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Why birthday and new year celebrations are not allowed in Islam?

Celebrations, a word that makes everyone enthusiastic. Reason is everyone used to gather around and make fun and joy citing an occasion. They feel that this kind of gathering makes them rejuvenating and gets rid of the ostress they had from work pressure and other life incidents.

Fact is be it any sort of celebration lots of resources are being spent without any purpose. People never feel the importance of resources such as eatables, money being spent on unwanted decorations, etc. These resources could be utilized in a different and much useful way. Which is what Islam says to its followers.

Islam And Celebrating Birthdays

For thousands of years people everywhere in the world have considered a birthday an extremely special day. Sometime long ago, people believed that on a birthday an individual would benefit from outside intervention by positive feelings or hurt by evil spirits. Thus, when an individual had a birthday, friends and family members gathered to secure him or her. Furthermore, that is the way birthday celebrations started.

The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) is the guide for us. If he did something, you should do it. At the point when he saw people having various types of celebrations, he said himself that we have two celebrations. This is from him-it’s called “Eidayn” (the two Eids) and this is the thing that he said regarding the individuals who like to celebrate things and say, “we celebrate his birthday, we commend our birthday, we observe Washington’s birthday and all these various things”

This is not what Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) told to his Companions to do; and when it came to the issue of celebrating his birthday, he says specifically “Don’t eulogize me as the Christians eulogized my brother Jesus”- meaning, don’t fall into the same trap.

Usually when we find people who celebrate the birthday of the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him), we find that they also have other innovations they like to add along with that too, and where will it stop?

Celebrating birthdays has no source whatsoever in the pure shariah. In fact, it is an innovation, since the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi-wasallam) said, “Whoever introduces anything into this matter of ours that does not belong to it shall have it rejected.”

This was recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim. In a version recorded by Muslim and by al-Bukhari in definitive muallaq form: “Whoever performs a deed which is not in accord with our affairs, that deed is rejected.”

It is well-known that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi-wasallam) did not celebrate his birthday at all during his lifetime nor did he ever order it to be celebrated. Nor did he teach such to his Companions. Therefore, the rightly-guided caliphs and all of his Companions did not celebrate it. They are the most knowledgeable of the people concerning his sunnah and they are the most beloved to the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi-wasallam). They were also the most keen upon following whatever the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi-wasallam) brought. Therefore, if one is supposed to celebrate the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi-wasallam) birthday, this would have been made evident at their time. Similarly, not one of the scholars of the best of generations celebrated his birthday nor did they order it to be done.

Therefore, it is known from the above that such a celebration is not from the Law that Allah sent Muhammed (sallallaahu ‘alaihi-wasallam). We ask Allah and all Muslims to witness that if the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi-wasallam) had done so or ordered such to be done, or even if the Companions had done so, we would rush to do it and call others to do it. This is because, and all praises are due to Allah, we are the most keen in following his sunnah and respecting his commands and prohibitions. We ask Allah, for ourselves and for all our fellow Muslims, steadfastness upon the truth, avoiding everything that differs from Allah’s pure shariah. Verily, He is Generous and Noble.

Evidence indicating it’s Haram

The evidence in the Qur’aan and Sunnah indicates that celebrating birthdays is a kind of bid’ah or innovation in religion, which has no basis in the pure sharee’ah. It is not permitted to accept invitations to birthday celebrations, because this involves supporting and encouraging bid’ah. Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

Or have they partners with Allaah (false gods) who have instituted for them a religion which Allaah has not allowed…?” [al-Shoora 42:21]

Then We have put you (O Muhammad) on a plain way of (Our) commandment. So follow that, and follow not the desires of those who know not. Verily, they can avail you nothing against Allaah (if He wants to puish you). Verily, the zaalimoon (wrongdoers) are awliyaa’ (protectors, helpers, etc.) to one another, but Allaah is the Wali (Protector, Helper) of the muttaqoon (pious).” [al-Jaathiyah 45:18-19]

Follow what has been sent down unto you from your Lord, and follow not any awliyaa’ (protectors, helpers, etc.) besides Him. Little do you remember!” [al-A’raaf 7:3]

Birthday celebrations are not allowed but in Islam there is no rule to stop your celebrations of happiness. Islam is a peaceful religion.

Is Celebrating New Year for Muslim Valid?

In 46BC Julius Caesar chose January 1st as the first day of the New Year as Janus symbolically represented the door to the New Year.

Thus, in its essence the celebrations of the Happy New Year on January 1st and New Year’s Eve, the night before, are a part and parcel of pagan religious rituals based on idolatrous beliefs in false gods.

Consequently, it is completely Haraam (sinful and forbidden) for Muslims to participate in or adopt any of its related rituals, customs and symbols.

If a Non-Muslim greets a Muslim, “Happy New Year”, the Muslim is not allowed to respond in a similar manner or say, “Same to you.” Instead, in order not to offend or hurt the feelings of Non-Muslim friends or acquaintances, one may say instead, “Happy holiday.”

As for celebrating the Happy New Year according to the Islamic calendar which begins with the month of Muharram, this is also not permissible from a number of perspectives.

First and foremost, if one does so believing that it is pleasing to Allah to do so, thereby transforming it into an act of worship, it becomes a Bid‘ah or cursed innovation in the religion about which the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Every innovation in religion is misguidance and all misguidance leads to the Hellfire.”

If one does so merely as a custom, it is still impermissible as it falls under the prohibition of imitation of pagan customs about which the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever imitates a people becomes one of them.”

It is technically inaccurate – & pagan

As Muslims, we have our own calendar that has been in constant use for 1400 years. Even though we may end up using the Gregorian calendar due to circumstances beyond our control, we know for a fact that Allāh has ordained the use of the lunar calendar for us in our worship – and therefore, by extension, our daily lives.

According to our Hijri calendar (initiated by the great Sahaaba Umar, the new year actually begins on the first of Muharram

The Gregorian calendar (so called because it was developed by Pope Gregory) decided on the 1st of January as the Happy New Year to celebrate the circumcision of Jesus.

What exactly is there to celebrate?

Any celebration by Muslims needs to be put into context of the local and global situation of the Ummah. The two Eids amply do so by encouraging prayers, duaa for those suffering and alms to the needy.

However, celebrating Happy New Years does no such thing. It is a celebration that is completely cut off from the reality of the rest of the Ummah.

It usually involves un-Islamic practices

Let’s be honest. When you picture Happy New Year’s Eve celebration, you don’t picture people sitting in a segregated environment reading from the Qurʾān & Hadiths and reminding each other towards good as the clock strikes midnight.

Instead, they are (and I know this is a generalisation) mixed gender events where people wear fashionable clothes, dance and sing songs, etc. It is necessarily an Islam free zone, not least because it has no basis or relationship to Islam.

It is against the spirit of Islam

Firstly, the number of scholars who condone the celebration of Happy New Years are in the absolute minority.

Secondly, the scholars who do condone it almost never actually celebrate New Years themselves or with their families – at least not in public – showing that even though they may believe it acceptable, it is not preferable.

Thirdly, many of them predicate their views based on a number of caveats – that it is no longer a pagan or Christian ritual, that it is good da‘wah to non-Muslims and that it does not involve any un-Islamic element. Most of these caveats are difficult if not impossible to satisfy adequately.

This is meant to be a gentle reminder and not a harsh rebuke. It would be against the spirit of Islam to not show kindness and respect to non-Muslims. We are encouraged to be warm and welcoming, not least because it will attract others to our faith.