In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
Logically, birthdays are not something that should be celebrated or be happy about. The reason being is that one year of the person’s life has decreased and one is one year closer to his or her death.
Birthdays is something which was never carried out by the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam for himself and nor for his children, nor was this practice common in the Sahabas and Tabeen’s time. (Kitabul Fatawa p.282 v.6)
The Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam has said; “He who imitates a group of people is one of them.” (Sunan Abi Dawud p.559 v.2)
Mufti Taqi Uthmani (D.B) in Taqreer Tirimizi (p.331 v.2) has written that there are two types of imitation:
- One does something with the intention of imitating the disbelievers, meaning one does so because he wants to be like one of them.
- One does something without the intention of imitating them, but his actions are similar to theirs. This is however not unlawful but Makruh Tanzihi
In light of the above, we could derive that if there are birthdays where unlawful actions of the Shariah is being committed, like the playing of music, intermingling of men and women, buying a cake and blowing candles etc… then this will be considered unlawful. (Kitabul Fatawa p.282 v.6)
However, Mufti Abdur Rahman Lajpuri in Fatawa Rahimiyah (p.226 v.10) has said that if is held to thank Allah and show gratitude for being blessed with one more year of life, then there’s nothing wrong with it.
We can conclude for the afore mentioned discussion that to have such birthday parties where the teachings of the Shariah are being broken then it will not be permissible. However, to have a small gathering where a handful of people are invited to eat or some body buys the other a gift etc… then leeway does exist.
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham