One of Saudi Arabia's clerics Abdullah al-Mutlaq recently claimed that birthday celebrations and wedding anniversaries are not favorable. The reason?
Birthdays have a financial burden attached to them, and will cause families disintegrate, Al-Mutlaq was reported as saying by local media.
The cleric, who is an advisor to the royal court, shared his ruling during his program on state television earlier this week.
The fatwa was made after a caller asked if it was permissible to observe the birthdays of children and wives.
"We do not want to open up that door to ourselves because people do not have that kind of money to spend," the cleric said, according to Al Araby.
"We want to save up for our households and they now want to destroy themselves with these parties… which are things that Islam does not promote," he added.
People have responded. Some have pointed out the cleric's flawed logic
"Birthday parties lead to poverty ... but buying yachts for millions of dollars and hanging out in bars in London and laying out on beaches in Turkey is fine."
Others responded with their own definition of "birthday parties"
"Birthdays are all about bringing people together and spreading happy vibes."
Some thought his words were 100% accurate
And ring true
Not the first time a cleric in Saudi Arabia calls for a ban on birthdays
The celebration of birthdays has been the subject of various debates over the years in Saudi Arabia. While some clerics see them as harmless, others do not.
In 2008, Sheikh Salman al-Awdah sparked controversy after he said that celebrating anniversaries, birthdays, and Mother's Day do not go against Islamic values.
His statement was made during a call-in-television show, which prompted the kingdom's Grand Mufti to weigh in on the situation at the time.
Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz Al-Shaikh said celebrating "such events would make Muslims like followers of other faiths including Jews and Christians," according to Reuters.
The debate is not only over birthdays; Valentine's Day has also been targeted over the years.
The kingdom's religious police have previously restricted the sale of Valentine related items and cracked down on festivities surrounding the Western holiday. In 2012, more than 100 people were arrested for celebrating.
In 2017, however, the kingdom's conservative Committee of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (the "religious police") simply stepped back.
Flower shops throughout Jeddah actually sold custom-made Valentine boxes, including balloons and flowers, starting at a hefty price of 550 Saudi riyals ($147.)