This entire entry was taken from a reddit forum. It seems his issue with celebrating birthdays is that Prophets never did it themselves. I think he is trying to say it is an innovation.  But so is Masih Maood and Musleh Maood Day… And whatever other days these community invented.  Isn’t having your image captured an innovation as well? I’m pretty sure Prophet Muhammad never had his image drawn and distributed to his followers.  According to some muslims, he forbade this to avoid idol worship.  Yet the Ahmadiyya leadership get their pictures taken and distributed regularly.  He mentions copying the West. Why are you in the West then? Why?  As an Ahmadi I used to not celebrate birthdays out of my obedience to Khilafat.

Here is how I personally rationalized the Birthday Ban while I was Ahmadi:

  • It’s not okay to do something the Khalifa has told us not to do. Why bother being part of the community if you don’t want to follow the rules?

  • Making a wish on Candles is Shirk!

  • Inviting lots of people over to celebrate the day you were born is very arrogant.

  • Inviting people over with the expectation of gifts is very spoiled entitled behavior.

  • Birthday Parties spoil children and turn them into to entitled little monsters.

  • Throwing yourself a party is pathetic. Are you that full of yourself?

  • People waste so much money on Birthday Parties and are put under a lot of stress/pressure.

  • If someone can’t afford to give you a gift, drama occurs/you are judged by the gifts you give/you aren’t welcome unless you bring a gift

So honestly, my thoughts on typical Birthday “Parties” aren’t that different than what they were as an Ahmadi. What has changed is that I believe birthday parties don’t necessarily have to have any of these negative(IMHO) aspects mentioned above. And therefore, I see no justification in completely banning Birthday Celebrations.

Here are my thoughts and Birthday Practices now:

  • I am no longer a member of Ahmadiyya, and therefore I am not morally obligated to be obedient to their leader.

  • Why is “copying the West” an issue? I am part of the West. I was born and raised in the West. I’m only 48.8% south Asian. The rest of my heritage is Western. Some Muslims are 100% Western. As with every culture, we should reject the Bad and embrace the Good. Western culture is not inherently bad!

  • I still don’t do the candles (besides ‘shirk’, it grosses me out, I won’t eat a cake that has been blown/spit on)

  • Quality vs Quantity: I don’t invite many people over for birthdays. I keep it small, intimate and special within my family. (And by that I mean my household)

  • I don’t think there is anything wrong with giving a loved one a gift, although I do believe expecting gifts is wrong. I believe the focus should be more on making lovely memories.

  • Gifts are fine, but unnecessary. Be appreciative of any you receive, never expect them. Give freely if that is what feels right to you.

  • Teach your children to not expect gifts from everyone and to be humble. Don’t let them think Birthday = Gifts from everyone.

  • Birthday = Fun Day, is a healthier association

  • Birthday celebrations in my household usually consist of a family outing to a museum, zoo, park etc.. lunch/dinner at a restaurant and dessert at home (usually cake).

  • We usually do give each other gifts.

  • We don’t sing Happy birthday. (I don’t think there’s anything wrong with singing it, we just find it corny and cringey in my household. To each their own!)

  • I still sort of associate Birthday Parties with arrogance/entitlement/self centeredness. But recognize that they need not be that way.

  • I hate the “but it’s my birthday!!!!” Attitude.

These are just my thoughts and opinions.

Do what feels right to you!

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