Is it permissible in Islam to celebrate New Year’s Eve?

Many people, families, and nations nowadays are busy with plans to celebrate and welcome the Gregorian new year. Well, is it halal for a Muslim to take part in these arrangements and celebrations?

The answer is no. It is not permissible for a Muslim to participate in such celebrations as it is considered an imitation of other people’s religions. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) prevented us from celebrating with the people of other religions and considered the one who does so as one of them on the Day of Judgment.

Ibn Umar reported from the Messenger of Allah (PBUH): “Whoever imitates a people is one of them .” Sunan Abi Dawud 4031

In the Qur’an:

1. Allah “may He be praised and exalted” prevented us and said: “Those who witness no falsehood, and, if they pass by futility, they pass by it with honorable (avoidance).” (Al-Furqan 72).

The interpretation of Mujahid said that this verse is about the festivals of those who associated others (with Allah). So, as a Muslim, I have to ignore and avoid these celebrations.

2. ” For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.” (Al-Kaafirun 6). Allah “may He be praised and exalted”, in this verse, chooses Islam for His Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and for all Muslims. Therefore, Muslims around the world should only follow and apply the rituals of Islam that are prescribed in the Qur’an.

In the Sunnah:

1. It was narrated in Sunan Abi Dawud (1134) and Sunan an-Nasa’i (1556) that Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The people of the Jahiliyyah had two days each year when they would play. When the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) came to Al-Madinah he said: ‘You had two days when you would play, but Allah (SWT) has given Muslims something instead that is better than them: the day of Al-Fitr and the day of Al-Adha.'”.

Muslims only have two Eids to celebrate. Eid Al-Adha is when all Muslims celebrate after the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Eid Al-Fitr is when Muslims celebrate after fasting the month of Ramadan.

2. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Do not enter upon the polytheists in their places of worship on the day of their festival, for the wrath (of Allah) descends upon them.”.

Al-Bayhaqi also narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Avoid the enemies of Allah during their festival.”

In addition to that, a Muslim cannot greet non-Muslims on their celebrations or festivals as it is considered a sign of approval on their false beliefs and make them happy. Allah says: “….but help ye not one another in sin and rancor: fear Allah: for Allah is strict in punishment.”  (Al-Ma’idah 2)

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) wrote: “As for congratulating them for the symbols of kufr (disbelief) that belong exclusively to them, this is haram (forbidden) according to scholarly consensus, such as congratulating them for their festivals and fasts and saying, ‘A blessed festival to you’ and the like.

Even though the person who says this might not become a disbeliever by saying this, it is still forbidden, and it is the same as congratulating them for prostrating to the idols.

Many of those who do not care about religion do this and do not realize how abhorrent their actions are. Whoever congratulates a person for his sin, bid’ah (innovation), or kufr (disbelief) exposes himself to the wrath and anger of Allah (Subhaanahu wa ta’ala).

The pious people from the early scholars would avoid congratulating the oppressors when they received positions of authority or the ignorant when they were given judicial or teaching positions in order to avoid the punishment of Allah (Subhaanu wa ta’ala) and falling from His Grace. If a person would be compelled to go to such people to repel any evil that he expected from him, only to speak well to him and to ask Allah (Subhaanahu wa ta’ala) to guide him, there is nothing wrong with that.”

(Ahkam ‘ahl al-Dhimmah vol. 1, p. 205)

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