When we say ‘Happy New Year’ and enjoy its celebrations, let’s pause and think what is really so happy about it? Does the change of another day bring such great joy? Is everything suddenly perfect in our lives that we wish to celebrate with such enthusiasm?

Depression has been on the rise for many people, especially these last few years when the world continues to experience Corona and its multiple variants. BBC reported the following in the form of a chart indicating the rise of depression:

Yet, these very people continue on to wish each other Happy New Year, without much thought to the phrase.

Joining the bandwagon, we Muslims love to jump on and enjoy the ride. Why should we be left behind? Many justify by saying, “There is no harm in it.” Not only is this against a hadith given below, it is also a meaningless greeting.

Ibn Umar (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,

“Whoever imitates a people is one of them.”
Source: Sunan Abī Dāwūd 4031

How is it meaningless? Such celebrations are very temporary. Happy Anniversary, Happy Birthday and suchlike are greetings which stand for just that day and moment. They are like the life of this world-very transient states. Such people who follow the lifestyles of the West, think that happiness is in the way that they look, and in the way that they speak. And many of us fall in this category where life is all about acquiring the worldy short lived pleasures and confusing them to be a provider of joy.

Let’s understand what true happiness is for a believer. Whereas, happiness is the most sought after goal, for a believer, it is not obtained through the wishing of New Year. Merely by saying ‘Happy New Year’ does not take away our anxieties, worry and nor does it provide us serenity nor contentment. Happiness is not in copying the West in their ways. Copying them makes us lose our uniqueness and exclusivity that has been granted to us with iman by our Lord, Almighty. Additionally, it is not even true joy for a Muslim.

From a Muslim’s perspective, the rush of emotions felt within a moment is merely a temporary state of joy and delight. A believer aims for permanence in life where the state of being happy is an everlasting station. This comes only from having achieved the blessing of Jannah and being saved from the hellfire. This is true success which leads to eternal happiness.  The verse given below gives us the true perspective of a believer.

فَمَن زُحْزِحَ عَنِ النَّارِ وَأُدْخِلَ الْجَنَّةَ فَقَدْ فَازَ ۗ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ ‎

So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.
[Surah Ali Imran: 15]

True happiness is the acceptance of our good deeds. Real bliss is to look forward to meeting Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ). In a hadith we learn,

Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,

“Four things are part of happiness: a righteous spouse, a spacious dwelling, a righteous neighbor, and a comfortable mount. Four things are part of misery: a bad neighbor, a bad spouse, a restrictive dwelling, and a bad mount.”
(Ṣaḥīḥ Ibn Ḥibbān 4032

It will not be wrong to state that happiness is a derivative of contentment of the heart and soul. It is that feeling inside that comes from practicing religion in the correct perspective.

Ibn Taymiyyah said about contentment, “Contentment is the greatest door that one enters to Allah, it is the source of tranquility for the worshiper and paradise on earth. Whoever does not enter it will not enter the Paradise in the Hereafter.”

To achieve this contentment, one must draw closer to Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) by remembering Him. We learn from Surah Ar Ra’d:

الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ ۗ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ

Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.”
[Surah Ar-Ra’d: 28]

Happiness is in gratitude towards the Creator. The opening chapter of the Qur’an is: Alhumdulillahi Rabil Alaameen. All praises are for the Rabb Who is the Lord of all worlds. To be grateful is the key to contentment which leads to eternal happiness. This is a chain effect and is profound. If practiced consciously, it becomes the greatest form of worship.

Moreover, a believer longs to see Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) in Jannah. The Rabb that we have never seen but we have worshipped all our lives, it will be time to finally see Him. This is pure happiness, joy and delight! May Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) grant us this moment. Aameen

Narrated Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri: We said. “O Allah’s Apostle! Shall we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection?” He said. “Do you have any difficulty in seeing the sun and the moon when the sky is clear?” We said. “No.” He said. “So you will have no difficulty in seeing your Lord on that Day as you have no difficulty in seeing the sun and the moon (in a clear sky).” [1]

Hence, to follow suit of what others are doing in wishing Happy New Year is to lose our own true perspectives as Muslims and lose our focus. Our dream is not transient. Our goal is none less than Jannah. May Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) grant us a place in Jannah. Aameen.

[1] Bukhari Volume 9. Book 93. Number 532s