Is there anything nicer and happier than the celebration of our birthdays, since we were children, this this was the day when it was all dedicated to us.
This was the day when we could make some of our biggest wishes come true or the moment when the entire attention was only meant for us, and it was like we are so special, at least for that one day.
This is a custom that has roots in some pagan rituals sure, and over time it gains more and more of them, like blowing candles, etc, and we think this is truly nice.
Birthday celebration dates from ancient Egypt, and ancient Romans were the first who served cakes when celebrating, after the Greeks.
Candles for example started to be used in the late 18. century, in Germany, to be precise, as it is believed that this is the symbol of life (light).
It is said that in this way, we prolong the life of the person who celebrates it.
But, while for the majority of us, a celebration of the birthday is something normal and a practice that we do all the time when we are not celebrating, we are a part of someone else big day.
And there are no questions asked regarding it, in some cultures, and religions this is not a custom, since there are some other celebrations that are more important than the birthday, or more aligned with the beliefs of that particular community, etc.
Here, we would want to discover what is the view of the Islamic faith, regarding the celebration of birthdays – is it haram or is it halal?
Right from the start we can say that the celebration of birthdays is not in the spirit of Muslim tradition, but it is not prohibited by any special legal text.
So, to find the answer some other guidelines should be followed, that come from different texts from various Islamic teachers.
Is Celebrating Birthdays Haram?
It is not clear, and things are not as simple as we could imagine – celebrating birthdays is not haram and it is not halal completely, as this tradition is not invented or founded in Islam, so this is the reason why it is not looked upon it with approval.
But, at the same time, there is no hadith that says that it is strictly forbidden and that it is a cardinal sin do to so; especially in the case when there is nothing that is on that birthday that is in opposition to other Islamic regulations.
It was said that there is evidence that the celebration of the birthday is haram, as it represents the celebration of an infidel holiday, or as some like to say an imitation of an infidel.
The fact is that, as it is said by some Islamic teachers that the celebration of this date is mostly done by people who are infidels and not by Muslims.
Also, all of this indicates that the Muslim community should have its own Islamic identity that is different from other non-Muslim people.
So, the Muslim community is not permitted to imitate non-Muslims because it loses their Islamic identity.
In the same way, what came to him in Islam in all spheres of human life is quite enough for a Muslim, and there is no requirement to copy and imitate others and to seek the satisfaction and enrichment of his character in what is found in non-Muslims.
And, we have to say that those who oppose this tradition say that the
celebration and marking the day of someone’s birth has no basis in Sharia texts, nor was it an instruction of the Prophet, nor was it done by the first three generations of Ummah.
Also, those Islamic scholars say that the festival and celebration of a birthday is a type of holiday, having in mind that in the Shariat every day is considered to be a holiday, the celebration of which is repeated every year or every five, ten, or more years.
And what is very important to know is that all holidays in the Islamic religion are resembling to worship, just like the moments and days that the true believer spends in prayer, fasting, etc.
And all of this is prescribed in the Sharia texts and all Muslims know what are their two holidays – Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
Some scholars consider Friday a third but weekly holiday.
Now, no one can deny that there are Muslims that are celebrating birthdays and are going to other Muslims and non-Muslims to celebrate their birthdays, and it is clear that they were Muslims because they said that it was left over from the days of their past and because he told them that Allah had replaced those two days with two Eids for Muslims.
But we see that he did not protect them, nor did he tell them that they had committed shirk or kufr, but rather dissuaded them from it.
An example of this is celebrating birthdays, wedding anniversaries, graduation anniversaries, etc – not the haram by regulations, but most definitely the deterioration of things that were seen as traditional Islamic celebrations.
All this is forbidden in itself, and the prohibition of marking it increases if the marking itself includes other sins such as pouring alcohol, music, mixing men and women, exposing oneself, negatively influencing others, and confusing Muslims with this practice so that over time someone thinks that it is permissible, etc.
All of the above increases the sin of those actions (celebrating the mentioned days), but none of it has anything to do with infidelity.
The question that arises here is this – is a Muslim who would take his wife out to dinner or buy her a gift on their wedding day thereby leaving the faith?
Of course not, but there is another depth here, as although not all Islamic scholars do not justify such an action on that particular day, what is there in that description of leaving the faith?
It is not.
Also, Islam forbids imitating some people or nations other than Muslims – it was seen when the Messenger of Allah said that whoever dares to imitate other nations is one of them.
Those who say that the celebrations are not worship, but a nice custom say that the celebration of the birthday also includes some acts of worship and this is the part that is not permissible.
And there is the fact that the celebration of birthdays is intrinsic and typical of non-Muslims, whoever they may be, and Muslims are not allowed to imitate others, as they will become like them and not be Muslims.
It is like an imitation of Jews and Christians, as marking and celebrating birthdays is an imitation of them celebrating birthdays, and this is something that all Muslims are warned of.
Regarding takfir because it is “imitating the unbelievers”, what is the evidence for the kufr of that action (celebrating birthdays)?
Yes, this is not the behavior of Muslims and therefore can be classified under the category of “imitating infidels”. And what about wearing jeans, suits, Ray-Bans, etc. glasses, leather jackets, caps with baseball team inscriptions, and even ties themselves?
Didn’t all that come from the unbelievers themselves and doesn’t all that represent the recognition of their “dressing culture” and isn’t it therefore “imitating them”?
Yes, of course, it is, but of course none of the above is Kufr.
It should be understood that there is an imitation of unbelievers which is kufr and that which is not. The imitation of unbelievers which is kufr is the imitation of them in their disbelief and what follows from it, not all imitation of their practice.
Here, for example, Muslims are ordered to eat and drink with the right hand.
By eating and drinking with his left hand, a person not only imitates the unbelievers, but (according to the text of the hadith) he also imitates the devil himself, so has anyone ever criticized a Muslim who drinks with his left hand or said that he derives that act from religion? No one ever.
Therefore, much that represents the imitation of Satan himself, let alone unbelievers, is not kufr or shirk.
And what is kufr or shirk is not spoken by someone’s logic, intuition, or jealousy towards religion, but by the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger, may God bless him and grant him peace.
It is sad and worrying that every day we hear about new and new examples of exaggeration in faith, talking about Allah without knowledge and takfir of Muslims.
Is Celebrating birthdays ever halal?
Look at this matter from this perspective – this is something that belongs not to bans, but more to the custom.
It is something that is not prohibited unless they contain something contrary to the Shari’ah.
If this is the matter of you attending someone’s birthday then it is said that there is no obstacle to your attendance, provided that you are not participating in something that contradicts Islamic principles.
But still, you must be aware that when you celebrate a birthday, and this does not change if you are a child or an adult, simply does not have any basis in the Islamic faith, and it is seen as a novelty.
So, therefore it is not permitted to celebrate a birthday, respond to those who invite us to a birthday, congratulate the one who celebrates it, or receive and give gifts on the occasion of a birthday.
The Messenger of God has said in one of the hadiths that people of the Muslim faith should not participate in some customs that belong to other religions; and also that Muslim people have better celebrations.
In one hadith we can see the story of the new Muslims who have come to the Prophet and said that they have fun for two days, but the Messenger of Allah said that Allah Almighty has replaced those days with something even better, and it was Ramadan.
Even though the celebration of birthdays is beautiful and practiced by many, it is mostly not permitted by the Islamic faith – it is an innovation, it is an act where you mock, and this does not change the fact you blew out the candles or not, whether only children or adults celebrate it, and whether only Muslims or others participated in it.
Those who are pro this within the Islamic community, say that this is just something that will make kids happy, but it is also true that there are so many other Islamic ways that are permissible to do it and during which one can build their love for this faith in the Almighty Allah.
It is said that there is no need to complement it by imitating some other celebrations that are already present within Islam.
Therefore, marking (celebrating) a non-believer’s holiday is marking a holiday that is from the faith of non-believers, that is, the celebration of a religious holiday of a faith other than Islam, as would be the celebration of the so-called Christmas and Easter of the Christians, Pesach of the Jews, etc.
And there are numerous similar examples, and Islamic scholars say that the celebration of such days, like birthdays, like holidays is seen as disbelief and agreeing with unbelievers in their disbelief.
It is like you become an unbeliever in your own faith, the Islamic faith, as you imitate rituals from some other religions and nations, and this is something that is clearly forbidden in the Islamic faith.
However, the celebration of a holiday, day, jubilee… which is otherwise not of Islam and is characteristic of non-believers, but which does not have any character of glorifying their faith nor has anything religious in it, does not fall under kufr or shirk in any way.
And, of course, it is relevant never to do anything that would be in opposition to the general and clear rules of the Islamic faith.
More topic to discover: