Why Some Muslims Don’t Celebrate Birthdays

| March 1, 2013 | 1 Comment

do muslims celebrate birthdays


Some of the more fundamental types don’t celebrate birthdays with the justification that there’s no basis in Islam for it. Yet, I know plenty of the same group who celebrate the prophet’s birthday. Regardless, just because Quran didn’t explicitly speak on the subject, doesn’t mean birthdays should be crossed off.

Anti-birthday types argue:

“Even the celebration considered most innocent (birthdays) might have pagan foundations. According to one account, in pagan cultures, people feared evil spirits – especially on their birthdays. It was a common belief that evil spirits were more dangerous to a person when he or she experienced a change in their daily life, such as turning a year older. So family and friends surrounded the person with laughter and joy on their birthdays in order to protect them from evil.

How can anyone in his right mind think that Islam would be indifferent to practices seeped in anti-Islamic ideas and beliefs? Islam came to destroy paganism in all its forms and it cannot tolerate any trace of it in the lives of its followers.”

You can add wishing on candles to that argument. There’s also:

“They [Muslims] don’t celebrate it because they come from different cultures and they have their own customs and traditions which is unique to them.”

If you’re uneasy about it, why not celebrate by giving and doing something for others like treating other people to something special that day, donating to charity in your honor, or simply taking a moment to reflect on your life. If it’s a pagan thing, then forget about the candles and the party. If it’s a culture thing, then who cares. A lot of what we incorporate into our lives now doesn’t come from an Islamic tradition. The latter is the shallowest of excuses reserved for people who want to squeeze joy from life.

But what I really don’t understand are the parents who don’t allow their kids to celebrate their own birthdays, but then turn around and take them to other kids’ parties. What a great way to mess up your kid.

In my view it’s perfectly acceptable to celebrate birthdays. Personally, I treat birthdays as an excuse to show someone how much I love them.

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About the Author (Author Profile)

Shireen Qudosi is a Top 10 North American Muslim Reformer. She founded Qudosi Chronicles shortly after 9-11 when she noticed a widespread failure in honest conversations about Islam. Since it’s launch, Qudosi Chronicles has developed a broad and diverse following that has helped spark Muslim reform. Shireen is half Pakistani, half Afghan and a Sufi American Muslim who feels strongly that Islam is fated for an evolutionary leap in consciousness. And that leap is necessary in order for a global world of people to take the next collective step in advancing human dignity and excellence.

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