It would benefit anybody who celebrates it, as it even benefits Abu Lahab (a disbelieving uncle of the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), due to the narration which states that a person saw Abu Lahab in his dream and asked him about his predicament. He (Abu Lahab) replied that his punishment in hell is reduced every Monday due to his rejoicing at the news of the birth of the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and also because he bought the freedom of the slave who brought him the good news.”
Refutation: This narration has an unconnected chain of narrators which renders it inauthentic; therefore, it cannot be used as evidence in an argument. Even if we were to assume, for the sake of argument, that it is not a weak narration, it is still rejected for many other reasons:
* It was only a dream and dreams are never used as a basis to judge anything, let alone be used to establish a form of worship based on them.
* This contradicts the Qur’aan. Allah says that which translates as: “And we will approach [i.e., regard] what they [i.e., the disbelievers] have done of deeds and make them as dust dispersed.” (Al-Furqaan: 23). Therefore, nobody will get any reward for their deeds unless they intend to get closer to Allah by doing so, and a disbeliever will never attempt to do anything to get closer to Allah as he does not believe in Him in the first place.
* History proves that this story was incorrect, and that Abu Lahab did not free any slave at that time. In fact, the slave in question was freed after the migration of the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam as mentioned in the books of Ibn ‘Abdul Barr and Ibn Al-Jawzi, may Allah have mercy upon them both.
Second claim: “The Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam himself glorified his birthday, due to his reply when asked why he fasted on Mondays: “I was born on this day and started receiving the revelation on it.” (Muslim). Therefore, he glorified his birthday by fasting on it, and this is a form of celebration.”
Refutation: This doubt can be refuted from three different angles:
* The Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam never regularly fasted on the twelfth of Rabee’ Al-Awwal, which is the date that some claim is his birthday, rather, he fasted every Monday, and there are four Mondays in every month. Therefore, celebrating the twelfth of Rabee’ Al-Awwal and designating certain acts of worship for it must be considered as an attempt to correct what is thought to be wrong or less than perfect on the part of the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.
* The Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam did not only fast on Mondays, but in addition, he would also fast on Thursdays, as he said: “The records of deeds are raised (to Allah) every Monday and Thursday, therefore, I like to be fasting at this time.” (Tirmidhi). Moreover, the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam did not say that the reason for fasting on a Monday were due to his birth only, but also because of the fact that the records of everybody’s deeds are raised to Allah on these days. Therefore, celebrating Al-Mawlid with the excuse that the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam used to fast on a Monday is a misunderstanding and a gross exaggeration of the facts.
* The Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam did not add any form of celebration to his fasting, as those who celebrate Al-Mawlid do. If people intend to express their gratitude to Allah by observing Al-Mawlid and they justify it with the excuse that he used to fast on Mondays, then common sense dictates that they must completely imitate the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam in the way that he expressed gratitude to Allah. Many people who celebrate Al-Mawlid do not fast regularly on Mondays and Thursdays as they deem it to be exhausting. On the contrary, they actually prepare and eat more food than usual as part of their celebration.
Third claim: “Rejoicing at this event is something recommended and requested of all of us by Allah in the verse were He says that which translates as: “Say: ‘In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy – in that let them rejoice, it is better than what they accumulate.'” (Yoonus: 58). Allah commanded us to rejoice in His mercy, and the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was the greatest of all His mercies, as Allah says (that which translates as): “And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.” (Al-Anbiyaa’: 107).
Refutation: The mercy mentioned in the first verse means other than what the celebrators of Al-Mawlid claim. Commenting on this verse, Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “‘The Bounty’ refers to the Qur’aan and ‘The Mercy’ is if one is from the people who adhere to it.'” Hilaal Ibn Yasaaf said commenting on the verse: “‘The Bounty’ means Islaam and ‘The Mercy’ means the Qur’aan.'”
None of the Salaf interpreted this command of Allah to mean rejoicing in the form of feasts and festivals. The mercy in the second verse is nothing other than the Qur’aan and the Sunnah which the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was sent with. Therefore, the true meaning of rejoicing due to Allah sending us His Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam must be to follow him completely and adhere to all his commands verbally and practically.
There can be no doubt that attempting to use this verse as an evidence for the permissibility of celebrating Al-Mawlid is applying it in a way other than how the Salaf, or pious first three generations, of Muslims, applied it. Ash-Shaatibi, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “Any application from the later generations of a text which was not understood nor applied by our Salaf is unacceptable.” Ibn ‘Abdul Haadi, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “It is prohibited to interpret a verse from the Qur’aan or a Hadeeth in any way other than the way our Salaf interpreted, applied and clarified it to the Ummah, because this would imply that they were ignorant of the truth and strayed away from it while the latter generations were guided to it. It is even worse if the interpretation of the latter generations opposes and contradicts that of the Salaf.”
Indeed the understanding and interpretation of the texts of those who celebrate Al-Mawlid is misguidance and an innovation in itself. Ash-Shaatibi, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “It is commonplace that the innovators and people of misguidance manipulate the Qur’aan and Sunnah and apply it in a way that suits their needs. Also, they propagate these false ideas to the common people in order to confuse them.”
Fourth claim: Although we acknowledge that it is a Bid’ah to celebrate Al-Mawlid due to the fact that the different acts of worship performed during it were not collectively practiced at the time of the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, we still hold that it is a good Bid’ah because these acts are mentioned in some general texts individually. So we accept that it is a Bid’ah in the sense that it is a new phenomenon, but not regarding all its details because these did exist individually at the time of the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.
Refutation: The presence of the necessity of establishing a certain act of worship at the time of the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam plus the absence of any preventing factors, in addition to the fact that the Prophet did not do it, are all factors which determine that celebrating Al-Mawlid is a Bid’ah.
A Bid’ah can never be deemed as good, even if there are texts that generally recommend the innovative acts performed for other times and places. To illustrate this point, the remaining companions of the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam condemned and rejected Marwaan Ibn Al-Hakam, may Allah have mercy upon him, when he innovated of a new Adhaan, or call for prayer, for the ‘Eed prayer. This was despite the fact that the Adhaan already existed for the five daily prayers and so was not something entirely new. Likewise, it would be an innovation if someone were to pray at a specific time of the day or the week, a certain number of optional prayers. This is because although praying is an act which is legislated and the Islamic texts recommend it, specifying a time and a set number of prayers with the intention of pleasing Allah is an innovation if specific supportive evidences to prove the legitimacy of the specified time, day and number of prayers are not given.
Once an act is proven to be a Bid’ah, it can never be deemed of as good because the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam gave a comprehensive statement saying: “Every Bid’ah (innovation) is misguidance” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi and others).
Shaykh Al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “If something is called a Bid’ah, yet was proven to be good according to evidences from the Sharee’ah, then it must be one of two things: 1) It is not a Bid’ah by the Islamic definition but rather linguistically (i.e. something abandoned and then newly revived) like the saying of ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allah be pleased with him: “Good Bid’ah” when he observed that the people had gathered behind one Imaam to lead them in their Taraaweeh prayers in congregation during Ramadaan”. 2) It is a special case which is exempted from the general texts because it has a specific evidence, but the general text still applies to every other case other than the special one (i.e. nobody is permitted to use this special case as an excuse to oppose the general text and innovate new things due to it).” He, may Allah have mercy upon him, also said: “It is well known that any form of worship which was not established by either the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam or his companions, or shown by the trustworthy scholars to have a firm foundation, is rejected.”
Ibn Rajab, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “The description of some of the Salaf about some matters being ‘good Bid’ahs’ are always in the linguistic sense of the term and never the religious one, like for example, the saying of ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allah be pleased with him: “Good Bid’ah” when he observed that the people had gathered behind one Imaam to lead them in their Taraaweeh prayers in congregation during Ramadaan. Praying Taraaweeh in congregation was practiced by the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and all that these people were doing was simply reviving an act which already existed, so the usage of the term here must have been purely linguistic.”
Fifth claim: Al-Mawlid encourages people to ask Allah to send salutations upon His Messenger and exalt his mention, which is something mandatory upon all Muslims, as Allah says (that which translates as): “Indeed Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and his angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace.” (Al-Ahzaab: 56) Therefore, anything which accomplishes that which is required Islamically is itself a requirement, such as Al-Mawlid.
Refutation: The thing that would really make a person implement the command mentioned in that verse and frequently mention of name of the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam is if they were to live their life studying the Sunnah of the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and applying it to all areas of their life. In reality, the celebration of Al-Mawlid once a year is nothing but a practical call to desert and abandon the Sunnah of the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and the asking of Allah to send salutations upon him and exalt his mention – except during this yearly festival. One only has to look at the lives of the people who propagate the celebration of Al-Mawlid to confirm this. These people are the furthest from applying the Sunnah in their lives; they seem to think that just because they have celebrated this yearly festival, they have fulfilled their duties towards the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. They also think that those who do not celebrate this event are not giving the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam his due right. Reality testifies that the truth is the opposite of this, and that those who celebrate Al-Mawlid are actually the ones who abandon the Sunnah of the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and are the ones who are the furthest from its guidance. They do not realise that the true meaning of rejoicing at Allah sending us His Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam is by rejoicing with that which he came with, and that following him is the only way for this joy to materialise and have a real effect. Allah says that which translates as: “Say, [O Muhammad], ‘If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so]Allah will love you.” Ibn Katheer, may Allah have mercy upon him, said commenting upon this verse: “This verse is a ruling against anyone who claims to love Allah while not following the Prophet’s Sunnah that they are a liar – until they follow the way of the Prophet Muhammad sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam totally, in word and deed.” Al-Hasan Al-Basri, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “Some people made the claim that they love Allah, so He tested the claim with this verse.”
Sixth claim: If Jumu’ah (Friday) has a special virtue and is honoured due to the fact that Aadam, peace be upon him, was born on that day, as the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “… And Aadam was born on it (Jumu’ah)”, then surely the Prophet’s birthday is worthier because he is the most honourable of all the Prophets.
Refutation: The virtues of Jumu’ah are well established; it is a weekly holiday and a celebration for the Muslims. Although Aadam, peace be upon him, was born on Jumu’ah as the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “The best of your days is the day of Jumu’ah, and Aadam was born on it.” It is a lie upon the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam to claim that Islaam glorified and honoured Jumu’ah because of the birth of Aadam on that day. Those who make such a claim only do so to use it as a foundation for their argument of celebrating Al-Mawlid.
We need to bear in mind that the same Islamic texts (the Qur’aan and Sunnah) which glorified and honoured the day of Jumu’ah are those that intentionally and deliberately did not mention anything about, nor honour the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Therefore, giving the same ruling to both events, when Islaam did not legislate for one and did so for the other, is an extremely evil, corrupt and false double-standard. Allah says that which translates as: “This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed my favour upon you and have approved for you Islaam as a religion.” (Al-Maa’idah: 3).
The Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam forbade singling out Jumu’ah for fasting or optional night prayers (Qiyaam) when he said: “Do not single out the night of Jumu’ah for Qiyaam, nor its day with fasting unless you habitually fast it.” (Muslim).
Seventh claim: Al-Mawlid includes things which are islamically praised, recommended and encouraged like charity, the mentioning of Allah’s names and praise and glorification of the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.
Refutation: Although Al-Mawlid does include these praised and encouraged matters, it is still an unfounded gathering for an unlawful reason. Acts of worship must be justified by the Sharee’ah, otherwise they will be rejected by Allah due to them not coinciding with His commands and that of his Messenger sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. The Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam did not legislate for his birthday to be a day to gather for prayer, charity or recitations of poems of praise, some of which contain Shirk, like the famous Al-Burdah written by Al-Booseeri which says in some of its verses:
You are the most honourable of all creation I have none but you to resort to when adversities befall me If you don’t rescue me on the Day of Resurrection from your grace Then my feet will definitely slip into the Hellfire From your generosity you have provided this world and the Hereafter Your know what is in the preserved tablet and you know the divine decree
Allah says that which translates as: “Indeed Allah [alone]has knowledge of the Hour and sends down the rain and knows what is in the wombs. And no soul perceives what it will earn tomorrow, and no soul perceives in what land it will die. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” (Luqmaan: 34). Ibn Mas’ood, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Your Prophet was given access to all knowledge (as needed) except the absolute knowledge of the unknown and the unseen.” – Then he recited this verse.
In Islaam, anything that leads to a prohibited act it itself prohibited. Although the Islamic texts recommend charity, mentioning the name of Allah and asking Allah to send salutations upon the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and exalting his mentioning, they do not state that people are to exaggerate in praising him to the extent of attributing knowledge of the unknown and unseen to him – which is knowledge that is exclusive to Allah and a form of shirk if someone were to attribute this knowledge to anyone besides Him.
Eighth claim: Some scholars have recommended Al-Mawlid, and Muslims all around the world have celebrated it throughout history. Therefore, it must be celebrated based on the saying of Ibn Mas’ood, may Allah be pleased with him: “Anything which the Muslims collectively deem as good is good and anything which the Muslims collectively deem as bad is bad.”
Refutation: If we are to understand from this statement of Ibn Mas’ood, may Allah be pleased with him, that ‘collectively’ means the consensus of the scholars of the Muslim nation, then this is of course the correct understanding, because they never collectively agreed on anything that was misguidance. However, the notion that the Muslim nation as a whole are united in celebrating Al-Mawlid is a fallacy, in fact the opposite is true. The struggle against this Bid’ah began from the very first day that it was initiated by the misguided Baatini (those with concealed beliefs) rulers. After that, in the seventh Hijri century, Sultan Irbil spread this misguidance even further. What made this Bid’ah spread as far and wide as it did was the fact that was propagated by the rulers, who hade complete control over their subjects.
The fact that many people in different countries take part in this Bid’ah can never be taken as evidence to justify it and make it Islamically permissible, because the truth is not related to the numbers who adhere to it. Allah says that which translates as: “And if you obey most of those upon the earth, they will mislead you from the way of Allah.” (Al-An’aam: 116). Moreover, the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam described the victorious Muslim group which will supported by Allah and granted victory to be very small in number as stated in the book of Muslim.
If the people who propagate Al-Mawlid were to reflect on that saying of Ibn Mas’ood, may Allah be pleased with him, they would find that it is actually evidence against themselves. This is because the consensus mentioned refers to that of the companions of the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. This is the very reason why these people deliberately delete the beginning and misinterpret the end of the narration. For the sake of completion, here is the complete narration: Ibn Mas’ood, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Allah looked into the hearts of the people and found that the heart of Muhammad sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was the finest, so he chose him to be his beloved and sent him with His Message. Then Allah looked into the hearts of everybody else and found that the hearts of Muhammad’s companions were the finest (from the rest), so he made them succeed his Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and made them fight for the sake of His religion. Therefore, anything which the Muslims collectively deem to be good is good and anything which the Muslims collectively deem to be bad is bad.” (Ahmad).
As-Sindi, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “It is obvious that the companions of the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam are the ones referred to as ‘the Muslims’ in this narration. Therefore, the consensus must be that of the companions and the consensus of others cannot be included, let alone the agreement of a single group of people on one opinion …”
When Ibn Mas’ood and Abu Moosaa Al-Ash’ari, may Allah be pleased with them both, condemned circles in which the name of Allah was mentioned collectively, they did so due to it going against the practice of the companions of the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and therefore being a bad practice. This is despite the fact that generally, mentioning the name of Allah is a recommended act of worship, but these circles were an innovative way of doing so. Ibn Mas’ood, may Allah be pleased with him, said to some of the people in these circles: “What is this that I see you all doing?” they replied: ‘We are counting how many times we say Allahu Akbar, Laa Ilaaha Illaa Allah and Subhaana Allah with these stones.” He replied: “Woe to you! How fast it is that you lead yourselves to destruction, the companions of the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam are still many in number around you (to ask for religious instructions) and the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam just passed away (i.e. he has not been gone long enough for you to forget his teachings).” Then Ibn Mas’ood, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “I swear by Him in Whose hands my soul is, you are either following a way (which you think is) more guided than that of Muhammad sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, or you are initiating a way of misguidance.” They replied: “But we only intended to do what is good.” Ibn Mas’ood, may Allah be pleased with him, replied: “How often it is that those who intend to do good miss out on it.’ It was never reported that any of the companions of the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam held an opinion opposite to that of Ibn Mas’ood and Abu Moosaa regarding the condemnation of those who gathered for the collective mentioning of Allah’s name. If all the companions regarded that as evil, then what would they have thought of those who gather to read Qur’aan collectively during Al-Mawlid, which also includes other activities that are clear forms of Shirk?