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Celebrating The New Year

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CELEBRATING THE NEW YEAR

By Dr. Bilal Philips 

 

Origins

January is named after Janus, the Roman god of doors and gateways. He was commonly depicted in statues, carvings and paintings as a two headed man with one head facing forward and the other head facing backwards. In 46BC Julius Caesar chose January 1st as the first day of the New Year as Janus symbolically represented the door to the New Year. Wild parties and orgies were held on the night before the New Year’s Day as a re-enactment of the chaos which Roman mythology depicted as preceding the cosmos or the ordered world whose organization was set by the gods. Furthermore, by that time, Janus had become, in practice, the highest god receiving the ritual sacrifices of Roman worshippers before the other gods, including the chief god, Jupiter.[1]

Thus, in its essence the celebrations of the New Year on January 1stand New Year’s Eve, the night before, are a part and parcel of pagan religious rituals based on idolatrous beliefs in false gods. Consequently, it is completely Haraam (sinful and forbidden) for Muslims to participate in or adopt any of its related rituals, customs and symbols.

 If a non-Muslim greets a Muslim, “Happy New Year”, the Muslim is not allowed to respond in a similar manner or say, “Same to you.” Instead, in order not to offend or hurt the feelings of non-Muslim friends or acquaintances, one may say instead, “Happy holiday.”

DB poster27

 

As for celebrating the New Year according to the Islamic calendar which begins with the month of Muharram, this is also not permissible from a number of perspectives. First and foremost, if one does so believing that it is pleasing to Allah to do so, thereby transforming it into an act of worship, it becomes a  Bid‘ah or cursed innovation in the religion about which the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Every innovation in religion is misguidance and all misguidance leads to the Hellfire.” If one does so merely as a custom, it is still impermissible as it falls under the prohibition of imitation of pagan customs about which the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever imitates a people becomes one of them.”


[1] Pope Gregory 13th who set the modern calendar, the Gregorian calendar, also officially fixed the first day of the year for Christian Europe as January 1st in 1582.

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44 Responses

    1. mhalimz@hotmail.com'
      Haleem

      To greet or not to greet a non-Muslim is a patty matter Gunah-e-Saghira. which is pardonable in case Muslims do not commit Gunah-e-Kabira. But non is bothered for Gunah-e-Kabira , whereas all over the world Muslims are engaged in Gunah-e-Kabira, specially in Muslim dominated countries, almost all of the Muslim ummah behaving in an averse rather vice-versa Islamic teachings, fighting & killing each other in holy months like Ramadhan, Zi-qaádah, Zil-Hajjah, which is not only Haraam but it will lead to great HELL, Most of the Islamic web sites are delivering stereotype, conventional, formulaic conception of Islamic image, whereas there is a chaos allover Muslim nations, mostly formless and disordered there is no any organisation or a Muslim country to form a united militia to tackle the situations there, and establish peace in Egypt, Turkey, Syria. Afghanistan. All of them are looking towards America to come and combat with, what a sorry affair!

  1. ousmankasim@yahoo.com'
    kasim ousman

    As.wr.wb…First of all I would like to appreciate your effort to up hold Islamic value. Your moderate attitude and effort to avoid misunderstanding is greated benefited me personally. I have one question for you, ” What do Quran say about birth day and valentine day Inslam. Is it appropriate to celebrate, if not why? I expect you will answer my question in a reasonable way…thank you once again.

    1. teacherhayat@yahoo.com'
      Hayat David

      As Salam Walaykum Dr. Bilal,

      I too appreciate your great work and for such a brief article packed with precise and beneficial information and would like to also see if you could please do the same for birthdays as well.

      Jazaka Allahu Khairan

  2. williams.kobie@gmail.com'
    Kabir

    I just cannot wrap my head around this explanation. Happy Holidays has the same meaning as Happy New Years”. Why not say “best wishes” or “May God bless us all”

    1. promotions@islamiconlineuniversity.com'

      This is a reply from Dr Bilal
      The secular government designates periods of the year where people take a holiday from work which has nothing in itself to do with worship or pagan beliefs. Christmas is a day, New Year’s is a day, etc., not a period. Holiday is general. Read the dictionary to know the difference: Holiday, a time, often one or two weeks, when someone does not go to work or school but is free to do what they want, such as travel or relax:
      a camping/skiing holiday
      Have you decided where you’re going for your holiday(s) this year?
      Patricia is on holiday next week.
      How many days’ holiday do you get with your new job?
      We thought we’d go to France for our summer holiday.
      Surely the school holidays start soon. Dr Bilal

      1. ialango@yahoo.com'

        Salam alykom. Dr. Bilal, you are correct. But the word HOLIDAY is originally derived from two English words: holy day – defined as the day of a religious festival. Based from your reasoning, governments of today use holiday as free [time] for employees so they can do what they want as they are exempted from reporting to work. May ALLAH guide us rightly. The gregorian calendar and new year day are very useful and significant things to the humanity, including us, Muslims. There is good when a person feels very grateful on the coming of new year day and expresses that feeling by offering thanksgiving, by sharing money, foods or times with others. One’s gratefulness to ALLAH is not only expressed by uttering ALHAMDULILLAH but also through our behavior – that results to a good product. ALLAH is good thus considers good acts. But as Muslims, we have to avoid imitating non Muslims’ ways like dancing, drinking wines, and partying wearing spaghiti dress and toxidos attire. The original and pagan connotation about January 1st is no longer as appreciated in our generation but a day for inventorying and starting or expanding to a new business or start implementing a plan in life. Although we can always begin a change in doing things anytime and any day. But it is actually a matter of individual right to decide when to effect such plan to change. What exactly matters is we must intend every action we commit for ALLAH’s pleasure only.

  3. gzjamal@hotmail.com'
    GZJamal

    Very obliged for this information. im trying not to participate in this ritual but you see, you talked about non muslims saying Happy New year… the muslims are no different either.. everywhere we see are happy new year messages. how do you politely deal with our muslim bretheren who may be our bosses or colleagues or juniors. i mostly end up being the only one NOT returning the greeting and eventually made to see offended faces. Not that i care much as i always pray to Allah to keep me in between momin people so that our ideas may not differ… but still you know.. it pinches me to know ive been secluded for not returning the greeting or even initiating it. Please give some guidance in this matter. Also a dua is required, as i pray everyday for every muslim woman around me that they be more acquainted with Allah and His deen .. without my being depicted as the molvi of the day

  4. moghalershad24434@gmail.com'
    Moghal Ershad

    Assalamalekum Warahamathullahi Wabarakathahu..

    Nice Work About Happy New Year is nice to see and i had the question when i not see this image my question is my friends are telling the Happy New Year i am not saing niothing for that guys frnds are ur hurting for us when I saw this Image I also saying to mY frnds when they saying the Happy New Year I am saying Happy Holiday….Thank U for Your Work and Nice to see this Work…

    Jazakallah…

  5. mood_man1@yahoo.com'
    Mahmood

    Alhamdulillah, in sha allah May His Al-Mighty Allah guide us towards avoidance in celebrating of such idolatrous beliefs. Today, I have learnt even celebrating Islamic new year is not permissible. I have one question; if that’s the case, how about our daily usage of this calender that is globally followed and recognised. What’s the way forward? Jazaa kumu Allahu khairan katheera

  6. ratiba1208@yahoo.com'
    joann torres

    as salaam wa alaikum
    i see how we shouldnt answer same to you, but how is replying happy holiday different? dont understand

    1. promotions@islamiconlineuniversity.com'

      The secular government designates periods of the year where people take a holiday from work which has nothing in itself to do with worship or pagan beliefs. Christmas is a day, New Year’s is a day, etc., not a period. Holiday is general. Read the dictionary to know the difference: Holiday, a time, often one or two weeks, when someone does not go to work or school but is free to do what they want, such as travel or relax:
      a camping/skiing holiday
      Have you decided where you’re going for your holiday(s) this year?
      Patricia is on holiday next week.
      How many days’ holiday do you get with your new job?
      We thought we’d go to France for our summer holiday.
      Surely the school holidays start soon. Dr Bilal

  7. brink91k@hotmail.com'
    Kat

    Firstly, there is no difference between saying “Happy New Year” and saying “Happy Holiday.” Secondly, celebrating something is not the same as worshiping something. A person celebrating something is not necessarily believing that Allah is pleased with it. Thirdly, there are several pagan rituals practiced by Muhammad before Islam that he incorporated into Islam, like the hajj, Ramadan fasting, circling the Kaaba, throwing stones at the devil, just to name a few.

  8. zeekhan@hotmail.com'
    zeekhan

    Your article is informative but whether we agree to it or not, we are running our every day schedule according to the gregorian calendar and the hijri calendar has no significance in the world. Thus, like all beginnings, for e.g: wedding, new job, graduation etc, we do greet people and wish them good luck, its the same thing here as well. We can wish them a happy year ahead and whats the problem in that? I mean we should’nt be that much of a backward, conservative muslims that the world run away from our backward thinking and perceive us an extremist.

  9. wasimmag24@gmail.com'
    Md. Wasim Mageed

    If one does hurt their sentiment by not replying or telling them that we are not supposed to reply to anything that is wished against the principal of Islam , etc to please Allah(swt) instead to please them.. In this case are we allowed to hurt sentiments?

  10. adekunle.ajani@gmail.com'
    Salaam alaekum, I appreciate this enlightenment. Jazak Allahu khaer. Meanwhile, it's difficult to really not participate knowingly or unknowingly in this calendar activities as it is most recognised (may be in my part of the world). Everything in our worl

    Was

  11. mizan6458@gmail.com'

    to say happy new year means to wish someone so that he or she may lead a good life in the days to come . what is harm their. can we denounce the gegorian calendar and the name of the month january.we don’t bother about the background of the name of the month rather we greet the kith and kin so that Allah bless them all in future. we cannot but use January in our day to day activity.

    1. umahmad57@hotmail.com'
      um Ahmad

      Well brother, then tell them happy new year all year round. The reason we follow the Gregorian calendar has more to do with the weakness of the Ummah and not our backwardness. How insulting to day we are ‘backward’ because some Muslims are ignorant of their religion? Ignorance is the problem, yet when an article of advice is written, the first to attack it are Muslims. I believe that needing to follow and imitate the non-Muslims is a form of backwardness.

  12. abdullahsayam96@gmail.com'
    ABU SAYED MOHAMMED SAYAM

    Assalamualikum,sir.firstly,jajakallaah khaira for this article.i like to translate this article in bengali to give this message to my friends.am i able to do this?

  13. sfysal57@gmail.com'
    Sabri

    I feel that people (except a few scholars like Dr Bilal Philips) do not know the basic history behind these and they dont mean anything related to worship when they wish HAPPY NEW YEAR to friends and relatives. It is told just like they say GOOD MORNING OR GOOD EVENING OR HAPPY JOURNEY OR HAPPY HOLIDAYS.
    So is it really something very grave and serious to be abstained from as a real salafi muslim?
    Kindly highlight. Thank you Shaikh

  14. Pingback : What does New Years Day mean to You | My Daily Jihad

  15. umahmad57@hotmail.com'
    um Ahmad

    As-salamu alaykum wa rahmatullah,

    We shouldn’t reply with ‘happy Holiday’ since the word ‘holiday’ comes from ‘holy day’ and by saying this you are reaffirming that it is a special day. Simply say that I don’t celebrate the New Year and leave it at that. Or tell them that you are a Muslim and have your own new year.

  16. sadiqam89@aol.com'
    Sadiq ameen

    Jazakallahu khairan Dr bilal.. Really appreciate ur efforts in spreading the authentic deen may Allh reward u abundantly.. and protect u from all harms

    This article has benefitted Me And my friends extensively.
    Don’t worry about the criticisms as truth is always criticized and is bitter to be swallowed

    May Allah keep us firm on the manhaj of the salaf

  17. ummhurairah@gmail.com'
    UH

    Jazakumullaahu khaira for the reminder and the alternate greeting.

    I recently received an email from IOU entitled “2013 – A Look Back” It would be great if IOU could measure their successes with the Hijri calendar and send these updates on the 1st of Muharram in future.

  18. Shehuadamu.iou@gmail.com'
    Shehu Adamu

    Assalaamu Alaikum Warahmatullaah. Dr. Bilal may Allaah Increase you in knowledge, reward you with Al-Jannah and give long life to continue with Da’awa.

  19. ialango@yahoo.com'

    There has to be a consensus first among the Doctors of Islamic teachings and the Muftees of the Muslim worlds to declare greetings like happy new year, same to you, happy holiday, etc. are not allowed and how a Muslim should respond appropriately to be able to avoid hurting our non-Muslim colleagues, bosses, employers, and so on.

    N.B. Only ALLAH declares what is haram. What Muslims of today can do is to apply the principle of qiyas.

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  22. shahina_musthafa@yahoo.com'
    Shahina

    Colleagues may wish us after the 1st day of January also. And it is not necessary to that 1st day of January is Holiday. How to reply without offending them is still confusing.

  23. bilalkamba@yahoo.com'
    Bilal Ibrahim Kamba

    Jazaakumullaahu khayran.
    May Allaah continue to guide us aright and prevent us from falliing in to shirk(major &minor) and forgive us the ones we have commited without knowing.Aameen

  24. Pingback : As a Muslim, What is Islam’s View of New Years? | footprints in arabia

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