Birthday Celebrations: The Stand of Islam

Birthday celebrations were well in vogue before the time of the Prophet, Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The Encyclopedia Britannica records that since about 1000 BC, the Hindus celebrated the birthday of Krishna considered to be the incarnate of the god Vishnu. On that day – 8th of August - the idol of him is washed with yoghurt, ghee, honey and Milk! Centuries later, the Buddhists would commemorate the dates of birth, enlightenment and entrance of Budha into the spiritual state of Nirvana. They made processions in the temple, sprinkle bodhi trees with scented water, lit lanterns and erect street stalls. For them, these were great days of celebration.

In Greek mythology, Hermes is considered messenger of the gods, the son of the god Zeus and of Maia. They believe that Hermes conducted the souls of the dead to the underworld and was believed to possess magical powers over sleep and dreams. He was believed to be responsible for both good luck and wealth! They would celebrate his birthday on the fourth day of the month.

In kidsparties.com/traditions.htm, while discussing the origin of birthdays, it states that: “It was feared that evil spirits were particularly attracted to people on their birthdays. To protect them from harm, friends and family would come be with the birthday person and bring good thought and wishes. Giving gifts brought even more good cheer to ward off the evil spirits…”

The same pomp and ceremony is observed today by many – non-Muslims and unfortunately too, Muslims! For many, they plushly expend their hard-earned wealth during such ceremonies while those Allah – the Exalted – has shown the favour of ease in their lawful earnings use the same bounty of Allah to orchestrate events in which disobedience to Allah holds sway. Those who violate Allah’s laws to make money engage in birthday pageantry as well and add to their burdens. To make it appear as if supported by Islam, they invite clerics to read Qur’an and give supplications. But the fact remains that this pomp originates from polytheists out of polytheistic beliefs to support and propagate polytheism. How then can polytheism be Islamized?!

Quite badly, the social media now encourages and adjures the people to send “birthday messages” or respond to “birthday messages.” Many of those who would not originally send a message are moved to “show courtesy” by “at least” replying to messages they received from others. In it all, some of the Muslims – knowingly or ignorantly – still spread this practice born out of polytheism. Despite the popularity of the practice, neither the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) nor his companions nor those who followed their lines of conduct celebrate birthdays. Yet, over 50,000 people among those who conveyed the religion at different levels have their birth – and even death-days – known and documented in the history of Islam.

With every second, minute and hour that passes, mankind moves towards the grave, and all his statements and actions are recorded by the never-erring, ever-vigilant and dedicated scribes, created for that purpose! The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “The son of Adam will not move any feet on the Day of Resurrection before his Lord until he is questioned about five things: Regarding his life; how did he spend it? His youth age; how did he expend it? And his wealth; how did he earn it and how did he use it? How did he act upon what he knew?” [Saheeh: at-Tirmidhee and others].

So brothers and sisters, what about these celebrations and congratulations?!

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