Me: “Mom, come with me. I need to buy things for my brother’s birthday.”
Mom: “Are you not going to stop celebrating birthdays? I’d already told you many a time that loud celebrations are not virtuous; life already throws many challenges our way.”
Me: “I’m doing this to momentarily escape those challenges. What if we add a few moments of laughter and happiness? He is our only brother, and if we don’t celebrate his birthday, whose should we celebrate?”
And so, this debate continued throughout the day.
Even today, when we wish our elders a happy birthday, these words shock them. They object, claiming that celebrating a year less in life is foolish.
Where does time pause? It continues its journey, so why not celebrate that it has progressed favorably, rather than mourning the elapsed year?
I’ve witnessed many elders who, if a birthday is celebrated, a cake is cut, and they get upset. Although, if that same cake is presented for them to eat, they can hardly refuse.
To explore the significance of birthdays and whether they should be celebrated, I reached out to different people and received diverse perspectives.
Some said there’s no shame in celebrating a birthday as long as it avoids un-Islamic practices. Others insisted that celebrating birthdays is against Islamic principles, and meant for non-Muslims.
In the world, there are those who neither celebrate nor remember birthdays. Birthdays hold no significance for them. Conversely, some are so sensitive that if they aren’t wished at midnight, they feel hurt and angered.
I love celebrating birthdays, whether it’s mine, a family member’s, or a friend’s. I commence my birthday by listening to my mother’s account of my birth, thanking Allah for my life, and offering charity if possible. The day concludes with the ceremonial cake cutting.
Similarly, I relish surprising my loved ones by orchestrating birthday celebrations. My brother is the only male sibling among us five sisters. In our society, the birth of daughters is often mourned, and it sometimes feels as if a person hasn’t been born but has departed. In contrast, the birth of boys creates a festive atmosphere in homes.
Fortunately, my parents did not share the disdain some harbor for the birth of daughters. Nevertheless, as my mother bore one daughter after another, she still harbored a desire for a son.
When my brother was born after four sisters, joy permeated our home. Since then, every day has been celebrated like Eid. Our grandfather used to pen a poem on every birthday, expressing gratitude to Allah through verses.
I am the youngest sister, six years junior to my brother, yet I celebrate his birthday with the same enthusiasm my father did when I was a child.
Masha Allah, my brother is now 32, but we celebrate his birthday every year with zeal. Birthdays mark the arrival of our loved ones in this world, reviving the joy we experienced on the same date years ago. It’s a day to make our loved ones realize their significance in our lives.
In today’s world, where everyone faces challenges, beginning a new day with a renewed spirit to combat these problems is crucial. So, what’s wrong with dedicating a day in this tumultuous life, donning nice clothes, cutting a cake, and sweetening the mouth of a loved one with treats? Gaze at them affectionately and say with a smile: “Happy Birthday!”
This is my perspective on birthdays. Some may disagree, and that’s their prerogative.