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I haven't celebrated anyone's birthday in years, someone has decided that they want to have a surprise birthday celebration for a family member. I have read that birthday celebrations that are celebrated yearly are not permissible but since I have not attended a celebration in years I don't know whether or not attending this one is permissible.

Would giving gifts and having cake with candles make it haram?

I know that a lot of the people attending the celebration hold a lot of birthday celebrations but I don't. The only reason I was considering attending is to bring about closeness with family who I haven't seen in a while.

Please support any statements with evidence.

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Unfortunately, there is no evidence to proof it being Halal. However, I will go through the main reason of why some scholars mark it Haram with explanation on why they it is wrong:

The first major Sahih Hadith that the scholars usually refer to is:

ومن تشبه بقوم فهو منهم

Whomever acts like some people then he is from them.

To repute this reason, if you claim that birthdays are Haram because of such hadith, then I can think of thousands of things that we took from non Muslims and use/understand from them. Many fields including theology, science, medicine, etc. The prophet PBUH never reputed taking something from other religions or societies simply because they were non Muslims.

Additional proof that it is OK is the growing number of scholars that are allowing celebration of similar days like memorial day/national day.

I would also advise you of doing a search on existing questions that were asked thoroughly from both sides:

https://islam.stackexchange.com/search?q=birthday

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    thanks, it seems to me that the birthday celebration itself is not a bida'h since an eid is something that is regularly done. But I am leaning towards believing that if they having cake, blowing out candles and maybe even giving out gifts then this makes it haram – hamad32 Jul 4 '15 at 19:51
  • Well it is Bida since it was never done by the prophet. However, not all Bida's are Haram. – user12537 Jul 4 '15 at 19:54
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    but it is not a religious act....I haven't heard that it is bid'ah to celebrate someones graduation, visitation, or new job. In fact I have heard that this is okay islamqa.info/en/145427 "There is nothing wrong with celebrating happy occasions such as marriage, the birth of a child, the return of one who was away, passing exams, getting a job and other regular matters, on condition that that is done at the time it happens and is not repeated, because if it is repeated it becomes an eid or festival, and it is not prescribed for us Muslims to celebrate any festival other than (eid)...." – hamad32 Jul 4 '15 at 19:59
  • I agree with that logic. – user12537 Jul 4 '15 at 20:53

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