I would like to know whether it is pemissable to celebrate birthdays as I dont but a friend says the Prophet (pbuh) celebrated his.

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by


It is not necessary that everything the West does is according to logic. The
biggest proof that it is the invention of the west are the song words
without which this function is not complete viz. ‘Happy birthday to you.’ No
one says, ‘Happy birthday celebration’ or ‘Happy Blessed birthday’ or any
other words of this kind. This disease of celebrating birthdays was never
prevalent among Muslims before, but since Muslims started living alongside
the non-Muslims, they have been influenced by them.
Birthdays are celebrated usually at the end of a year and not at the
beginning of the year. For example, if one’s birth date is on the 1st of
January, then the birthday will be celebrated on the 1st of January and not
the 2nd of January. Now just ponder, what intelligence is there in
celebrating and showing happiness when a year has decreased in one’s life.
During a birthday celebration, candles are lit on a cake, amounting to the
years of the one’s life. He extinguishes these candles by blowing them out
and all present clap their hands. Hands are clapped at two occasions only,
one at the time of joy for some achievement of his. Secondly, when someone
acts foolishly, then to mock at him. Here a person is extinguishing the rays
of the years of his life by blowing them out himself. Then this is no
happiness, nor is it any achievement. So the clapping of hands is only for
mocking at this person’s stupidity. Ponder that this is a custom and sign of
non-believers. When it is someone’s birthday, one year of his life has
decreased, and not increased.
This world is a field to work for the hereafter. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu
æ#129;layhi Wasallam)’s Ummah has been sent in this world for a very great
object. The example of this world is like a king who send a few people into
his treasure room saying that shortly he will send them out, so at that time
whatever they will be possessing will be their property. Inside the treasure
room, on one side there are heaps of gold and silver, on another side are
lying pearls and jewels, then at another place in the room, delicious food
and soft beds are arranged. Now some people think that the king may send
them out any minute. They quickly gather the gold, silver, pearls and gems.
They feel they will go out from there and organise the food and beds for
themselves afterwards. There is another group of people who think that they
have just arrived. They feel, ‘Let us enjoy the food, then lay down to rest.
After that we will take from the treasures. There is ample time.’ So they
eat, sleep and pass their valuable time without taking from the treasures.
Suddenly the king sends everyone out. Now those who had collected the
valuables can enjoy their lives eating and sleeping while those that wasted
their time and did not accumulate anything will begin to regret.
Every moment of this worldly life is very valuable. Here we have to earn for
the long and everlasting life of the hereafter. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu
æ#129;layhi Wasallam) has said that after entering into Jannat, the people
of Jannat will not be sorry about anything of this world, except for that
moment which was spent without the remembrance of Allah. It is apparent that
when reward will be granted for remembrance of Allah in this world which is
an abode of actions, then one must surely feel very regretful, that if they
should have spent more time in the remembrance of Allah, they could be
worthy of more rewards.
Hafiz Zain Siqti asked Hafiz Jurjani the reason for swallowing dry flour to
which he replied that when he compared the time of swallowing dry flour and
chewing roti then, in chewing so much time is spent in which say 70 times
Subhanalla can be uttered. Therefore he left eating roti for the last 40
How can it be permissible to waste time by celebrating birthdays and
becoming happy that a big slice of one’s life is put behind. This world is a
prison for the believer and a Jannat for the disbeliever. Allah has bought
the life and wealth of the believers for Jannat. This life is a trust of
Allah by us. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu æ#129;layhi Wasallam) said, ‘A person
will not be able to move from his place, until he does not reply to five
* How did you spend your life?
* How did you spend your youth?
* Where did you earn your wealth from?
* Where did you spend your wealth?
* How much did you act upon your knowledge?
A person who is concerned of replying to these questions, how can he show
happiness upon the years of his life decreasing? Besides all this, Islam
does not permit waste. This is the reason that the poor of this Ummat will
enter Jannat 500 years before the wealthy, because the wealthy will be
delayed by giving an account of their wealth. By spending on birthday
parties, there is no benefit to Islam nor to the poor.
It is stated in a Hadith the worst Walima feast is the one in which the poor
and destitute are left out and the wealthy are only invited. Another object
of the birthday parties is show. Islam encourages simplicity. By this
attitude of show, the poor feel inferior and deprived and the rich have a
superiority complex. Also, in these gatherings, music, singing, video
filming and the taking of photographs and other un-Islamic and forbidden
acts take place. May Allah Taãla guide us and protect us from all these

By Moulana Abdul Hamid Ishaq
Principal – Madrasah Arabia Islamia, Azaadville

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This answer was collected from, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.

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