I am reposting this from another’s post. I feel the same way the original poster feels.
I wonder, why don’t muslims celebrate birthdays? The only two answers I ever get are: It is not part of our religion and The Prophet (saws) didn’t do it. I agree that it is not part of the religion. It is a cultural thing. But the religion doesn’t forbid cultural practices as long as they don’t conflict with Islamic principles. Isn’t that why the Prophet (saws) told Ayesha that she should have encouraged that tribe to beat the duff at their walima, because it was part of their tribal/cultural practice?
As for the other argument, “the Prophet (saws) didn’t do it.” That may be true. I have never read a sunnah that describes whether he did or he did not. But I also have never read a sunnah where he forbade it. I thought if something is not forbidden by either Quran or Sunnah then it is allowed. (As long as it falls within the boundaries of Islam.)
I don’t view the celebration of a birthday as an idol/pagan act. I do not associate it in any way with Shirk. Instead I encourage my children to Thank Allah for all of their gifts and explain that every good thing that comes to them, comes by the Mercy of Allah. Just as they received gifts, I encouraged them to remember those children who aren’t as fortunate and they were to pick a toy out that they could donate to them.
I think this is a good way, of teaching them about Allah’s generosity, mercy, blessings and the need to give sadaqa. Birthdays are the one day that is devoted to one particular child, to show them how they are loved and appreciated and special. We should do that everyday. But, truthfully, we don’t. And rarely are they the focus of that undivided special attention. It builds confidence, trust and self-esteem. And can be done in a way that incorporates Islam.
So I hope someone will respond and tell me why shouldn’t I continue this practice. Why can’t muslims celebrate birthdays? Hmmm, I still wonder…