Emma (Saima) • Muslim convert, happily married wife, mama of two, environmental scientist and bookworm.

Salaam sisters :)

I'm wondering how you all feel about celebrating birthdays? I'm having some issues with my family and not sure how to handle it.

So, as you know, I'm a convert and my family could all loosely be described as Christian. We grew up celebrating birthdays with cards, presents, money and days out. Quite a big deal was made of them. Now, I don't actually agree with giving lots of presents for any occasion - I think it's nicer to give spontaneous gifts to loved ones throughout the year, rather than setting a precedent for a pile of them once a year. Kids especially can come to expect this and don't learn the value of money - I've seen it with my own half-brother.

But I do still feel that a card and a family day out is not really an inappropriate way to spend the day. My husband however has recently decided that he doesn't want to acknowledge birthdays with anything like this. He thinks celebrating birthdays is not Islamic. I see where he's coming from, it could be misconstrued as some kind of wrongful praise of ourselves rather than Allah. But I can't help think that saying 'happy birthday' and spending the day with family is not a bad thing?

So anyway, now I'm stuck between these two extremes. My husband turns 30 next week and my family want to buy him cards and presents etc, but I've had to tell them not to, which they find quite difficult to understand and only makes them feel even more distanced from us and our way of life. And this will only get more complicated with my birthday and my son's first birthday.

How do you all view birthdays and what are your reasons?