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Can we celebrate birthdays?

All praises be to Allaah, Lord and Sustainer of the worlds, and may the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and upon his family and companions.

Allaah Subhanahu-wa-Ta'alaa sent the Deen al-Islaam to guide people and remove from them all kind of confusion; He made the matter clear, as He Subhanahu-wa-Ta'alaa says:

"Have We not made for him a pair of eyes. And a tongue and a pair of lips. And shown him the two ways (good and evil)"

[Al-Balad: 8-10]

And He Subhanahu-wa-Ta'alaa says:

"Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path"

[Al Baqarah: 256]

He Subhanahu-wa-Ta'alaa also enjoined on us that we do not be from the confused ones, as He Subhanahu-wa-Ta'alaa says:

"(This is) the truth from your Lord. So be you not one of those who doubt"

[Al Baqarah: 147]

And the only way to remove the doubts is by learning the truth. This is why Allaah Subhanahu-wa-Ta'alaa enjoined on us not to be among the ignorant ones, as He Subhanahu-wa-Ta'alaa says:

"…so be not you one of those who are AlJâhilûn (the ignorant)..."

[Al An'aam: 35]

Every celebration is a celebration because it is repeatedly done, and a celebration is not permitted except what Islaam allows. This is because of the following reasons:

1. Allaah Subhanahu-wa-Ta'alaa enjoined on us in the Qur'aan in more than 30 places to follow Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), such as:

"For you the best example is in the beautiful manners of the Messenger of Allaah, for the one who hopes in Allaah and the Last Day and remembers Allaah much."

(Al Ahzaab)

2. When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to Madinah, the people of Madinah used to celebrate two days. The Prophet forbade them from celebrating those days and instead permitted them the celebration of two Eids only. There is no evidence that the Muslims ever celebrated any days that without an evidence in the Sunnah.

3.  There is no evidence in the Sunnah that either the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or any of his companions celebrated their birthdays.

In addition to these evidences, the reason why we should not celebrate birthdays is that this is something well known among the Mushrikeen, and the Muslims have learnt this purely because of living with them and imitating them. This of course does not stop on a child's birthday, rather it goes further to everyone's birthday in the family, then the death anniversaries, then the birthdays and death anniversaries of famous people, until it reaches the celebration of the birthday of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), which has become a widespread ritual among the majority of Muslims on earth. We find it extremely hard to negate these innovated traditions and come out of them.

This is truly a reflection of what the Prophet of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said when he said:

"Indeed Islaam began as a stranger and it will return to the strangeness, so give glad tidings to the strangers"

(Reported by at-Tirmidhi)

So whoever is bold enough to leave these things and negate them, then he is from among those strangers for whom the glad tidings were given.

We ask Allaah to help and guide us to do all that He is pleased with and his Peace and blessings be upon His last Prophet Muhammad.