Celebrating New Years

Q: Is it permissible to wish one another “Happy New Year” when the new english year starts? Some people say that the New Year’s celebration has some kufr connotations. Is this correct?

A: The celebration of the new year is a “religious” celebration of the kuffaar which is associated with kufr and shirk beliefs. 

The World Book Encyclopaedia describes New Year in the following words:

“The Roman ruler, Julius Caesar, established January 1 as New Year’s Day in 46 B.C. The Romans dedicated this day to Janus, the god of gates, doors and beginnings. January was named after Janus, who had two faces – one looking forward and the other looking backward. The early Romans gave each other New Year’s gifts of branches from sacred trees. In later times, they gave coins, imprinted with pictures of Janus, or gold covered nuts.”

From the abovementioned definition, we understand that New Year’s Day is a celebration of the kuffaar which has religious connotations. Hence, it is not permissible for a believer to participate in this celebration nor have anything to do with it. Similarly, it is not permissible for him to wish the kuffaar well or say “Happy New Year” to them on this occasion.

Allah Ta’ala commands the believers in the Quraan Majeed:

وَلَا تَرۡکَنُوۡۤا اِلَی الَّذِیۡنَ ظَلَمُوۡا فَتَمَسَّکُمُ النَّارُ

“And do not incline towards those who have oppressed themselves (by means of committing shirk (idolatry)) or else you will be afflicted by the fire of Jahannum”. (Surah Hud v.113) 

This aayat clearly prohibits the believers from any type of “inclination towards the kuffaar”. The Ulamaa explain that “inclination towards the kuffaar” refers to one inclining towards their beliefs, customs, acts of worship, celebrations, dressing and culture. Therefore, participation in such a celebration, giving gifts or wishing people “Happy New Year” is certainly “inclination towards the kuffaar” and will thus be ruled as impermissible.

Apart from this, in gatherings on New Year’s Eve, music is played, alcohol is consumed, men and women are dressed indecently and intermingle freely. The environment is one of vice and sin and abounds with Haraam and shameless activities.

Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) has prohibited one from taking part in a gathering wherein people are involved in sin. Through one’s participation in such a gathering, one will be supporting the sin through adding to the numbers of the people in the gathering.

Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said:

من كثر سواد قوم فهو منهم ومن رضي عمل قوم كان شريكا في عملهم

“Whosoever adds to the numbers of a people, will be counted from among them (i.e. in the sight of Allah Ta’ala) and the one who is pleased with the wrong of a people will be a partner in their actions”.

Therefore, participating in such a celebration – whether actively or passively – is extremely detrimental to one’s Imaan. As believers, we should be loyal to Allah Ta’ala and safeguard our Imaan by entirely shunning all things that are associated with the kuffaar, their celebrations and customs. Hence, we should not even be spectators to their celebrations and fireworks, as this is also a form of passive participation.

The following are some of the ways in which people imitate the kuffaar in supporting the New Year kuffaar celebration:

a. Advertising a “New Year’s” sale. 

b. Giving “New Year’s” gifts or cards to customers, staff, etc.  

c. Remaining awake till midnight on 31 December “to see in the new year.”

d. Burning fireworks at midnight.

As believers, we believe that true respect, honour and dignity can only be attained by following the pristine, pure teachings of Islam and the Mubaarak Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). If we seek honour and respect elsewhere, we will bring nothing but disgrace and humiliation to ourselves. Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) has emphasized:

إنا كنا أذل قوم فأعزنا الله بالإسلام فمهما نطلب العز بغير ما أعزنا الله به أذلنا الله

“We were the most disgraced of people. Allah Ta’ala then gave us honour through Islam. If we ever seek honour in something besides that through which Allah Ta’ala has honoured us (Islam), Allah Ta’ala will disgrace us.”

And Allah Ta’ala knows best.

وَلَا تَرۡکَنُوۡۤا اِلَی الَّذِیۡنَ ظَلَمُوۡا فَتَمَسَّکُمُ النَّارُ ۙ وَمَا لَکُمۡ مِّنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰهِ مِنۡ اَوۡلِیَآءَ ثُمَّ لَاتُنۡصَرُوۡنَ (هود: 113)

عن ابن عمر قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم من تشبه بقوم فهو منهم (سنن أبي داود، الرقم: 4033)

من تشبه بقوم أي من شبه نفسه بالكفار مثلا في اللباس وغيره أو بالفساق أو الفجار أو بأهل التصوف والصلحاء الأبرار فهو منهم أي في الإثم والخير (مرقاة المفاتيح 4/431)

عن عمرو بن الحارث أن رجلا دعا عبد الله بن مسعود إلى وليمة فلما جاء ليدخل سمع لهوا فلم يدخل فقال ما لك رجعت قال إني سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول من كثر سواد قوم فهو منهم ومن رضي عمل قوم كان شريكا في عملهم (إتحاف الخيرة المهرة، الرقم: 3297)

خرج عمر بن الخطاب إلى الشام ومعنا أبو عبيدة بن الجراح فأتوا على مخاضة وعمر على ناقة له فنزل عنها وخلع خفيه فوضعهما على عاتقه وأخذ بزمام ناقته فخاض بها المخاضة فقال أبو عبيدة يا أمير المؤمنين أنت تفعل هذا تخلع خفيك وتضعهما على عاتقك وتأخذ بزمام ناقتك وتخوض بها المخاضة ما يسرني أن أهل البلد استشرفوك فقال عمر أوه لم يقل ذا غيرك أبا عبيدة جعلته نكالا لأمة محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم إنا كنا أذل قوم فأعزنا الله بالإسلام فمهما نطلب العزة بغير ما أعزنا الله به أذلنا الله (المستدرك على الصحيحين للحاكم، الرقم: 207)

( والإعطاء باسم النيروز والمهرجان لا يجوز ) أي الهدايا باسم هذين اليومين حرام ( وإن قصد تعظيمه ) كما يعظمه المشركون ( يكفر ) قال أبو حفص الكبير لو أن رجلا عبد الله خمسين سنة ثم أهدى لمشرك يوم النيروز بيضة يريد تعظيم اليوم فقد كفر وحبط عمله ا هـ (الدر المختار 6/754)

Answered by:

Mufti Zakaria Makada

Checked & Approved:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)



Today is the 30th Zul Hajj which is the last day of the current Islamic year 1441. The reward of Fasting on this last day, is forgiveness for all sins committed in the past year.

Tomorrow will be the 1st Muharram which is the first day of the new Islamic year of 1442. The reward of Fasting on the 1st Muharram is forgiveness for sins which will be committed in the whole of the coming year.

Sins in this context refer to such sins which are committed unintentionally and as a result of ignorance, and we commit an abundance of such sins, the consequence of which is the punishment of Jahannam. Therefore take advantage of the bounty of fasting on these days.

30 Zul Hajj 1441 – 20 August 2020