For thousands of years people all over the world have thought of a birthday as a very special day. Long ago, people believed that on a birthday a person could be helped by good spirits, or hurt by evil spirits. So, when a person had a birthday, friends and relatives gathered to protect him or her. And that’s how birthday parties began.
The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) is the guide for us. If he did something, you should do it. When he saw other people having different kinds of celebrations, he said himself that we have two celebrations. This is from him- it’s called “Eidayn” (the two Eids) and this is what he said with respect to those who like to celebrate things and say, “we celebrate his birthday, we celebrate our birthday, we celebrate Washington’s birthday and all these different things”
This is not what he told us to do; and when it came to the issue of celebrating his birthday, he says specifically “Don’t eulogize me as the Christians eulogized my brother Jesus”- meaning, don’t fall into the same trap.
Usually when we find people who celebrate the birthday of the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him), we find that they also have other innovations they like to add along with that too, and where will it stop?
Celebrating birthdays has no source whatsoever in the pure shariah. In fact, it is an innovation, since the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi-wasallam) said,
“Whoever introduces anything into this matter of ours that does not belong to it shall have it rejected.”
This was recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim. In a version recorded by Muslim and by al-Bukhari in definitive muallaq form:
“Whoever performs a deed which is not in accord with our affairs, that deed is rejected.”
It is well-known that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi-wasallam) did not celebrate his birthday at all during his lifetime nor did he ever order it to be celebrated. Nor did he teach such to his Companions. Therefore, the rightly-guided caliphs and all of his Companions did not celebrate it. They are the most knowledgeable of the people concerning his sunnah and they are the most beloved to the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi-wasallam). They were also the most keen upon following whatever the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi-wasallam) brought. Therefore, if one is supposed to celebrate the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi-wasallam) birthday, this would have been made evident at their time. Similarly, not one of the scholars of the best of generations celebrated his birthday nor did they order it to be done.
Therefore, it is known from the above that such a celebration is not from the Law that Allah sent Muhammed (sallallaahu ‘alaihi-wasallam). We ask Allah and all Muslims to witness that if the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi-wasallam) had done so or ordered such to be done, or even if the Companions had done so, we would rush to do it and call others to do it. This is because, and all praises are due to Allah, we are the most keen in following his sunnah and respecting his commands and prohibitions. We ask Allah, for ourselves and for all our fellow Muslims, steadfastness upon the truth, avoiding everything that differs from Allah’s pure shariah. Verily, He is Generous and Noble.
Evidence indicating it’s Haram
The evidence in the Qur’aan and Sunnah indicates that celebrating birthdays is a kind of bid’ah or innovation in religion, which has no basis in the pure sharee’ah. It is not permitted to accept invitations to birthday celebrations, because this involves supporting and encouraging bid’ah. Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Or have they partners with Allaah (false gods) who have instituted for them a religion which Allaah has not allowed…?” [al-Shoora 42:21]
“Then We have put you (O Muhammad) on a plain way of (Our) commandment. So follow that, and follow not the desires of those who know not. Verily, they can avail you nothing against Allaah (if He wants to puish you). Verily, the zaalimoon (wrongdoers) are awliyaa’ (protectors, helpers, etc.) to one another, but Allaah is the Wali (Protector, Helper) of the muttaqoon (pious).” [al-Jaathiyah 45:18-19]
“Follow what has been sent down unto you from your Lord, and follow not any awliyaa’ (protectors, helpers, etc.) besides Him. Little do you remember!” [al-A’raaf 7:3]
Birthday celebrations are not allowed but in Islam there is no rule to stop your celebrations of happiness. Islam is a peaceful religion.