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Ibn Abdillah As-sudaisiy Al-Iloori

Any act or word that gives or attempts to give unnecessary or religious recognition to the commencement of the new Gregorian year should be discouraged by Muslims. The ignorance of many Muslims is part of the biggest problems facing the Ummah today. Celebration of January 1st is one the ways by which many Muslims in Nigeria and the world over follow the Kuffār blindly. 

As Muslims, we must caution ourselves and our household not to fall into the pit of ignorance of celebrating or exchanging greetings and felicitations on the commencement of a new Gregorian year. A Muslim is expected to appreciate Allāh for his existence on a daily basis. When a Muslim wakes up, he says:

الحمد لله الذي أحينا بعد ما أماتنا وإليه النشور

"AlhamduliLahi lladhi ahyaana ba'da maa amaatanaa wa ilaihi nnushur" 
"Praise be to Allāh Who gave us life after He had caused us to die, and to Him we shall return" (Saheeh Bukhari)

This dhikr (remembrance of Allāh) is enough for us, we are not to immitate the Kuffār. It is a baseless argument to say that we must celebrate January 1st due to the fact that, in Nigeria, government activities is regulated with the Gregorian calendar, or that our salaries are paid on basis of it etc. The fact that Nigerian government follows the Gregorian in its activities doesn't mean we should close our eyes on its kufr origin and go ahead to celebrate it. Almighty Allāh would not punish us for what we have no power or authority to over.

We have the duty to reject all falsehood and injustice, no matter its popularity in our society. If we do not have the power to replace the Gregorian calendar with the divine calendar (Hijriy), at least, we have the power not to celebrate the kufr attached to the January 1st. Then, we have the constitutional right to discourage ourselves from giving undue recognition to the Gregorian calendar. Afterall, the government  can't arrest, detain or penalize us for not celebrating or preaching against the celebration of Januray 1st. That would never happen. It is our duty and responsility as Muslims to desist from celebrating it because it is not Islamic. It is our duty and responsility to admonish our household and the entire Muslim community against its celebration.

It therefore means that any Muslim who gives unnecessary importance to January 1st (irrespective of his status) by keeping a vigil is acting ignorantly. Some people deceive themselves observing tahajjud on the eve of January 1st. If the intention of such tahajjud is to mark or commemorate January 1st, it leads to sins of perpetrating and promoting bid'ah and imitation of Kuffār. 

Today in our world, a lot of Muslims just do what they like in the name of Islām without caring whether or not that thing is legislated in the Qur'ān or Sunnah or both. All acts that are not legislated upon in the Deen with which an individual intends to please Allāh is what is called bid'ah. Aisha رضي الله عنها narrated from the Prophet that, 

"Whoever introduces in our matter (the deen) that which it does not contain shall be rejected" [Buhari and Muslim]

In another hadith reported by Jabir Ibn Abdillah رضي الله عنه, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "all newly invented matter in the deen are innovations and every innovations is misguidance and every misguidance is hell fire" [At-tirmidhi]

Some Muslims would even say "Gbogbo odun toba bani la'ye ni agbudo se" (we must celebrate every festival that meet us on earth). When you ask them for their proofs for this in the shari'ah, they have no answer or any justification whatsoever.

It is very important for us to begin to learn Islām properly in order to know what is right or wrong. Let us ask questions from the righteous scholars on what we are supposed to do in any given circumstance. It is not everyone who went to madrasah (Arabic Schools) that can be regarded as a scholar. Scholarship is not to be determined with beards or dressing. As far as Islamic law is concerned, a scholar can only be identified by his 'aqeedah, level of knowledge and understanding of the principles of Islamic law as practised by the salaf. Condoning and accommodating innovations or aiding an innovator is evil. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was reported to have said:

 "مَنْ أَحْدَثَ فِيهَا حَدَثًا، أَوْ آوَى مُحْدِثًا، فَعَلَيْهِ لَعْنَةُ اللهِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ" 

"Whoever innovates or accommodates an innovator, then upon him is the curse of Allah, His Angels and the whole of mankind." [Reported by Bukhaaree (12/41) and Muslim (9/140)]

Apart from the above hadith, Ibn Umar رضي الله عنه said: "Every innovation is misguidance, even if the people see it as something good." [Reported by Abu Shaamah (no. 39)]

Sufyaan ath-Thawree رحمه الله said: "Innovation is more beloved to Iblees than sin, since a sin may be repented from but innovation is not repented from." [Reported by al-Laalikaa'ee (no. 238)]

Al-Fudayl ibn 'Iyaad رحمه الله said: "I met the best of people, all of them people of the Sunnah and they used to forbid from accompanying the people of innovation." Reported by al-Laalikaa'ee (no.267)

In Islām, we have only two (2) festivals; 'Eid El Fitr and 'Eid El Adha. Let us stick to them in accordance with Qur'ān and Sunnah. These festivals come up every blessed years. We can say our New Year supplications and requests at the Eid Praying Ground. If we join the Kuffār in celebrating or recognizing their festivals, it is another way of saying we are not satisfied with the ones Allāh has legislated and legitimized for us. More so, all the months of the Gregorian calendar have their backgrounds from pagan customs and traditions. We are not even meant to celebrate the commencement of a new Hijrah year, talkless of that which is meant for the Kuffār. Celebration of Muharram 1st or holding a tahajjud on the eve of it is bid'ah because our salaf didn't do it. 

Allāh has already guided us towards this path of success (Islām and Sunnah). Let us not misuse this golden opportunity. It will not be pleasing for a Muslim to find himself in hell-fire on the Day of Judgement for perpetrating one bid'ah or the other which he mistakes for ibādah.

May Allāh forgive us and grant us the ability to reject all forms of bid'ah and acts of imitating the Kuffār in our society.

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