Celebrating birthdays allowed in Islam?
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
Is it OK to celebrate birthdays in Islam?
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In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and who-ever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 33 Surah Al Ahzab Aayat # 31: There is indeed the best example for you to follow in the Messenger of Allah (Mohamed saws), for every such person who looks forward to Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much.
That basically means that anybody who looks forward to Allah and the Last Day, should try and follow the example of the Prophet Mohamed (saws). The command is good for only people who fear Allah and the Last Day.... and not for someone who does not fear Allah and the Last Day.
If we claim to believe in Allah and the Last Day, then we must try and do everything the Prophet (saws) did, and stay away from everything that the Prophet (saws) stayed away from, as that could not be part of religion or a wholesome Islamic life, as Allah clearly states in the above aayat of Al Ahzab aayat 31.... The Prophet (saws) is the best example for you to follow .........
So the first question we have to pose before we do anything is, Did the Prophet (saws) approve of this act or not? If he (saws) did it or approved of it, do it without hesitation, if he (saws) did not, then avoid it to the best of your capability.
If you follow Allah and His Messenger (saws), you will NEVER EVER go wrong.... Never!!!! Ever!!!!!!!! If you go against Allah and His Messenger (saws), it might seem that you have a short term gain, but in the long run, it will always turn into a disaster.
I can give you several examples to this effect, but I would rather not go into their details as they all need discussions and long explanations:
1. Prophet (saws) recommended getting your daughters and sisters married as early as possible.... check out the guys who don't follow this recommendation!
2. Prophet (saws) recommended not to make tombs of graves... check out the guys who made the graves of their elders and leaders into tombs!!
3. Allah commands that we orders our wives and sisters and daughters to cover themselves Islamically ... check out the societies who recommend otherwise!!!
4. Allah commands that children should obey their parents ... check out the societies who don't!!!!
and many many more social issues.....
One more thing before I go into the actual subject of celebrating birthdays.... Just ask yourself this question...Why is it that everytime Allah and His Messenger (saws) commands us to do something, we ask ... "WHY?, FOR WHAT REASON?, WHAT IS THE HIKMAH BEHIND IT?, WHAT IS THE HARM IN IT?, ETC...."
And how come when our societies and rasams ask us to do something, we never ask the same questions... we follow them blindly... they sing, we sing! they dance, we dance! they celebrate New Year, we celebrate! they take off clothes, we take it off! they wear caps, we wear caps! they wear ties, we wear ties! they wear tight clothes, we wear tight clothes! they wear loose clothes, we wear loose clothes! they put on goatie-beards, half our youngsters put on goatie-beards!!!!!!! We never ask, we just follow the big personalities, actors, stars and fashion.... and never ask why!!!! So you must pose the question to yourself here.... who are we following? Them or the best example to mankind... Mohamed (saws)!!!!!
Now to the subject of birthdays....
The very first question for someone who believes in Allah and the Last Day... Did the Prophet (saws) celebrate the birthdays of the earlier Prophets, his children, his friends, his wives, or anybody else? He obviously DID NOT. Thus if you believe in Allah and the Last Day and claim to follow Mohamed (saws), leave it alone!!!!
But the general question will be... What is the harm? It is just simple fun and celebration... We only invite family and friends and have a meal... Aren't we even allowed to celebrate anything? We only exchange presents and gifts! Are giving and receiving gifts haraam? Why this and why that????
Now lets look at facts....
1. Fine, Allah has blessed you and you can throw a fancy party for your child's birthday.... but what happens here, is the one whose provisions are strained, borrows money or goes beyond his capacity to throw a grander party than he can afford, otherwise he will have an issue to deal with amongst his family and friends.
2. Again, giving of gifts on this particular day..... Everybody tries to out-do the other in giving or preparing the best gift to his capacity ... but the people who cannot afford either hide away from the invitation, do not attend, or go beyond their means in getting this present.
3. You might spend a couple of hundred dollars on this festivity, which will not in any way bring you closer to Allah. This money could have been spent in a better ways to win the pleasure of Allah.
4. And why do we celebrate birthdays anyway!!! And therein lies the real issue... BECAUSE it has now become a custom or rasam, and everybody is doing it, so we feel obliged to do it. And what do we do, bake a cake, put on candles for every year of the child's age, and blow the candle and make a wish!!!! Now ask yourself, is any of these acts Islamic?? We are just following the culture of the People of the Book!!!!!
5. And by the way, why are we celebrating the birthdays anyway.... it only reminds us that we now have lost one more year from our time to death!!! In my personal opinion, we should actually be feeling sorry, as we now have one year less to worship Allah and win His pleasure!!!!
And look at the beauty of Islam!! Every day is a great day and a blessing from Allah Subhanah!!
Have a meal and invite your family and friends every day if you can afford it... give as many presents as you like to your family and the people you love for the pleasure of Allah!! Why do we have to make one child or person special on one day and focus all the attention on him when we can do this everyday... and win the pleasure of Allah... now you tell me which one is better ... celebrating one day or celebrating every day!!!!!!
And if you want an occasion, Allah has blessed and recommended us to celebrate the two Eids!!! And the Prophet (saws) said that every Friday is an Eid day!! Celebrate these... and win the pleasure of Allah.
Thus in conclusion, if you want to follow Allah and His Messenger (pbuh), do not celebrate what he (saws) did not celebrate!!! And if you want to follow the ignorant people who do not care about Allah and Last Day, follow their jaahiliya traditions and celebrate whatever they celebrate!!
We must realize that celebrating birthdays is not a big sin in Islam. The big sins are mentioned in the Quran and dictated without any ambiguity by the Prophet (saws). The only question to be answered here is who are we following, Allah and His Messenger (saws) or the traditions of the jaahiliya!!! If you can ask your heart this question sincerely, you will get a decent reply....
I know it looks difficult to break away from jaahiliya traditions and customs and rasams ... but once you get used to it, you will thank Allah!!
And the Prophet (saws) said in one his narrations, that ‘I (saws) have come to break your chains and shackles of rasams and customs that you have put on yourselves because of jaahiliya.’
May Allah guide you and us all to the Straight Path of Islam.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your Brother in Islam,