Fatwa ID: 05462
Answered by: Alimah Safiyya-Maryam Ahmed
A group of girls from the community gets together for each other’s birthdays. From what I have read birthdays are considered a form of bidah and imitating non-Muslims.
These girls merely use each girl’s birthday as an excuse to get together, have a gathering, and gift that person something.
How can they go about getting together for each person without calling it a birthday? All birthday written things will be replaced and they will readjust their niyyah but wouldn’t the reason for getting together still be bc it was that person’s birthday xyz days ago? How can they go about this? What niyyah should they make?
Can they still get together a throw a party and get a collective gift?
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
As our youth become immersed in the culture they are brought up in, they will naturally become influenced by the traditions around them and want to emulate them. One way of encouraging the girls to focus their attention on something better, more worthwhile, and rewarding whilst still being able to get together with their friends, have fun and buy gifts for one another is by organizing these get-togethers around the Muslim festivals of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha. This will allow them to engage in the activities they wanted to do whilst strengthening their Muslim identity.
If this is not possible, they could try to arrange set days spread out around the year in order to have their get-togethers, for example, 6 friends could plan ahead that every 2 months they will gather at so-and-so’s house with the rewardable intentions of meeting friends and exchanging gifts. If the desire is simply getting together and having fun in a lawful and rewarding way then there are many options and ways they could make it work.
If however, they want to get together specifically on the birthdays and get a collective gift because that is the custom around them, then they should at the very least avoid all haram activities such as music and free-mixing, they should attempt to leave activities that could be deemed as imitation such as having to cut a cake, make a wish and blow candles, and their intention should be to express gratitude to Allah Azzawajjal for His many blessings and favors.
Only Allah knows best
Written by Alimah Safiyya-Maryam Ahmed
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
فتاوى رحيمية, جلد ١٠