Nowroz is an ancestral festivity marking the first day of spring and the renewal of nature. In harmony with the rebirth of nature, Nowroz always begins on the first day of spring marked by vernal equinox. It is a cultural festival and we can celebrate it if it does not violate the Islamic principles. As Iman Khomeini (R.A.) has said that Nowroz is not an Islamic event but there has been no objection presented against it in the traditions either.

We can categorize this festival under the Mubahaat (permissible things). Moreover, Islam allows the cultural aspects of a region or a country if it doesn’t confront the fundamental ethics of Islam.

Pertinently, Nowroz is famous in Kashmir as the region is culturally associated with Iran and most importantly the ancient Islamic preachers in Kashmir had come from Iran.

The best thing about Nowroz is that it promotes Silah Rehmi. Silah Rehmi means that you look after, and financially help as much as you can, those people who are related to you in any way.
Hazrat Anas (RA) has narrated that Prophet Mohammad (SAW) said that if a person wants Allah (SWT) to make his livelihood comfortable, and to grant him Barakah then he should do Silah Rehmi.
Hazrat Abdullah Ibne Umar (RA) has narrated that Prophet Mohammad (SAW) said that Silah Rehmi is not just that you repay a relative’s kindness, and do him a favour if he has done a favour to you. True Silah Rehmi is that if a relative has not been nice to you, does not maintain his relationship with you, does not fulfil your rights, but you still look after him and fulfil all his rights only to please Allah. Nowroz is an opportune moment to invigorate Silah Rehmi.

Some of the things which are usually carried out on the day of Nowroz are as under:-

  1. Offering Nawafil (Recommended prayers).
  2. Tree planting ceremonies.
  3. Giving charity & other assistance to needy people.
  4. Inviting friends and relatives and serve them with various traditional feasts.
  5. Visiting kith and kin and exchange of gifts.
  6. “Spring cleaning” to rid the house of dirt and germs.
  7. Special congregations are held where people thank Allah Almighty for all the blessings.
  8. People go out in the nature in groups and spend all day outdoors in form of family picnics.
  9. Families, friends and neighbours pay house visits and relish pastry, cookies, fresh and dried fruits.

Nowroz was proclaimed as an official UN observance because it promotes peace and solidarity, particularly in families. The day also focuses on reconciliation and neighborliness, contributing to cultural diversity and friendship among people belonging to different communities. It gives the feeling of unity, brotherhood and fraternity above all barriers of colour, caste and country.

May the Nowroz of 2021 bring peace & tranquility and rid the world from Coronavirus- Ameen.

The author can be mailed at javeedaliofkashmir@gmail.com

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