29 Oct Celebrating the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (SAW)
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was the last Prophet and messenger of Allah. He had been receiving revelations (Quran and Hadith) from Allah Ta’ala, through Angel Jibrael (AS), from the age of 40 to 63 years (i.e. period of 23 years). Then, the Deen of Islam was completed with perfection. Allah Ta’ala said,
“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” (Qur’an, 5:3).
Soon after the completion, the messenger (SAW) passed away.
The companions of the Prophet (SAW) and may Allah be pleased with them made a great effort to learn, teach and practise their deen-ul-Islam; and Dawa activities were advancing to all the directions. As a result, many people outside of Arabia had embraced Islam – generation after generation. Famous Muslim scholars travelled to different regions for Islamic propagations and intensive teachings. Big darul-ulooms were established beyond the oceans. Millions of Muslims from Arabia, Asia, and Africa become Ulama-ul-Hadith, and ulama-ul-Tafseer. By the grace of Allah, the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW) had reached everywhere in the corners of the world. Besides that, some people remained ignorant; and innovations had spread in different directions. However, our scholars clarified all types of the existing innovations, how they developed, and the best ways to tackle them.
Is the Celebration of birthday Ibahda (act of worship)?
In Islam, all the ibadah are Tawqifi (based on the proofs from the Holy Quran or Hadith). If anyone initiates an action or saying and calls ibadah without proof from the authentic sources in Islam, then it is definitely Bid’ah (innovation). We must understand meanings of the terms which are common in the tafseer, hadith, fiqh, and serah books: Fardh, wajib, Sunnah, mustahab, makrooh, bid’ah, halal, haram, mu’min, kafir, muna’fiq, mushrik etc. The term bid’ah means something that has no sources in Islam and there is a sin attached with it depending on how serious it is.
Types of Bid’ah
There are two types of bid’ah: Makrooha (disliked) and Mukafarah (Kuffr is committed). The first one is light and the person is still believer in Islam; while the second is kuffr i.e. the belief (eman) is lost totally. The people who celebrate for the birth day of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) are either committing makrooh bid’ah or mukaffarah bid’ah depending on what and/or how they do. It is forbidden to label the prophet (SAW) with attributes of Allah Ta’ala. He (SAW) was simply the Messenger and servant of Allah; born and died as human being.
The Prophet (SAW), his companions (RA), and those who followed them had a good understanding of Islam; and would never commit a bid’ah at that level. It was almost 600 years after the death of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) when some people introduced this kind of celebration. They argue that 12th Rabi ul Awwal is the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and Muslims should celebrate to honour their Prophet. The Muslim Scholars unanimously declare that this type of celebration is not Sunnah.
Importance of following the Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (SAW)
We are obliged to follow the footsteps of our beloved prophet (SAW); and in order to do that we need proper Islamic ta’leem (education). Allah (SWT) said,
“…. And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad - SAW) gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it). And fear Allah; verily, Allah is severe in punishment” (Qur’an, 59:7).
In another verse Allah Ta’ala said
“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (Muhammad -SAW) and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger (SAW), if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination” (Qur’an, 4:59)
We must safeguard our eman; and be wary of innovations. Eman increases with good deeds and decreases with the sins. It is our own interest to follow the footsteps (Sunnah) of our Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Narrated Aisha (RA):
Allah’s Messenger said,” If someone innovates something which is not in harmony with the principles of our religion, that thing is rejected.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari).
May Allah Ta’ala grant us good understanding from the Qur’an and the Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (SAW)
Shaykh Mohamed Abdulle
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The Prophet (Pbuh) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small.