The ruling of celebrating the birthday of a child Q. Is the celebration of children’s birthday parties considered to be the imitation of western disbelievers, or is it entertainment for the spirit, and a form of entering happiness into the heart of the child and his family? A. The celebration of birthday parties is of two types; either it is a form of worship or a custom: 1 If it is a form of worship then it is an innovation in the religion of Allaah. It is affirmed that the Prophet (saw) warned against innovation, as it is misguidance, for he (saw) has said: “Be aware of innovated matters, for every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in the fire.” 2
If it is from custom then there are two prohibitions linked to it:
The considering of a normal day as a holiday. This is a form of preceding Allaah and His Messenger (saw), as we have affirmed a holiday in Islaam that Allaah and His Messenger (saw) have not legislated.
When the Messenger of Allaah (saw) migrated to Madeenah, he found the Ansaar1 had two days within which they used to celebrate and consider as holidays. He (saw), then said: “Verily Allaah has exchanged them for you for that which is superior, Eidul Fitr and EidalAdha.” b It is an imitation of the disbelievers, for this custom is not from the customs of the Muslims; rather it has been inherited from others. It has been affirmed that the Prophet (saw) said: “Whosoever imitates a people then he is surely from them.” Also it is not praise worthy for a person to be of many years in age, except if they were spent in the pleasure of Allaah The Most Honourable and Majestic and in his obedience. For the best of people is he whose life is long and deeds virtuous, and the worst of people is he whose life is long and deeds corrupt. For this reason some scholars disliked the supplication for a long life without being specific. They disliked that it should be said to a person: “May Allaah extend your life”, except that it be specified, for example that it be 1
The indigenous inhabitants of Madeenah who accepted Islaam and aided the Prophet (saw) and the immigrants from Makkah, may Allaah be pleased with all of them.
said: “May Allaah extend your life in His obedience” or “May Allaah extend your life in virtue” or that similar. This is because a long life could be bad for a person, for a long life with bad deeds (Refuge is with Allaah from this) is evil for a person. It is an extension in his punishment and an evil consequence upon him, the Most High said: “And those who reject Our signs, We shall gradually seize them with punishment in ways they perceive not. And I respite them certainly my plan is strong.” [AlA’raaf: 182183] He, The Most Glorious also said: “And let not the disbelievers think that Our postponing of their punishment is good for them. We postpone it only so that they may increase in sinfulness. And for them is a disgracing torment.” [AaliImraan: 178] Sheikh Ibn Uthaimeen [Fataawa Manaar AlIslaam: 1/43]