- Discussion of the Hadith, "The Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam performed aqiqah for himself after his Prophethood."
- Shaykh ul-Islam ibn Taymiyah rahimahullah on the Mawlid
- Did Ibn Kathir Author a Book Endorsing the Mawlid?
- Ruling on the Celebration of al-Mawlid (the Prophet's Birthday) by Shaykh Salih al-Munajjid
- Related Question and Answers by Shaykh Salih al-Munajjid
Discussion of the Hadith, "The Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam performed aqiqah for himself after his Prophethood."
As-Suyuti said, " ... another primary text has occurred to me by which the legitimacy of the Mawlid can be derived, namely what is reported by al-Bayhaqi from 'Anas that 'The Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam performed aqiqah for himself after his Prophethood.' And it occurs that his grandfather 'Abdul-Muttalib performed the aqiqah for him when he was a child of seven years, and the aqiqah is not repeated a second time. So therefore this is to taken to mean that what the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam did was to openly manifest gratitude for Allah making him the mercy for the universe and to legislate this for his 'Ummah, just as he used to do by his sending salam upon himself. Therefore it is recommended for us that we openly manifest gratitude for his birth." [Husn ul-Maqsad of as-Suyuti contained in his Hawilil-Fatawa. These words were also quoted by the commentator to al-Muwahib al-Laduniyyah (1/140) - az-Zarkani]
The reply to this Hadith [taken from al-Qawl al-Fasl of Shaykh Isma'il al-Ansari with summary]:
- When Imam Malik was asked about this Hadith he replied, " ... do you see the Companions of the Messenger of Allah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, for whom the aqiqah was not performed in the days of Jahiliyyah, performing aqiqah for themselves in Islam? This is from the rejected (narrations)." [Quoted from him by Ibn Rushd al-Maliki in the Book of Aqiqah of his work al-Muqaddamat al-Mumahhadat 2/15]
- Abu Dawud said in his Masa'il Imam Ahmad his work in which he reports from him, "I heard Ahmad … so Ahmad said, 'Abdullah ibn Muharrar from Qatadah from 'Anas that 'The Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam performed aqiqah for himself.' This Hadith is munkar (rejected) due to the weakness of 'Abdullah ibn Muharrar.' " [This was report was also mentioned by Ibn al-Qayyim in his Za'ad al-Ma'ad and Tuhfatul Mawdud bi Ahkamil Mawlud (pg. 51)]
- Ibn Hibban said in his Kitab al-Majruhin (2/29) in the biography of 'Abdullah ibn Muharrar, "He reported from Qatadah from 'Anas that 'The Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam performed aqiqah for himself after Allah had sent him as a Prophet,' … he (Ibn Muharrar) used to be from the best of the servants of Allah, except that he was from those that would lie without knowing it, and reverse (the meanings) of the narrations without understanding … Abu Ishaq at-Talaqani said, 'I heard Ibn al-Mubarak saying, 'If I was given the choice of entering paradise or accuse 'Abdullah ibn Muharrar, I would choose to accuse him and then enter Paradise. For when I saw him I found dung to be more beloved to me than him.' [This report is also narrated by Imam Muslim in the introduction to his Sahih]. I (Ibn Hibban) heard ad-Darimi saying, 'I heard Yahya ibn Ma'in saying: 'Abdullah ibn Muharrar is not trustworthy and precise (thiqah).' "'"
- Al-Bazzar said, " … from 'Abdullah ibn Muharrar from Qatadah from 'Anas that the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam … 'Abdullah ibn Muharrar was alone in reporting the Hadith and he is severely weak, one would find written from him what is not found with other than him." [Zawa'id al-Bazzar]
- Al-Bayhaqi said, "'Abdullah ibn Muharrar reported a munkar (rejected) Hadith concerning the Prophet's performing aqiqah for himself … [quotes the Hadith] … 'Abdur-Razzaq said, 'Indeed they (scholars of Hadith) abandoned 'Abdullah ibn Muharrar due to the state of this Hadith and it is reported from another perspective from Qatadah and yet another perspective from 'Anas and it is nothing.' " [Sunan al-Kubra (9/300) of al-Bayhaqi. Chapter: Al-Aqiqah Sunnah] This is the reference from which as-Suyuti quotes the Hadith, yet it is strange that he did not quote the rest of al-Bayhaqi's words.
- An-Nawawi said, "As for the Hadith that he - i.e. Ash-Shayrazi - mentioned concerning the Prophet's performing aqiqah for himself, then it was reported by al-Bayhaqi with his isnad from 'Abdullah ibn Muharrar from Qatadah from 'Anas … [Hadith] … and this Hadith is false (batil)."
- Al-Bayhaqi said: "This is a rejected Hadith … (quoting previous words of al-Bayhaqi)….and 'Abdullah ibn Muharrar is da'if, being agreed upon to be so by the memorising scholars. He ('Abdullah ibn Muharrar) is abandoned." [Majmu' Sharh Muhadhdhab (8/330) of an-Nawawi, Chapter: Aqiqah]]
- Al-Mizzi in his biography to 'Abdullah ibn Muharrar endorses the above words of 'Abdur-Razzaq. [Tahdhib al-Kamal]
- Adh-Dhahabi said during the course of presenting the biography of 'Abdullah ibn Muharrar, "Ahmad said: the people have abandoned his Hadith. Al-Jawzajani said: destroyed. Ad-Daruqutni and a group (of scholars) said: abandoned. Ibn Hibban said: he used to be from the best of the servants of Allah except that he would lie without knowing it, and reverse (the meanings) of the narrations without understanding ... " [Mizan al-I'tidal]
- Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani said, "His saying - i.e. ar-Rafi'i - it is reported that he sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam performed aqiqah for himself after his prophethood by al-Bayhaqi from the Hadith of Qatadah from 'Anas. He (Ibn Hajr) said: it is munkar, it contains 'Abdullah ibn Muharrar and he is severely weak. Abdur-Razzaq said … [the words previously quoted]. I (Ibn Hajr) say: as for the other perspective from Qatadah then I have not found it as a Hadith of the Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, all that is reported is in this regards is that Qatadah used to pass rulings on this as related by Ibn 'Abdul-Barr. Rather al-Bazzar and others were certain that 'Abdullah ibn Muharrar is alone in reporting this Hadith from Qatadah. As for the other perspective still from 'Anas then it is reported by Abu ash-Shaykh in al-Adahi and Ibn Ayman in his Musannaf via the route of 'Abdullah ibn Muthna from Thamamah ibn 'Abdullah ibn 'Anas from his father. An-Nawawi said in Sharh Muhadhdhab: this Hadith is false." [Talkhis al-Habir 4/147 of Ibn Hajr, Chapter: Aqiqah]h']
- Likewise in Fath al-Bari he declares the Hadith from all of it's various perspectives to be da'if. [Sharh Bab Imatatul-'Adha]
- Therefore az-Zarqani in his Sharh Muwahib (1/140) follows up his quote by quoting the verdicts of Ibn Hajr and an-Nawawi on this Hadith and then saying, "Therefore to use it to derive the legitimacy (of the Mawlid) is not correct."
Shaykh ul-Islam ibn Taymiyah rahimahullah on the Mawlid
Ibn Taymiyyah said:
" … because the two 'Eid are legislated laws from amongst the laws, so it is necessary to follow them, and not to innovate them, and the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam had many lectures, treaties, and great events that happened on a number of (documented) days such as the Day of Badr, Hunayn, al-Khandaq, the Conquest of Makkah, the occurrence of his hijrah, his entry to Madinah …and none of this necessitated that these days be taken as days of 'Eid. Rather this sort of thing was done by the Christians who took the days in which great events happened to Jesus as 'Eid, or by the Jews. Indeed the 'Eid is a legislated law, so what Allah legislates is followed, otherwise do not innovate in this religion that which is not part of it.
"And like this is what some of the people have innovated, either in opposition to the Christian celebration of the birthday of Jesus, or out of love for the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam and in honour of him. And Allah will reward them for this love and 'ijtihad, but NOT FOR THE BID'AH of taking the day of the birth of the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam as an 'Eid - this along with the difference of the people as to when he was born. For indeed this (celebration) was not done by the salaf, despite the existence of factors that would necessitate it and the lack of any factors that would prevent them from doing so if it were indeed good. And if this was genuinely good or preferable then the salaf, may Allah be pleased with them, would have more right to doing so then us, for they had more severe love and honour of the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam in following him, obeying him, and following his command, and reviving his Sunnah inwardly and outwardly, and spreading that which he was sent with, and performing jihad for this in the heart, with the hand and upon the tongue. So indeed this was the way of the Sabiqin al-Awwalin from the Muhajirun and the Ansar, and those that followed them in good.
"And you will find the majority of these (who celebrate the birthday) in ardent desire of these sort of innovations - along with what they have of good intention and 'ijtihad for which reward is hoped for - but you would find them feeble in following the command of the Messenger, that which they have been commanded to be eager and vigorous in, indeed they are of the position of one who adorns the Mushaf but does not read what is in it or reads what is in it but does not follow it. Or the position of one who decorates the mosques but does not pray in them, or prays in them rarely ...
"And know that from the actions are those that have some good in them, due to their including types of good actions and including evil actions such as innovation etc. So this action would be good with respect to what it includes of good and evil with respect to what it contains of turning away from the religion in it's totality, as is the state of the hypocrites and fasiqin. This has what has afflicted the majority of the 'Ummah in the later times. So upon you is two manners (of rectification):
1. That your desire be to follow the Sunnah inwardly and outwardly, with respect to yourself specifically and those that follow you, and you enjoin the good and forbid the evil.
2. That you call the people to the Sunnah in accordance to ability, so if you were to see someone doing this (celebration) and he were to not leave it except for an evil greater than it, then do not call him to leaving the evil so that he may perform something more evil than this … [a page omitted in which he explains this principle].
"So honouring the mawlid, and taking it as a festive season (mausam) which some of the people have done, there is a great reward in it due to the good intention and the honouring of the Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam because of what I have previously stated to you - that it is possible that something be good for some of the people and be denounced/considered to be ugly by the strict believer. This is why it was said to Imam Ahmad about some of the leaders, that he spent 1000 dirhams upon the mushaf or similar to this. So he replied, 'Leave them, for this is better than them spending it on gold (jewellery).' This despite the fact that the madhhab of Imam Ahmad was that it is abhorrent to decorate the masahif, and some of the companions (of Ahmad) interpreted this to mean that the money was spent in renewing the pages and writing. But this is not the intent of Ahmad here, his intention here was that this action had a benefit in it, and it also contained corruption due to which it became abhorrent. But these people, if they did not do this, would have substituted this for a corruption that contained no good whatsoever, for example spending upon one of the books of evil ... " [Iqtida' as-Sirat al-Mustaqim 2/618+ with the tahqiq of Shaykh Nasir al-'Aql]
He says in another place of the same book:
"There is no doubt that the one who practices these - i.e. the innovated festive seasons - either the mujtahid or muqallid will have the reward for his good intention and the what the action contains of legislated actions, and will be forgiven for what it contains of innovation if his 'ijtihad or taqlid contains one of the excuses (that would lift this sin from him) …
"But this does not prevent one from detesting and prohibiting it and to replace it with a legislated action containing no bid'ah ... Just as the Jews and Christians may find benefit in their worship because it is possible that their worship includes an aspect of what is legislated but this does not necessitate that you perform their actions of worship or you report their words because all of the innovations contain evil that outweighs their good, this due to the fact that if their good outweighed the evil then why would the Shari'ah have disregarded it? So we depend upon the fact that it's sin is greater than it's benefit and this necessitates forbiddance.
"And I say: its sin is removed from some of the people due to the reason of 'ijtihad or other than it, as the sin of usury and alcohol (from dates) which has been differed about (by the salaf) is removed from the salaf (who allowed it), then despite this it is necessary to explain it's condition and not to follow those that considered it permissible ... so this is sufficient evidence in explaining that these innovations include corruptions of belief or condition contradicting what the Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam came with, and that what benefit they contain is marjuh (not to be relied upon) and it not correct to use for objection.
"As for what they contain - i.e. these innovated festive seasons such as the Mawlid - of benefit then they are opposed by what they contain of the corruption of innovations that outweigh the benefit, along with with what has preceded of the corruptions of belief and state - that the hearts become content with it at the expense of a large amount of the Sunnah to the extent that you find that the elite and the general masses preserve this in a way that they do not preserve the Tarawih or the five prayers ... [mentioning many more cases]." [Al-Qawl al-Fasl (pg. 102) of Shaykh Isma'il al-Ansari]
A number of points can be seen here:
- Ibn Taymiyyah regards the mawlid as a bid'ah which the strict believer is not allowed to follow.
- He allows it only for those who would leave this bid'ah for a greater bid'ah.
- He states that those practising this, either out of taqlid or 'ijtihad, will get reward for their good intentions, but they will get no reward for their practising it.
- That they will not get the burden of the sin of the innovation if their taqlid of 'ijtihad contains the excuses that would life this from them.
Did Ibn Kathir Author a Book Endorsing the Mawlid?
From Al-Qawal Al-Fasl fi'l-Ihtifal bi Mawlid Khayr ar-Rusul (pg. 110+) of Shaykh Isma'il al-Ansari:
As for the claim of the author of the letter published in the magazine Al-Mujtama (no. 559), while listing the authors who considered the celebration of the Mawlid to be permissible and their works (concerning this), that the author of Kashf adh-Dhunun fi 'Usami'l-Kutub wa'l-Funun mentioned on page 319 that al-Hafidh Ibn Kathir authored a number of treatise concerning the noble Mawlid. From amongst them: Jami' al-Athar fi Mawlid al-Nabiyy al-Mukhtar in three volumes, Al-Lafdh ar-Ra'iq fi Mawlid Khayr al-Khala'iq and it is succinct. And his claim that Ibn Fahd mentioned that Ibn Kathir authored a book which he entitled, Mawrid as-Sadi fi Mawlid al-Hadi. And his saying that al-Hafidh as-Sakhawi had a book concerning the Mawlid entitled, At-Tibr al-Masbuk fi Dhayl as-Suluk – then all of this is a grievous error having no basis for being correct.
As for Jami' al-Athar fi Mawlid al-Nabiyy al-Mukhtar then we looked up Kashf adh-Dhunun to ascertain the truth of his words and we found it under the letter 'jim' (pg. 533) and the text is, Jami' al-Athar fi Mawlid an-Nabiyy al-Mukhtar of Shams ad-Din Muhammad ibn Nasir ad-Din ad-Dimishqi, died in the year 842H, being in three volumes commencing with the words, "All praise is due to Allah Who displayed Muhammad as the most purest of the Universe … "
And we found under the letter 'lam' page 1559 the words, Al-Lafdh al-Ra'iq fi Mawlid Khayr al-Khala'iq a short booklet by al-Hafidh Shams ad-Din Muhammad ibn Nasir ad-Din ad-Damishqi who died in the year 842H.
And we found under the letter 'mim' page 1910 the words, Al-Hafidh as-Sakhawi mentioned in his Daw al-Lami a group who wrote concerning the Mawlid of the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam from amongst them al-Hafidh … Ibn Nasir ad-Din ad-Damishqi who authored in this regards Jami' al-Athar fi Mawlid an-Nabiyy al-Mukhtar in three volumes and a booklet Al-Lafdh al-Ra'iq fi Mawlid Khayr al-Khala'iq and it is shorter than the one mentioned before it ...
As for Mawrid as-Sadi fi Mawlid al-Hadi then the claim of the author of that article that Ibn Fahd attributed it to Ibn Kathir is without basis for Ibn Fahd said in Lahdh al-Alhadh bi Dhayl Tabaqat al-Huffadh (pg. 320-321) under the biography of Ibn Nasir ad-Din ad-Damishqi, "he authored, and some of them concerned the Mawlid of the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam and it is Jami' al-Athar fi Mawlid al-Mukhtar in three volumes, and Tawdih al-Mushtabah … and Mawrid as-Sadi fi Mawlid al-Hadi … "
And this which is mentioned by Ibn Fahd is declared with certainty by as-Sakhawi and ash-Shawkani ...
So it becomes clear with all of this that the claims of the author of that article published in Al-Mujtama magazine has no basis.
Then what Ibn Kathir mentions in the section on the Prophetic biography in his Bidayah wa'n-Nihayah, and in his lengthy Sirah and in the sections of Ikhtisar Sirah ar-Rasul, and in his stand alone treatise on the Mawlid published with the tahqiq of Salah ad-Din al-Manjad, and in his revision to the Mawlid of his Shaykh Kamal ad-Din Abi Ma'ali Muhammad ibn 'Ali al-Ansari contained in the section detailing Dala'il an-Nubuwwah in his Bidayah wa'n-Nihayah – he does not present anything in these concerning the celebration of the Mawlid of the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam and neither of the evil practices that have occurred amongst the later generations with respect to the Mawlid. Therefore as long as the matter is like this then we cannot accept the claim of the author of that article. [Note: And what Muhammad ibn Alawi al-Maliki vainly thinks in his work Al-Ihtifal bi Mawlid an-Nabawiyy ash-Sharif (pg. 38) that the Mawlid of al-Hafidh Ibn Kathir is from those works that present celebrating the Mawlid of the Prophet is not correct.]
As for the saying of the author of that aricle that as-Sakhawi authored a book about the Mawlid entitled At-Tibr al-Masbuk fi Dhayl as-Suluk then this is also incorrect ... as-Sakhawi said in his autobiography contained in Daw al-Lami li A'yan al-Qarn at-Tasi (8/17) while listing his works, "and At-Tibr al-Masbuk fi Dhayl ala Tarikh al-Maqrizi as-Suluk containing the events and deaths (of scholars) since the year 45 to this day in 4 volumes" so this is what as-Sakhawi himself clarifies and it is clear that the subject matter of the book is not the Mawlid even though it may contain things connected to the Mawlid.
Ruling on the Celebration of al-Mawlid (the Prophet's Birthday) by Shaykh Salih al-Munajjid
Praise be to Allah, alone, and peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family, his companions, and whoever follows his guidance.
Many people have asked about the ruling concerning celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), standing up for him, sending salam (greetings) upon him and reading chapters from the Qur'an during such celebrations, holding gatherings of dhikr, doing various things to show their joy, reciting qasidah and poems, and other things that are done to commemorate "Mawlid" which many people celebrate on the 12th day of Rabi' al-Awwal each Hijri year.
The answer is that it is not permitted to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), or the birthday of any other person, because this is a matter that has been innovated in the religion. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not do this, neither did his successors, the Rightly-Guided Caliphs (al-khulafa' ar-rashidun), or others among his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them), or those who followed them exactly (in faith) during the best centuries – these are the people who had the best knowledge of the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), who loved him the most and followed the Shari'ah most perfectly, better than any who came after them. It is proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours (i.e., Islam), will have it rejected." i.e., it will be thrown back at him. In another Hadith, he said: "I advise you to adhere to my sunnah and the way of the rightly-guided successors (al-khulafa' ar-rashidun) who will come after me, and to cling stubbornly to it. Beware of newly-invented things (in religion), for every newly-invented thing is an innovation and every innovation is a going astray." These two ahadith contain a very stern warning against coming up with innovations (bid'ah) and acting on them. Allah says in His clear Book (interpretation of the meaning):
" ... And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain from it ... " [Al-Qur'an 59:7]
" ... And let those who oppose the Messenger's commandment beware, lest some fitnah (disbelief, trials, afflictions, etc.) befall them, or a painful torment be inflicted on them." [Al-Qur'an 24:63]
"Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much." [Al-Qur'an 33:21]
"And the first to embrace Islam of the muhajirun (those who migrated to Madinah from Makkah) and the Ansar (the citizens of Madinah who helped and gave aid to the muhajirun), and also those who followed them exactly (in Faith). Allah is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success." [Al-Qur'an 9:100]
" … This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion … " [Al-Qur'an 5:3]
There are many other ayat which convey the same meaning. Innovating things like Mawlid could be interpreted as meaning that Allah did not complete the religion for this 'Ummah, that the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) failed to convey to this 'Ummah all that they should do, until those people came along later and innovated in the religion things that Allah had not permitted, claiming that these were things that would bring them closer to Allah. Without a doubt, this is a very serious matter, which indicates opposition and resistance towards Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Allah has perfected the religion for His slaves and completed His favour upon them. The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has conveyed the Message clearly, and there is no way of reaching Paradise and avoiding Hell that he has not explained to his 'Ummah, as is clear from the Sahih Hadith narrated by 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr (may Allah be pleased with them both), in which the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "Allah has not sent any prophet but it was his duty to point out to his 'Ummah the best of what he knew, and to warn them against the worst of what he knows." [Reported by Muslim in his Sahih]
It is well known that our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is the best and the Seal of the Prophets, the most eloquent and the most sincere in advice. If celebrating his birthday had been a part of the religion which Allah liked, His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would have told his 'Ummah about it, and he would have done it during his lifetime, or his Companions would have done it. Since nothing of the sort happened, we know that this is not part of Islam at all, rather it is one of the innovations about which the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) warned his 'Ummah, as stated in the two ahadith quoted above. Other ahadith also convey the same meaning, such as the words spoken by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in his Friday sermons: " … The best of speech is the Book of Allah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The most evil of things are those which are newly-invented (in religion), and every innovation is a going astray." [Reported by Imam Muslim in his Sahih]
There are many ayat and ahadith which say the same thing. A group of scholars have condemned the practice of celebrating the Prophet's birthday and warned against it, in accordance with the evidence quoted above and other texts. Some of the later scholars went against this and allowed these celebrations as long as they did not involve anything forbidden such as exaggerating about the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), mixing between men and women, musical instruments, etc. They thought that this was a kind of bid'ah hasanah (good innovation). But the rule is to refer disputed matters to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), as Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination." [Al-Qur'an 4:59]
So, let us refer this matter, celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), to the Book of Allah. We find that the Qur'an commands us to follow the Messenger in that which he has brought to us, and warns us to shun that which he has forbidden, and it tells us that the religion (Islam) has been completed and perfected for this 'Ummah. This celebration is not a part of that which the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) brought, so it is not a part of this religion which Allah has perfected for us and in which He has commanded us to follow his Messenger. Let us also refer this matter to the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): we will find that he did not do this, or command others to do it, and his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) did not do it either. So it is not part of the religion; it is a newly-invented innovation, and an imitation of the Jews and Christians in their festivals. So it should be clear to anyone who has the slightest common sense, sincere desire for the truth and open-mindedness, that celebrating the birthday of the Prophet is not a part of Islam; it is an innovation, which Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) warned us against and told us to shun. A wise person should not be swayed by the fact that so many people all over the world do this. Truth is not known by how many people follow it; it is known through the evidence of Shari'ah, as Allah says of the Jews and Christians (interpretation of the meaning)::
"And they say: 'None shall enter Paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian.' These are their own desires. Say: 'Produce your proof, if you are truthful.' " [Al-Qur'an 2:111]
"And if you obey most of those on earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah's path. They follow nothing but conjectures, and they do nothing but lie." [Al-Qur'an 6:116]
Most of these mawlid celebrations, besides being bid'ah, are also not free from other sinful practices, such as the mixing of men and women, use of songs and musical instruments, consumption of alcohol and other intoxicants, and other evils. They could even involve something worse, which is ash-shirk al-akbar, in the form of exaggeration about the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) or other awliya' (so-called "saints"). They may even pray to him, calling out for his help and support, claiming that he knows the Unseen, and other forms of kufr which many people indulge in when they celebrate the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) or others whom they call awliya'.
In a Sahih Hadith, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "Beware of going to extremes in religion, for those who came before you were destroyed by their going to extremes in religion." He also said: "Do not exaggerate about me as the Christians exaggerated about the son of Maryam. I am only a slave, so say 'the slave and Messenger of Allah.' " [Reported by al-Bukhari in his Sahih from the hadith of 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with him] It is most strange indeed that many people make huge efforts to attend these innovated gatherings and to defend them, when they do not do this in the case of the duties that have been enjoined on them like attending Jumu'ah (Friday) prayers and prayers in congregation; they do not care about these duties and do not think that they are doing anything wrong. There is no doubt that this is due to weakness of faith, lack of understanding and the effects of sins piling up on one's heart. We ask Allah to keep us and all the Muslims safe from that.
Some of them think that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) actually attends the mawlid celebration, so they stand up to greet and welcome him. This is a serious falsehood and a form of gross ignorance. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) will not come out of his grave, or contact anybody, or attend any gatherings. He will remain in his grave until the Day of Resurrection, and his soul is in the highest 'Illiyun (in Paradise), with his Lord in the abode of honour, as Allah says in Surah al-Mu'minun (interpretation of the meaning):
"After that, surely, you will die. Then (again), surely, you will be resurrected on the Day of Resurrection." [Al-Qur'an 23:15]
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "I will be the first whose grave will be opened on the Day of Resurrection, and I will be the first to intercede and the first to be asked to intercede." May Allah bless him and grant him peace. This ayah and Hadith, and others that say the same thing, all indicate that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and everyone else who has died will only emerge from their graves on the Day of Resurrection. This is something on which all the Muslim scholars agree; there is no controversy here. Every Muslim should pay attention to these matters and be careful to avoid the innovations and illusions introduced with no authority from Allah by those who are ignorant. Allah is the One whom we ask for help, and in Him we put our trust. There is no power and no strength except with Him.
Sending prayers and blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is one of the righteous deeds that bring a person closer to Allah, as Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"Allah sends His Salat (blessings, etc.) on the Prophet and His angels also (ask Allah to bless and forgive him). O you who believe! Send your salat on him (ask Allah to bless him) and greet him with the Islamic way of greeting (i.e., as-salamu 'alaykum)." [Al-Qur'an 33:56]
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "Whoever sends one blessing on me, Allah will send ten on him." This sending of blessings is recommended on all occasions, and is prescribed at the end of every prayer – indeed, according to all scholars, it is obligatory in the final tashahhud of every salah (prayer), and it is sunnah mu'akkadah (confirmed sunnah) on a number of other occasions, such as after the adhan, when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is mentioned, and during the day and night of Jumu'ah (i.e. from maghrib on Thursday until maghrib on Friday), as is indicated in a number of ahadith.
We ask Allah to help us and all the Muslims to understand His religion and adhere to it, to bless us all by making us follow the Sunnah, and to protect us from bid'ah, for He is the Most Kind and Generous. May Allah bless our Prophet Muhammad, and his family and companions.
Related Question and Answers by Shaykh Salih al-Munajjid
Is Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) created from light? What is wrong with celebrating his birthday? In our locality there are people who hold celebrations of the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) every year. They think that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is not like the rest of mankind, but that he is light from the Light of Allah Himself, that he is present and watching in every place, and that he himself attends every gathering held to celebrate his birthday, he hears what the people say about him, and he is there with them. For that reason they stand up and say in unison: "Ya Nabi-Allah, ya Rasulallah, ya Habib-Allah, salam 'alayka (O Prophet of Allah, O Messenger of Allah, O Beloved of Allah, peace be upon you)." They call out to him as if he were present and ask for his help and support. What is the Islamic ruling on this? Is it correct or not? Is it Sunnah, bid'ah, or what?
Praise be to Allah alone, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger and his family and companions.
1. Celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is an innovation (bid'ah) which goes against the guidance of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and of the Rightly Guided Caliphs (al-khulafa' ar-rashidun) and the Sahabah, may Allah be pleased with them. It is proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "Whoever does anything that is not part of this matter of ours (i.e., Islam), will have it rejected." [For more details, please see Question 2 below].
2. Believing that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is not like the rest of humanity, and that he is light from the Light of Allah Himself is not a correct belief, because it contradicts the Qur'an. Allah has stated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is human, and has explained what makes the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) different from the rest of mankind. He said (interpretation of the meaning):
"Say (O Muhammad): 'I am only a man like you. It has been inspired to me that your God is One God (Allah). So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord." [Al-Qur'an 18:110]
Mankind, human beings, are created, as Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him He created his wife (Hawwa/Eve), and from them both He created many men and women … " [Al-Qur'an 4:1]
"O mankind, if you are in doubt about the Resurrection, then verily! We have created you from dust, then from a nutfah (mixed drops of male and female sexual discharge) … " [Al-Qur'an 22:5]
"O Prophet! Verily, We have sent you as witness, and a bearer of glad tidings, and a warner, - and as one who invites to Allah by His leave, and as a lamp spreading light." [Al-Qur'an 33:45-46]
In contrast, Allah is the First, and He has no beginning, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
"He is the First (nothing is before Him) and the Last (nothing is after Him), the Most High (nothing is above Him), and the Most Near (nothing is nearer than Him). And He is the All-Knower of everything." [Al-Qur'an 57:3]
Allah called His Prophet "light" and a "lamp spreading light" because of the guidance and light with which Allah sent him, with which Allah guides all those who answer his call (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), as He says (interpretation of the meaning): "… Indeed, there has come to you a light (Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)) and a plain Book (this Qur'an)." [Al-Qur'an 5:15]
3. Saying that he is present and watching in every place, that he is himself present at every gathering to celebrate his birthday, and that he hears what the people present are saying, is all false. There is no basis for this in either the Qur'an or the Sunnah.
4. Calling on him and seeking his help and support is a form of major shirk which is not permitted, whether one is calling on the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) or on any other created being, because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
" … so invoke not anyone along with Allah." [Al-Qur'an 72:18]
"And whoever invokes (or worships) besides Allah, any other god of whom he has no proof, then his reckoning is only with his Lord. Surely! Al-Kafirun (the disbelievers) will not be successful." [Al-Qur'an 23:117]
[Fatawa al-Lajnah ad-Da'imah, 3/4]
The Muslim should follow, not innovate. He should believe in Allah alone, call on Him alone and seek His help alone. He should not call on or seek the help of anyone else. The consequences of shirk are devastating, as it will wipe out all a person's good deeds and lead to his doom in Hell. Bid'ah is a serious matter, which will cause a person's deeds to be thrown back at him, not accepted. The Muslim should love, respect, honour and obey the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and give his words precedence over the words of any other human being, but it is not permitted to exaggerate about him, or to raise his status above that which has been bestowed upon him by Allah, or to call on him instead of Allah, because this is a violation of the rights of Allah, and involves directing acts of worship to someone other than Allah, when they should only be directed towards Allah, may He be glorified and exalted. We ask Allah to help us to do that which will please Him and to avoid that which will earn His wrath, and to help us to love Him and His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). May Allah bless our Prophet Muhammad. And Allah knows best.
Mawlid an-Nabi (the Prophet's birthday). Why some people accept and some unaccept the celebration of the Prophet? What is your opinion?
Praise be to Allah. There is nothing in the Qur'an to say that we should celebrate the Mawlid or birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The Prophet himself (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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 Jesus (upon whom be peace). He 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 Allah and His Messenger.' " [Reported by al-Bukhari] What has been reported is that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) made the day of his birth a day of worship, which is different to celebration. He was asked about fasting on Mondays, and he said: "That is the day on which I was born and the day on which I was entrusted with the Mission or when I was first given Revelation." [Reported by Muslim, an-Nisa'i and Abu Dawud]
Moreover, we know that the Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them) were the people who loved the Prophet most. Was it reported that Abu Bakr, who was the closest of people to him and the one who loved him the most, celebrated the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)? Was it reported that 'Umar, who ruled for twelve years, or 'Uthman, did this? Was it reported that 'Ali, his relative and foster son, did this? Was it reported that any of the Sahabah did this? No, by Allah! Is it because they were not aware of its importance, or did they not truly love the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)? No one would say such a thing except one who has gone astray and is leading others astray.
Did any of the Imams – Abu Hanifah, Malik, ash-Shafi'i, Ahmad, al-Hasan al-Basri, Ibn Sirin – do this or command others to do it or say that it was good? By Allah, no! It was not even mentioned during the first and best three centuries. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said in a Sahih Hadith: "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 at-Tirmidhi] The celebration of the Prophet's birthday appeared many centuries later, when many of the features of true religion had vanished and bid'ah had become widespread.
Thus this celebration became a sign of one's love for the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)? But can it be possible that the Sahabah, the Imams and the people of the best three centuries were unaware of it, and it was only those who came later who were aware of its importance?! What the Qur'an tells us is that love of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is demonstrated by following the guidance he brought. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"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." [Al-Qur'an 3:31-32]
The first ayah explains that love is just a claim, but the proof of sincerity is following what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) brought. The second ayah reaffirms the importance and necessity of obeying Allah and His Messenger. Hence Allah ended the ayah with a very stern warning in which those who refuse to obey are described as kafirs, and Allah does not love the disbelievers. We ask Allah to keep us safe from that. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) told us of the danger of not obeying him, and the danger of adding to what he brought. The celebration of Mawlid or his birthday is indeed an addition to what he brought – as all the scholars agree. 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 an-Nisa'i]
We ask Allah to protect us from bid'ah and to bless us by helping us to follow. Allah knows best. May Allah bless our Prophet Muhammad.