْذِرِيُّ عَنْ الْحَافِظِ الْمَقْدِسِيَّ أَنَّهُ أَجَابَ عَنْ ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّ النَّاسَ لَمْ يَزَالُوا مُخْتَلِفِينَ فِيهِ وَاَلَّذِي أَرَاهُ مُبَاحٌ لَا سُنَّةَ فِيهِ وَلَا بِدْعَةَ

Imam Al-Qamuli stated that within the Shafi’i school of thought, there is no explicit stance on extending congratulations during Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, the new year, or the change of months – practices commonly observed by many.

However, Al-Hafidz Al-Mundziri referenced Sheikh Al-Hafidz Abu Hasan Al-Maqdisi’s response to a similar query, indicating that a divergence of opinions among scholars exists in this matter. Consequently, Sheikh Al-Maqdisi deemed offering congratulations as permissible (mubah), neither being a recommended practice (sunnah) nor an innovation (bid’ah).
Tuhfatul Muhtaj fi Syarhil Minhaj

Does Islam have New Year?

Yes, Islam does acknowledge the concept of the new year, but it is important to note that the Islamic calendar is lunar-based, not solar-based like the Gregorian calendar. The Islamic New Year is known as “Hijri New Year” or “Islamic New Year,” and it marks the beginning of the Islamic lunar calendar.

The first month of the Islamic calendar is called Muharram, and the first day of this month signifies the start of the new year for Muslims. The Islamic New Year holds religious and cultural significance, and while it is not marked by widespread celebrations like the secular New Year’s Eve, Muslims may reflect on the passage of time, renew their intentions, and seek blessings in the year ahead.

Can Muslims wish New Year?

Yes, Muslims can wish a happy new year to each other. The permissibility of exchanging New Year’s greetings is a topic of scholarly discussion within the Islamic tradition. While some scholars consider it permissible and in line with the spirit of unity and goodwill, others may have reservations based on their interpretation of religious texts.

However, if the intention behind such greetings is positive and does not involve any religiously inappropriate elements, many scholars agree that it is acceptable. Ultimately, the approach to wishing a new year may vary based on cultural norms, individual beliefs, and the local religious community.

Is New Year’s resolution haram?

New Year’s resolutions themselves are not inherently haram (forbidden) in Islam. Setting goals for self-improvement, personal growth, and betterment can be aligned with Islamic principles of self-discipline, continuous improvement, and seeking to be a better person. However, the content and nature of the resolutions matter.

If a resolution involves actions that are contrary to Islamic teachings, such as engaging in sinful behavior or violating religious principles, then it would be considered haram. It’s important for Muslims to ensure that their resolutions are in line with their faith and do not lead them toward actions that are not permissible in Islam.

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