Saudi cleric declares war on birthdays

Saudi cleric declares war on birthdays
A Saudi cleric has issued a fatwa on birthdays, claiming the celebrations are too costly. Advisor to the Royal Court Abdullah al-Mutlaq announced the ban on state television, blowing out the candles on those eager to mark their annual milestone.

"We do not want to open up that door to ourselves because people do not have that kind of money to spend," he was cited as saying by local media, after a caller asked if it was ok to celebrate the birthdays of children and wives.

"We want to save up for our households and they now want to destroy themselves with these parties… which are unbeneficial things that Islam does not promote," the religious leader explained.

The war on birthdays has produced plenty of discussion online, with the original tweet on the story prompting hundreds of reactions and thousands of retweets.

Last year a Muslim council in Indonesia issued a fatwa on Santa hats after reports that companies were forcing employees to wear them during the festive season.

“It is considered necessary to issue a fatwa on the legal use of non-Muslim religious attributes to be used as guidelines,” the religious authority said.

READ MORE: Santa hat fatwa in Indonesia causes hysteria, sparks debate

Even Pokémon Go couldn’t escape a fatwa, with a religious body in Saudi Arabia deeming it a promotion of gambling and Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.