The Islamic Center of Tajikistan considers that celebrating Navrouz does not contradict Sharia requirements because Navrouz has nothing to do with any religion. 

Asked whether it is permissible to celebrate Navrouz, the Islamic Center answered on its official website that celebrating Navrouz does not contradict Sharia because it has nothing to do with any religion. 

The Islamic Center says Navrouz is just a spring holiday and it is the festival of the beginning of spring works.  “If you cook any dish and treat people with disabilities or orphaned children with it, it will be a good cause.  Sharia welcomes good causes,” the Islamic Center said.   

Recall, known Tajik religious leader Hoji Akbar Turajonzoda told Asia-Plus in an interview in March 11 that claims of some Muslim clerics in Tajikistan that celebrating Navrouz Holiday allegedly contradicts Islamic canons are unfounded and wrong.

According to him, clerics must make out religious holidays such as Idi Ramazon (Eid ul-Fitr) and Idi Qurbon (Eid al-Adha) and national holidays, to which Navrouz Holiday may be related.  “Sharia does not prohibit people from celebrating national holidays,” said Turajonzoda, “Sometime, people, however, practice religious rituals during the Navrouz celebrations and only this does not meet Islamic canons.”

“In our family, celebrating Navrouz Holiday is an annual tradition because it is history and tradition of our people and we must respect them,” Turajonzoda added.

Navrouz, which literary means New Day in Persian, Dari and Tajik languages, is the traditional Iranian new year holiday, celebrated by Iranian and many other peoples.  It marks the first day of spring and is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox (the start of spring in the northern hemisphere), which usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed.  Today, the festival of Navrouz is celebrated in many countries, including Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, as well as Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.  Many peoples in West and South Asia, Northeast China, the Crimea, as well as Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia also celebrate this holiday.

For many communities, Navrouz signifies a time of spiritual renewal and physical rejuvenation, as well as the spirit of gratitude for blessings and an outlook of hope and optimism towards the future.

In September 2009, the UN’s cultural agency, UNESCO, included Navrouz in its list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.  On February 23, 2010, the United Nations General Assembly recognized the International Day of Navrouz.

It is to be noted that Sunni scholars of hadith have recorded the Navrouz tradition.  Imam Ali (AS) reportedly received Navrouz sweets from another Muslim on that day.  The Imam asked what the occasion was.  His followers replied that it was a Navrouz gift from Iranians.  The Imam then said: “Make every day Nowruz!”  Imam Shamsudin Muhammad bin Ahmed al-Dhahabi (October 5, 1274 – February 3, 1348) states about Imam Abu Hanifa in his voluminous work on the notables of Islamic history, Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’: “Nu`man bin Marzban, the father of Thabit, was the one who gifted `Ali bin Abi Talib with Faluda on the day of Nowruz (the Persian New Year).  `Ali said, “May every day be like Nowruz!”