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On Birthdays
Social Issues
Dr. Shehzad Saleem

A slab of ice placed beneath the scorching sun is destined to melt away. Every passing moment takes it closer to extinction and the instant inevitably arrives when it is no more. This is a common observation, but it continues to remind every heeding mind of the greatest reality of life---death.

The real message of the Qur’ān is to warn mankind of the Day of Judgement. It highlights the transitory nature of the Herein and the everlasting nature of the Hereafter. It says that the pleasures and pains of this world are temporary, while those of the next world shall be eternal. Fortunate are those who keep this reality in mind and lead their lives accordingly and ill-fated are those become indifferent to it.

Each passing day is taking a person closer to death and is reducing his span of life. A Muslim, who has his eyes set on the Hereafter, must remain anxious about how he has conducted himself at the end of each day. Each day he must contemplate what has been left amiss and what better he can do, for a day gone is an opportunity wasted and a chance lost to earn for the next life. He must carefully avoid all activities which make him oblivious of this reality.


            The glories of our blood and state

            Are shadows not substantial things;

            There is no armour against fate;

            Death lays icy hands on kings:

                        Sceptre and crown

                        Must tumble down,

            And in the dust be equal made

            With the poor crooked scythe and spade.


In our society, among other festivities, `Birthday Parties' are occasions which make a person unmindful of the Hereafter. Celebrating each departing year with cakes and pastries, smiles and songs, is something which can only be done by a person who has not found time to ponder over the reality of life. A Muslim can only feel anxious of the years he has spent in this world and hope that all his sins shall be forgiven. Expressing joy and happiness at each passing year can only mean one thing: he is certain that the life he has spent shall definitely lead him in the Hereafter to paradise---something which even the Prophets never knew with certainty.

Such feasts of merry making, besides being totally against the above mentioned Qur’ānic philosophy about life, are a source of many evils as well. In a society, where moral values are all but dead and people in their life style have been alienated from the higher goals of life, it is inevitably difficult to restrain them from excesses in this regard. Musical functions and dance sessions are becoming a regular feature of these parties among the elite of our society. Men and women dress up according to the latest flares of fashion and exhibit their charms for cheap approval. The social etiquette of Islam is violated, in fact, desecrated to the ultimate extent. The amount of money spent on a typical `Birthday Party' of the upper class easily exceeds the average monthly income of the people of a village put together. Since this class sets the social trends and customs of a society and the rest of the population invariably follows its footsteps, the evils of this festivity are transmitted throughout the fiber of our society. Any attempt to convince people about its worthlessness is greeted with scowls and sneers.

The only option left for a Muslim is not to participate in such vain activities, for life is something more meaningful: It is the only chance a person has to earn an everlasting life of bliss.

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