In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Months of The Year, Days of Month, Yearly Festivals and Celebrations -Think critically before uttering (or responding to) the statement “Happy new year”.
Allaah [The Most High] said: [ إِنَّ عِدَّةَ ٱلشُّہُورِ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱثۡنَا عَشَرَ شَہۡرً۬ا فِى ڪِتَـٰبِ ٱللَّهِ يَوۡمَ خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ – Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth]. [Surah At-Tawbah. Aayah 36]
Imaam As-Sadi [may allaah have mercy upon him] said: Meaning, well known months decreed by Allaah; [يَوۡمَ خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ – on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth]- Meaning, He established the alternation of its nights and days, decreed their time periods and divided them into these twelve months. (1)
Allaah [The Exalted] said: [يَسْأَلونَكَ عَنِ الْأَهِلَّةِ قُلْ هِيَ مَوَاقِيتُ لِلنَّاسِ وَالْحَجِّ – They ask you (O Muhammad) about the new moons. Say: These are signs to determine fixed time periods for humankind and for the time of the Hajj]. [Surah Al-Baqarah. Aayah 189]
Imaam As-Sadi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] stated: Allaah – by His Mercy and kindness – placed it upon this manner in which it alternates. The crescent appears weak at the beginning of the month, gradually increases by the middle of the month and then it decreases until the end of the month. This is how it is in order that people would know the time periods of their acts of worship, such as fasting, the times for the payment of Zakat, when to perform the Kaffaaraat (see footnote a) and the time of Hajj. And when it is the case that Hajj takes place during specific months that are well known and takes a long time, Allah stated: [وَالْحَجِّ – and for time of Hajj]. Also, based on the the phases of the moon people become acquainted with the times for the payment of unpaid debts, rental time periods, the time period of Iddah (i.e. the time period a woman has to wait before remarrying again after divorce or after the death of a husband), the time period of pregnancy and other matters that are related to people’s needs (or affairs). Therefore, Allah has made it a means determining time periods that is known to everyone- young and old, knowledgeable and ignorant. If time periods were determined by way of the solar calendar, then none would be acquainted with it except a very few amongst the people. (2)
Ibn Umar [Allah be pleased with both of them] reported Allah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] stated, “The month is thus and thus and thus (i. e. pointing with his fingers thrice), and he held back his thumb at the third time (in order to show that it can also consist of twenty-nine days)”. [Saheeh Muslim 1080]
Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] was asked: “Some people say: We do not use the Gregorian date over the Hijri date for the sake of loyalty and giving assistance (to non-Muslims or another religion), but rather the Gregorian date is more accurate than the Hijri calendar in terms of what they see, and say: most countries use this calendar.”
Response: Be patient, my brother! The crescent moon is the initial basis (or original means to determine the monthly time periods) for all human beings. Read the statement of Allaah [The Exalted]: [ يَسْأَلونَكَ عَنِ الْأَهِلَّةِ قُلْ هِيَ مَوَاقِيتُ لِلنَّاسِ وَالْحَجِّ – They ask you (O Muhammad) about the new moons. Say: These are signs to determine fixed time periods for humankind and for the time of the Hajj]- Meaning, for all people. And read the statement of Allaah [The Exalted]: [ إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْراً فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ مِنْهَا أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ – Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth. Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred, (i.e. the 1st, the 7th, the 11th and the 12th months of the Islamic calendar)].
What these sacred months? The (number of days in the) months are determined by the crescent moon and this is why the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] explained that the four (sacred ones amongst the 12) are Rajab Dhul Qidah, Dhul Hijjah and Muharram. The months are determined by the crescent moon and this is the basis of the affair. The months utilised the people at present – months determined based on conjecture- are not established on a foundation. If they were based on the sighting of Burooj (a great number of distant big stars), their basis would have been based on the Burooj which that clear in the sky, well known and their times are known; but these (months utilised at present) are based on conjecture and they do not have a basis at all due to the fact that some are twenty-eight days and some of them thirty-one. They are not established on a foundation; but if we find ourselves in difficult circumstances and it becomes necessary to mention the Gregorian date, then why do we alternate from the Arabic Hijri date – the one based on the Sharee’ah – to this date that is based on conjecture and has no foundation? We are very able to use the Arabic date and then say, “Corresponding to such and such date (i.e. in the Gregorian date)” given that when many Islamic countries were colonised by the unbelievers, they changed the date into their own- enslaving and humiliating the society. You understand, so we say, “If we find ourselves in difficult circumstances and it becomes necessary to mention the Gregorian date, then let it be first that the Arabic Hijri date – the one based on the Sharee’ah – is mentioned, then we say, “Corresponding to such and such”. (2.1) [End of quote]
Therefore, O you confused by the path of the unbelievers in this affair, the exact number of months in a year and the number of days in a month are determined by way of that which the One who created them has stated in the infallible revelation – the Qur’aan and the Sunnah.
Origin of The New Years Events, Festivals, Celebrations
Shaikh Abu Khadeejah [may Allaah preserve him] stated whilst clarifying the origin of Halloween: “Contraction of All Hallows’ Eve, a holiday observed on October 31, the evening before All Saints’ (or All Hallows’) Day. The celebration marks the day before the Western Christian feast of All Saints and initiates the season of Allhallowtide, which lasts three days and concludes with All Souls’ Day. Halloween had its origins in the festival of Samhain among the Celts of ancient Britain and Ireland. On the day corresponding to November 1 on contemporary calendars, the new year was believed to begin. That date was considered the beginning of the winter period, the date on which the herds were returned from pasture and land tenures were renewed. During the Samhain festival the souls of those who had died were believed to return to visit their homes, and those who had died during the year were believed to journey to the otherworld. People set bonfires on hilltops for relighting their hearth fires for the winter and to frighten away evil spirits, and they sometimes wore masks and other disguises to avoid being recognized by the ghosts thought to be present. It was in those ways that beings such as witches, hobgoblins, fairies, and demons came to be associated with the day. The period was also thought to be favourable for divination on matters such as marriage, health, and death. (Ref: Encyclopaedia Britannica)”. (3) [End of quote]
The earliest known record of a New Year festival dates from about 2000 BCE in Mesopotamia, where in Babylonia the new year (Akitu) began with the new moon after the spring equinox (mid-March) and in Assyria with the new moon nearest the autumn equinox (mid-September). For the Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians the year began with the autumn equinox (September 21), and for the early Greeks it began with the winter solstice (December 21). On the Roman republican calendar the year began on March 1, but after 153 BCE the official date was January 1, which was continued in the Julian calendar of 46 BCE. In early medieval times most of Christian Europe regarded March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation, as the beginning of the new year, although New Year’s Day was observed on December 25 in Anglo-Saxon England. William the Conqueror decreed that the year begin on January 1, but England later joined the rest of Christendom and adopted March 25. The Gregorian calendar, adopted in 1582 by the Roman Catholic Church, restored January 1 as New Year’s Day, and most European countries gradually followed suit: Scotland, in 1660; Germany and Denmark, about 1700; England, in 1752; and Russia, in 1918. (3.1)
Indeed, the above shows some origins of New Years, so what is the Muslim’s stance regarding this affair? Shaikh Abu Khadeejah [may Allaah preserve him] forwarded us a Fatwa of Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] as follows: Shaikh Ibn Uthaimīn was asked, “What is the ruling on congratulating the unbelievers during their Christmas celebrations? How are we to respond to them if they congratulate us with Merry Christmas?” So he answered, “Congratulating the non-Muslims during their Christmas celebrations or other religious celebrations is forbidden by a consensus cited by Ibn Al-Qayyim in his book, Ahkām Ahlidh-Dhimmah…* If they congratulate us during their celebrations, then we do not respond to that, because it is not our celebration and it is a celebration that Allah is not pleased with. That is because either it is a celebration that they have innovated into their religion or it is one that is legislated in their religion but was abrogated with the advent of the religion of Islam which the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was sent with to the whole of mankind. It was regarding this that Allah said, “And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter, he will be one of the losers.” (Āli ‘Imrān 3:85) Therefore, to accept an invitation from them at Christmas is forbidden because to participate with them (in a Christmas meal) is even more severe than congratulating them.” (Majmū’ Fatāwā 3/45-46, abridged)
Pay close attention to the statement: “If they congratulate us during their celebrations, then we do not respond to that, because it is not our celebration and it is a celebration that Allah is not pleased with. That is because either it is a celebration that they have innovated into their religion or it is one that is legislated in their religion but was abrogated with the advent of the religion of Islam which the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was sent with to the whole of mankind. It was regarding this that Allah said, “And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter, he will be one of the losers”.
Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon him] was asked: In the coming days, the unbelievers will celebrate their festivals, some of which are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and so on. I am in a government department, and with us are some Christians who have been given leave to attend and celebrate their festivals. I saw congratulations and good wishes from some people, a Muslim man, in the speeches that were addressed to them (in relation to this festival), just as greeting cards are distributed and printed throughout the country, sold in many public bookshops; so is there any advice on this and a statement of the Islamic ruling?
The response: This is not permissible. Congratulating the unbelievers) by way of speech during their festivals, or by phone or printed cards, all of this is evil (a) and it is not permissible for a Muslim to (do so), neither in Muslim countries nor in non-Muslim countries. Neither does he congratulate them during their festivals nor participate in them, nor does he work with them to aid them in that, because this is tantamount to aiding (someone) upon falsehood; therefore, he neither joins them nor help them (in this affair), nor congratulate them on their false festivals (b). (4)
Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah [may Allaah have mercy upon him] stated:
وأمَّا أعيادُ المشركين: فجَمَعتِ الشُّبهةَ والشَّهوةَ، وهي باطلٌ؛ إذ لا مَنفعةَ فيها في الدِّينِ، وما فيها مِن اللَّذَّةِ العاجِلةِ، فعاقبتُها إلى ألَمٍ، فصارتْ زُورًا، وحُضورُها: شُهودُها، وإذا كان اللهُ قدْ مدَحَ ترْكَ شُهودِها الَّذي هو مُجرَّدُ الحُضورِ برُؤيةٍ أو سَماعٍ؛ فكيفَ بالموافَقةِ بما يَزيدُ على ذلك، مِن العمَلِ الَّذي هو عمَلُ الزُّورِ، لا مُجرَّدُ شُهودِه؟
As for the festivals of of the polytheists, they combine between Shubhah [an affair that resemble truth but is falsehood in reality] and Shahwah [vain or impermissible desires], and it is falsehood, so there is no benefit in it in relation to religion, and what is in it of immediate pleasure, its end result will be pain. Therefore, being present (where it is established) and witnessing it is tantamount to falsehood. And when it is case that Allaah praises (the one) who abandons witnessing it, which is merely being present, seeing or hearing, then how about being in agreement with what is more than that, such as the deeds that are tantamount to falsehood and not just witnessing it?” (5)
Reflect upon the statement of Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah: “As for the festivals of of the polytheists, they combine between Shubhah [an affair that resemble truth but is falsehood in reality] and Shahwah [vain or impermissible desires]”. Allaah [The Exalted] stated: [إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا ٱلظَّنَّ وَمَا تَهۡوَى ٱلۡأَنفُسُۖ – They follow but a guess and that which they themselves desire]. There is a tremendous benefit derived from this, because the one deprived of sound Eemaan and the sound creed sent down as revelation by Allaah- The Lord of the entire existence, then his affair is one of two: Corruption in Knowledge or Corruption in his Intent– corruption in knowledge occurs as a result of following conjecture and corruption in one’s intent occurs as a result of following desires, or the person may combine both of them. Another benefit derived from this is that the rectification or well-being of a person cannot be attained except by way of two affairs: sound knowledge and upright Intent. This is why Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said in Miftaah Daarus Sa’aadah that a person is in need of two things: sound knowledge by way of which he is rightly guided and lofty aspiration by way of which he is urged towards that sound aspiration, because it maybe that a person has beneficial knowledge but not upright intent and aspiration. Therefore, one cannot be upright except by way of upright knowledge and intent. Sound knowledge is corrupted through following conjecture and upright intent is corrupted through following the desires of one’s soul. Allaah [The Exalted] stated about the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him]: [مَا ضَلَّ صَاحِبُكُمۡ وَمَا غَوَىٰ-Your companion (Muhammad) has neither gone astray nor has erred]. That is because the Daal [misguided person] is one whose knowledge is corrupted and the Ghaawiy [astray one] is the one whose intent is corrupted.
Also, the Prophet described his four khulafaa [Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthmaan and Ali (radiyallaahu-anhum)] with the words ‘Raashideen and Mahdiyyeen’, because the Raashid [i.e. The one who is steadfast upon the right path and is firmly established upon it] is the opposite of the Ghaawiy [The one who strays from the right path or conduct], and the Mahdee [The one guided to the path of truth and yeilds obediently to it] is the opposite of the Daalun [the misguided one, especially in knowledge and creed]. (5.1)
Shaikh Abu Khadeejah [may Allaah preserve him] stated, “mitating the Celebrations of the Unbelievers: Islam forbids imitation of the practices of other religions, and to participate in the festivals of those religions. The Disciple, Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) stated that when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) migrated to Madinah, he saw that the people celebrated two specific days annually. Some scholars have stated that they were the holidays of the Persians. So the Prophet asked, “What are these two days?” They informed him that these were days of celebration of festivals from before the advent of Islam (i.e. from the era of jāhiliyyah). So he said, [إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ أَبْدَلَكُمْ بِهِمَا خَيْرًا مِنْهُمَا يَوْمَ الأَضْحَى وَيَوْمَ الْفِطْرِ – Indeed Allah has replaced these days with days better than them: the Day of Adhā and the Day of Fitr]. (Abu Dāwūd, no. 1134) The Day of Adhā is the ‘Eid celebration after the annual Hajj pilgrimage, and the Day of Fitr is the ‘Eid celebration after the fasting month of Ramadān. Islam does not allow for newly introduced practices borrowed from other religions because it considers those religions to be either manmade or a distortion of the messages of previous prophets as is clearly the case with the Christian religion and its celebration of Christmas.
So integration into any society should never entail a Muslim contradicting the commands of the Messenger, nor his guidance. When a Muslim seeks to resemble the non-Muslims in such matters it shows that he is not confident about his own religious identity and seeks the favour and approval of other faiths— and he attains that through imitating their religious practices. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: [مَنْ تَشَبَّهَ بِقَوْمٍ فَهُوَ مِنْهُمْ – Whoever resembles a people is from them]. (Abu Dawūd, no 4031) The more a person resembles a group of people, the more he counted among them. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) informed the Muslims, “You will surely follow the ways of those who came before you, handspan by handspan, cubit-length by cubit-length such if one of them enters into a lizards hole, you too will enter it.” They asked the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), “Do you intend the Jews and Christians?” He replied, “Who else?” (Bukhārī and Muslim)
It is obligatory for a Muslim to avoid gathering at the non-Muslim places of worship and where they hold mass. The Prophet’s Companion, Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “Whoever settles in the lands of the non-Muslims, then he celebrates their festivals of Nayrūz and Mahrajān (of the Persians), and he imitates them and then he dies whilst in that state, he will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection.” (Sunan Al-Kubrā of Al-Bayhaqī, 9/234, Ibn Taymiyyah stated that its chain of narration is authentic in Iqtidā As-Sirāt Al-Mustaqīm, 1/457) (6)
Be Warned Against Sinful Compromise and Appeasing The Majority When They Are Upon That Which Opposes The Pure Sharee’ah – Whether In a Muslim Country or Non-Muslim Country
Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: Let every Muslim be careful of being deceived by the great numbers [of people upon such and such idea, view, belief, way of life etc], whilst saying: ‘’Indeed, the people have become such and such, and have become accustomed to such and such, so I am with them’’. This is a great calamity, for indeed many people of the past were destroyed due to this [i.e. blindly following the majority]. Therefore, O sensible one! It is obligated on you to examine yourself; take account of yourself and adhere to the truth, even if the people abandon it. Beware of what Allaah has forbidden, even if the people do it, for indeed the truth is more worthy of being followed, just as Allaah [The Most High] said: [وَإِنْ تُطِعْ أَكْثَرَ مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ يُضِلُّوكَ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّه ِ -And if you obey most of those on earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah’s Path. [Surah Al An-aam Ayah 116]
And Allaah [The Most High] said: [ وَمَآ أَڪۡثَرُ ٱلنَّاسِ وَلَوۡ حَرَصۡتَ بِمُؤۡمِنِينَ-And most of mankind will not believe even if you desire it eagerly] [Surah Yusuf Ayah 103]. (7)
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: When the hypocrites and those in whose hearts there is a disease saw that the party of Allaah [i.e. the believers] were small in number and the enemies of Allaah were numerous, they thought that victory would be for those who were huge in number. Allaah [The Most High] says that the hypocrites said: [غَرَّ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ دِينُهُمۡ – These people (Muslims) are deceived by their religion]. [Surah Anfaal Ayah 49]. So, Allaah [Glorified be He and Free is He From all Imperfections] informed [them] that victory is achieved through placing one’s trust and reliance upon Allaah and not due to being huge in number, for indeed Allaah [The Most High] cannot be defeated; rather Allaah [The Most High] is All-Wise and He aids those who deserve help, even if they are weak. Allaah is the All-Wise and All-Mighty, and this necessitates that He will aid the party that truly relies upon Him. (8)
Al-Allaamah Muqbil Bin Haadee Al-Waadi’ee may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: If numbers is the scale by way of which you judge, then the majority are mostly blameworthy; and if persuasive speech and eloquence is the scale by way of which you judge, then indeed Allaah described the Munaafiqoon that they have tongues that utter beautiful speech. Allaah said: [وَإِن يَقُولُواْ تَسۡمَعۡ لِقَوۡلِهِمۡ – And when they speak, you listen to their words]. [Surah Al-Munaafiqoon. Aayah 4]
Therefore, what is given consideration is that one knows the people of truth by their characteristics – that they call to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him, his family and companions], and they neither desire reward from the people nor seeking to be thanked. (9)
Finally, all praise and thanks be to Allaah, all the above does not negate peaceful coexistence with non-Muslims. Must read articles below.
The Islamic Shariah on the Foundation of Muslim Relations With Non-Muslims Who Do Not Show Aggression and Hostility:
Living With non-Muslims in the West with fine conduct- By Shaikh Abu Khadeejah [may Allaah preserve him]: https://abukhadeejah.com/living-with-non-muslims-in-the-west-with-fine-conduct/
Informing The Authorities of Terrorist Plots – By Shaikh Abu Khadeejah [may Allaah preserve him]:
Al-Allaamah Salih Aal Ash-Shaikh: Shariah Calls for Protection of Life and Property: http://www.shariah.ws/articles/csuslgk-shaikh-salih-aal-ash-shaikh-shariah-calls-for-protection-of-life-and-property.cfm
Al-Allaamah Salih Al-Fawzan: The Islamic Shariah Provides Security for Muslims and Non-Muslims and Those Who Violate It Are Kharijites Who Are to Be Fought and Severely Punished
The Prophet of Islam would not kill diplomats, ambassadors, emissaries or foreign delegations even if they were sent by the worst of his enemies
Footnotes a and b: Judged to be evil and false by the final infallible divine revelation. Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh al-Uthaymeen stated: “That is because either it is a celebration that they have innovated into their religion or it is one that is legislated in their religion but was abrogated with the advent of the religion of Islam which the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was sent with to the whole of mankind. It was regarding this that Allah said, “And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter, he will be one of the losers.” (Āli ‘Imrān 3:85) Therefore, to accept an invitation from them at Christmas is forbidden because to participate with them (in a Christmas meal) is even more severe than congratulating them.” (Majmū’ Fatāwā 3/45-46, abridged). [Shared by Shaikh Abu Khadeejah (may Allaah preserve him)]
We ask Allaah to grant us the ability to adhere to this mighty and infallible way of life (i.e. Islam) until we meet Him and that He pardons our shortcomings and sins Aameen.
[Ref 1: An Excerpt from “Tafseer As-Sadi]
[Ref 2: An Excerpt from “Tafseer as-Sadi]
[Ref 2.1: https://www.alathar.net/home/esound/index.php?op=codevi&coid=64945. paraphrased]
[Ref 3.1: Encyclopaedia Britannica]
في الأيام القريبة القادمة يحتفل الكفَّار بأعيادهم التي منها: عيد الكريسمس، وعيد رأس السنة، وغيرها، وأنا في دائرةٍ حكوميةٍ، معنا بعض النَّصارى أعطوا إجازات لحضور وإقامة أعيادهم، ورأيتُ في الخطابات التي وُجِّهت لهم التَّهنئة والتَّبريك من بعض الناس، من رجلٍ مسلمٍ، كما أنَّ كروت التَّهاني تُوزَّع وتُطبع في البلاد، وتُباع في كثيرٍ من المكتبات العامَّة، فهل من نصيحةٍ حول هذا، وبيان
الحكم الشرعي؟ وفَّقكم الله، وسدَّد خُطاكم
هذا لا يجوز، تهنئة الكفَّار بأعيادهم مُشافهةً، أو من طريق الهاتف –التليفون- أو بأوراقٍ تُطبع، كل هذا منكر لا يجوز من المسلم، لا في بلاد الإسلام، ولا في غير بلاد الإسلام، لا يُهنِّئهم بأعيادهم، ولا يُشاركهم فيها، ولا يعمل معهم فيها ويُعينهم عليها؛ لأنَّ هذه إعانة على الباطل، فلا يشترك معهم، ولا يُعينهم، ولا يُهنّئهم بأعيادهم الباطلة.
[Ref 5: Iqtidaa As-Siraat Al-Mustaqeem 1/483. paraphrased]
[Ref 5.1: An Excerpt from Sharh Kitaab At-Tawheed. Lesson 4]
[Ref 7: An Excerpt from ‘Majmoo Al-Fataawaa 12/ 412-416. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 8: Zaadul Ma’aad 3/181]
[Ref 9: قم المعاند – 2/547]