We see a lot of people around the world celebrating birthdays. But do Muslims celebrate birthdays? The debate over whether is celebrating birthday haram in Islam has generated a lot of discussion. Though views may differ, many scholars assert that birthday celebrations are haram in Islam, or forbidden. The purpose of this article is to investigate the reasons why birthday celebrations violate Islamic principles.
Let us first make it clear that Islam is a perfect religion with no inconsistencies. Muslims do not need to copy other religions or rituals for religious observance or acts of devotion, as Allah himself says in the Holy Quran (Chapter 5, Verse 3):
ٱلْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِى وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ ٱلْإِسْلَـٰمَ دِينًا ۚ
“Today I have perfected for you your religion, completed My blessings upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.”
Therefore, anyone who plans to add, subtract, or change anything from the faith after the Prophet ﷺ passes away will be considered sinful and answerable.
Jabir bin ‘Abdullah said:
إِنَّ أَصْدَقَ الْحَدِيثِ كِتَابُ اللَّهِ وَأَحْسَنَ الْهَدْىِ هَدْىُ مُحَمَّدٍ وَشَرَّ الأُمُورِ مُحْدَثَاتُهَا وَكُلَّ مُحْدَثَةٍ بِدْعَةٌ وَكُلَّ بِدْعَةٍ ضَلاَلَةٌ وَكُلَّ ضَلاَلَةٍ فِي النَّارِ
“The truest of word is the Book of Allah and best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. The worst of things are those that are newly invented; every newly-invented thing is an innovation and every innovation is going astray, and every going astray is in the Fire.”
(Sunan an-Nasa’i 1578)
Given all described above, a Muslim ought to always put the laws of Islam above his personal whims and wishes and refrain from acting in accordance with his natural tendencies or whatever makes him feel good. and should learn why is celebrating birthday haram in Islam.
Islam forbids Muslims from imitating the kuffaar in subjects pertaining to their religion and things that are particular to them and by which they are recognized, particularly the Jews and Christians.
History of Birthday Celebration
So why do non-Muslims celebrate birthdays? To the best of our knowledge, birthdays were first mentioned in religious texts during the reign of Pharaoh (Firaun).
It is mentioned in the Old Testament, Genesis 40:20:
“Now the third day was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker in the presence of his officials:”
The aforementioned verse indicates that there was some sort of celebration on the pharaoh’s birthday, complete with cakes and drinks.
According to what historical archives tell us, the wicked individuals who resembled pharaohs are the ones who initiated the custom of celebrating birthdays.
Where did all of the candles, cakes, and well-wishes originate from? There are references to cakes being baked and candles being lit as a religious rite or homage to some of their gods throughout the time of ancient Greeks, dating back to 8th century BC.
It is apparent that birthday celebrations were a sort of pagan religious ceremony or worship practiced by the ancient Greeks. It is similar to joining in on this innovation and copying the unbelievers when you congratulate someone else on their birthday. As a result, we are forbidden from celebrating birthdays in any way, including sending birthday greetings, cutting cakes, lighting candles, etc. How can we, as Muslims, participate in such an event? celebrating birthdays in islam is totally haram.
Why is Celebrating Birthday Haram in Islam?
Absence of Historical Evidence:
A main objection against birthday celebrations in Islam is the absence of historical evidence. No evidence of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) celebrating his own or anybody else’s birthday can be found in the Hadith, which is a thorough account of the Prophet’s life. Since the Prophet (PBUH) did not observe these kinds of festivities, they are not consistent with Islamic customs.
Concerns about Innovation (Bid’ah):
Bid’ah, or innovative religious practices, is a source of concern for Islamic scholars who view birthday celebrations as Haram in Islam. They believe that adopting new traditions that were not followed by the Prophet Muhammad or his companions may cause a departure from the true teachings of Islam. According to this viewpoint, birthday celebrations are an invention without a strong basis in Islamic tradition.
Imitating Non-Islamic Traditions:
The tendency for birthday celebrations to resemble non-Islamic rituals is another reason why it is Haram. Since birthday celebrations have their origins in non-Muslim societies, Muslims who take part in them risk losing sight of their distinct Islamic identity. Here, the focus is on keeping a clear distinction between Islamic traditions and those of other faiths.
Ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, ““He who imitates any people (in their actions) is considered to be one of them.”
(Sunan Abī Dāwūd 4031)
Extravagance and Materialism:
Islamic teachings promote simplicity and humility, yet the extravagant celebrations, gift-giving, and social pressure to make birthdays big can derail people from these ideals. During celebrations, excessive spending and an emphasis on materialistic things are seen as going against Islamic norms of moderation.
Distraction from the Priorities of Spirit:
Certain Islamic academics contend that birthday parties naturally divert people’s attention from more significant spiritual obligations. The time, effort, and money spent on organizing and carrying out birthday celebrations should be better used for worship, charity/ zakat, or deepening one’s relationship with Allah.
Celebration of a Decreased Year in One’s Life
Candles representing the years of a person’s life are lit on a cake during a birthday celebration. Everyone in his presence claps as he blows out the candles to put them out. There are only two times that hands are clapped, one when someone is happy about what they have accomplished. Second, while making fun of the person who behaves foolishly. Here, a person is blowing out his own years of candles, putting an end to the years of his life. Then, no achievement or happiness can be found in this. Thus, the purpose of the hand clapping is to make fun of this person’s foolishness. Observe that this is a tradition and a symbol of unbelievers. A person’s birthday signifies that one year of his life has not increased, but decreased.
Abu Huraira (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The world is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the disbeliever.” (Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2956)
This world serves as a testing ground for the hereafter. The Ummah of the Prophet is here for a very important purpose. Every second of this earthly existence is extremely precious. For the long and eternal life of the hereafter, we must work hard here. According to the prophet, after they join Jannat, they won’t regret anything from this world—aside from the moment they passed without remembering Allah. It is obvious that when one gets rewarded for remembering Allah in this world, which is an abode of actions, they would undoubtedly feel deeply sorry, thinking that if they had remembered Allah more frequently, they could have deserved more rewards.
How can it be acceptable to waste time celebrating birthdays and feeling content that a significant portion of one’s life has passed? For the believer, this world serves as a prison; for the unbeliever, it serves as a Jannah. The believers’ wealth and lives have been bought by Allah for Jannat. We put our trust in Allah for this life.
In addition to all of this, waste is forbidden in Islam. This is why those who are poor of this Ummah will reach Jannah 500 years earlier than the wealthy because the wealthy of the ummah will be delayed by having to account for their money. Expenditure on birthday parties does not serve Islam or people who are poor.
A Hadith says that the worst Walima feast is the one where only the wealthy are invited and the impoverished and destitute are left out. Another goal of birthday celebrations is to show. Islam promotes simplicity. The rich develop a superiority complex while the impoverished feel deprived and inferior as a result of this showy mentality. Also, other prohibited and un-Islamic activities including singing, dancing, recording videos, and taking pictures are done during these events. May Allah Taſla lead us and keep us safe from all these bad things.
Tips on How To Avoid Celebrating Birthdays in Islam
Consider the following advice if you want to avoid celebrating birthdays in Islam:
- Remind yourself that birthday celebrations are forbidden in Islam and are to be avoided.
- Rather than commemorating your birthday, use it as an opportunity to remember Allah and express your gratitude for another year of life.
- Make good use of your time by reading the Qur’an, praying, and lending a helping hand to those in need.
- Refrain from taking part in any birthday-related activities if someone nearby is celebrating their birthday.
- Engage in meaningful activities such as going on a picnic or sharing dinner with your family and friends to make the most of your time together.
Finally, make dua on your birthday and every day of the year, requesting that Allah grant you success in this life and save you from the sins.
Is It Haram To Go To A Birthday Party? Is Wishing Birthday Haram?
Yes, it is haram to go to a birthday party or wish someone “Happy Birthday” because we are getting involved in traditions that have pagan worship history, knowingly or unknowingly. and besides, we have our own beautiful festivals, the Eids, so why do we need to imitate someone else? and celebrating birthdays in Islam is a bidah (innovation) to celebrate these false festivals. we should just follow the Quran and Sunnah and live a prosperous, fulfilling, and happy life, both here and hereafter.
Do Muslims celebrate Birthdays?
It becomes clear from the above discussions that celebrating a birthday is haram in Islam and thus Muslims do not celebrate birthdays. they stick to the Sunnah and Quran. and if anyone asks you whether “Do Muslims celebrate Birthdays?”, you now know why not.
Is Celebrating Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) Birthday Haram?
Yes, Obviously, celebrating Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) birthday is Haram in Islam because of the sheer fact that the Prophet (pbuh) himself never celebrated his birthday, nor joined anyone in his or her birthday, nor the sahabah (companions) celebrated birthdays, nor the Imams and Caliphs celebrated a birthday, nor did the Ahl al-bayt (peace be upon them all). who are we to invent new things in religion when the most righteous people never celebrated such things?
Celebrating the Prophet’s birthday is one of the worst innovations (Bidah) of our times.
For Detailed answer, seek this post: Should we celebrate Eid Milad un Nabi (Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday)
In conclusion, the reason why it is forbidden to celebrate birthdays in Islam stems from a number of concerns, such as the lack of historical evidence, fears of innovation, the risk of imitating non-Islamic traditions, and concerns about materialism and extravagance.
This was all about whether do Muslims celebrate birthdays and why is celebrating birthday haram in Islam. Read more Islamic Blogs or Follow us on social media for daily Islamic reminders. Share this knowledge of why is celebrating birthdays in Islam is not permissible amongst your friends and family.
FAQs on Why Is Celebrating Birthday Haram
Are birthdays haram in Islam?
Yes, the majority of Muslim scholars prohibit celebrating a birthday because it is considered bid’ah. It is forbidden in Islam since it is observed by pagans and non-Muslims.
Is celebrating birthdays in Islam permissible?
It is forbidden to celebrate a birthday in Islam. This is due to the fact that neither the Quran nor the Sunnah mention birthday celebrations.
Do Muslims celebrate birthdays?
Since celebrating birthdays is haram in Islam, Muslims do not celebrate birthdays.
Is celebrating Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) birthday haram in Islam?
Yes, celebrating Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) birthday is haram in Islam because he never celebrated it, nor the prophet’s family, nor the sahabas etc.
Are birthday parties haram?
Since celebrating birthdays is against Islamic principles, it is indeed haram to even attend birthday celebrations. For Muslims, it is considered bid’ah and ought to be avoided.