Ruling on the Celebrating the birthday of the Prophet-Updated

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Praise be to Allaah the Lord of the Worlds, and blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and all his family and companions.

The commands mentioned in the Qur’aan and Sunnah to follow the laws of Allaah and His Messenger, and the prohibitions on introducing innovations into the religion are quite clear. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Say (O Muhammad to mankind): ‘If you (really) love Allaah, then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Qur’aan and the Sunnah), Allaah will love you and forgive you your sins’”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:31]

“Follow what has been sent down unto you from your Lord (the Qur’aan and Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnah), and follow not any Awliyaa’ (protectors and helpers who order you to associate partners in worship with Allaah), besides Him (Allaah). Little do you remember!”
[al-A’raaf 7:3]
“And verily, this is My straight path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His path”
[al-A’naam 6:153]

And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The most truthful of speech is the Book of Allaah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, and the most evil of things are those which are newly-invented.” And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever innovates anything in this matter of ours (i.e., Islam), that is not part of it will have it rejected.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, no. 2697; Muslim, no. 1718). According to a version narrated by Muslim, “Whoever doe anything that is not in accordance with this matter of ours (i.e., Islam), will have it rejected.”

Among the reprehensible innovations that people have invented is the celebration of the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in the month of Rabee’ al-Awwal. They celebrate this occasion in various ways:

Some of them simply make it an occasion to gather and read the story of the Mawlid, then they present speeches and qaseedahs (odes) for this occasion.

Some of them make food and sweets etc., and offer them to the people present.
Some of them hold these celebrations in the mosques, and some of them hold them in their houses.
Some people do not limit themselves to the actions mentioned above; they include in these gatherings haraam and reprehensible things, such as free mixing of men and women, dancing and singing, or committing actions of shirk such as seeking the help of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), calling upon him, seeking his support against their enemies and so on.

Whatever form it takes and whatever the intentions of those who do this are, there is no doubt whatsoever that it is an invented, haraam innovation which was introduced by the Shi’a Faatimids after the three best centuries, in order to corrupt the religion of the Muslims.

The first person to do this after them was the king al-Muzaffar Abu Sa’eed Kawkaboori, the king of Irbil, at the end of the sixth century or the beginning of the seventh century AH, as was mentioned by the historians such as Ibn Khalkaan and others. Abu Shaamah said: the first person to do that in Mosul was Shaykh ‘Umar ibn Muhammad al-Malaa, one of the well-known righteous people. Then the ruler of Irbil and others followed his example.

Al-Haafiz Ibn Katheer said in al-Bidaayah wa’l-Nihaayah (13/137), in his biography of Abu Sa’eed Kazkaboori: “He used to observe the Mawlid in Rabee’ al-Awwal and hold a huge celebration on that occasion… some of those who were present at the feast of al-Muzaffar on some occasions of the Mawlid said that he used to offer in the feast five thousand grilled heads of sheep, ten thousand chickens and one hundred thousand large dishes, and thirty trays of sweets… he would let the Sufis sing from Zuhr until Fajr, and he himself would dance with them.”

Ibn Khalkaan said in Wafiyaat al-A’yaan (3/274): “When it is the first of Safar they decorate those domes with various kinds of fancy adornments, and in every dome there sits a group of singers and a group of puppeteers and players of musical instruments, and they do not leave any one of those domes without setting up a group (of performers) there.

The people give up work during this period, and they do no work except going around and watching the entertainment. When there are two days to go until the Mawlid, they bring out a large number of camels, cows and sheep, more than can be described, and they accompany them with all the drums, songs and musical instruments that they have, until they bring them to the square… On the night of the Mawlid there are performances of nasheed after Maghrib in the citadel.”

This is the origin of this celebration on the occasion of the Prophet’s birthday. More recently idle entertainment, extravagance, and wasting of money and time have become associated with an innovation for which Allaah has not sent down any authority.

What Muslims should do is to revive the Sunnah and put an end to bid’ah (innovation); they should not do any action until they know the ruling of Allaah concerning it.
Ruling on celebrating the Prophet’s birthday

Celebrating the occasion of the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is forbidden and is to be rejected for a number of reasons:

1 – it is not part of the Sunnah of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or of the khaleefahs who succeeded him. Since this is the case, then it is a forbidden innovation, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I urge you to follow my Sunnah and the way of the rightly-guided khaleefahs after me; adhere to it and cling to it firmly. Beware of newly-invented things, for every newly-invented thing is an innovation (bid’ah) and every innovation is a going-astray.” (Narrated by Ahmad, 4/126; al-Tirmidhi no. 2676).

Celebrating the Mawlid is an innovation introduced by the Shi’a Faatimids after the three best centuries in order to corrupt the religion of the Muslims. If a person does anything in order to draw closer to Allaah which was not done by the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or enjoined by him, and was not done by the khaleefahs who succeeded him, this action implies that he is accusing the Messenger of not explaining the religion to the people, and that he disbelieves in the words of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning):

“This day, I have perfected your religion for you”
[al-Maa’idah 5:3]

because he is adding something extra and claiming that it is a part of the religion, but the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not bring this.
2 – Celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is an imitation of the Christians, because they celebrate the birth of the Messiah (peace be upon him). Imitating them is extremely haraam. The hadeeth tells us that it is forbidden to imitate the kuffaar, and we are commanded to differ from them. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them” (narrated by Ahmad, 2/50; Abu Dawood, 4/314). And he said, “Be different from the mushrikeen” (narrated by Muslim, 1/222, no. 259) – especially with regard to things that are the symbols or rituals of their religion.

3 – Besides being bid’ah and an imitation of the Christians, both of which are haraam, celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is also a means that leads to exaggeration and excess in venerating him, which even goes as far as calling upon him (making du’aa’ to him) and seeking his help, instead of calling upon Allaah, as happens now among many of those who observe the bid’ah of the Mawlid, when they call upon the Messenger instead of Allaah, and ask him for support, and sing qaseedahs (odes) of shirk praising him, like Qaseedat al-Burdah etc.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade going to extremes in praising him, as he said: “Do not extol as the Christians extolled the son of Maryam. For I am just His slave, so say, the slave of Allaah and His Messenger” (narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4/142, no. 3445; al-Fath, 6/551), i.e., do not exaggerate in praising me as the Christians exaggerated in praising the Messiah and venerated him until they worshipped him instead of Allaah. Allaah forbade them to do that when he said (interpretation of the meaning):

“O people of the Scripture (Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allaah aught but the truth. The Messiah ‘Eesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was (no more than) a Messenger of Allaah and His Word, (“Be!” — and he was) which He bestowed on Maryam (Mary) and a spirit (Rooh) created by Him”
[al-Nisaa’ 4:171]

Our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade us to exaggerate concerning him lest the same thing happen to us as happened to them, so he said: “Beware of exaggeration, for those who came before you were destroyed because of exaggeration” (narrated by al-Nasaa’i, 5/268; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan al-Nasaa’i, no. 2863).

4 – Observing the innovation of the Prophet’s birthday opens the door to other kinds of bid’ah and being distracted by them from the Sunnah. Hence you find that the innovators are very active when it comes to bid’ah and very lazy when it comes to the Sunnah; they hate it and regard those who follow it as enemies, until their entire religion is innovated anniversaries and Mawlids.

They have split into various groups, each of which commemorates the anniversary of its imaam’s birth, such as the births of al-Badawi, Ibn ‘Arabi, al-Dasooqi and al-Shaadhili. No sooner do they end the celebration of one birthday but they start the celebration of another. This results in exaggeration concerning these dead people and others, and in calling upon them instead of Allaah, believing that they can bring benefit and cause harm, until they deviate from the religion of Allaah and go back to the religion of the people of the Jaahiliyyah of whom Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And they worship besides Allaah things that harm them not, nor profit them, and they say: ‘These are our intercessors with Allaah’”
[Yoonus 10:18]

“And those who take Awliyaa’ (protectors, helpers, lords, gods) besides Him (say): ‘We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allaah’”
[al-Zumar 39:3]

Discussing the specious arguments of those who celebrate the Mawlid
Those who think that this bid’ah should be continued produce specious arguments which are flimsier than a spider’s web. These specious arguments may be dealt with as follows:

1 – Their claim that this is veneration of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him):
The response to that is that the way to venerate him is to obey him, do as he commanded and avoid that which he forbade, and to love him; he is not to be venerated through innovations, myths and sins. Celebrating his birthday is of this blameworthy type because it is a sin.

The people who venerated the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) the most were the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them), as ‘Urwah ibn Mas’ood said to Quraysh: “O people, by Allaah I have visited kings. I went to Caesar, Chosroes and the Negus, but by Allaah I never saw a king whose companions venerated him as much as the companions of Muhammad venerated Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

By Allaah, whenever he spat it never fell on the ground, it fell into into the hand of one his companions, then they wiped their faces and skins with it. If he instructed them to do something, they would hasten to do as he commanded. When he did wudoo’, they would almost fight over his water. When he spoke they would lower their voices in his presence; and they did not stare at him out of respect for him.” (al-Bukhaari, 3/178, no. 2731, 2732; al-Fath, 5/388). Yet despite this level of veneration, they never took the day of his birth as an ‘Eid (festival). If that had been prescribed in Islam they would not have neglected to do that.

2 – Using as evidence the fact that many people in many countries do this.
The response to that is that evidence consists of that which is proven from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and what is proven from the Prophet is that innovations are forbidden in general, and this is an innovation. What people do, if it goes against the evidence (daleel), does not prove anything, even if many of them do it.

“And if you obey most of those on the earth, they will mislead you far away from Allaah’s path”
[al-An’aam 6:116 – interpretation of the meaning]
Nevertheless, in every age, praise be to Allaah, there have always been those who denounce this bid’ah and state clearly that it is false. Those who persist in following it after the truth had been explained to them have no proof.

Among those who denounced the celebration of this occasion was Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah, in Iqtidaa’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem; Imaam al-Shaatibi in al-‘I’tisaam; Ibn al-Haaj in al-Madkhil; Shaykh Taaj al-Deen ‘Ali ibn ‘Umar al-Lakhami who wrote an entire book denouncing it; Shaykh Muhammad Basheer al-Sahsawaani al-Hindi in his book Siyaanah al-Insaan; al-Sayyid Muhammad Rasheed Ridaa wrote a separate essay on this topic; Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraaheem Aal al-Shaykh wrote a separate essay on it; Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz; and others who are still writing and denouncing this bid’ah every year in the pages of newspapers and magazines, at the time when this bid’ah is being done.

3 – They say that by celebrating the Mawlid they are keeping the memory of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) alive.

The answer to that is that the memory of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is constantly kept alive by the Muslim, such as when his name (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is mentioned in the adhaan and iqaamah and in khutbahs, and every time the Muslim recites the Shahaadatayn after doing wudoo’ and in the prayers, and every time he sends blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in his prayers and when he is mentioned, and every time the Muslim does a waajib (obligatory) or mustahabb (recommended) action that was prescribed by the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

In all of these ways (the Muslim) remembers him and the reward equivalent to the reward of the one who does that action goes back to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Thus the Muslim constantly keeps the memory of the Messenger alive and has a connection with him night and day throughout his life through that which Allaah has prescribed, not only on the day of the Mawlid and things which are bid’ah and go against the Sunnah, for that puts one at a distance from the Messenger(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the Messenger will disown him because of that.

Note: The views expressed herein are not reflecting to this author or malawimuslim.com as we have indicated that the article is from Islam Q & A. Our aim is to let you know and informed.

The Messenger

Source: Islam Q & A

9 COMMENTS

  1. On giving rulings on Islamic activities and practices we have to be careful and focus on what Islamic law says about those practices. Islamic law divides human activities into: fard or wajib (duty or obligatory) __ performance of these actions are rewarded and their omission is punished. Man'dub (recommended actions ) __ the performance of which is rewarded but omission of which is not punished. Mubah (Silent) __ actions permitted by silence whereby there is no reward given if practiced and no punishment is given if not practiced. Makruh (Disliked) __actions disapproved but not punished. Haram (forbidden__ actions punishable by law.

    We have to know that the scholars and experts in Islamic law have made the Shariah easier to understand and practice by explaining the Islamic laws based on the Quran and Sunnah because Islam is a simple and easier religion as the Prophet peace be upon Him said. The rulings of some Islamic practices and activities are clear in the Quran and the Sunnah. And we have to know that the Islamic scholars differ on giving rulings on Islamic activities and practices where by guidance from the Quran and the Sunnah is not directly available.

    The Islamic scholars gave their rulings on celebrating on the birthday of the Prophet peace be upon Him. Many scholars allowed this practice and taught how to celebrate on this day while some scholars made it an illegal practice so it is wrong to judge that this practice is prohibited because there no clear proof of it being prohibited from the Quran and Sunnah. Am not against your ruling you gave on this practice but you have to know that Islamic scholars differ on its ruling. And you have to know that Muslims all over the world celebrate on the birthday of the Prophet and according to your rule, should we say that millions of Muslims who perform this practice are going to be punished? because haram (forbidden) actions are punishable by law. And in your ruling you did not come with proofs from Quran and Sunnah to show that this practice is prohibited.

    • There is nothing in the Quran to say that we should celebrate the Mawlid or birthday of the prophet (pbh). The prophet himself (pbh) did not do this or command anyone to do it, either during his lifetime or after his death. Indeed, he told them not to exaggerate about him as the Christians had exaggerated about the son of Maryam. Iam only a slave of Allah so say 'the slave of Allah and His messenger.' reported by al-Bukhaari.

      Moreove we know that sahaabah were the people who loved the prophet most. Was it reported that Abu Bakr, who was the closest of the people to him and the one who loved him the most celebrated the birthday of the prophet? Was it reported that Umar, who ruled for 12 years or Uthmaam, did this? Was it reported Ali, his relative and foster son, did this? Was it reported that any one of the sahabah did this? By Allah, No! Should we say that they were not aware of its importance, or did they not truly love the prophet?

      Were imbms-Abu Haneefah, Maalik, al-Basri, Ibn Seereen, done this or say it was good? It was even not mentioned during the first and best three centuries.

  2. In the name of Allah the merciful the compassionate, let me first thank Brother Dyton for bringing this very important and contemporary issue that concerns the Muslim community of today, and secondly thank Brother Chibwana for your very good and educative comment to Brother Dyton's Article.

    As a matter of fact it is really very important to put into consideration when making rulings on matters concerning the Religion (Islam). I agree with both of you of what you have said above,it is very important co differentiate these words:Haram,Halal,Wajib,Man'dub,Mubah,Makruh, and when to use them.

    For what Brother Chibwana said celebrating the birthday of the Prophet from my point of view and according to what Imams say on this it is not wrong ,what is wrong here is the way we celebrate the birthday of the Prophet (pbuh) that forces others to say this celebration is Haram, why is not Haram to celebrate one's birthday? and be it haram to celebrate the birth of the prophet (pbuh).

    To Brother Dyton what you have said is right the prophet nor the Sahabas never celebrated the birth of the prophet (pbuh) the way we celebrate today, if we can talk about innovations in Islam there is a lot of thing that we do, and Prophet Muhammad did not do nor commanded his followers to perform them. Prophet (pbuh) said:Washarrul Umoor muhdathatuha,wakulla bid'atin dhalala wakulla dhalalatin fi nnar…(swahih Muslim)

    Translation of the above Hadith, Every innovation is a misguidance and every misguidance goes to the hell fire. Imams differed on this there is other who classify innovations into two classes Good or Bad innovations.

    In conclusion to all what I have said I see that both of you are right of what you have said in your comments, I would like also to beg both of you to read the Article published on the web site, under the headline BIDI'A (INNOVATION IN ISLAM) for more information on the topic discussed.Allah knows best.

    • What you have to know is that this innovations came after first and three best centuries when the feature of the religion was vanished and bidah was widespread. Should we say that those people of that best centuries which prophet (pbh) said: 'the best people are of my century.' not aware of its importance? What about sahabas, imaams, should we say they were not aware of this than the people of this century?

      Brother Maulidi, there is no good and bad bidah in Islam. Remember, every bidah leads to astray and the result of astray is hell fire.

      Prophet (pbh) also told us that Islam is a complete religion, then how can some add some things which are not lawful?

      He also said that whoever brings a good SUNNAH will be rewarded. So is bidah a sunnah although with an excuse of saying good? Sunah must be agreed by Quran.

      And we have also to be careful when doing ths, look at Christians the way they loved Jesus, it came to the point that to call him son of God and others even calls him god.

  3. If there is nothing in the Quran or Sunnah to say that we should celebrate the birthday of the prophet pbuh, is there anything in these two sources of Islamic law saying that this practice is prohibited by law and that those who perfom this practice are sinners, wrong doors and dwellers of hell fire because of practing a prohibited act? If yes, why you did not bring those verses and ahadith that prohibit this action to make your ruling strong because nobody can argue with the Quranic verse or a prophetic tradition if it is accurate and far from falsification.

    It is true that the sahaba were the people who loved the prophet most and nobody can argue with that, but if it was not reported that the four rightly guided caliphs celebrated the birthday of the prophet, is it reported that these Sahabas prohibited it? I think you have come out with a ruling that celebrating the birthday of the prophet is prohibited or haram by law but you did not strengthen your judgement with any proof from the Qur'an, the Sunnah or the sunnah of the four guided caliphs and your proofs on this issue are thoughtful and philosophical.

    If celebrating the birthday of the prophet is innovation (bid'at), what kind of innovation is it? Because Islamic scholars divided bid'at into five groups: obligatory, recommended, silent, disliked and prohibited. You have to visit and read carefuly the books of Islamic scholars and see what they wrote on some controversial issues like celebrating on the birth of the Prophet peace be upon him, the meaning of innovation and the like and see what different scholars ruled and explained about these issues.

    I think this website is created to favor Muslims all over the world and what you should know is that Islam is one but Muslims differ in understanding some issues where clear guide from Quran or Hadith is not available. So coming with a ruling on side in this issue is wrong. The best way is that you would have brought rulings on both sides because if you have prohibited it, you have to know that there many scholars who permited it and they have their proofs. And my advice to you is that if you really want to benefit the Muslims through this website try to be silent on controversial Islamic issues. I ask Almighty Allah to bless us with knowledge and wisdom in understanding Islam and that we should not make it tough and bitter to swallow for its followers because it is simple and easier!!!!.

    • Jazakallah khair brother Chibwana. It is true that it is not good to judge and we should leave the judgement in the hands of Allah who knows best!

      But on remaining silence about controversial issues is not possible but rather we should write an article which will accommodate all sides and open comment session to let anybody comment the way he look or know it.

      Like this topic alot of people have benefited from your comments same as me. This good and is what we need because there are other people who dont want to give their views on topics like these. May Allah bless you and your advising have been taken into our consideration and will let us to improve our site. Ameen! Please visit the site frequently and sign up to be notified when new article has been posted.

  4. O! Brothers what a beneficial discussion is this! let me start with brother Dyton for your say that there is no good and bad Bidi'a (innovation) in Islam then you are contradicting your self,if you look around your self and see how many things you do or material you use on your every day life you will find that there is a lot of things that we use both in our deen and in our life that was not there at the time of Prophet (pbuh) and the time of Sahaba (ra) and the time of Tabieen and the Salaf'swaaleh. If you claim that there is no good and bad Bidi'a (innovation) in Deen what would say on the gathering of the Holy book (Qur'an) and the Harakat? was this job done by the Prophet him self or by others? and what would you call this action is it bad or good deed? Yes Prophet (pbuh) said in Hadith that I have left for you two thing that if you uphold them you will never go astray the Qur'an and the Tradition (Hadith) of Muhammad (pbuh) this does not necessarily mean that we can not take the views of Imams and the Salaf Swaleh as long as their views does not contradict the Qur'an and the Sunnah.

    For Brother Chibwana as I have already said I will just repeat it to make it clear that celebrating the birthday of the Prophet is not wrong but the way we celebrate it, I will give you an example on how people celebrate this occasion here at home they spent a lot of money that would help the needy Muslims who can not afford even the meal of the single day while others spends millions of Kwachas celebrating the birthday of the Prophet, I think from this point of view others rule it out. And the fact that the aim of the site is to help all Muslims regardless of their groups I think its a good idea and i support it, but I differ with you on what you have said that the site better keep quit on controversial topics I think its not a better solution, I think we better bring them here and discuss and see the other side of the opinion through that am sure a lot will benefit than just leave it, an example of this is your comments I my self have benefited a lot.

    I ask Allah to grant us with helpful knowledge, Aameen!

  5. Brother Hussein, I thank you very much for the comment from which the conclusion has boosted our knowledge. I want to point on what I have quoted from this discussion; as Brother Marshall has said, quiting these kind of issues in Islam is not the best way of giving solutions to what we don’t know. Islam will never be understood if we do that. Of course this issue still shakes heads of big scholars up to now, but they have never stopped writing, preaching and teaching about it. What we need to know is that this place (malawimuslim.com), is the only place to discuss matters like these.

    Once again I thank Brother for bringing this topic, and I would advise my fellow authors to bring topics that will need discussions like this one, because through discussions, we learn.

  6. Thank you very much for this insight topic.In June this year, I visited Malawi and spent atleast 2 weeks in Mangochi. one thing I noticed was that the muslims that side were holding the so called Ziyarat which according to them marks the birhday of the Prothet Muhammad (SAW).

    My questionand request at the same time is; why cant you people sensitize people in these areas. because I bealive the majority of these people have no access to the internet and even if it was accessible, they are not computer literate which means they can not read and appreciate these discussions. the best you can do is to hold dawah and inform them about this bidi'at

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