Ruling on Celebrating Prophet’s Birthday

Ruling on Celebrating Prophet’s Birthday

by | Feb 22, 2021 | Bidah - Innovations and innovators | 0 comments

INNOVATION ALERT: Eed Milaad an-Nabee

12 Rabee’ al-Awwal

Shaikh Uthaimeen, may Allaah have mercy on him said, “Taking the night of the [Prophet’s] birthday [صلى الله عليه وسلم] as a celebration [eed], repeated every year in which the virtues of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم are mentioned and [differing] characteristics and forms of salaah are innovated [is something which] is not from his guidance, nor his sharee’ah, nor the guidance of his Companions–and this innovation is an abominable act [munkar] which it is obligatory upon the Muslims to be on their guard against and to be distant from.”

Fataawaa Nurun ala-Darb, CD.

 

Ruling on Celebrating Prophet’s Birthday
with Scholarly Refutation of the arguments brought by those who support it.
By Shaykh Dr. Saalih ibn Fawzaan al-Fawzaan (hafidhahullaah)

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 (subhanahu wa ta’aala) and His Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), 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 (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) 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 (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) 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 does 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 (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) 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 (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), 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 (subhanahu wa ta’aala) has not sent down any authority.

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What Muslims should do is revive the Sunnah and put an end to bid’ah (innovation); they should not do any action until they know the ruling of Allaah (subhanahu wa ta’aala) concerning it.

Reasons for the Forbiddance of celebrating the Prophet’s birthday

Celebrating the occasion of the birthday of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) is forbidden and is to be rejected for a number of reasons:

1 – It is not part of the Sunnah of the Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) or of the khaleefahs who succeeded him. Since this is the case, then it is a forbidden innovation, because the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) 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 (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) 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 (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) did not bring this.

2 – Celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) 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 (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) 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 (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) 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 (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) 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.”
[an-Nisaa’ 4:171]

Our Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) 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]

 

Refuting 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:

[First Doubt] – Their claim that this is veneration of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam):

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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 (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) the most were the Sahaabah (radiallaahu ‘anhum), 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 (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). 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.

[Second Doubt] – Using as evidence the fact that many people in many countries do this.

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The response to that is that evidence consists of that which is proven from the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), 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]

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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.

[Third Doubt] – They say that by celebrating the Mawlid they are keeping the memory of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) alive.

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The answer to that is that the memory of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) is constantly kept alive by the Muslim, such as when his name (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) 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 (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) 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 (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). 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 (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). 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 (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and the Messenger will disown him because of that.

The Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has no need of this innovated celebration, because Allaah has already bestowed veneration and respect upon him, as He says: “and raised high your fame.” [al-Sharh 94:4]

For Allaah is not mentioned in the adhaan, iqaamah or khutbah, except that the Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) is mentioned after Him; this is sufficient veneration, love and renewal of his memory, and sufficient encouragement to follow him.

Allaah did not refer to the birth of the Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) in the Qur’aan, rather He referred to his Mission, and says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Indeed, Allaah conferred a great favour on the believers when He sent among them a Messenger (Muhammad) from among themselves.”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:124]

“He it is Who sent among the unlettered ones a Messenger (Muhammad) from among themselves.” [al-Jumu’ah 64:2]

[Fourth Doubt] – They may say that the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday was introduced by a knowledgeable and just king who intended thereby to draw closer to Allaah.

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Our response to that is that bid’ah is not acceptable, no matter who does it. A good intention does not justify a bad deed and even if a person died as a knowledgeable and righteous person, this does not mean that he was infallible.

[Fifth Doubt] – They say that celebrating the mawlid comes under the heading of bid’ah hasanah (“good innovation”) because it is based on giving thanks to Allaah for the Prophet!

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Our response to that is that there is nothing good in innovation. The Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) 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; al-Fath, 5/355). And he said, “Every innovation is a going astray.” (Narrated by Ahmad, 4/126; al-Tirmidhi, no. 2676). The ruling on innovations is that they are all misguidance, but this specious argument suggests that not every bid’ah is a going astray, rather there are good innovations.

Al-Haafiz ibn Rajab said in Sharh al-Arba’een: “The words of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), ‘every innovation is a going astray’ is a concise but comprehensive comment which includes everything; it is one of the most important principles of religion. It is like his words ‘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, 3/167, no. 2697; al-Fath, 5/355). Whoever innovates anything and attributes it to Islam when it has no basis in the religion, this is a going astray and is nothing to do with Islam, whether that has to do with matters of belief (‘aqeedah) or outward and inward words and deeds.” (Jaami’ al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hakam, p. 233)

These people have no proof that there is any such thing as a “good innovation” apart from the words of ‘Umar (radiallaahu ‘anhu) concerning Taraaweeh prayers, “What a good innovation this is.” (Saheeh al-Bukhaari, 2/252, no. 2010 mu’allaqan; al-Fath 4/294).

They also said that things were innovated which were not denounced by the salaf, such as compiling the Qur’aan into one volume and writing and compiling the hadeeth.

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The response to that is that these matters had a basis in Islam, so they were not newly-invented.

‘Umar said: “What a good bid’ah” meaning innovation in the linguistic sense, not in the shar’i sense. Whatever has a basis in Islam, if it is described as an innovation, is an innovation in the linguistic sense, not in the shar’i sense, because innovation in the shar’i sense means that which has no basis in Islam.

Compiling the Qur’aan into one book has a basis in Islam, because the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) had commanded that the Qur’aan be written down, but it was scattered, so the Sahaabah compiled it in one volume so as so protect and preserve it.

The Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) led his companions in praying Taraaweeh for a while, then he stopped doing that, lest that become obligatory on them. The Sahaabah (radiallaahu ‘anhum) continued to pray it separately during the life of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and after his death, until ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (radiallaahu ‘anhu) gathered them behind one imaam as they used to pray behind the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). This was not an innovation introduced into the religion.

Writing down the hadeeth also has a basis in Islam. The Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) ordered that some ahaadeeth should be written down for some of his companions when they asked him for that. In general terms writing it down during his lifetime was not allowed, for fear that the Qur’aan might be mixed with things that were not part of it. When the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) died, this fear was no longer a factor, because the Qur’aan had been completed and arranged in order before he died. The Muslims compiled the Sunnah after that in order to preserve it and keep it from being lost. May Allaah reward them with good on behalf of Islam and the Muslims, because they preserved the Book of their Lord and the Sunnah of their Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) from being lost or being tampered with.

We may also say to them: why was this act of thanksgiving, as they call it, not done by the best generations, the Sahaabah, Taabi’een and followers of the Taabi’een, who loved the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) most and who were most keen to do good and give thanks? Are those who introduced the innovation of the Mawlid more rightly-guided than them? Do they give more thanks to Allaah? Definitely not!


[Sixth Doubt]
– They may say that celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) is indicative of their love for him; this is one way of showing that, and showing love of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) is prescribed in Islam!

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The answer to that is that undoubtedly loving the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) is obligatory for every Muslim; he should love him more than he loves himself, his child, his father and all the people – may my father and mother be sacrificed for him – but that does not mean that we should introduce innovations for doing so that have not been prescribed for us. Loving him dictates that we should obey him and follow him, for that is one of the greatest manifestations of love, as it is said:

“If your love is sincere then obey him; for the lover obeys the one whom he loves.”

Loving the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) implies keeping his Sunnah alive, adhering firmly to it, and avoiding words and deeds that go against it. Undoubtedly everything that goes against his Sunnah is a reprehensible innovation (bid’ah) and a manifest act of disobedience. That includes celebrating his birthday and other kinds of bid’ah. A good intention does not mean that it is permissible to introduce innovations into the religion. Islam is based on two things, purity of intention and following [the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam)]. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Yes, but whoever submits his face (himself) to Allaah (i.e. follows Allaah’s religion of Islamic Monotheism) and he is a Muhsin (a doer of good) then his reward is with his Lord (Allaah), on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” [al-Baqarah 2:112]

Submitting one’s face to Allaah means being sincere towards Allaah, and doing good means following the Messenger and implementing the Sunnah.

[Seventh Doubt] – Another of their specious arguments is when they say that by celebrating the Mawlid and reading the biography of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) on this occasion, they are encouraging people to follow his example!

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We say to them that reading the biography of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and following his example are required of the Muslim all the time, all year long and throughout his life. Singling out a specific day for that with no evidence for doing so is an innovation, and every innovation is a going astray.” (Narrated by Ahmad, 4/164; al-Tirmidhi, 2676). Bid’ah does not bear any fruit but evil and it leads to a person distancing himself from the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam).

In conclusion, celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), whatever form it takes, is a reprehensible innovation. The Muslims should put a stop to this and other kinds of bid’ah, and occupy themselves with reviving and adhering to the Sunnah. They should not be deceived by those who promote and defend this bid’ah, for these types of people are more interested in keeping innovations alive than in reviving the Sunnah; they may not even care about the Sunnah at all. Whoever is like this, it is not permissible to imitate him or follow his example, even if the majority of people are like this. Rather we should follow the example of those who follow the path of the Sunnah, among the righteous salaf and their followers, even if they are few. Truth is not measured by the men who speak it, rather men are measured by the truth.

The Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whoever among you lives (for a long time) will see many differences. I urge you to follow my Sunnah and the way of the rightly-guided khaleefahs who come after me. Hold on to it firmly. Beware of newly-invented matters, for every innovation is a going astray.” (Narrated by Ahmad, 4/126; al-Tirmidhi no. 2676). So the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) explained to us in this hadeeth what we should do when there are differences of opinion, just as he explained that everything that goes against his Sunnah, be it words or deeds, is a bid’ah, and every bid’ah is a going astray.

If we see that there is no basis for celebrating the birthday of the Prophet, whether in the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) or in the way of the rightly-guided khaleefahs, then it is one of the newly-invented matters, one of the bid’ahs which lead people astray. This principle is what is implied by this hadeeth and is what is indicated by the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):

“O you who believe! Obey Allaah and obey the Messenger (Muhammad), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allaah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allaah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.” [al-Nisaa’ 4:59]

Referring to Allaah means referring to His Book, and referring to the Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) means referring to his Sunnah after he has passed away. The Qur’aan and Sunnah are the reference point in cases of dispute. Where in the Qur’aan or Sunnah does it indicate that it is prescribed in Islam to celebrate the Prophet’s birthday? Whoever does that or thinks that it is good must repent to Allaah from this and from other kinds of bid’ah. This is the attitude of the Muslim who is seeking the truth. But whoever is too stubborn and arrogant after proof has been established, then his reckoning will be with his Lord.

We ask Allaah to help us adhere to His Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) until the Day when we will meet Him. May Allaah grant blessings and peace to our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions.

Source: Huqooq al-Nabi (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) bayna al-Ijlaal wa’l-Ikhlaal, p. 139.

Shaykh Dr. Saalih ibn Fawzaan al-Fawzaan, Member of the Committee of Senior Scholars, Saudi Arabia.

 

 

 

 

 

Shaikh Al-Albani
Celebrating the noble birthday of the Prophet, is it good or evil?

Questioner
[It is] good.

Shaikh Al-Albani
Okay.  This good – were the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, and his Companions ignorant of it?

Questioner
No.

Shaikh Al-Albani
I am not satisfied now with you saying no.  Rather it is obligatory upon you to proceed and say: It is impossible for this good – if it is good – or other than it to be hidden from the Prophet, sallalaahu alaihi wa sallam, and his Companions specifically since we do not know Islaam except by way of Muhammad, sallalaahu alaihi wa sallam – so how do we know some good which he did not?!  This is impossible.

Questioner
Establishing the celebration of the Prophetic birthday is a revival of his remembrance, sallalaahu alaihi wa sallam, and in that is honour for him.

Shaikh Al-Albani
This philosophising is something we are acquainted with.  We hear it from many people and have read it in their books.  But when the Prophet, sallalaahu alaihi wa sallam, called people did he call them to all of Islaam or to Tawhid?

Questioner
Tawhid.

Shaikh Al-Albani
The first thing he called them to was Tawhid. After that the prayers were made compulsory.  After that fasting was made compulsory.  After that Hajj was made compulsory and so on.  Therefore, you [too] should proceed, step by step, according to this prescribed Sunnah.  We have now agreed that it is impossible that there can be some good with us which the Prophet, sallalaahu alaihi wa sallam, did not know.  [Since] we have come to know all good by way of the Prophet, sallalaahu alaihi wa sallam. No two people will differ about this and no two ram’s will strike horns over this.  And I believe that whoever doubts this then he is not a Muslim.  From the sayings of the Prophet, sallalaahu alaihi wa sallam, that support this are his, sallalaahu alaihi wa sallam, saying, “I have not left anything which will bring you closer to Allaah except that I have ordered you with it.” [Reported by at-Tabaraani, authentic, refer to Asl Sifatis-Salaatin-Nabee, vol. 3, p. 942]

So if celebrating his birthday was good and was something which would bring us closer to Allaah then it is befitting that the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, should have directed us to it.

Correct or not?  I do not want you to agree with me without being totally convinced about every letter I say.  And you have total freedom to say, ‘Please, I am not convinced with this point.’  So is there anything that you are not convinced with so far or are you with me?

Questioner
With you totally.

Shaikh Al-Albani
May Allaah reward you with good.  So [the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, said], “I have not left anything which will bring you closer to Allaah except that I have ordered you with it.”

We say to all those who claim that it is permissible to hold this celebration – this celebration is good – according to you, therefore either the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, has directed us to it or he has not directed us to it.  So if they say: he has directed us to it.  We say: Bring your proof if you are truthful.  And they will never ever find a way to be able to do that.  And we have read the writings of Alawi and other than Alawi regarding this and they do not use as proof anything except the saying that this is a good innovation!! [bid’ah hasanah]  This is a good innovation!!

All people, whether it is those who celebrate the birthday or those who denounce this celebration – all of them agree that this celebration was not present in the time of the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, nor the time of the Noble Companions and nor the time of the eminent scholars.  But those who allow this celebration say: And what is there that occurs in this celebration?  It is remembrance of the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, and the sending of salutations upon him and so on!  So we say:  If it was good they would have preceded us in it.  You know the saying of the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, “The best of people is my generation then the ones who follow them then the ones who follow them.” [Reported by Bukhaari, Muslim, Tirmidhee and Ibn Maajah].

And this hadith is reported in the two Sahih’s [Bukhari and Muslim].  And his generation, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, is the one he and his Companions lived in.  Then the ones who followed them are the Taabi’een. Then the ones who followed them are the Atbaa’ut-Taabi’een (the followers of the Taabi’een).  There is also no dispute in this.  So can you imagine that there is any good which we could have preceded them in, in both knowledge and action?  Is that possible?

Questioner
As for knowledge, if the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, had said to anyone in his time that the Earth spins …

Shaikh Al-Albani
I’m sorry.  I would prefer you do not sidetrack.  Since I asked you about two things: knowledge and action.  And in reality, what you just said has benefited me – since naturally when referring to knowledge I am referring to religious [shar’ee] knowledge not medicine, for example.  I can say that a doctor here is more knowledgeable than Ibn Sina in his time, because he came generations later, and he has had much much more experience and practice – but this does not prove his virtue before Allaah and nor does it put him before the generations that were given witness to [in the above mentioned hadith].  But it does prove his virtue in the knowledge [field] which he knows.  And we are speaking about ordained [shar’ee] knowledge, may Allaah bless you.  So it is obligatory that we pay attention to this.  When I say to you: do you believe that it is possible that we can be more knowledgeable, I am referring to religious [shar’ee] knowledge not knowledge gained through experience like geography, astronomy, chemistry or physics.  Suppose, for example, in this time there is a disbeliever in Allaah and His Messenger, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, but he is the most knowledgeable of all people in these sciences, will that bring him closer to Allaah?

Questioner
No

Shaikh Al-Albani
Thus we are not talking now about knowledge in those fields, rather we are talking about that knowledge by which we want to get closer to Allaah, the Blessed and Most High.  And a short while ago we were talking about the celebration of the birthday of the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam. So the question now returns, and I hope that I will obtain a clear answer without any sidetracking again.  So I say: do you believe, with what you have been given of intellect and understanding, that it is possible for us – and we are at the end of time – that we can be more knowledgeable than the Companions and the students of the Companions [Taabi’een] and the Mujtahid Imaams in religious [shar’ee] knowledge, and that we can be faster in doing good actions and getting closer to Allaah than these righteous predecessors?

Questioner
By religious knowledge do you mean exegis [tafsir] of the Quraan?

Shaikh Al-Albani
They are more knowledgeable than us regarding tafsir of the Quran; they are more knowledgeable than us regarding explanations of the sayings of the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam – at the end of the day they are more knowledgeable than us regarding the entire Shari’ah of Islaam.

Questioner
Regarding tafsir of the Quran, maybe in this time it is more than in the time of the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam. For example, the Quranic aayah:

And you will see the mountains and think them solid, but they shall pass away as the passing away of the clouds. The Work of Allaah, Who perfected all things. Verily! He is Well-Acquainted with what you do.

If the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, had said to anyone in his time that the Earth spins on its axis would anyone have believed him?  No one would have believed him.

Shaikh Al-Albani
So you want us – and I say this without blaming you – to record another sidetrack against you?  O my brother, I am asking about knowledge on the whole, not a part of that knowledge, we are asking a general question.

Islaam as a whole, who is more knowledgeable about it?

Questioner
Of course, the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, and his Companions.

Shaikh Al-Albani
This is what we want from you, may Allaah bless you.  As for the tafsir you are referring to, it has no connection to action.  It has a connection with pondering and understanding.  And we have already spoken with you about the previous aayah and we have established that for you that those who quote this aayah as a proof that the Earth spins are mistaken.  Because the aayah is referring to the Day of Judgement:

On the Day when the earth will be changed to another earth and so will be the heavens, and they (all creatures) will appear before Allaah, the One, the Irresistible.

In any case, we are not talking about this subject.  By way of argument, I will agree with you that there could be a man from those who came after who has more sceintific knowledge or more knowledge of the natural sciences than a Companion or a student of the Companion and so on.  But this has no connection to righteous actions.  Since today, for example, the disbelievers are more knowledgeable in astronomy and its like than us but what do they benefit from that?  Nothing.  So we do not want to delve into this thing now.  We want to talk about that which will bring us closer to Allaah.  We now want to talk about the noble birthday of the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam.

And we had agreed that if it was good then our Pious Predecessors [As-Salaf As-Saalih] and at the head of them the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, would have been more knowledgeable about it than us and faster in acting upon it than us.  Is there any doubt in this?

Questioner
No, there is no doubt in it.

Shaikh Al-Albani
Then do not exceed this boundary now [delving into] matters from experential knowledge that have no connection with getting closer to Allaah, the Most High, with righteous actions.  This celebration was not present in the time of the Messenger, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam – by the agreement of all – so this ‘good’ was not present in the time of the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, or the Companions or their students or the Imaams!  So how was this good hidden from them?!

We are forced to say either one of two things.

1) They knew this good like we know it – and they are more knowledgeable than us – or they did not know it: then how do we know it?

So if we were to say, they knew it – and this saying is closer and better as regards the ones who uphold the legitimacy of celebrating the birthday – then why didn’t they act upon it?  Are we closer to Allaah [than them]?

Why didn’t a single one from them make a mistake even once – a Companion, or a taabi’ee or a scholar from them or a worshipper – [why didn’t a single one make a mistake] and act upon this ‘good.’!?

Does it enter your mind that not a single one had acted upon this good – and they were millions in number?!  And they were more knowledgeable than us and better than us and closer to Allaah?!  You know the saying of the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, “Do not abuse my Companions.  For by the One who has Muhammd’s souls in His Hands, if one of you were to spend the like of Mount Uhud in gold, it would not equal a mudd of one of them or even half of it.” [Reported by Bukhaari and Muslim]

Do you see the level of difference between us and them?

Because they strove in the Way of Allaah, the Most High, with the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam. And they recieved knowledge from him fresh and new without all of these numerous intermediaries that are between us and him, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam. As he indicated, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, in the authentic hadith, “Whoever loves to read the Quran ‘ghadan tariyaa’ then let him read according to the reading of Ibn Umm Abd.” [Reported by Ibn Maajah, no. 138, authentic]

Namely, Ibn Mas’ood.  ‘Ghadan tariyaa’ means fresh and new.

These Pious Predecessors and at the head of them the Companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, it is not possible for us to imagine that they were ignorant of some good which would bring them closer to Allaah and it is we [not them] who have come to know it!  And if we say they knew like we know then it is impossible for us to imagine that they neglected this good.

Maybe this has clarified the point that I am talking about, inshaa Allaah?

Questioner
Alhamdulillaah

Shaikh Al-Albani
May Allaah reward you with good.  There is something else.  There are many verses and sayings of the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, which clarify that Islaam has been completed.  And I think this is a reality you are aware of and believe in.  There is no difference between a scholar, a student of knowledge or even a commoner on this point – which is, that Islaam has been completed and that it is not like the religion of the Jews and the Christians which changes and is replaced daily.

And I remind you of the saying of Allaah, the Most High:

This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islaam as your religion.

Now comes the question – and this is from another angle, different to what preceded, to show that celebrating the birthday is not good – and that is that if it was good they would have preceded us in it and they – namely the Pious Predecessors – are more knowledgeable than us and worshipped more than us.  This celebration of the Prophet’s birthday, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, if it is good then it is from Islaam.  So we say:  Do all of us, both from those who deny this celebration and from those who uphold it, are we all in agreement as we were on the previous point that this celebration was not present in the time of the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam – are we all [still] in agreement [on this second point] that this celebration, if it is good, then it is from Islaam and that if it is not good it is not from Islaam?

And the day this aayah was revealed:

This day, I have perfected your religion for you …

[The day it was revealed] there was no celebration of the Prophetic birthday.  So is it part of the religion according to you?!

I want you to be totally frank with me.  And do not think that I am from the Shaikhs who silence the students or even the common folk, saying: Be quiet!  You do not know, you do not know!  No, you are totally free, as though you are talking to a person like yourself or even less than you in age and knowledge.  If you are not convinced then say: I am not convinced.

So now, if the celebration is from good then it is from Islaam and if it is not good then it is not from Islaam.  When we agree that the celebration of the birthday was not present when the aforementioned aayah was revealed, then it is very logical [to say] that it is not from Islaam.

And I will confirm what I am saying with more from the Imaam of the place of Hijra [Madinah] Imaam Maalik ibn Anas, who said, “Whoever introduces an innovation into Islaam – note how he said a single innovation not innovations – seeing it as something good then he has assumed that Muhammad, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, betrayed Prophethood.”

And this is a very dangerous affair – what is you proof O Imaam [Maalik]!

Imaam Maalik said, “Read, if you wish, the saying of Allaah, the Most High:

This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islaam as your religion.

So what was not religion that day is not religion today.”  End of his words.

When did Imaam Maalik say this?  In the second century after the hijrah – one of the generations that had been testified for as having good!  So what about now in the fourteenth century?

This is speech that should be written in gold.  But we are heedless of the Book of Allaah, the Most High, and the sayings of the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, and the sayings of the Imaams that we presume we are following, how very far, how very far.  And the difference between us and them in following is like the difference between the East and the West.

This is the Imaam of the place to which the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, migrated [Madinah] he is saying in a clear Arabic tongue: “So what was not religion that day is not religion today.”

Today celebrating the birthday of the Prophetic birthday is religion, and if it were not then this dispute would not be taking place between scholars clinging to the Sunnah and defending [the religion] against innovations.  How can this be religion when it was not present in the time of the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, nor in the time of the Companions nor in the time of the Taabi’een nor in the time of the followers of the Taabi’een?!

Imaam Maalik is from the Atbaa’ut-Taabi’een and he is from amongst the ones mentioned in the hadith, “The best of generations is my generation then those who follow them then those who follow them.”

Imaam Maalik says: So what was not religion that day is not religion today.  And the last of this nation will not be rectified except with that which the first of it was rectified.

What was the first of this Nation rectified with?  By innovating matters into the religion and trying to get closer to Allaah, the Most High, with things that the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, did not do?!

The Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, said, “I have not left anything that will bring you closer to Allaah except that I have ordered you with it.”

Why didn’t Allaah’s Messenger, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, order us to celebrate his birthday?  This is a question and it has an answer.  There is a [different] celebration of the prophetic birthday contrary to this celebration which is not legislated.  This legislated celebration was present in the time of Allaah’s Messenger, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, as opposed to the unlegislated one, along with the huge difference which also exists between the two.

The first of those differences is that the legislated celebration [which will soon be mentioned] is worship which is agreed upon by all of the Muslims.  Secondly, the legislated celebration reoccurs once every single week whereas their unlegislated celebration only occurs once a year.

These are the two distinguishing matters between the two birthday celebrations – namely, that the first is worship and reoccurs every week as opposed to the unlegislated one which is neither worship and nor does it reoccur every week.

And I am not just saying anything on a whim for which Allaah has revealed no authority.  Rather I will relay a saying of the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, to you which is reported in Sahih Muslim, may Allaah have mercy upon him [Imaam Muslim].  From Abu Qatada Al-Ansari who said

A man came to the Messenger, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, and said, “O Messenger of Allaah!  What do you say about the fast of Monday?”  So he said, That is the day on which I was born.  And the Quran was revealed upon me in it.” [Reported by Abu Dawud (no., 2097), authentic, and others]

What is the meaning of this?  It is as though he, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, is saying:

How can you ask me about it and Allaah brought me out to life on that day and sent down revelation to me on that day also?  Namely, it is befitting that you fast on Mondays as thanks to Allaah, the Most High, for creating me on that day and for sending down revelation to me on it.

And this is similar to the fast of the Jews on the day of Aashoora.  And perchance you know that before the obligation to fast the month of Ramadhan fasting on the day of Aashoora was the obligation on the Muslims.  And there occurs in some sayings of the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, that when he migrated to Madinah he found the Jews fasting the Day of Aashoora.  So he asked them about that and they replied saying that this is the day that Allaah saved Moosaa and his people from Pharaoh, so we fast on it as thanks to Allaah.  So he, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, said, “We have more right to Moosaa than you.” [Reported byBukhaari and Muslim]

So he fasted that day and ordered fasting on that day so it became obligatory until Allaah sent down His Saying:

The month of Ramadaan in which was revealed the Qur’aan, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadaan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe fasts.

Thereafter fasting on the Day of Aashoora became a Sunnah and the obligation was abrogated.  The proof from this is that the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, participated with the Jews in fasting the Day of Aashoora as thanks to Allaah, the Most High, that He saved Moses from Pharaoh.  So the door of thanks has also been opened for us by fasting on Mondays because it was the day on which Allaah’s Messenger, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, was born and it was the day when revelation came down upon him.

Now I ask you: these people who celebrate the [unlegislated] birthday which we know has no good in it – I know that a lot of these people fast on Mondays just as they fast on Thursdays.  But do you see most of the Muslims fasting on Mondays?

No, they do not fast on Mondays, however most of the Muslims celebrate the Prophetic birthday once every year!  Isn’t this a reversal of the reality?  The saying of Allaah, the Most High, to the Jews is true regarding these people:

Would you exchange that which is better for that which is lower?

This is good – i.e., fasting which is agreed upon by all of the Muslims – fasting on Mondays.  Yet, in spite of that, most of the Muslims do not fast it.  So now we turn our attention to the ones who do fast it [and ask]:

Do they know the secret behind fasting on that day?  No, they do not know.

So where are the scholars who defend the [unlegislated] celebration – why don’t they tell the people that fasting on Mondays is the legislated celebration of the birthday and encourage them upon it instead of defending the celebration that has not been prescribed?!

And Allaah, the Most High, spoke the truth:

Would you exchange that which is better for that which is lower?

And His Messenger, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, spoke the truth when he said, “Indeed you will follow the ways of those nations who came before you, span by span and cubit by cubit (i.e., inch by inch) so much so that even if they entered a hole of a lizard, you would follow them.” [Reported by Bukhaari and Muslim]

And in another narration:

“… so much so that if there was someone from them who would have intercourse with his mother in the middle of the road there would be someone from you who would do that also.” [Reported by ad-Dawlaabi and Haakim, declared hasan by al-Bazzaar and al-Albaani agreed with him, see Silsilah, no. 1348]

So we have followed the way of the Jews.  We exchanged that which was good for that which was base – we exchanged the celebration of the birthday which occurs once a year and has no basis [in the religion] with that which was good, which is the celebration every Monday. And that is a legislated celebration which you perform by fasting while bearing in mind the secret behind it which is that you fast it as thanks to Allaah, the Most High, that He created the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, on that day and sent down revelation on it.

And I will finish my speech by mentioning his saying, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, “Allaah refuses to accept the repentance of an innovator.” [Reported by Ibn Maajah and Shaikh al-Albaani declared it to be weak but there is another hadith which he declared to be authentic with a similar meaning reported by Abush-Shaikh in Taarikh Asbahaan (p. 259), at-Tabaraani in al-Awsat (no. 4360) and others, that the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, said, “Indeed Allaah has prevented  the repentance of the companion of every innovation.” See As-Silisilah, vol. 4, p. 154, no. 1620]

And Allaah, the Most High, says:

O Messenger! Proclaim (the Message) which has been sent down to you from your Lord. And if you do not, then you have not conveyed His Message. Allaah will protect you from mankind.

And it has been reported in Sahih Muslim that one of the Taabi’een came to Aaishah, radiyallaahu anhaa …

Questioner
Reading the biography of the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, is that [not] honouring him?

Shaikh Al-Albani
Yes.

Questioner
In it is reward, this is goodness from Allaah!

Shaikh Al-Albani
All goodness!  But you will not benefit anything from this question.  Therefore I will cut you off with a question: Does anyone prevent you from reading his biography?  I will now ask you a question: if there is a legislated form of worship, but the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, did not sanction a specific time for it and neither did he make a specific form for it then is it allowed for us to designate – from ourselves – a specific time or a specific form/method?  Do you have an answer?

Questioner
No, I have no answer.

Shaikh Al-Albani
Allaah, the Most High, said:

Or have they partners with Allaah (false gods), who have instituted for them a religion which Allaah has not allowed.

And He, the Most High, also said:

They took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allaah and (they also took as their Lord) Messiah, son of Maryam (Mary), while they to worship none but One God – Allaah).  None has the right to be worshipped but He. Praise and glory be to Him, (far above is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him).

When Adiyy ibn Haatim, may Allaah be pleased with him, heard this – and before he became a Muslim he was a Christian – it was difficult for him so he said, “We never used to worship them.”  So he, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, said, “Would they not forbid what Allaah made permissible and so you would make it forbidden; and [would they not] make lawful what Allaah had made forbidden, so you would make it lawful?” So he said, “Of course.”  He, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, replied, “So that was your worship of them.” [Reported by Tirmidhee (3095) and the Shaikh declared it to be hasan]

And this clarifies the danger of innovating in Allaah’s Religion.

Transcribed with abridgement from one of the tapes of Shaikh Al-Albani, may Allaah have mercy on him.  Silsilatul-Hudaa wal-Noor, tape no. 1/94.
Words between square brackets [] are those of the translator.

Bukhaari Volume 8, Book 76, Number 437(6065), Muslim (2533) Tirmidhee (3859) Ibn Maajah (2362).

 

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