I have heard many Muslims saying “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year!” of which I don’t mean Muharram. Many of them wish each other, some even count down to it and celebrate the “New Year” with merry-making and get-togethers. The subsequent commercialisation of Christmas and New Year, especially in the US and Europe, has opened the door for many Muslims to feel more included in the holiday. Many Muslim Americans see December 25th as a time to celebrate their American identity, joining a host of other non-Christians who celebrate the day.
Since many Muslims share public holidays with the rest of their fellow citizens in non-Muslim countries on days such as 25 December and 01 January etc, many families have get-togethers. However keep your intention 100% pure keeping the hadeeth of Rasoolullaah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) infront of you… ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (RadiyAllahu ‘anhumaa) narrated that Rasoolullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said “Whoever imitates a nation is one of them”. [Abu-Dawood, Book 32, #4020]
Do you know why the Gregorian New Years Day is celebrated at all?
The celebration of the new year on January 1st is a relatively new phenomenon. The earliest recording of a new year celebration is believed to have been in Mesopotamia, c. 2000 C.E and was celebrated around the time of the vernal equinox, in mid-March. A variety of other dates tied to the seasons were also used by various ancient cultures. The Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians began their new year with the fall equinox, and the Greeks celebrated it on the winter solstice.
The early Roman calendar designated March 1 as the new year. The calendar had just ten months, beginning with March. The first time the new year was celebrated on January 1st was in Rome in 153 B.C. (In fact, the month of January did not even exist until around 700 B.C., when the second king of Rome, Numa Pontilius, added the months of January and February.) The new year was moved from March to January, however the new year was still sometimes celebrated on March 1.
In 46 B.C. Julius Caesar introduced a new, solar-based calendar that was a vast improvement on the ancient Roman calendar, which was a lunar system that had become wildly inaccurate over the years. The Julian calendar decreed that the new year would occur with January 1, and within the Roman world, January 1 became the consistently observed start of the new year.
In 1582, the Gregorian calendar reform restored January 1 as new year’s day. Although most Catholic countries adopted the Gregorian calendar almost immediately, it was only gradually adopted among Protestant countries. The British, for example, did not adopt the reformed calendar until 1752. Until then, the British Empire —and their American colonies— still celebrated the new year in March.
So the next time you want to celebrate any event other than what the Rasool of Allaah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) has stipulated for you, read up a bit. You will not just earn ajr (reward) but also learn something in the process. Remember we are servants of Allah- Muslim, before anything else. Enjoy the rest of your days off as Mu’mineen. May Allaah ‘Azza wa Jall keep us all steadfast on the sunnah.