Birthdays & Anniversaries- Commemorations & Celebrations -Is being social such a bad thing?

I was reading Saudi Jeans’ post regarding the opinion voiced by one of the Scholars in KSA regarding birthdays and the scholarly-media hoopla caused by it. And I wonder if all social, non-religious commemorations & celebration have to be tinged with permissibility in Islam. As Muslims are all that we do religious activities?  

Across various Muslim countries there are commemorations and celebrations of all sorts- National Day; Unity Day; Mother’s Day, etc. Has the fine line between commemorating and celebrating been used to imply that as Muslims, we can only be social if it is with a religious content?

But then that begs another question- how do we learn to be social and its boundaries in other aspects in life- at work; at school; at home; with acquaintances? Where then do we teach our children the fine art of giving for the sake of giving; of loving another person for the sake of loving them and commemorating & celebrating their existence in our lives?

Are we saying that the child born of our wombs is just another human born -big deal; that the person with whom we share our lives with is just another person -so what; that the parents that engendered us are like plates of food in a banquet- take it or leave it – all without any show of gratitude for the gifts Allah has given us…that those things in our lives, those gifts Allah gives, should go unappreciated?

Is it starting to sound contradictory to what Islam says about being grateful for everything Allah gives us- be it good, so-so or plain bad- where there is a lesson to be learned in each case? At this point some might point out- well if you are giving Allah thanks for all this; then it is a religious issue. But the social aspect of it counts just as much- For my children will live more secure in their skin if they know Mom “has their back”. My love for my husband and vice-versa  will make our marriage more secure because we show mutual appreciation for the things we do for each other…A sick person will heal faster because of the effort you make in visiting or calling them wishing them quick recovery…That promotion is even sweeter and more worthwhile when your friends spring a lunch to celebrate it…

Yet I have seen how cold some people can be in certain countries towards their family members and others; disconnected from them to the point that atrocities can be committed in the name of what ever suits them. It is easier to do away with someone whom you have dehumanized; than the one you love and care for deeply.

Can our adhab be switched off then?

The sister or brother in the Masjid, that during Iftar is not mindful of others around them as they gorge on their food acting as if they did not eat Iftar yesterday and seemingly won’t eat Iftar tomorrow… The father that breaks his obligations to wife and children, because he is interested in some other more appealing pasture on the other side of the fence…The haram-pointers who are inconsiderate of the other person’s plight- never bothering to sit for a moment in that other person’s personal quagmire…

The lack of adhab only shows how unsocial and uncivil we are and can be.

Sharing, giving, receiving with the utmost grace; those interactions are as social as they are religiously prescribed- but do we see the half ton gorilla in the room…nope- we got blinders on- all we do is pray all day -for deliverance, for less hardship, for more money, for more or less of whathaveyous- yet don’t realize we bring upon ourselves the lack of these because we can’t even be civil enough to realize our actions or lack of them impact us and others…a possible “why we can’t hack it” in the world at large at times…

Me? I celebrate and commemorate life in all its aspects every day of my life- Allah’s gifts to me- I am grateful…


2 Responses to “Birthdays & Anniversaries- Commemorations & Celebrations -Is being social such a bad thing?”

  1. September 6, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    INAL, great post. I think you bring up some great points about gratefulness for what we have; yes, a lavish, billion-dollar birthday party is extravagant and misses the point, but I don’t see anything wrong with celebrating the wonderful people God has given us.

  2. 2 INAL
    September 6, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    Thanks Fatemeh, Welcome to this blog…Come again any time

    How I wish we could see the nuances of our Faith more sharply than through a glass darkly…so much is lost in the “black and white” debate of how things should be and we altogether miss the sahdes of gray that is our lives…

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