Indeed all praises are due to Allah, we praise Him, we seek His help, we ask for His forgiveness, and we rely solely on Him. We seek His refuge from the evil in our souls and from our wicked deeds. Whoever Allah guides, no one can misguide. And whomever Allah misguides, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship except Allah, He is One, with no partners, and I testify that Mohammad (pbuh) is His Messenger and His slave.
The Month of Rabi al-Awwal has started. With this month, brings the yearly bid’aa of celebrating the Prophet’s (pbuh) birthday. For many years, this bid’aa has continued to the extent that this year, an entire country-wide rally (party) has been planned to commemorate the birth of the Prophet (pbuh) on 12th Rabi al-Awwal (an assumed date of His birth).
The questions have been floated around by people of weaker knowledge. Should we not celebrate His birthday? And if we celebrate it, then how should the celebrations be? Those who don’t celebrate do they not love the Prophet enough? Celebration bring joy to ummah, we need to have more of such celebrations. etc.
Now the “Rabi al-Awwal” moon sighting has started, similar to how the Ramadan and Eid sighting. Few days ago I noticed in the news paper from a Muslim country (on internet) that “Rabi al-Awwal moon was not sighted, thus the first Rabi al-Awwal will start from tomorrow”. I was bit confused about their announcing the moon sighting of Rabi al-Awwal. Usually this tradition was reserved for (chaos of) Ramadan and Eid moon sighting.
With the start of the month, there is decoration of entire country, mainly in Pakistan. Lots of money spend to organize various functions around the country, with singing in the name of Nasheed, and qawalis on shrines. I said to myself Oh Allah what is happening to Muslims. The Muslims all over the world are facing the greatest fitna in history. They are facing worse crises both internally and externally. The bombs are dropping and people are being killed. Yet, instead of taking actions to help Muslims in such suffering they have stomach to celebrate the birthday and threw a rally in celebration. Would it not be beneficial to Muslims if they had taken all this money and send it to Muslims in need in Iraq and Afghanistan, who have suffered great deal in last many decades?
My dear brothers and sisters, we will inshallah try to discus this topic in detail today and separate facts from the myths. Let’s examine this bid’aa of celebrating the Prophet’s birthday both from the Quran and the Sunnah.
FACTS ABOUT CELEBRATING BIRTHDAY OF PROPHET MOHAMMAD (pbuh).
The fact of the matter is that celebrating birthday of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) is neither commanded by Allah (swt) nor a practice of the Prophet (pbuh) himself.
- Celebrating the birthday of the Prophet has no origin in the Quran: There is nothing in the Quran that suggests that we should be celebrating the (Mawlid) birthday of our beloved Prophet (pbuh).
- Celebrating the birthday of the Prophet has no origin in the Sunnah: The Messenger (pbuh) himself never celebrated his birthday nor did he command any such occasion for Muslims.
- Celebrating the birthday of the Prophet has no origin amongst the Sabahas: The (Sahabas) Companion of the Messenger (pbuh) never celebrated the birthday of the Prophet, neither in his life nor after his death. The companions were the people who loved the Prophet (pbuh), the most. They sacrificed their lives to protect his life. They suffered humiliation to protect the honor of the beloved Prophet (pbuh). They would form a circle around him in the battlefield to protect him, and in the process get killed one after the other, but they never let anyone harm him. Who could have loved the Messenger (pbuh) more then these Companions? We never heard that Abu Bakr, may Allah be please with him, celebrated the birthday of the Prophet. Nor did we hear that Omar, may Allah be please with him, celebrated His (pbuh) birthday. Nor did we hear Osman bin Uffan, may Allah be please with him, do such a thing. Nor did we hear Ali, may Allah be please with him, his cousin and son in law, or his daughter, or his grand children Hassan or hussain do it. Neither did Aisha, his beloved wife and the mother of believers, celebrate the birthday of the Messenger (pbuh).
- Celebrating the birthday of the Prophet has no origin amongst the Scholars and Imams of Ahle-Sunnah: The great scholars and imams like Abu Hanifa, imam Malik, imam Shafei, imam Ahmad, Al-Thawri, Al-Awzaahi, Al-Laith Bin Saad, Al-Hassan Al-Basri, and others who followed them on the same path such as Ibn Taimeyah, Ibn Al-Qayyim, Ibn Katheer, Mohammad Bin Abd Al-Wahaab, Imam Al-Shanqeety, Sheikh Mohammad Bin Ibrahim, Imam Al-Dosary, Syed Qutb, and Al-Mawdudi; and all the imams of Sunnah never ever celebrated the birthday of the beloved Prophet (pbuh).
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “The best of mankind are my generation (or my century), then those who come after them, then those who come after them. Then there will come a people who will not care if their testimony comes before their oath or vice versa (i.e., they will not take such matter seriously).” (Reported by al-Bukhari, Muslim and al-Tirmidhi).
Thus without the shred of doubt the best of mankind (i.e. the generation at the time of the Prophet (pbuh) and those who came after them) did not celebrated the birthday of the beloved Prophet (pbuh).
Celebrating Mawlid (the Prophet's assumed birthday) has no origin whatsoever from the Quran and the Sunnah, and the Companions. Rather it is an innovation (bidaa) by those who make additions and exaggerations in the Religion. This practice has been reported to have come out after 600 years, way past the time of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), his Companions and their followers. It can never be a part of Islam because the religion of Islam is based upon the revelation from Allah (swt) and teaching of His Messenger (pbuh).
Those who introduce the celebration of Mawlid in the religion actually break the seal of Allah, Who said in Quran:
“This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed my Favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Surah al-Maidah 5:3)
THOSE WHO CLAIMS THAT CELEBRATION OF PROPHET’S BIRTHDAY IS A SIGN OF LOVE WITH HIM
Those who insist on celebrating the birthday of the Prophet, claim that those who do not follow them in celebrating Mawlid (birthday), do not love the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). Such claim is a farce.
First of all let us say loving the Prophet (pbuh) more then any thing in this world is part of our believe. Let us first say quote following hadiths:
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “None of you truly believes until I am more beloved to him than his father, his child and all of mankind.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Once, Umar Ibn Khattab, made a statement to Allah's Messenger: “O Messenger of Allah! You are more beloved to me than anything except my own self.” Allah's Messenger (pbuh) remarked saying: “No, by the One in Whose Hand is my soul, not until I am more beloved to you than your own soul.” Umar then declared his love for the Messenger (pbuh) saying: “By Allah, now you are more beloved to me them my own soul.” Prophet (pbuh) then informed him that he had the complete and correct faith.” (Sahih Bukhari)
Now let us ask, if Abu Bakr and Umar and all the people we mentioned above didn’t celebrate it, then are we to say those people didn’t love the Prophet enough? Did they not cared about Prophet (pbuh)?
The truth of the matter is that this activity started long after the true ideology of Islam started to disappear and bidaa (innovation) started to creep into the Islamic Society. Those who were misguided started to invent new methods to derail the Muslims from their real tasks. They started to exaggerate the maqam (position) of the Prophet (pbuh), similar to other misguided nations that vanished before Islam.
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Do not exaggerate about me as the Christians exaggerated about the son of Maryam. I am only a slave, so say, ‘The slave of Alaah and His Messenger.’” (Reported by al-Bukhari).
Brothers and Sisters, you do not love the Prophet (pbuh) by disobeying Him and by inventing bidaa in the pure Deen of Allah. Allah (swt) explains us in the Quran what is the true love towards the Prophet (pbuh):
“Say (O Muhammad): ‘If you (really) love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Say: ‘Obey Allah and the Messenger.’ But if they turn away, then Allah does not like the disbelievers.” (Ale Imran 3:31-32)
Thus we establish that true love towards Allah and His Prophet is by following Him, not by inventing new ideologies. And Allah (swt) also warned us in the verse above that those who disobey are not liked by Him (swt) and will certainly receive stern punishment.
FOLLOWING FOOTSTEPS OF OTHER DEVIANT NATIONS
Islam strongly forbids imitating other nations especially when it is creating innovation in religion or religious activities. And the Prophet (pbuh) warned us that a time will come that his own ummah will make same mistakes as were made by the nations before him. They will follow the same erroneous paths as were followed by Jews and Christians, i.e. both innovated in their religions and changed their Books, and interjected their own desires into religious followings.
It was narrated from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “You will certainly follow the ways of those who came before you hand span by hand span, cubit by cubit, to the extent that if they entered the hole of a lizard, you will enter it too.” We said: “O Messenger of Allah, (do you mean) the Jews and the Christians?” He said: “Who else?” (Reported Bukhari and Muslim)
Narrated Abu Huraira, The Prophet said, "The Hour will not be established till my followers copy the deeds of the previous nations and follow them very closely, span by span, and cubit by cubit (i.e., inch by inch)." It was said, "O Allah's Apostle! Do you mean by those (nations) the Persians and the Byzantines?" The Prophet said, "Who can it be other than they?" (Reported Bukhari)
It is certainly the case today with Muslims. Today Muslims are altering their religion and religious rituals (شعائر). Even though no one can really add or subtract from Arabic Quran, but they can certainly changing the meaning of Quranic injunctions in the name of “interpretations”.
One of these alterations is introduction of celebrating “Mawlid” of the Prophet (pbuh). As we have mentioned none of the early generations ever engaged in such celebrations despite that their love and affection of the Prophet (pbuh) was much higher than that of people today. However, as the prophecy of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) stated, the deviant will imitate and follow the footsteps of nations before them. Christians celebrate Christmas as the birthday of Prophet Jesus (pbuh), so as Muslims have to innovate (a bidda) to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).
It is also known that that celebrating the “mawlid” is an innovation introduced by the Shi’a Faatimids. Shia’s have introduced many biddas in the religion. For instance, their yearly rallies on day of Ashoor in the name of Commemorating the demise of Iman Hussain (may Allah be pleased with him).
Now they gave new innovations to Muslims to come out and do rallies on streets to celebrate Mawlid as we have seen in Pakistan and around the world.
Hence, celebrating the birthday is imitation of Jews and Christians, and the deviants. It is an imitation of Christmas which Christians celebrate for the birth of Jesus (pbuh), and it is also an imitation of various other nations from whom Prophet (pbuh) warned us not to imitate their ways.
It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar said: The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood). And also said, “Be different from the mushrikeen” (Narrated by Muslim)
ONE BIDDAH LEADS TO OTHER BIDDAS
Just like one lie begets more lies. One bidda begets and leads to many more biddas.
For instance, it leads of excessive veneration of the Prophet (pbuh) where Prophet Mohammad himself asked us to refrain from excessive praise that led the Christian to declare Jesus as son of Maryiam (Peace and blessing of Allah upon them all).
He (pbuh) said, “Do not extol as the Christians extolled the son of Maryam. For I am just His slave, so say, the slave of Allah and His Messenger” (narrated by Bukhari).
And He also said, “Beware of exaggeration, for those who came before you were destroyed because of exaggeration” (Narrated by al-Nasa’i)
These people have turned the religion of Allah (swt) as mere rallies, signing and dancing in their frocks, and taken the focus of Muslims away from the real purpose of Quran. Now general Muslims are confused that Islam is about cooking lot of food on 15th of Shaban and 12th of Rabi Awal, and decorating the cities with lights on these days and run rallies, do singing and qawalis.
If this is the purpose of Islam, then Allah (swt) didn’t need to send wahi for it, as so many other nations were doing the same. It needed no advice.
While Muslims should be discussing the real purpose of Quran which is وَأَنزَلَ مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ فِيمَا اخْتَلَفُواْ فِيهِ – 2:213 “and sent down with them the Scripture in truth to judge between the people concerning that in which they differed”. So, instead of Muslims debating that we should be using the Quran in our justice system, they are now intoxicated by these deviants to think that Islam is to Celebrate Christmas for Mohammad (pbuh)
AQUEEQA عقيقه VS BIRTHDAY
Some people use Aqueeqah as equivalent of a birthday. They drive legitimacy of a “birthday” from the hadith reported in Baihaqee from Anas: “The Prophet (pbuh) performed Aqeeqah for himself after his Prophethood.” It so happened that his (pbuh) grand father Abdul Muttalib already performed his aqueeqa when He (pbuh) was 7 years old. Since aqueeqa is not to be performed second time, As-Suyutee used this as an evidence to drive legitimacy to celebrate birthdays.
It occurs that His (pbuh) grand father Abdul Muttalib already performed his aqueeqa when He (pbuh) was 7 years old. Since aqueeqa is not to be performed second time, As-Suyutee used this as an evidence to drive legitimacy to celebrate birthdays.
“Therefore, it is recommended for us that we openly manifest gratitude for his birth." ('Husnul Maqsad' of as-Suyutee contained in his 'Haawi lil Fataawi').
As-Suyutee quoted this hadeeth from 'Sunan al-Kubraa' (9/300) of al-Bayhaqee. Chapter: 'al-Aqeeqah Sunnah', yet it is strange that he did not quote the rest of al-Bayhaqee's words. He (Al-Bayhaqee) said: "Abdullaah bin Muharrar reported a munkar (rejected) hadeeth concerning the Prophet's performing Aqeeqah for himself …[quotes the hadeeth]…..”Abdur Razzaaq said, 'indeed they (scholars of hadeeth) abandoned Abdullaah bin Muharrar due to the state of this hadeeth and it is reported from another perspective from Qataadah and yet another perspective from Anas and it is nothing." ['Sunan al-Kubraa' (9/300) of al-Bayhaqee. Chapter: 'al-Aqeeqah Sunnah']
When Imaam Maalik was asked about this hadeeth he replied, "Do you see the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, for whom the Aqeeqah was not performed in the days of Jaahiliyyah, performing Aqeeqah for themselves in Islam? This is from the rejected (narrations)" (quoted from him by ibn Rushd al-Maaliki in the 'Book of Aqeeqah' of his work 'al-Muqaddamaat al-Mumahhadaat' 2/15)
Similar statements are reported from great scholars like; Abu Dawood in his 'Masaa'il Imaam Ahmad' Ibn Hibbaan said in his 'Kitaab al-Majrooheen' (2/29), An-Nawawee in 'Majmoo' Sharh Muhadhdhab' (8/330) of an-Nawawee chpt: 'Aqeeqah' | Ibn Hajr al-Asqalaanee in 'Talkhees al-Habeer' 4/147 of ibn Hajr chpt: 'al-Aqeeqah'. He also declares the hadeeth from all of it's various perspectives to be da'eef in Fath al-Baree.
Therefore, to use this inauthentic Hadeeth to derive the legitimacy of Mawlid is not correct.
MUSLIM CELEBRATIONS AND FESTIVALS
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Every people has its festival and (Eid) this is our festival.” (Agreed upon)
Celebrations in Islam, like all other things, are legislated by Allah (swt). There are two occasions of celebrations, Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr. These two celebrations succeed two great pillars of Islam. Hajj (Pilgrim) and Ramadan (Fasting).
When the Messenger came to Madinah, the people of Madinah had two days of celebrations. So the Prophet (pbuh) declared:
“I came to you and you had, in Jahiliyah two days of play and amusement. Indeed, Allah has replaced them for you by that which is better than them. The day of Nahr (Slaughtering) and the day of Fitr (Breaking Fast).” (Ahmad, Abo Dawood )
Apart from these two days no other day is to be taken as a celebration, because celebrations are truly religious occasions. Any addition to the religion is a Bidaa (innovation). To formulate the Religion is exclusively the Right of Allah.
Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah spoke at length in his book Iqtidaa’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem li Mukhaalifat Ashaab al-Jaheem (The Requirements of the Straight Path in Differing from the People of Hell), condemning the innovated occasions and festivals that have no basis in the pure Shariah and the ways in which they corrupt people’s religious commitment. Most if not all of the people have no understanding of the damage caused by this kind of bidaa, especially when it has to do with acts of worship, but those who are blessed with insight and understanding realize something of the damage that it can do.
Whoever innovates something on a certain day has certainly innovated in the matters of religion. There were many great events during the life time of the Prophet like the conquest of Makkah, the establishment of state in Madinah, the victory at al-badr and victory of al-ahzab. These events had great significance in Islamic history, but neither the Prophet (pbuh) celebrated any of these days, nor he asked his companions to celebrate.
Those who assign a specific day in either in celebration or sorrow certainly follow the traditions and customs of Jews and Christians. Like Christian follows the birthday of Jesus (peace be upon him). It has never been our custom to assign days to love and remember people.
According to authentic reports, the Prophet (pbuh) said: “Whoever does something that is a not part of this matter of ours (i.e., Islam) will have it rejected” (reported by Muslim in his Sahih)
PRODUCE YOUR EVIDENCE. HUH?
In Islam, claims carry no weight in themselves, unless they are backed by Proofs. The order is from Allah (swt) and it is revealed to us through His Messenger.
Allah (swt) mentioned in the Quran the claim of some of the misguided, who said: “None will enter Paradise, unless he be a Jew or a Christian” Allah questioned them, saying
قُلْ هَاتُواْ بُرْهَانَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
“Produce your Proof (Burhaan) if you are truthful”. (Surah al-Baqarah 2: 111)
This verse establishes the rule that whoever makes the claim, onus is on him to prove it. Allah (swt) also points out that the evidence be acceptable and convincing.
Allah (swt) said: “O Mankind! There has come to you a convincing proof (Burhaan - Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) from your Lord and We sent down to you a manifest light (this Quran).” (Surah an-Nisa 4:174)
Thus, we ask those who claims and insists on celebrating the birthday of the Prophet a very simple question: Please produce your evidence.
The celebration of Mawlid (birthday) is indeed an addition to what the Prophet (pbuh) told us, as we have proved it in this article.
We end this article with the famous words of the Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him).
He said: “The best of speech is the Book of Allah, and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. The most evil of things are those which are newly-invented (in religion), and every innovation is a going astray.” (Reported by Muslim and al-Nisaa’i).