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Praise be to Allah, 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'an and Sunnah to follow the laws of Allah and His Messenger, and the prohibitions on introducing innovations into the religion are quite clear. Allah says:

قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ ٱللَّهَ فَٱتَّبِعُونِى يُحْبِبْكُمُ ٱللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

"Say (O Muhammad to mankind): 'If you (really) love Allah, then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Qur'an and the sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you your sins'."Al-Qur'an 3:31

ٱتَّبِعُوا۟ مَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُم مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا۟ مِن دُونِهِۦٓ أَوْلِيَآءَ ۗ قَلِيلًا مَّا تَذَكَّرُونَ

"Follow what has been sent down unto you from your Lord (the Qur'an and Prophet Muhammad's sunnah), and follow not any awliya' (protectors and helpers who order you to associate partners in worship with Allah), besides Him (Allah). Little do you remember!"Al-Qur'an 7:3

وَأَنَّ هَٰذَا صِرَٰطِى مُسْتَقِيمًا فَٱتَّبِعُوهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا۟ ٱلسُّبُلَ فَتَفَرَّقَ بِكُمْ عَن سَبِيلِهِۦ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ وَصَّىٰكُم بِهِۦ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

"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-Qur'an 6:153

And the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

"The most truthful of speech is the Book of Allah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, and the most evil of things are those which are newly-invented."

And he, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

"Whoever innovates anything in this matter of ours (i.e., Islam), that is not part of it will have it rejected." Narrated by Al-Bukhari, 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, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, in the month of Rabi' 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 qasidah (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; and Some people do not limit themselves to the actions mentioned above; they include in these gatherings haram and reprehensible things, such as free mixing of men and women, dancing and singing, or committing actions of shirk such as seeking the help of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, calling upon him, seeking his support against their enemies and so on.

Whatever form it takes and whatever the intentions of those who do this are, there is no doubt, whatsoever that it is an invented, haram innovation, which was, introduced 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'id Kawkaburi, the King of Irbil, at the end of the sixth century or the beginning of the seventh century after hijrah, as was mentioned by the historians such as Ibn Khalikan and others. Abu Shamah said, "The first person to do that in Mosul was Shaykh'Umar ibn Muhammad al-Mala, one of the well-known righteous people. Then the ruler of Irbil and others followed his example."

Al-Hafidh ibn Kathir said in al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah (13/137), in his biography of Abu Sa'id Kawkaburi:

"He used to observe the mawlid in Rabi' 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 dhuhr until fajr, and he himself would dance with them."

Ibn Khalikan said in Wafiyat al-A'yan (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 nasheeds after maghrib in the citadel."

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

What Muslims should do is to revive the Sunnah and put an end to bid'ah (innovation); they should not do any action until they know the ruling of Allah concerning it.

 

Ruling on Celebrating the Prophet's Birthday

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

It is not part of the sunnah of the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, or of the Caliphs who succeeded him. Since this is the case, then it is a forbidden innovation, because the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, "I urge you to follow my sunnah and the way of the rightly-guided Caliphs 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; at-Tirmidhi no. 2676]

Celebrating the mawlid is an innovation introduced 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 Allah which was not done by the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, or enjoined by him, and was not done by the Caliphs 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 Allah:

ٱلْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِى وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ ٱلْإِسْلَٰمَ دِينًا ۚ

"Today I have perfected your religion for you, and have completed My favor upon you, and have approved Islam as a religion for you." [Al-Qur'an 5:3] Because he is adding something extra and claiming that it is a part of the religion, but the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, did not bring this.

Celebrating the birthday of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is an imitation of the Christians, because they celebrate the birth of the Messiah, peace be upon him. Imitating them is extremely haram. The hadith tells us that it is forbidden to imitate the kuffar, and we are commanded to differ from them. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, "Whoever imitates a people is one of them." [Narrated by Ahmad, 2/50; Abu Dawud, 4/314] And he said, "Be different from the mushrikin." [Narrated by Muslim, 1/222, no. 259] This is especially with regard to things that are the symbols or rituals of their religion.

Besides being bid'ah and an imitation of the Christians, both of which are haram, celebrating the birthday of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is also a means that leads to exaggeration and excess in venerating him, which even goes as far as calling upon him (making du'a' to him) and seeking his help, instead of calling upon Allah, as happens now among many of those who observe the bid'ah of the mawlid, when they call upon the Messenger instead of Allah, and ask him for support, and sing qasidah(odes) of shirk praising him, like Qasidat al-Burdahetc.

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, forbade going to extremes in praising him, as he said, "Do not extol as the Christians extolled the son of Maryam. For I am just His slave, so say, the slave of Allah and His Messenger," [Narrated by al-Bukhari, 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 Allah. Allah 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 Allah aught but the truth. The Messiah 'Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah and His Word, ("Be!" — and he was) which He bestowed on Maryam (Mary) and a spirit (Ruh) created by Him." [Al-Qur'an 4:171] Our Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, forbade us to exaggerate concerning him lest the same thing happen to us as happened to them, so he said, "Beware of exaggeration, for those who came before you were destroyed because of exaggeration."[Narrated by an-Nasa'i, 5/268; classed as sahih by al-Albani in Sahih Sunan al-Nasa'i, no. 2863]

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 Imam's birth, such as the births of al-Badawi, Ibn 'Arabi, al-Dasuqi and al-Shadhili. 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 Allah, believing that they can bring benefit and cause harm, until they deviate from the religion of Allah and go back to the religion of the people of the jahiliyyah of whom Allah says (interpretation of the meaning), "And they worship besides Allah things that harm them not, nor profit them, and they say: 'These are our intercessors with Allah'," [Al-Qur'an 10:18] and "And those who take awliya' (protectors, helpers, lords, gods) besides Him (say): 'We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allah'." [Al-Qur'an 39:3]

 

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