Nowrouz from an Islamic Perspective
By Abdul Latif Nazari
Eid literally means repeated happiness which occurs every year.1 It is said that the day on which people gather together and also the returning to overall happiness is known as Eid. Because on this day Divine Blessings along with happiness are sent to people.2
On Eid day, mankind cleanses his soul and heart of impurities by prayer and supplication to God and as a result returns to his pure nature. Praying to God and longing to be in His great presence, gives man the ability to obey and submit to nothing and no one but Him on the day of Eid. So, the real Eid is the day on which no disobedience to God exists and Muslims are physically and mentally free from oppression. The objective of Eid in Islam is for mankind to build his character by prayer and fasting especially on this day and to control his capricious and violent desires and his soul. A soul that is not afraid of God and the Day of Resurrection and does not follow the Divine laws and regularities will corrupt the whole world.
In this regard, Imam Ali (AS) said:
“Eid is the Day on which no disobedience to God exists.3”
He means that the day of quitting sins, purity and returning to pure nature is Eid.
Nowrouz in the Words of Ahl ul-Bait (AS)
Some Traditions (Ahadith) express the grandeur of Eid, because they mention that Eid-ul-Ghadir coincides some year with Eid Nowrouz, is the first day of Farvardin of the year of the solar year. For this reason Shi’as and Iranians respect this day very much.4
One of Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq’s (AS) companions said: “On the Eid of Nowrouz I was in the presence of Imam Sadiq (AS), he asked me: ‘Do you know this day?’ I replied, ‘this is the day on which Iranians offer presents to each others and celebrate’”
Imam Sadiq (AS) said: “Today is the day on which God made a pact with His servants to pray to Him not to follow polytheism and to follow the Prophets (AS) and Ahlul-Bait (AS). On this day the last Imam, the Awaited Al-Mahdi (AS) is expected to reappear, because Nowrouz belongs to the Shi’as and the Iranians.5
In fact, Nowrouz has the smell and color of submission to God.
Nowrouz in the Words of Great Personalities
Sayyid Ibn Tavoos writes: “Since the world was created on this day, it deserves to be happy on this day and this day is called Nowrouz.”6
Ibn Fahd Helli said: “Nowrouz is a great and glorified day.”7
Imam Khomeini (RA) used to send a message to the public every year on the occasion of Nowrouz. He composed a poem as follows:
On Eid everyone goes to the desserts and the gardens
I, drowsy, go towards Allah
One of the best and most valuable customs of Nowrouz is meeting relatives which in Islam is called ‘Sil-e Rahm’.
Verily, the relationship among family-members and relatives is one of the strongest social relations. In this relation in addition to respect and love, affection exists. This relationship must be strengthened by visiting and helping relatives.
The culture of Sil-e Rahm which is one of the important Islamic social directions purifies the soul and quenches the thirst for love and affection. Lack of opportunity in obeying this Islamic rule is an excuse for some people. So the Nowrouz holidays is the best opportunity for Muslims to perform this Islamic act and to meet their relatives. God has granted many benefits for the performing of Sile Rahm.9
Performing the pilgrimage and visiting the shrines of the Prophets, Imams (AS) and Great Muslims also helps man to purify his soul from the impurities of base desires.10
House Cleaning and Neatness
Another good custom of Nowrouz is house-cleaning. Islam stresses cleaning and health rules. The Prophet (SAW) says: “God is Tayyib (Pure) and He loves at-Tayyib (Purity). He is Nazif (Clean) and loves an-Nezafat (Cleanliness).”11
And again the Prophet (SAW) says: “As far as is possible and you are able to, pay attention to cleanliness, because God founded Islam on cleanliness and unclean ones will never enter Paradise.”12
On the day of Nowrouz it is a custom to offer gifts and presents to each other, especially to children. This binds the relationship among relatives and increases their love for each other.
Imam Reza (AS) says: “Treat your children well and be kind to them, because they think that you feed them.”13 (meaning that because you see to their every need do not be unkind o them so that they feel indebted to you).
While offering gifts, elders must maintain equality among the children in order not to create jealous between them.
Reciting Qur’an and Supplications (Du’a) in all of the Nowrouz customs results in blessings, happiness and prosperity.
1. Kauthar, monthly, No. 13, p. 34
2. Islamic Eids and Nowrouz, Asadullah Muhammadi Nia, p. 9
3. Tafsir Nemouneh, vol. 5, p. 131
4. Bihar-ul-Anwar, vol. 59
5. Forty Hadith Eid, Mahmood Latifi, p. 4
6. Farhang Kauthar, No. 37, p. 32
8. The Poets of Imam Khomeini (RA), p. 39
9. Kauthar, No. 34, p. 7
11. Akhlaq Islami, p. 133
13. Forty Hadith Eid, p. 39