What is the position of celebrating New Year's Day in the Shariah?
The first of January is the first day of the new year of the Gregorian calendar. It is interesting to note the beginnings of New Year's Day and what customs were associated with it. The World Book Encyclopaedia states:
"The Roman ruler Julius Caesar established January 1 as New Year's Day in 46 B.C. The Romans dedicated this day to Janus, the god of gates, doors and beginnings. January was named after Janus, who had two faces - one looking forward and the other looking backward.
The early Romans gave each other New Year's gifts of branches from sacred trees. In later times, they gave coins, imprinted with pictures of Janus, or gold covered nuts."
Thus it is evident that, similar to Christmas, the Gregorian New Year itself and the celebrations that go with it have its basis on baatil religious customs. Therefore a Muslim and New Year's celebrations should be light years apart.
This should not be treated lightly. Allah Ta'ala declares: "You regard it as trivial whereas by Allah it is serious." It is reported that when Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) came to Madinatul Munawwara, he found the people celebrating on two days of the year which were celebrated from the days of jahiliyya (ignorance). Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) forbade them from celebrating on these two days and declared: "Allah Ta'ala has given you two better days in return for it — Eidul Fitr and Eidul Adha" (Mishkaat).
Perhaps somebody may label this prohibition of participating in these kuffaar celebrations (and wishing them "Merry Christmas" etc.) as fanaticism. Indeed, every true Muslim is fanatical about safeguarding himself from kufr and shirk or anything that has even a slight association with them. It is the dictates of our Imaan that we totally shun all things that are associated with kufr and shirk. May Allah Ta'ala keep us firm and steadfast on Imaan and save us from anything that has even the slightest association with kufr and shirk at all times. Aameen.
Al Haadi, Volume 6 - Issue 4