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MUSLIM EVENTS CELEBRATION.

 

1)  CELEBRATING THE MIDDLE OF SHABAN AND MAI’RAJ

 

2)  RULING ON CELEBRATING PROPHET’S BIRTHDAY

 

3)  CELEBRATING CHILDREN BIRTHDAYS

 

4)  BID'AH OF EID AL-ABRAAR

 

1. CELEBRATING THE MIDDLE OF SHABAN AND MAI'RAJ

Question :

What you say about celebrating “Middle of Shaban & Shab-e-Mairaj”?

Answer :

Praise be to Allah Who has perfected our religion for us, and has completed His Favour upon us. And blessings and peace be upon His Prophet and Messenger Muhammad, the Prophet of repentance and mercy.

 Allah says (interpretation of the meanings):

“....This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.....” [Al-Maa’idah 5:3]

“Or have they partners with Allah (false gods) who have instituted for them a religion which Allah has not ordained?...." [Ash-Shooraa 42:21]

In al-Saheehayn it is reported from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: 

“Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours [Islam] that is not part of it, will have it rejected.” 

In Saheeh Muslim it is narrated from Jaabir (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to say in his Friday khutbahs: “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, and every innovation (bid’ah) is a going-astray.” 

And there are many aayaat and ahaadeeth which say similar things. 

This clearly indicates that Allah has perfected the religion of this ummah, and completed His favour upon them. He did not take the soul of His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) until he had conveyed the Message clearly and explained to the ummah everything that Allah had prescribed for it of words and deeds.

He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) explained that everything that people would innovate after he was gone, all the words and deeds that they would attribute to Islam, all of that would be thrown back on the one who invented it, even if his intention was good. The companions of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) knew this matter, as did the scholars of Islam after them. They denounced bid’ah and warned against it, as has been stated by all those who wrote books praising the Sunnah and denouncing bid’ah, such as Ibn Waddaah, al-Tartooshi, Ibn Shaamah and others.

Among the bid’ahs that have been invented by some people is celebrating the middle of Sha’baan (Laylat al-Nusf min Sha’baan), and singling out that day for fasting. There is no evidence (daleel) for that which can be regarded as reliable. Some da’eef (weak) ahaadeeth have been narrated concerning its virtues, but we cannot regard them as reliable. The reports which have been narrated concerning the virtues of prayer on this occasion are all mawdoo’ (fabricated), as has been pointed out by many of the scholars. We will quote some of their comments below, in sha  Allah.

Some reports have also been narrated on this matter from some of the salaf in Syria, and others. What the majority of scholars say is that celebrating this occasion is bid’ah, and that the ahaadeeth concerning the virtues of this occasion are all da’eef (weak), and some of them are mawdoo’ (fabricated).

Among those who pointed this out was al-Haafiz Ibn Rajab, in his book Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif, and others. The da’eef ahaadeeth concerning acts of worship can only be acted upon in the case of acts of worship which are proven by saheeh evidence. There is no saheeh basis for celebrating the middle of Sha’baan, so we cannot follow the da’eef ahaadeeth either.

This important principle was mentioned by Imaam Abu’l-‘Abbaas Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him). 

The scholars (may Allah have mercy on them) were agreed that it is obligatory to refer matters concerning which the people dispute to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Whatever ruling both or one of them give is the sharee’ah which must be followed, and whatever goes against them must be rejected. Any acts of worship which are not mentioned in them are therefore bid’ah and it is not permissible to do them, let alone call others to do them or approve of them. As Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“O you who believe! Obey Allah 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 Allah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination" [An-Nisaa’ 4:59]  

“And in whatsoever you differ, the decision thereof is with Allah (He is the ruling Judge)....” [Ash-Shooraa 42:10] 

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

“But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission  [An-Nisaa’ 4:65]

And there are many similar aayaat which clearly state that matters of dispute are to be referred to the Qur’aan and Sunnah, and that their ruling is to be accepted. This is the requirement of faith and this is what is best for people in this world and in the next: O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: That is best, and most suitable for final determination. [An-Nisaa 4:59 – interpretation of the meaning] means, in the Hereafter. 

Al-Haafiz Ibn Rajab (may Allah have mercy on him) said in his book Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif concerning this matter – after previously discussing it – “Laylat al-Nusf min Sha’baan (the middle of Sha’baan) was venerated by the Taabi’een among the people of al-Shaam, such as Khaalid ibn Mi’daan, Makhool, Luqmaan ibn ‘Aamir and others, who used to strive in worship on this night. The people took the idea of the virtue of this night and of venerating it from them. It was said that they heard of Israa’eeli reports (reports from Jewish sources) concerning that. Most of the scholars of the Hijaaz denounced that, including ‘Ataa’ and Ibn Abi Maleekah. ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Zayd ibn Aslam narrated that view from the fuqahaa’ of Madeenah, and this was the view of the companions of Maalik and others. They said: this is all bid’ah…

No comment from Imaam Ahmad concerning Laylat al-Nusf min Sha’baan is known of…  Concerning spending the night of the middle of Sha’baan in prayer, there is no sound report from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) or from his companions…” 

This is what was said by al-Haafiz Ibn Rajab (may Allah be pleased with him). He clearly states that there is no sound report from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) or from his companions (may Allah be pleased with them) about Laylat al-Nusf min Sha’baan (the middle of Sha’baan). 

In every case where there is no sound shar’i evidence that a thing is prescribed in Islam, it is not permissible for the Muslim to innovate things in the religion of Allah, whether these are individual acts or communal acts, whether he does them in secret or openly, because of the general meaning of the hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): “Whoever does any action that is not a part of this matter of ours [Islam], will have it rejected.” And there are other daleels (evidence) which indicate that bid’ah is to be denounced and which warn against it. 

Imaam Abu Bakr al-Tartooshi (may Allah have mercy on him) said, in his book al-Hawaadith wa’l-Bida’: “Ibn Waddaah narrated that Zayd ibn Aslam said: We never met anyone among our shaykhs and fuqahaa’ who paid any attention to Laylat al-Nusf min Sha’baan, or who paid any attention to the hadeeth of Makhool, or who thought that this night was any more special than other nights. It was said to Ibn Abi Maleekah that Ziyaad al-Numayri was saying that the reward of Laylat al-Nusf min Sha’baan was like the reward of Laylat al-Qadr. He said, If I heard him say that and I had a stick in my hand, I would hit him. Ziyaad was a story-teller.” 

Al-‘Allaamah al-Shawkaani (may Allah have mercy on him) said in al-Fawaa’id al-Majmoo’ah

“The hadeeth: ‘O ‘Ali, whoever prays one hundred rak’ahs on Laylat al-Nusf min Sha’baan, reciting in each rak’ah the Opening of the Book [Soorat al-Faatihah] and Qul Huwa Allahu Ahad ten times, Allah will meet all his needs…’ This is mawdoo’ (fabricated) [i.e., it is falsely attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him]. Its wording clearly states the reward that the person who does this will attain, and no man who has any common sense can doubt that this is fabricated. Also, the men of its isnaad are majhool (unknown). It was also narrated via another isnaad, all of which is mawdoo’ (fabricated) and all of whose narrators are majhool (unknown). 

In al-Mukhtasar he said: The hadeeth about the salaah for the middle of Sha’baan is false, and the hadeeth of ‘Ali narrated by Ibn Hibbaan – “ When it is the night of the middle of Sha’baan, spend that night in prayer and fast that day” – is da’eef (weak). 

In al-La’aali’ he said, “One hundred rak’ahs in the middle of Sha’baan, reciting (Soorat) al-Ikhaas ten times in each… (this is) mawdoo’ (fabricated), and all its narrators in its three isnaads are majhool (unknown) and da’eef (weak). He said: and twelve rak’ahs, reciting al-Ikhlaas thirty times in each, this is mawdoo’; and fourteen (rak’ahs), this is mawdoo’

A group of fuqahaa’ were deceived by this hadeeth, such as the author of al-Ihyaa’ and others, as were some of the mufassireen. The prayer of this night – the middle of Sha’baan – was described in different ways, all of which are false and fabricated.” 

Al-Haafiz al-‘Iraaqi said: “The hadeeth about the prayer during the night of the middle of Sha’baan is fabricated and is falsely attributed to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).” 

Imaam al-Nawawi said in his book al-Majmoo’: “The prayer that is known as salaat al-raghaa’ib, which is twelve rak’ahs between Maghrib and ‘Ishaa’ on the night of the first Friday in Rajab, and the prayer of Laylat al-Nusf min Sha’baan, of one hundred rak’ahs – these two prayers are reprehensible bid’ahs. No one should be deceived by the fact that they are mentioned in the books Qoot al-Quloob and Ihyaa’ ‘Uloom al-Deen, or by the hadeeth which is mentioned in these two books. All of that is false. Nor should they be deceived by the fact that some of the imaams were confused about this matter and wrote a few pages stating that these prayers are mustahabb, for they were mistaken in that.” 

Shaykh al-Imaam Abu Muhammad ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Ismaa’eel al-Maqdisi wrote a very valuable book proving that these (reports) are false, and he did a very good job. The scholars spoke at length about this matter, and if we were to quote all that we have read of what they have said about this matter, it would take far too long. Perhaps what we have already mentioned is sufficient to convince the seeker of truth. 

From the aayahs, ahaadeeth and scholarly opinions quoted above, it is clear to the seeker of truth that celebrating the middle of Sha’baan by praying on that night or in any other way, or by singling out that day for fasting, is a bid’ah which is denounced by most of the scholars. It has no basis in the pure sharee’ah; rather it is one of the things that was innovated in Islam after the time of the Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them). It is sufficient for the seeker of truth, in this case and in others, to know the words of Allah (interpretation of the meaning):

“....This day, I have perfected your religion for you…” [Al-Maa’idah 5:3] and other similar aayaat; and the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): 

“Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours [Islam] that is not part of it, will have it rejected”  and other similar ahaadeeth. 

In Saheeh Muslim it is narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:Do not single out the night of Jumu’ah for praying qiyaam and do not single out the day of Jumu’ah for fasting, unless is it part of the ongoing regular fast of any one of you.’” 

If it were permissible to single out any night for special acts of worship, the night of Jumu’ah would be the most appropriate, because the day of Jumu’ah (Friday) is the best day upon which the sun rises, as is stated in the saheeh hadeeth narrated from the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Since the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) warned against singling out that night for praying qiyaam, that indicates that it is even more prohibited to single out any other night for acts of worship, except where there is saheeh evidence to indicate that a particular night is to be singled out. 

Because it is prescribed to spend the nights of Laylat al-Qadr and the other nights of Ramadaan in prayer, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) drew attention to that and urged his ummah to pray qiyaam during those nights. He also did that himself, as is indicated in al-Saheehayn, where it says that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever prays qiyaam in Ramadaan out of faith and seeking reward, Allah will forgive him his previous sins” and “Whoever spends the night of Laylat al-Qadr in prayer  out of faith and seeking reward, Allah will forgive him his previous sins.” 

But if it were prescribed to single out the night of the middle of Sha’baan, or the night of the first Friday in Rajab, or the night of the Israa’ and Mi’raaj, for celebration or for any special acts of worship, then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would have taught his ummah to do that, and he would have done it himself. If anything of the sort had happened, his companions (may Allah be pleased with them) would have transmitted it to the ummah; they would not have concealed it from them, for they are the best of people and the most sincere, after the Prophets, may blessings and peace be upon them, and may Allah be pleased with all the companions of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). 

Now we know from the words of the scholars quoted above that there is no report from the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) or from his companions (may Allah be pleased with them) concerning the virtue of the first night of Jumu’ah in Rajab, or the night of the middle of Sha’baan. So we know that celebrating these occasions is an innovation that has been introduced into Islam, and that singling out these occasions for acts of worship is a reprehensible bid’ah.

The same applies to the twenty-seventh night of Rajab, which some people believe is the night of the Israa’ and Mi’raaj; it is not permissible to single this date out for acts of worship, or to celebrate this occasion, on the basis of the evidence (daleel) quoted above. This is the case if the exact date (of the Israa’ and Mi’raaj) is known, so how about the fact that the correct scholarly view is that its date is not known! The view that it is the night of the twenty-seventh of Rajab is a false view which has no basis in the saheeh ahaadeeth. He indeed spoke well who said: “The best of matters are those which follow the guided way of the salaf, and the most evil of matters are those which are newly-innovated.”

We ask Allah to help us and all the Muslims adhere firmly to the Sunnah and to beware of everything that goes against it, for He is the Most Generous, Most Kind.

May Allah bless His slave and Messenger, our Prophet Muhammad, and all his family and companions.

Adapted from Majmoo’ Fataawa Samaahat al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz, 2/882

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2.  Ruling on celebrating PROPHET’S birthday

Question :

What you say about celebrating “Prophet Birthday (Eid Malad)”?

Answer :

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’aan 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 (interpretation of the meaning):

 “Say (O Muhammad to mankind): ‘If you (really) love Allah, then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Qur’aan and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you your sins....” [Aale ‘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 Allah), besides Him (Allah). Little do you remember!” [Al-A’raaf 7:3]

"And verily, this is My straight path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His path....” [Al-A’naam 6:153]

And the Prophet (peace and blessings of 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-Bukhaari, no. 2697; Muslim, no. 1718). According to a version narrated by Muslim, “Whoever doe anything that is not in accordance with this matter of ours (i.e., Islam), will have it rejected.”

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

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

Some of them make food and sweets etc., and offer them to the people present. 

Some of them hold these celebrations in the mosques, and some of them hold them in their houses. 

Some people do not limit themselves to the actions mentioned above; they include in these gatherings haraam and reprehensible things, such as free mixing of men and women, dancing and singing, or committing actions of shirk such as seeking the help of the Prophet (peace and blessings of 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, 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 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. 

Reasons of Forbidding

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: 

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

 Celebrating the Mawlid is an innovation introduced by the Shi’a Faatimids after the three best centuries in order to corrupt the religion of the Muslims. If a person does anything in order to draw closer to 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 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 Allah (interpretation of the meaning):

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

 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.

2 – 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 haraam. The hadeeth tells us that it is forbidden to imitate the kuffaar, and we are commanded to differ from them. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them” (narrated by Ahmad, 2/50; Abu Dawood, 4/314). And he said, “Be different from the mushrikeen” (narrated by Muslim, 1/222, no. 259) – especially with regard to things that are the symbols or rituals of their religion.

3 – Besides being bid’ah and an imitation of the Christians, both of which are haraam, celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of 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’aa’ 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 qaseedahs (odes) of shirk praising him, like Qaseedat al-Burdah etc.

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-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 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 ‘Eesa (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 (Rooh) created by Him....[An-Nisaa’ 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 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 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 Jaahiliyyah 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....’” [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 Allah....’” [Az-Zumar 39:3]

Discussing the specious arguments of those who celebrate the Mawlid

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

1 – Their claim that this is veneration of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him):

The response to that is that the way to venerate him is to obey him, do as he commanded and avoid that which he forbade, and to love him; he is not to be venerated through innovations, myths and sins. Celebrating his birthday is of this blameworthy type because it is a sin. The people who venerated the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) the most were the Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them), as ‘Urwah ibn Mas’ood said to Quraysh: “O people, by Allah I have visited kings. I went to Caesar, Chosroes and the Negus, but by Allah I never saw a king whose companions venerated him as much as the companions of Muhammad venerated Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). By Allah, whenever he spat it never fell on the ground, it fell into the hand of one his companions, then they wiped their faces and skins with it. If he instructed them to do something, they would hasten to do as he commanded. When he did wudoo’, they would almost fight over his water. When he spoke they would lower their voices in his presence; and they did not stare at him out of respect for him.” (al-Bukhaari, 3/178, no. 2731, 2732; al-Fath, 5/388). Yet despite this level of veneration, they never took the day of his birth as an ‘Eid (festival). If that had been prescribed in Islam they would not have neglected to do that.

2 – Using as evidence the fact that many people in many countries do this.

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

“And if you obey most of those on the earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah’s path....” [Al-An’aam 6:116 – interpretation of the meaning]

Nevertheless, in every age, praise be to Allah, there have always been those who denounce this bid’ah and state clearly that it is false. Those who persist in following it after the truth had been explained to them have no proof.

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

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

The answer to that is that the memory of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is constantly kept alive by the Muslim, such as when his name (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is mentioned in the adhaan and iqaamah and in khutbahs, and every time the Muslim recites the Shahaadatayn after doing wudoo’ and in the prayers, and every time he sends blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in his prayers and when he is mentioned, and every time the Muslim does a waajib (obligatory) or mustahabb (recommended) action that was prescribed by the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). In all of these ways (the Muslim) remembers him and the reward equivalent to the reward of the one who does that action goes back to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Thus the Muslim constantly keeps the memory of the Messenger alive and has a connection with him night and day throughout his life through that which Allah has prescribed, not only on the day of the Mawlid and things which are bid’ah and go against the Sunnah, for that puts one at a distance from the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the Messenger will disown him because of that.

The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has no need of this innovated celebration, because Allah has already bestowed veneration and respect upon him, as He says:

“and raised high your fame” [al-Sharh 94:4]

For Allah is not mentioned in the adhaan, iqaamah or khutbah, but the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is mentioned after Him; this is sufficient veneration, love and renewal of his memory, ad sufficient encouragement to follow him.

Allah did not refer to the birth of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in the Qur’aan, rather He referred to his Mission, and says (interpretation of the meaning):

Indeed, Allah conferred a great favour on the believers when He sent among them a Messenger (Muhammad) from among themselves [Aale ‘Imraan 3:164]

“He it is Who sent among the unlettered ones a Messenger (Muhammad) from among themselves.... [Al-Jumu’ah 62:2]

4 – 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 Allah.

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.

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

Our response to that is that there is nothing good in innovation. The Prophet (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-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 (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), ‘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 (may Allah be pleased with him) 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.

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 (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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 (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) led his companions in praying Taraaweeh for a while, then he stopped doing that, lest that become obligatory on them. The Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them) continued to pray it separately during the life of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and after his death, until ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allah be pleased with them) gathered them behind one imaam as they used to pray behind the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). This was not an innovation introduced into the religion. 

Writing down the hadeeth also has a basis in Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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 (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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 Allah 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 (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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 (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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 Allah? Definitely not!

 6 – They may say that celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is indicative of their love for him; this is one way of showing that, and showing love of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is prescribed in Islam!

The answer to that is that undoubtedly loving the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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 (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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 (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)]. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

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

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

7 – Another of their specious arguments is when they say that by celebrating the Mawlid and reading the biography of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) on this occasion, they are encouraging people to follow his example! 

We say to them that reading the biography of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and following his example is required of Muslims 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 (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). 

In conclusion, celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), 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 (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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 (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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 Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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 Allah 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 Allah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination”    [An-Nisaa’ 4:59] 

Referring to Allah means referring to His Book, and referring to the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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 Allah 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 Allah to help us adhere to His Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger until the Day when we will meet Him. May Allah grant blessings and peace to our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions.

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3. CELEBRATING CHILDREN BIRTHDAYS

Question:

Is celebrating birthdays without having any tradition or anything haram involved is forbidden in Islam? I live in Canada and my kids are in Islamic schools. However, they see and know that almost every one else is doing the same. So, if we just bring them for an outing or just dining out and having them happy, is this haram though there will be no birthday cakes, wishes or presents?

Answer :

I would not say that it is strictly haram (prohibited) to celebrate birthdays, but at least it can be counted as makruh. The reason is by doing that we are not following the teachings of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) who taught us to have a distinguished identity. Celebrating special days, like the two `Eids, are regarded as Islamic rituals that have to be followed strictly without any addition or innovation.

Also, for the Muslims who are living in non-Muslim countries, it is even more important to observe strictly these rituals and make children understand the distinction between what is Islamic and what is not, in order to preserve their Islamic identity from being melted or dissolved in the society and to avoid any kind of confusion in their minds.

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4. BID’AH OF EID AL-ABRAAR

Question :  

What is the ruling on Eid al-Abraar (festival of the righteous) which is celebrated in Shawwaal every year?

Answer :  Praise be to Allah.

One of the innovated things that happen in Shawwaal is the bid’ah (innovation) of “Eid al-Abraar” (the “festival of the righteous”), which is on the eighth day of Shawwaal. 

After the people have completed the fast of Ramadaan, and they broke their fast on the first day of Shawwaal – the day of Eid al-Fitr – they start to fast the first six days of Shawwaal, and on the eighth day they celebrate an “eid” which they call Eid al-Abraar. 

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “With regard to celebrating occasions which are not prescribed in sharee’ah – such as some nights in Rabee’ al-Awwal which are called ‘Mawlid’, or some nights in Rajab, or the eighteenth of Dhu’l-Hijjah, or the first Friday in Rajab, or the eighth of Shawwaal which the ignorant call Eid al-Abraar – these are innovations which were not approved of by the salaf and they did not do these things. And Allah knows best.” (Majmoo’ Fataawa Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah, 25/298) 

He also said: “With regard to the eighth of Shawwaal, it is not an Eid, neither for the righteous nor for the evil. It is not permissible for anyone to take it as an Eid or to do any of the things connected with celebrations on that day.” (al-Ikhtiyaaraat al-Fiqhiyyah, p. 199) 

The celebrations of this “eid” take place in one of the famous mosques, where men and women mix freely, shake hands with one another and utter words of Jaahiliyyah when they shake hands.  Then after that they go and make some foods especially for this occasion.” (al-Sunan wa’l-Mubtada’aat by al-Shuqayri, p. 166) 

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