November 9, 2019

Birthday Celebrations

& the Mawlid

My Thoughts on Birthday Celebrations in General and the Mawlid in Particular

1. It is an established fact the birthdays are of pagan origin and therefore foreign to Islām.

A Muslim is not to imitate the pagans, as proven in the following Ḥadīth:

Ibn 'Umar reported: The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.”

[Source: Sunan Abū Dāwūd 4031 ~ Grade: Ḥasan (fair) according to Ibn Ḥajar]

2. The so-called Mawlid birthday celebration has no basis in Islām.

It was not practiced by Muḥammad ﷺ nor his companions, may Allāh be pleased with them, nor the subsequent generations until later on (by the Shiites of all people). Acts of worship in Islām require clear evidence from the texts, and so, innovations in matters of worship are not allowed due to the following clear evidences:

‘Ā’ishah reported: The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said, “Whoever innovates something into this matter of ours which does not belong to it will have it rejected.”

In another narration, the Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever performs a deed that is not in accordance with our matter will have it rejected.”

[Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 2550, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1718]

3. There is no such thing as a good innovation in matters of worship, as some may claim.

The evidence is clear in this Ḥadīth:

Jābir ibn 'Abd Allāh reported: The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ would praise Allāh in his sermon as He deserves to be praised and then he would say, “Whoever Allāh guides, no one can lead him astray. Whoever Allāh sends astray, no one can guide him. The truest word is the Book of Allāh and the best guidance is the guidance of Muḥammad. The most evil matters are those that are newly invented, for every newly invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.”

[Source: Sunan an-Nasā’ī 1578 ~ Grade: Ṣaḥīḥ (authentic) according to al-Albānī]

Also, it is equivalent to accusing Muḥammad ﷺ of not fulfilling the mission and that he missed some good things about which to inform us to do. Such implicit claims are blasphemous, because it would mean disbelieving in the following verse in Noble Qur'ān 5:67:

"O Messenger, announce that which has been revealed to you from your Lord, and if you do not, then you have not conveyed His message. And Allāh will protect you from the people. Indeed, Allāh does not guide the disbelieving people."

4. What is an innovation in the religion?

An innovation in religion has the following attributes:

i. It is a good deed.

ii. It is done in order to get closer to Allāh.

iii. But is not based on the teachings of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him.

There is a principle that some scholars use; if there was any good in it, they (the early Muslims) would have succeeded us to [to do] it, meaning, we are not going to know more than them in matters of devotion.

Specifying a time for and giving a special status to an act of worship is not allowed without clear evidence from the texts.

5. Statements of the companions regarding innovations

The companion, ‘Abd Allāh Ibn Mas‘ūd, may Allāh be pleased with him, said: Follow and do not innovate, for indeed you have been sufficed, and every innovation is misguidance.”

[Source: Reported in Aḥmad in Az-Zuhd p. 162 - Authentic]

The companion ‘Abd Allāh Ibn 'Umar said: "Every innovation is misguidance, even if the people see it as something good."

[Source: Al-Bayhaqī in Al-Madkhal Ilas-Sunan (no. 191) and also Ibn Naṣr in as-Sunnah (p. 24) - Authentic]

6. Many people come to you with the difference of opinion card.

They fail to realize that not every difference of opinion is valid. One must bring evidence for such claims.

You will also hear Sufis (mystics) like Hamza Yusuf admit that it is an innovation, but that it is a "good innovation". In reality, the Sufis as well as the Shiites are both guilty of over-praising the righteous, whether it is Muḥammad ﷺ or others, and this over-praising is where polytheism (Shirk) begins.

7. Clearing a doubt

Some may use the evidence that when Muḥammad ﷺ was asked as to why he fasted Mondays, he answered that this was because Monday is the day that he was born. So, Muḥammad ﷺ was born on a Monday. But he fasted every Monday of every week, so if someone really wants to "celebrate" the Mawlid, then this person should fast every Monday, and Muḥammad's birthday ﷺ was not every Monday of every week anyway, so that argument holds no ground.

8. The actual date of the Mawlid

The date commonly known is that Muḥammad ﷺ was born on the 12th of Rabī‘ al-Awwal of the Islamic calendar. Interestingly enough, that date is not actually confirmed, because other scholars gave different dates. What is confirmed is that Muḥammad ﷺ was born in the Year of the Elephant, the one in which Abrahah tried to trample the Ka‘bah with an army of elephants and Allāh destroyed him and his army before he reached the Ka‘bah as we read in chapter 105 of the Noble Qur'ān.

Interestingly enough, what is CONFIRMED is that Muḥammad ﷺ died on the 12th of Rabī‘ al-Awwal, so the irony is that people are actually celebrating the day he died - imagine?

9. Conclusion

Whoever tells you that you should celebrate birthdays for your children or to take part in birthday celebrations, and using the Mawlid as evidence, you can answer them very easily that the Mawlid has no basis in Islām, and that birthday celebrations are of pagan origin to begin with, and that we as Muslims ought to be the ones who uphold strict and pure monotheism and follow the Sunnah properly.

You can also question them as to which calendar they base the birthday, the Islamic one or the Gregorian one. The Islamic lunar calendar is 11 days shorter than the Gregorian solar calendar, which means that when you and I were 33 years old on the Gregorian calendar which we use everyday, we were in fact 34 years old according to the Islamic calendar.

والله أعلم

Interestingly enough, what is CONFIRMED is that Muḥammad ﷺ died on the 12th of Rabī‘ al-Awwal, so the irony is that people are actually celebrating the day he died - imagine?

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