Q. If you receive money as a birthday present is the money halaal? A. In principle, the money given to you is a hadyah or gift. A gift is given without exchange. It is given purely out of muhabbat (love). Giving a gift to someone on their “birthday” however is a non-Muslim custom. It is not permissible for Muslims to imitate the salient customs of the kuffaar. Thus, the Shariah does not recognize the giving of “gifts” on such days as hadyah. It is shone of the thawaab that goes with a valid Shar’i hadyah. In the light of the above the “birthday gift” should be returned. If, however, you fear the wrath of the giver, being your parent or grandparent for instance, then give the money to the poor without intention of thawaab. And Allah Ta’ala knows best.