In the name of Allaah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. There are many messages exchanged, during the end of the Hijri year and beginning of a new one, on mobiles and internet offering congratulation for the beginning of the new Hijri year. Such messages also ask for making great deal of worship, Istighfaar (i.e. seeking forgiveness), observing fasting at the last days of the year and the first days of the new one, taking oneself to account, and reviving the first night of the new Hijri year with certain supplications and acts of worship. Moreover, there are some other people welcome the new Hijri year with committing sins and evils such as parties of dancing and the like. Therefore, many people ask about that (i.e. about offering congratulations at the beginning of the Hijri year)?
Answer is in the following lines:
It was narrated on the authority of ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, that the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, said: “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours (Islam) that is not part of it, will have it rejected.” [Reported by Al-Bukhaari in his Saheeh]
That Hadeeth indicates that if all what Islamic religion did not come with is done as a way of worship, it will be rejected. There is absolutely no doubt that the matters done at the end or the beginning of the new Hijri year such as offering congratulation and encouraging doing a certain act of worship or taking oneself to account is not reported in the teachings of Islam. As for welcoming the new Hijri year with sins and evil acts, the matter is even worse.
Accordingly, if offering congratulations at the beginning of the Hijri year is meant to be an act of worship, it is not permissible because it has no basis in Islam. Again, such act may imply imitation to the People of the Book, the thing makes it ‘Eed (festival). Therefore, some scholars have stated that it is also Bid‘ah (i.e. innovation in religion). However, if it is just one of the traditions and customs, then it is not Bid‘ah as long as it is not meant to be an act of worship. Actually, it is more appropriate for Muslim individual to avoid it.
As for singling out the end or the beginning of the year for specific acts of worship is a reprehensible innovation in the Islamic religion. Furthermore, scholars call it Bid‘ah Idhaafiyyah (i.e. innovation by addition); because if the act of worship is originally prescribed in Islam and unlimited such as fasting, seeking forgiveness or Du‘aa' (i.e. supplication) and then it is limited with a certain number, way, place or time such as the end of the Hijri year, then that additional description is an innovation added to a prescribed deed. Adding such description to the unlimited act of worship is not something acceptable nor reasonable. Thus, it becomes similar to the Islamic way of worship and that the innovative aspect in it.
As for what is stated in the messages at the end of the Hijri year that 'records of that year will be folded and will not be opened except on the Day of Resurrection. So, strive hard to end your year with repentance, seeking forgiveness, fasting and seek the forgiveness of the person whom you have harmed,' and the like, this is incorrect. That is because door of repentance is wide open for Muslim as long as death does not overcome him or sun does not rise from the west as it was proved in the Noble Quran and honorable Sunnah.
Moreover, every Muslims individual is required to call himself to account regarding his words and deeds everyday; rather, every second. The end of the year is not a time in which it is prescribed for one to call himself to account and then forget Allaah The Almighty and neglect the acts of worship and being busy with lusts and desires.
It is also incumbent upon everyone to adhere to the Noble Quran and honorable Sunnah, way of our righteous predecessors, bewaring of inventing innovations in religion and letting the door wide open for the deeds that have no evidences for If it had [truly] been good, the companions of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, and our righteous predecessors, may Allaah have mercy upon them, would have preceded us to and called for it, but they did not and then it is no prescribed.
Ibn Mas‘ood said: "Follow and do not innovate, for the religion is complete."
May Allaah help us all to do that which He loves and which pleases Him.
May Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and all his family and companions.