This is a post that I wrote last year on what we as Muslims should do on New Years Eve instead of participating in the wrong festivities. Click Here
Our New Islamic Year has already begun and we should actually make lots of Shukr that Allah Ta’ala has blessed us with Iman. Iman in itself is such a great favour that we are unable to make enough shukr to Allah for it. So let us all thank Allah for making us Muslims and giving us the understanding of deen, giving us the understanding that to actually participate in such futile festivities has no basis in Islam and should be avoided. Even just looking at them taking part in it should be avoided. Teach the children to not even look at them while they burst crackers. I know many families watch from the window the different colours etc. but we shouldn’t even do that.
The New Year is one of the oldest festivals of the world, dating back to the pre historic era. The New Year History itself forms an extensive area of study. The history of New Year has undergone a series of changes over the ages to achieve its global form. The urge of celebrating New Year as a vibrant festivity emerged at the dawn of civilization.
At present, New Year is celebrated on January 1 and it had been an essential part of the cultural and traditional practices of the different communities inhabiting the world. The wide spread acceptance of January 1 as the New Year is confined only within the past four hundred years. Therefore, this is the principal reason that the New Year traditions vary from country to country.
The earliest instance of New Year is found in Mesopotamian culture. It was about 2000 BC, when the people of Babylon used to observe New Year celebrations on the day of the Vernal Equinox that is during the middle of March. It was the Romans, who recognized March 1, 153 B.C as New Year Day in their calendar. Prior to that March 25, the date of the vernal equinox, was celebrated as their New Year’s Day. And this was considered to be the beginning of New Year by most Christian European countries during the early medieval era.
At that time there were only ten calendar months beginning from March. The relevance of this fact can still be seen in the names of some months, which were set according to their respective sequences in the calendar. As in the calendar of the present time, the months from September to December are placed as the ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth months respectively, previously they were positioned as the seventh, eighth, ninth and the tenth months. In Latin, ‘Septem’ means, seven, ‘Octo’ means, eight, ‘Novem’ means, ninth and ‘Decem’ means ten.
The Israeli term for New Year’s night celebrations, “Sylvester,” was the name of the “Saint” and the Roman Pope who reigned during the Council of Nicaea (325 C.E.). The year before the Council of Nicaea convened, Sylvester convinced Constantine to prohibit Jews from living in Jerusalem. At the Council of Nicaea, Sylvester arranged for the passage of a host of viciously anti-Semitic legislation. All Catholic “Saints” are awarded a day on which Christians celebrate and pay tribute to that Saint’s memory. December 31 is Saint Sylvester Day – hence celebrations on the night of December 31 are dedicated to Sylvester’s memory.
It was in the Gregorian calendar established by Pope Gregory XII that the New Year was firmly positioned on January 1. It was readily accepted by the Catholics and then by the Protestants and soon became a holiday recognized by the entire world slowly and steadily.
* ADVICE *
It is apparent from the history of New Year that it is traced back to the beliefs of the pagans and their gods and Christian motivations. A Muslim is sensitive to his Iman. He is averse to anything that is contrary to his Iman. Celebrating New Year of the Gregorian calendar has its roots in shirk and Christianity.
It is therefore not permissible for a muslim to celebrate New Year or wish others Happy New Year.
Furthermore, it is a norm for people to celebrate the end of the year and welcome the New Year through music, dancing wining etc. It does not behold a muslim to be in such an environment especially when celebrating New Year has its roots in kufr and shirk. (For us as Muslims, we are in the month of Safar, the second month of the lunar calendar 1433H. This was when this article was written) The 31 of December or the 1 of January is just another day of our lives. We should guard and protect ourselves from the influences of kufr, shirk and sins.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Mawlana Abdul Hannan Nizami,
Student Darul Iftaa
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.