Question # 458: Is it permissible for Muslim to celebrate in welcoming the new year or is there any special duas for Muslim to recite during Maal Hijrah and special prayers to perform?

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: Celebrating Gregorian New Year is not permissible in Islam, because it is well-known that the Muslims do not have any festivals except Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, and the weekly “Eid” that is Jumu‘ah. All other celebrations fall under innovation (bid‘ah) or imitating the disbelievers. As for offering du’aa’ and prayers on the occasion of the Hijri new year, there is no sahih text that has been narrated concerning it. Hence, introducing new legislation goes against shari’ah and is deemed to be a reprehensible innovation.

Long Answer: Celebration of the so-called New Year… is something objectionable and is not permissible, because it is well-known that the Muslims do not have any festivals except Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, and the weekly “Eid” that is Jumu‘ah. Any celebration of any other festival is not allowed, and can only be one of two things:

  1. Innovation (bid‘ah), if it is celebrated as a means of drawing closer to Allah, such as celebrating the Prophet’s birthday (Mawlid); or
  2. Imitating the disbelievers, if it is celebrating by way of custom or tradition, not as an act of worship, because introducing innovated festivals is the practice of the People of the Book whom we are commanded to differ from.

The following ahadith substantiates the discussion:

  • Abu Dawood and an-Nasa’i narrated that Anas (رضي الله عنه) said: When the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) came to Madinah, they had two days on which they would play. He said: “What are these two days?” They said: We used to play on these days during the Jaahiliyyah. The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Verily Allah has replaced them for you with something better than them: the day of (Eid) al-Adha and the day of (Eid) al-Fitr.” (Classed as sahih by al-Albani in as-Silsilah as-Saheehah)
  • Al-Bayhaqi narrated with a jayyid isnad from ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Amr that he said: “Whoever settles in the land of the non-Arabs and celebrates their new year and festival and imitates them until he dies in that state, will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection.” (Ahkam Ahl al-Dhimmah)
  • The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood; classed as sahih by al-Albani in Saheeh Sunan Abi Dawood) …Offering greetings on [the New Year Eve] … comes under the heading of celebrating it and taking it as a festival, which is …forbidden.

[As for congratulating people on the occasion of the Hijri new year, Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen said:] “If someone offers you congratulations, then respond to him, but do not initiate such greetings. This is the correct view concerning this matter. So, if a person says to you, for example, “Happy New Year”, then you can say, “May Allah make it a good and blessed year for you.” But you should not initiate such a greeting, because I do not know of any report that the salaf [early generations of Islam] congratulated one another on the occasion of the new year, rather the salaf did not regard the first of Muharram as the first day of the new year until the caliphate of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (رضي الله عنه).

Imam Ahmad (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “I do not initiate the greeting but if someone greets me, I return the greeting, because responding to the greeting is obligatory. But being the first to offer congratulations is neither Sunnah nor forbidden.”

[On the other hand,] there are special times for offering du’aa’ and prayers as prescribed in Islam. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) encouraged us to offer du’aa’ at these times, such as the last third of the night, which is the time when Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) descends to the nearest heaven. Please Refer Question # 254: Best times for the Du’aa (Supplication) to be Answered for details. Encouraging people to [offer du’aa’ and prayers] at a time when no sahih text has been narrated concerning it, is introducing legislation concerning the reason or the time, and going against shari’ah with regard to either of them is sufficient to deem the action to be a reprehensible innovation…

(The above reply is based on various answers provided by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid on similar topic)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam