Followers

09 May, 2010

‘Happy’ Birthday?


And If I can die having brought any light, having exposed any meaningful truth, that will help destroy the disease spread in the world, then all the credit is due to Allah and only the mistakes have been mine.
There is no time to relax, much still remains to be done


The social networking sites earn you a lot of birthday wishes because of the 'upcoming-birthday' notifications. Some people have mysterious reasons for not displaying their actually birth date. I had a unique concern; I wanted to add 12th Ramadhan 1407 as my birth date, but as the widely used Gregorian calendar is every where so I had to enter 10th May 1987. Like the past years lots of 'happy birthday' scraps, messages and wall-posts are expected. Some people are afraid to 'wish' birthdays to the 'Islamic' people, for the response is not certain. The strategy I used in the past few years was to reply with a simple 'JazakAllah' and a smiley to all the wishers, for I valued their love but I wasn't sure what to be 'happy' about. This year, I've decided to say it all.
I really feel that we should be closer to the Hijri Calendar than we actually are. The Lunar and the Solar Calendar were both prevalent at the times of the Prophet Muhammad SAW and the Muslims adopted the Lunar Calendar. The Lunar Calendar is approved in the Holy Quran as well: The number of months in the sight of Allah is twelve (in a year)- so ordained by Him the day He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are sacred: that is the straight usage. (Surah At-Tawba 9:36) . The Ramadhan, the Hajj, the Ayaam e Beedh' (13th, 14th and 15th of every lunar month) all are calculated according to the Lunar Calendar. Our glorious history has been written according to the Lunar (Hijri) Calendar. Furthermore, it's a fact that the months of the Gregorian calendar were named after the pagan Gods. We cannot change the complete Gregorian calendar based world system in a day; that will also happen when we have a global Islamic state (Insha'Allah), but for now, we can start commemorating our birthdays according to the Hijri Calendar and that would be a really positive step.
Scholars have differed when giving a ruling on birthdays. As we know that in Islam 'acts of worship' (Ibaadaat) are prescribed and any thing other than the prescribed in worship would be termed as bid'ah (innovation) and is not acceptable. As for the normal affairs (dealings, mu'amlaat), everything is lawful except for which we can find clear cut prohibition in Qur'an and Hadith. Few scholars opine that for Muslims 'celebrations' are 'prescribed', as Prophet Muhammad SAW forbade the 'Ansaar' from the celebrations that they had in the past and told them that Islam has given you something better : Eid ul Adha and Eid ul Fitr (Reference: Sunan An Nasai, Authenticated by Al-Albani in Silsilatul Ahadeeth us Saheeha). Others deem 'birthdays' to be a matter of dealings (mu'amlaat) so they permit the celebration, for there is no clear-cut prohibition for it in Qur'an and Hadith.
It is important to discuss the issue of origin of birthday celebrations, when dealing with the topic. If the pagan origin of Birthday celebrations is proved, then there will be no room left for its celebration. One can trace back and find proofs for the pagan origin of candle-lighting, but nothing concrete can be said regarding the origin of birthday celebrations in general. But the speculation regarding its pagan origin is there since long. Many of the Christian and Jewish scholars also prohibit the celebration because of its pagan origin. Few Encyclopedias mention that down to the fourth century the Christians rejected it labeling it a pagan custom. What seems more likely is that the perception in the past in some societies of the world that we are in fight with nature would have lead to these celebrations. When a year would pass people they would celebrate birthdays for their victory of the forces of nature.
Keeping the legal rulings aside, it seems pretty illogical to 'celebrate' birthdays. There is no legitimate reason to be happy about. These 'useless' celebrations do-not coincide with the Islamic spirit. For us, every clock tick brings us closer to our death. It's a countdown. Celebrations and Entertainment are necessary for balanced life, and, hence Islam has space for them. Prophet Muhammad SAW used to cut jokes, he took Sayyidah Aisha RA to see a wrestling match, and he an a race with Sayyidah Aisha RA twice in his life. What is to be kept in mind is that Islam shunned all the illogical traditions and customs of the past. It eliminated the superstitions, irrational beliefs and illogical festivals and celebrations. Muslims have a distinguished personality. They do not do in Rome as the Romans do. They have a rational approach to life. For us there is much more in life than mere entertainment and false pleasures. Even our festivals (Eid) start with the Zikr of Allah SWT in Salat ul Eid. On the other hand, nowadays, our celebrations and festivals are filled with Haram Stuff.
Prophet Muhammad SAW used to keep fast on Monday and he'd tell us that he was born on that day: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) was asked about fasting on Monday, whereupon he said: It is (the day) when I was born and revelation was sent down to me (Sahih Muslim, Kitab as Sawm). Furthermore, Qur'an mentions the mercy of Allah SWT on Prophet Yahya and Prophet Isa on the day of his birth; And peace on him on the day he was born, and on the day he dies, and on the day he is raised to life (Surah Maryam 19:15, for Yahya AS).
So, what we ought to do is thank Allah SWT for his mercy on us by raising us in a Muslim family. We must take it as an opportunity to do special Ibadah and du'aa for ourselves. We must have a quick recap of our past year and see where we are heading. We must refresh the purpose of our creation. We must hold our selves accountable before we are held accountable.
There is no time to relax, much still remains to be done;
You have yet to fully spread the light of God, the Only One
It often happens that we are finding opportunities to express our love for someone. Birthdays seem like an excellent opportunity. In this hasty world, a really sincere person is one who does du'aa for you. So, I expect lots of du'aas on my birthday. This is the gift I demand. A special du'aa that comes into my mind for birthdays is: 'May the mercy of Allah SWT be on you since your birth, to the day you die, and till you enter Paradise'.
And If I can die having brought any light, having exposed any meaningful truth, that will help destroy the disease spread in the world, then all the credit is due to Allah and only the mistakes have been mine. Ya Allah! I ask You, Your Love and Love of Your Loved Ones. Ya Allah! Take some special service from this oridinary slave of Yours and bless me with the Fiqh of Religion.


Author: Muoammad Awais Tahir

The author may or may not have the same views on the topic and would not like to be quoted on what has been said above. The author, however, deems nothing wrong with changing opinions, hence, he does not wish to amend/remove posts that do not resonate with his current thinking. 
“Those who never retract their opinions love themselves more than they love truth.”

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23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very much agree with you Awais bhai! JazakAllah for sharing such a beautiful detailed article, I did not know that some jews and christians also prohibit birthday celebration. JazakAllah once again.

& Yes

Have a great birthday :)

Rizwan Alam

Bela said...

Thanx for atleast not calling it a Bidah. It doesn't go with the Islamic spirit but I don't agree with birthdays being Bidah either. Ofcourse there is nothing to be "happy" abt this day.Unless we have done something really meaningful, I don't see any reason to be happy abt our existence (and those who really do meaningful contributions seldom boast off abt it). But if v r very much into celebrating it then we should celebrate it by being grateful to Allah that another year of life has been passed with peace, joy and safety (if it is so).

Anonymous said...

May the mercy of Allah SWT be on you since your birth, to the day you die, and till you enter Paradise

-Wasim

Anonymous said...

JAZAKALLAH O KHAIR WA AHSAN UL JAZA...........REALLY TOO THOUGHT PROVOKING 4 ALL OF US.........MAY ALLAH SHOWER ALL HIS BLESSINGS ON YOU AND ALL MUSLIMS HERE AND HERE AFTER......AAMEEN.............

Muhammad Awais Tahir said...

@ Rizwan Bhai : JazakAllah for the duaas and appreciation. A very interesting reason why Christians prohibited birthday Celebrations is that the Birthday of Pharaoh is mentioned in the Bible and God Forbade them to follow the Pharaoh. About 4 total Birthday accounts are there in the bible and all belong to the Kings, and all had a sad ending.

Muhammad Awais Tahir said...

@ Sis Bela : JazakiLLAH

@ Wasim : JazakAllah for duaa

@ Anonymous : JazakAllah for the beautiful duaa and appreciation

Anonymous said...

Fatima Al Ameri

I changed this habit..because I should follow sonah..also we should love our friends, brother, sisters and family everyday.. not only for one day..

So,Jazzak allah khir..akhi Mohd Awis Tahir..

Anonymous said...

jazzak allah.alhumdulilah mujhe aap jaise dost mila.

Muhammad Awais Tahir said...

@ Sister Fatimah

You are very right. These day-based loves and celebrations don't coincide with the islamic spirits. We are a walking-talking model of islam, 24 hrs a day. We need fixed days to express our love. Our religion is a religion of love, and we practice that, through-out the year.

sana said...

Asak...
i happened 2 go through my mail box as i was away in jamath for 2 months - to Beroon -belated wishes to birthday boy. we all know when we are born but give a pause and remember when would be our death day- ? do we know this nopes...!!!

so intelligent is the person who prepars for his eternal journey the paradise 2 abode inshaAllah.


sana

A— D— said...

Assalamualaikum brother, your blog looks good !

So is your writing : interesting style, interesting insights (either yours or those taken from others), rarely seen elsewhere, and good arguments to ponder on.

There is one thing that you didn't mention in this article: whether or not our Prophet sallallahiu alayhi wa sallam ever once "celebrated" his birthday.

Islam, as you've written, has come to erradicate superfluous beliefs to stick with just the strict minimum — yet, offering the best of impacts, incha Allah. Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) is deemed by Jewish astrophysicist Michael Hart as the most influential person in history because of the biggest achievements using the least of means.

Are we dedicating one given day in a calendar to celebrate his birth, or are we observing prayers and shalawat everyday for him (p,b.u.h.) and his ummah for the blessing of Allah azza wa jalla ? As you've written : it is not the essence of our deen, when other communities are dedicating one day for love, one day for the Earth, one day for the AIDS victims, one day for pets, one day for mom, one day for dads, etc....And specially not when the date of his birth is not 100 % certain while it coincedes with the day of his death that is 100 % certain according to the scholars.

If Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) didn't do it for himself, if we don't do it for him as well, who are we to do it for ourselves ?

Wallahu a'lam

JazzakAllah khair !

Muhammad Awais Tahir said...

Brother, Milad (Prophet Muhammad's Birthday Celebrations) is a very vast topic, and I had dealt with it directly it would have hurt the sentiments of many. So, I have left an indirect message for all. When Islamic spirit is against the celebration of birthdays, why would any sahabi celebrate the love of Prophet Muhammad SAW? or why would any true muslim do this? What purpose does it serve? ...!

JazakAllah for the detailed comment brother...

A— D— said...

Glad to see that we agree, and credits to you for using diplomacy/delicacy. It's always useful, inch'Allah

JazakAllah Khair

Anonymous said...

assalam o alaikum wr wb
o brother great...
u really made my work easy...
huh... it remain as a dust always in my mind sometimes i do.. someyimes i hate but today i am very much cleared ALHUMDULILLAH
JAZAKALLAH a lot lot
bintulislam..
wswrwb

Muhammad Awais Tahir said...

AlhamduliLLAH :)

Ali Ahmad said...

Assalam-u-Alaikum

Masah'Allah, yours words really touched my heart
- Ali Ahmad

Anonymous said...

ASALAM O ALIKUM
JAZAKALLAH KHAIR DEAR BROTHER IN ISLAM.

i always confuse on my birth day, wat can i do wen i recevied alot of birthday wishes and always in great confusion at the birthday of any dear one, should i wish his/her or not.
jazakallah my mind is clear wat can i do.

'May the mercy of Allah SWT be on you since your birth, to the day you die, and till you enter Paradise'

Muhammad Awais Tahir said...

AlhamduliLLAH :)

Muhammad Awais Tahir said...

Brother, Milad (Prophet Muhammad's Birthday Celebrations) is a very vast topic, and I had dealt with it directly it would have hurt the sentiments of many. So, I have left an indirect message for all. When Islamic spirit is against the celebration of birthdays, why would any sahabi celebrate the love of Prophet Muhammad SAW? or why would any true muslim do this? What purpose does it serve? ...!

JazakAllah for the detailed comment brother...

Usama said...

I understand the fact that celebrating birthdays in Islam is not allowed. But what if people wish me on my birthday? Like should I display my birthday on Facebook so people can wish me or should I hide that?

Anonymous said...

Jazakallah khair . May Allah give u reward. ameen I took alot of help from this article of urs.

Anonymous said...

JazakAllah!it helped me alot :)

Sadia said...

Yes, that's 100% true "our celebrations and festivals are filled with Haram Stuff" and nobody wants to realize this unfortunately, JazakAllah Khair

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