Mawlid: Celebrating the Prophet’s Birthday

Abdullah bin Hisham narrates: ‘We were with the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and he was holding the hand of ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab. ‘Umar said to Him, “O Allah’s Messenger! You are dearer to me than everything except my own self.” The Prophet said, “No, by Him in Whose Hand my soul is, (you will not have complete faith) till I am dearer to you than your own self.” Then ‘Umar said to him, “However, now, by Allah, you are dearer to me than my own self.” The Prophet said, “Now, O ‘Umar, (now you are a believer) (Bukhari, Hadith 628.)

The companions of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) loved their Prophet in the truest meaning of the word ‘love’. And what better way to describe the truest sense of love than the verse; ‘say, if you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you.’ In this verse, we have a criterion for judging love, that is, if you love some one, you will try to follow all his commands to the best you can. It is no wonder then, that Allah praised the companions of the Prophet at various places throughout the Quran commenting on their belief, their love, and their following of the Prophet (Peace be upon him).

The companions were the one whose knees shook and heart trembled upon the hearing of demise of their Prophet (Peace be upon him). They are the ones who adhered to his Sunnah so much so that if the Prophet (Peace be upon him) stopped at a particular place during their journey, then they would also want to stop at the same place, and if the Prophet (Peace be upon him) placed his foot on a certain place during tawaf, then they will also try to do likewise. Such were the followers of Muhammad, and they were truly followers and not innovators.

They understood what it means to love the Prophet and how they knew how to express that love in a meaningful and appropriate way. They knew the teachings of Islam and how to implement them under the guiding light of the Prophet. They are the ones whom the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was satisfied with and whom he left responsible for spreading the message of this deen.

After them came a people who introduced new matters into the religion of Allah based upon their logic or upon what influenced them from the non-Muslims societies. Among such innovations is the innovation of celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (Peace be upon him). This is a clear innovation because our salaf[1] were unaware of any such deed that we now so proudly claim to be a part of Islam.

Each and every one of the companions was happy about the birth of their Prophet and they celebrated this blessing not on a particular day but rather throughout their lives in the form of obedience to his each and every command. That is the true acceptance of his message and that is the truest form of love that you can express. We do not have a single narration that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) celebrated his birthday or ordered for such to happen. Consequently, we do not have a single example where any of the companions, or the righteous scholars that followed them celebrated such an event.

On the other hand, we have authentic narrations that mention only 2 forms of (Eid) celebrations in a year for any Muslim; Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha. For both these times we have detailed explanation of how the Prophet (Peace be upon him) spent his day and night in Worship and enjoyment. This third eid; Eid Milad-un-Nabi, is an innovation that was unknown at the time of the Prophet and the roots of which can be traced back to Fourth Hijri in Cairo by the Fatimi State (Shia sect) who used to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet, Ali, Fatima, Hassan Hussain and their present monarch.

The mawlid[2] is most commonly celebrated on the 12th of Rabi-ul-Awal whereas the scholars differ greatly upon the exact date of birth of the Prophet (Peace be upon him). All agree that he was born in the year of elephant (when Abraha attacked Makkah) and that he was born on a Monday[3] but when it comes to the day of the month, there are a lot of different opinions and none of them can be fully confirmed. However, one thing is for sure, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) passed away on the 12th of Rabi-ul-Awal at the age of 63. That was a catastrophic day for the companions and the ummah and it makes no sense for us to celebrate a day in which the ummah suffered an irrevocable loss.

Many of those who celebrate the mawlid present different verses from the Quran[4] while playing with its meaning or interpretation as a means of justifying their actions. Do these people not realize that if the order of celebrating mawlid was in the Quran and/or the Sunnah then the prophet (Peace be upon him) would also have done it and shown us (his ummah) how to do it properly? Did the Prophet (Peace be upon him) not know the interpretation of the Quran like you now know? And we seek refuge with Allah from saying that. The truth is, no matter how many unauthentic ahadith are presented, and no matter how many wrong interpretations are offered, if the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his companions did not celebrate mawlid and did not consider it as a religious duty or a form of expression of love, then we are in no position to do so.

Also know that all the actions that we do in our lives can be categorized under one of the five categories. Either it is Fard (obligatory), or Haram (prohibited), or Sunnah (practice of the Prophet), or Makruh (disliked), or Mubah (no reward no punishment). Every action must fall into one of these mentioned categories. In regards to Mawlid we see that it is not fard or sunnah otherwise we would have found the example of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his companions. Then we are left with Makruh, Mubah and Haram. In the celebrating of Mawlid there is a clear resemblance with mushrikeen[5] and kuffar, and this resemblance (especially in religion) is absolutely haram. Also, celebrating the mawlid is a newly invented matter in the religion and all newly invented matters in the religion are haram and lead to hell fire.

Loving the Prophet (Peace be upon him) is a criteria of Eman because Allah says, “Say (O Beloved Prophet): If your fathers, and your sons, and your brothers, and your wives, and your kinsfolk, and the wealth you have acquired, and merchandise for which you fear that there will be no sale, and dwellings you desire, are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger and fighting in His Way: then wait till Allah brings His Command to pass, and Allah does not guide the disobedient people. (Quran 9:24). But this love should be expressed as the companions expressed it. They did not hold celebrations of Mawlid but rather followed him they best they could in adversity and prosperity and in peace and war.

“O you who believe! Be in reverential awe of Allah and believe in His Messenger. He (Allah) will give you twofold of His Mercy and will appoint for you a light wherein you shall walk, and will forgive you, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (57:28)

“And it befits not a believing (Muslim) man or a believing (Muslim) woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter (for them), that they should (after that) claim any choice in their matter; and whoso disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has surely gone astray in manifest error.” (33:36)

 

 


[1] Predecessors. The first three generations of Islam. Companions of the Prophet (Peace be upon him)

[2] Birthday of the Prophet (Peace be upon him)

[3] Abu Qatada al-Ansari narrates in Sahih Muslim, Kitab as-siyam, that the Prophet was asked about the fast of Monday, and he answered: “That is the day that I was born and that is the day I received the prophecy.”

[4] “Indeed Allah conferred a great favor on the believers when He sent in them a Messenger from among themselves, reciting unto them his Verses, and purifying them, and teaching them the Book (Quran) and wisdom (Sunnah),  while before that they had been in a manifest corruption.” (3:164). And Say: In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy: therein [alone] let them rejoice. It is better than what they hoard” (10:58)

[5] Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on 25th December

 

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