Misconceptions regarding Al-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 sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: 

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 sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam the most were the Sahaabah as ‘Urwah Ibn Mas’ood said to Quraysh: “O people, I swear by Allaah that I have visited kings. I went to Caesar, Chasroes and the Negus, but I swear by Allaah that I never saw a king whose companions venerated him as much as the companions of Muhammad venerated Muhammad. By Allaah, whenever he spat it never fell to the ground, it fell into the hand of one his companions, then they would wipe 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] Yet despite this level of veneration, they never took the day of his birth as an ‘Eed (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 can only consist of that which is proven from the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and what is proven from the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam 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. Allaah Says (what means): {And if you obey most of those upon the earth, they will mislead you from the way of Allaah.}[Quran 3: 116] 

Nevertheless, in every age, and all praise is due to Allaah, 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 has been explained to them have no proofs to fall back on. 

Among those who denounced the celebration of this occasion was Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, 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 an 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 a time when this Bid’ah is widespread. 

3 – They say that by celebrating the Mawlid they are keeping the memory of the Prophet . 

The answer to this is that the memory of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is constantly kept alive by the Muslim, such as when his name 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 sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam 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 . 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 sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam . Thus the Muslim constantly keeps the memory of the Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam alive and has a connection with him night and day throughout his life through that which Allaah 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 sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the Messenger will disown him because of that. 

The Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has no need of this innovated celebration, because Allaah has already bestowed veneration and respect upon him, as He Says (what means): {And raised high for you your repute.}[Quran 94: 4] 

This is because the name of Allaah is not mentioned in the Adhaan, Iqaamah or Khutbahs, except that the Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is mentioned after Him; this is sufficient veneration, love and renewal of his memory, and sufficient encouragement to follow him. 

Allaah did not refer to the birth of the Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in the Quran, rather He referred to his Mission, and Says (what means): {Indeed, Allaah conferred a great favour on the believers when He sent among them a Messenger (Muhammad) from among themselves.}[Quran 3: 164] 

{It is He who sent among the unlettered a Messenger from themselves.}[Quran 62: 2] 

4 – They may say that the celebration of the Prophet’s sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam birthday was introduced by a knowledgeable and just king who intended thereby to draw closer to Allaah. 

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 Allaah for the Prophet ! 

Our response to that is that there is nothing good in innovation. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Whoever innovates anything in this matter of ours(i.e., Islam),that is not part of it will have it rejected.” [Al-Bukhaari] And he sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Every innovation is a going astray.” [Ahmad and At-Tirmithi) 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. Ibn Rajab rahmihu Allah said: “The words of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam ‘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.’ [Al-Bukhaari] 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.” 

These people have no proof that there is any such thing as a “good innovation” apart from the words of ‘Umar concerning Taraaweeh prayers when he said: ‘What a good innovation this is.’ [Al-Bukhaari] 

They also said that things were innovated which were not denounced by the Salaf, such as compiling the Quran into one volume and writing and compiling the collections of Ahadeeth. 

The response to that is that these matters had a basis in Islam, so they were not newly-invented. 

‘Umar radhiaAllahu anhu 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 Quran into one book has a basis in Islam, because the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had commanded that the Quran be written down, but it was scattered, so the Sahaabah compiled it in one volume so as so protect and preserve it. 

The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam led his companions in praying Taraaweeh for a while, then he stopped doing that, lest it become obligatory on them. The Sahaabah continued to pray it individually during the life of the Prophet and after his death, until ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allah be pleased with him, gathered them behind one Imam as they used to pray behind the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Therefore, this was not an innovation introduced into the religion. 

Compiling the collections of Ahadeeth also has a basis in Islam. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam ordered that some Ahaadeeth be written down for some of his companions when they asked him for that. Generally, doing this during his lifetime was prohibited, for fear that the Quran might be mixed with things that were not part of it (from the sayings of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. When the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam died, this fear was no longer a factor, because the Quran 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 Allaah 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 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 the 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 Allaah? Definitely not! 

6 – They may say that celebrating the birthday of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is indicative of their love for him; this is one way of showing that, and showing love of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is prescribed in Islam! 

The answer to that is that undoubtedly loving the Prophet is obligatory for every Muslim; he should love him more than he loves himself, his child, his father and all of mankind – 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 sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam 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. Having good intentions 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 sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. 

Allaah Says (what means): {Yes [on the contrary], whoever submits his face [i.e., self] in Islam to Allaah while being a doer of good will have his reward with his Lord. And no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.}[Quran 2: 112] 

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

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

We say to them that reading the biography of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and following his example are required of the Muslim 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.” [Ahmad and At-Tirmithi] Bid’ah does not bear any fruit but evil and it leads to a person distancing himself from the Prophet . Islamway.net

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