In the UK, simply saying ‘Happy New Year’, does not seem to have any link to a particular religion nor does it raise any other Sharia concerns, therefore it should be permitted. In other communities the situation may be different and thus the ruling may be different.
When a greeting or action is linked to the religious practices of Kufaar then it is clearly prohibited. However, if there is no such link and no other Sharia concerns then it is permitted. The turn of the year does not seem to have any religious connotations in the public consciousness here in the UK, nor does it seem to have other Sharia concerns. Nevertheless, if a person were to avoid such greetings out of caution, then that is best.
Therefore, simply saying ‘Happy New Year’, should be permitted in the UK. As for attending New Year’s parties, this clearly has Sharia concerns. Usually there is, music, alcohol and free mixing at such parties, all of which are prohibited.
قَالَ فِي جَامِعِ الْفُصُولَيْنِ: وَهَذَا بِخِلَافِ مَا لَوْ اتَّخَذَ مَجُوسِيٌّ دَعْوَةً لِحَلْقِ رَأْسِ وَلَدِهِ فَحَضَرَ مُسْلِمٌ دَعْوَتَهُ فَأَهْدَى إلَيْهِ شَيْئًا لَا يَكْفُرُ، وَحُكِيَ أَنَّ وَاحِدًا مِنْ مَجُوسِي سَرْبَلَ كَانَ كَثِيرَ الْمَالِ حَسَنَ التَّعَهُّدِ بِالْمُسْلِمِينَ، فَاِتَّخَذَ دَعْوَةً لِحَلْقِ رَأْسِ وَلَدِهِ، فَشَهِدَ دَعْوَتَهُ كَثِيرٌ مِنْ الْمُسْلِمِينَ، وَأَهْدَى بَعْضُهُمْ إلَيْهِ فَشَقَّ ذَلِكَ عَلَى مُفْتِيهِمْ، فَكَتَبَ إلَى أُسْتَاذِهِ عَلِيٍّ السَّعْدِيِّ أَنْ أَدْرِكْ أَهْلَ بَلَدِك، فَقَدْ ارْتَدُّوا وَشَهِدُوا شِعَارَ الْمَجُوسِيِّ وَقَصَّ عَلَيْهِ الْقِصَّةَ فَكَتَبَ إلَيْهِ إنَّ إجَابَةَ دَعْوَةِ أَهْلِ الذِّمَّةِ مُطْلَقَةٌ فِي الشَّرْعِ وَمُجَازَاةُ الْإِحْسَانِ مِنْ الْمُرُوءَةِ وَحَلْقُ الرَّأْسِ لَيْسَ مِنْ شِعَارِ أَهْلِ الضَّلَالَةِ وَالْحُكْمُ بِرِدَّةِ الْمُسْلِمِ بِهَذَا الْقَدْرِ لَا يُمْكِنُ وَالْأَوْلَى لِلْمُسْلِمِينَ أَنْ لَا يُوَافِقُوهُمْ عَلَى مِثْلِ هَذِهِ الْأَحْوَالِ لِإِظْهَارِ الْفَرَحِ وَالسُّرُورِ اهـ
And in Jami al-Faslayn he (the author) said, this is different to a Magian inviting a Muslim to a gathering for the shaving of his child’s head. If the Muslim attends, accepting his invitation, and gifts him something then it is not Kufr. It is narrated that one of the wealthy Magians of Sarbal, who had a good relationship with the Muslims, invited people to a gathering for the shaving of his child’s head. So many Muslims attended and some gave gifts. This caused great concern for the local Mufti, so he wrote to his teacher Ali al-Sa’di, saying save the people of your city, indeed they have apostatized, they attended a religious gathering of the Magians. And he explained the story to him. So he (the teacher) wrote back saying, accepting the invitation of the Ahl Dhimmah (non-Muslim residents of Muslim lands) is permissible in Sharia and reciprocating good is from chivalry. Shaving the head is not from the religious practices of the misguided (non-Muslims). Therefore considering Muslims to have become apostates due to this, is not possible. However, it is best for a Muslim not to resemble them in situations like this, exhibiting joy and delight. (Imam Ibn Abideen, Radd al-Muhtaar).
We see in the Nass above that it is not strictly prohibited for a Muslim to engage in the events of non-Muslims if there is no religious connection. However, if there is a religious connection then it is not permitted to engage, even in the form of a greeting. See the links below for more details.
And Allah Most High Knows Best.
– Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (27.12.2021)
Saying Merry Christmas (Hanafi)
Saying Merry Christmas (Shafi)
Saying Merry Christmas (Hanbali)