Wishing someone “happy birthday” ?
The criteria of acceptance in the court of Allah is the adherence to the sunnat not the feelings of people.
Celebrating birthdays is a custom of the kuffaar.
As Muslims, we are commanded to refrain from emulating the kuffaar as well as adopting their ways. Nabi Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam said من تشبه بقوم فهو منهم (the one who emulates a people will be counted from amongst them (in the court of Allah Ta’aala)).
Hence, it is reprehensible to share in the happiness of someone celebrating his birthday by saying “happy birthday” to him.
We should remember that if we make the feelings of people the benchmark, then just as some people become happy by telling them ‘happy birthday’ others take exception to this.
Thus, the criteria of acceptance in the court of Allah is the adherence to the sunnat of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam not the feelings of people.
عن ابن عمر قال قال رسول الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم من تشبه بقوم فهو منهم (سنن أبي داود 2/559)
Mufti Zakaria Makada