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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Ruling on Birthdays.

Q; Did the prophet (SAW) ever mentioned anything like 'birthday' celebration, was it mentioned to him and what was his response when asked about celebrating? Is it possible that our lives be totally religiously based?

A; All-Praise is due to Allah,
With regard to celebrating birthdays, it should be noted that Allah The Exalted and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not tell us to celebrate this day, and he himself (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not celebrate it, nor did his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them). They loved the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) far more than we do, yet despite that they did not celebrate this day. Hence we do not celebrate this day, in obedience to the command of Allaah Who has commanded us to follow the commands of His Prophet. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad) gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it)” [al-Hashr 59:7]

And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I urge you to adhere to my Sunnah [way] and the way of the Rightly-Guided khaleefahs. Adhere to it and cling tightly to it. And beware of newly-invented matters [in religion], for every newly-invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is a going-astray.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood, al-Sunnah, 3991; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, no. 3851).

The extent to which a person loves the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is to be seen in how he follows him with regard to all that he commanded or forbade. That includes following him in not celebrating the day on which he was born.

Whoever wants to venerate the day on which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was born should follow the alternative that is based on Islamic evidence, which is that one should fast on Mondays, not just the day that he was born but every Monday.

It was narrated from Abu Qutaadah al-Ansaari (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was asked about fasting on Mondays. He said, “On that day I was born and on that day the Revelation came to me.” (Narrated by Muslim, 1978). On Thursdays deeds are taken up and shown to Allaah.

So any of these things which are intended as rituals
or acts of worship aimed at drawing closer to Allaah or glorifying Him
in order to earn reward, or which involve imitating the people of Jaahiliyyah
or any other groups of kaafirs, is a prohibited bid’ah, an innovation
which comes under the general meaning of the hadeeth: “Whoever innovates
something in this matter of ours (Islam) that is not part of it, will
have it rejected.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim).

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Similarly it is forbidden for the Muslims to imitate the kuffaar by holding parties on these occasions, or exchanging gifts, or distributing sweets or other foods, or taking time off work and so on, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in his book Iqtida’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem Mukhaalifat Ashaab al-Jaheem: Imitating them on some of their festivals implies that one is happy with the falsehood they are following, and that could make them (the non-Muslims) take this opportunity to mislead those who are weak in faith. End quote.

Those who do any of these things are sinning, whether they do it to go along with them, or to be friendly towards them, or because they feel too shy (to refuse to join in) or any other reason, because it is a kind of compromising the religion of Allah to please others, and it is a means of lifting the spirits of the kuffaar and making them proud of their religion,

End quote from Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 3/44

Conclusion: celebrating birthday was not prescribed by Allaah or by the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), so it is not permissible for the Muslims to celebrate his birthday, in obedience to the command of Allaah and the command of His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
We ask Allaah to guide us all to the Straight Path.

And Allaah knows best...

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