Getting Fatwa at Parties: Birthday Parties Declared as UnIslamic by Leading Saudi Cleric

Leading Saudi cleric, Sheik Abdul-Aziz Al Sheik has denounced birthday parties as unIslamic and an invasion from the West. People who hold such practices now risk being accusing of doing something Haram, or forbidden. Fatwas have been issued denouncing everything from birthdays to Mother’s Day.

Under the conservative Wahhabi view of Islam most feasts (including some celebrated by Muslims in other sects) are prohibited with the exception of the Muslim feasts of Eid al-Fitr (at end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan) and Eid al-Adha (at the end of an annual pilgrimage to Mecca).

Another prominent cleric, Salman al-Audah, triggered the recent controversy by saying on a television that such parties are fine so long as the word Eid is not used. That led to outcry and specifically a warning from Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti and top cleric (and party popper), Sheik Abdul-Aziz Al Sheik who declared the parties as unacceptable. Al Sheik ridiculed the West and its habit of having parties: “Christians have Mother’s Day, an eid for trees, and an eid for every occasion. And on every birthday, candles are lit and food is given out.” Sounds pretty horrible. Eid for trees? I missed that one, but it may be Arbor Day. In Nebraska City, where the tradition began, they actually did not call it the Annual Eid day.

al-Audah is now accused of violating various fatwas. The prior grand mufti Sheik Abdul-Aziz bin Baz declared that “It’s not permissible to take part in them. Birthday parties are an innovation … and people are in no need of innovations.”

bin Baz was never popular at parties to begin with.

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11 thoughts on “Getting Fatwa at Parties: Birthday Parties Declared as UnIslamic by Leading Saudi Cleric”

  1. Gyges,

    Ozzy Osborn was invited to a clandestine birthday party for a chicken.

    I’m deciding to pick a “declare your own fatwa” day! It can be any day, except Tues. as I’ve declared fatwa on Tuesday.

  2. I’m not sure this is news worthy; since Muslims as a simple matter of tradition don’t celebrate birthdays. Accordingly, making said birthdays fatwa material smells of rabid fundamentalism; like Kansas incorporating creationism into its education curriculum.

    Muslims also don’t cage birds either; where’s the fatwa for that?

  3. I believe catheter balloons are kosher as they will never be associated with fun. At the end of his speech the g.m. was heard to growl…”Fire Bad”.

  4. Jill:

    Let’s be fair. The grand mufti only prohibits medical devices like catheter balloons, which are a bit too festive.


  5. Maybe he just hates wrapping presents. We could send him some of those cool gift bags. But good question maji6, I have three children and seven grandchildren so I’d see a serious financial benefit benefit from banning them; but the fun-o-meter would be in the toilet…..

  6. I guess we have to think of it in terms of how much emotioanl or economic benefit benefit or harm gives a nation by hving such celebrations.

    What is the Overall benefit in celebrating everyones birthday?
    What is the harm in treating a birthday as any other day in a calendar?

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