Clerics differ over approach to Nawroz festival
But other scholars say Islam has prohibited celebrating the festival under any name.
Nawroz literary meaning ‘new day’ marks the start of spring and the day occurs in Afghanistan on March 21.
The holiday is observed not only in Afghanistan but in Iran, Tajikistan and other central and western Asian countries for thousands of years.
On the first day of the new Persian year, people go to parks and shrines and prepare a special food. The ritual has a history of thousands of years.
The centuries-old flag-hoisting on the shrine named after fourth Islamic caliph Hazrat Ali (RWA) in Mazar-i-Sharif is among major events of the day.
Government officials and guests from foreign countries throng the Blue Mosque to attend the colorful flag-hoisting ceremony.
Critics of the festival, especially religious figures, have been holding different views regarding the new year celebrations.
Imam of the mosque in Wazir Akbar Khan locality of Kabul, Dr. Mohammad Ayaz Niazi, also Shariah teacher at Kabul University, said there was no problem in celebrating the Nawroz festival from Islamic perspective.
The religious scholar added: “Our new year starts from Wori month. There are prayers to recite when a new year arrives, a new morning, a new night and a new month comes. Our Prophet (SAW) would recite prayers of goodness and blessing whenever a new month would start.”
He said celebrating a new year, spring, greenery and beauty had no problem from Islamic point of view.
“Now come to the word Nawroz, if people commit things that belong to ancient religions and celebrate the day in an un-Islamic way, it is illegitimate.”
He said some religious scholars exaggerated their views about the festival or committed negligence in this regard. “It should be avoided.”
Dr. Niazi said instead of blindly issuing fitwas, an academic conference should be convened on cultural and religious aspects of the festival.
He said the proposed conference participants should discuss the matter and give the people a clear picture.
A Shiite scholar, Ayatullah Muhseni, in an article published in Sada-i-Afghan news agency, wrote that celebrating Nawroz had no problem in Islam if not celebrated like Eid. “Nawroz is not sacred, it is Eid day for infidels, the Muslims should not celebrate it.”
Another scholar, Maulvi Shams Rahman Frotan, said Nawroz was the festival of sun’s worshippers.
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