A Christian Woman Asks About The Prophet's Birthday And What It Means To The Muslims
Islamic Rulings - Living Shariah Verdicts
Islamic Questions & Answers
What is the significance of the Prophet's Birthday and when and how is it
Praise be to Allaah.
Firstly, Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is the Messenger
of Allaah to all of mankind, the one through whom Allaah leads people from
darkness into light, from misguidance to guidance. Please see question no.
11575. Perhaps this question is the start of your research into the religion of
Islam and your attempt to learn more and read widely about it. Try to find a
translation of the meanings of the Qur'aan so that you can learn more about this
pure monotheistic religion. No doubt our joy will be multiplied if you become
our sister in Islam by entering this religion.
Secondly, acts of worship in Islam are based on an important principle, which is
that no one is permitted to worship Allaah in any way except that which Allaah
has prescribed in his Book or which was taught by His Messenger Muhammad (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Whoever worships Allaah by doing something
that Allaah and His Messenger have not enjoined, Allaah will not accept that
from him. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us of
that, as it was narrated that ‘Aa'ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said:
"The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
‘Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours [i.e., Islam] that is not
part of it will have it rejected.'" (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-Sulh,
Acts of worship include festivals. Allaah has prescribed two festivals or Eids
for us to celebrate, and it is not permissible for us to celebrate any others.
(Please see question no. 486).
With regard to celebrating the day on which the Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) was born, it should be noted that he (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) did not tell us to celebrate this day, and he himself (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not celebrate it, nor did his
companions (may Allaah be pleased with them). They loved the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) far more than we do, yet despite that they did
not celebrate this day. Hence we do not celebrate this day, in obedience to the
command of Allaah Who has commanded us to follow the commands of His Prophet.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad) gives you, take it; and whatsoever he
forbids you, abstain (from it)" [al-Hashr 59:7]
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "I urge you to
adhere to my Sunnah [way] and the way of the Rightly-Guided khaleefahs. Adhere
to it and cling tightly to it. And beware of newly-invented matters [in
religion], for every newly-invented matter is an innovation and every innovation
is a going-astray." (Narrated by Abu Dawood, al-Sunnah, 3991; classed as saheeh
by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, no. 3851).
The extent to which a person loves the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings
of Allaah be upon him) is to be seen in how he follows him with regard to all
that he commanded or forbade. That includes following him in not celebrating the
day on which he was born. See question no. 5219, 10070.
Whoever wants to venerate the day on which the Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) was born should follow the alternative that is based on
Islamic evidence, which is that one should fast on Mondays, not just the day
that he was born but every Monday.
It was narrated from Abu Qutaadah al-Ansaari (may Allaah be pleased with him)
that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was
asked about fasting on Mondays. He said, "On that day I was born and on that day
the Revelation came to me." (Narrated by Muslim, 1978). On Thursdays deeds are
taken up and shown to Allaah.
Conclusion: celebrating the Prophet's birthday was not prescribed by Allaah or
by the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), so it is
not permissible for the Muslims to celebrate his birthday, in obedience to the
command of Allaah and the command of His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah
be upon him).
We ask Allaah to guide you to the Straight Path.
And Allaah knows best.
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
Eating food that is distributed on the
Prophet's Birthday (Mawlid)
Is it permissible to eat food that is
distributed on the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)? Some
people quote as evidence the idea that because Abu
Lahb set free a slave woman on the birthday of the
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him),
Allaah reduced the torment for him on that day.
Praise be to Allaah.
There is no festival in Islamic sharee'ah that is
called "The Prophet's Birthday". Neither the Sahaabah
nor the Taabi'een nor the four imams nor anyone else
recognized such a day as part of their religion.
Rather this festival was introduced by some ignorant
Baatini innovators, then the people began to follow
this innovation but the imams have denounced it in
every time and place.
We have discussed the objections to this innovation in
detail on our site, in the answers to questions no.
10070, 13810 and 70317.
Based on this, everything that the people do specially
for this day is regarded as haraam, innovated actions,
because they intend thereby to keep alive a festival
that has been introduced into our religion, such as
holding parties, offering food and so on.
Shaykh al-Fawzaan said in al-Bayaan li Akhta' ba'd al-Kuttaab
The commands in the Qur'aan and Sunnah to follow that
which has been prescribed by Allaah and His Messenger
and the prohibition against introducing innovations
into the religion are well known. Allaah says
(interpretation of the meaning):
"Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم to
mankind): "If you (really) love Allaah, then follow me
(i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Qur'aan
and the Sunnah), Allaah will love you and forgive you
your sins" [Aal ‘Imraan 3:31]
"[Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) to these
idolaters (pagan Arabs) of your folk:] Follow what has
been sent down unto you from your Lord (the Qur'aan
and Prophet Muhammad's Sunnah), and follow not any
Awliyaa' (protectors and helpers who order you to
associate partners in worship with Allaah), besides
Him (Allaah). Little do you remember!" [al-A'raaf
"And verily, this is My straight path, so follow it,
and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate
you away from His path" [al-An'aam 6:153]
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) said: "Whoever introduces anything into this
matter of ours that is not part of it will have it
rejected." According to a version narrated by Muslim:
"Whoever does any deed that is not part of this matter
of ours will have it rejected."
Among the innovations that people have introduced is
celebration of the Prophet's birthday (Mawlid) in the
month of Rabee' al-Awwal. There are various ways in
which they celebrate this occasion:
Some of them simply gather to read the story of his
birth, or they listen to speeches and qaseedahs (odes)
on this occasion.
Some of them make food and sweets etc, and offer them
to the people who attend.
Some of them hold these celebrations in the mosques
and some hold them in their houses.
Some of them do not limit themselves to what we have
mentioned, rather their gatherings include haraam and
evil things such as men mixing freely with women,
dancing and music, or acts of shirk such as seeking
the help of the Messenger (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) and calling upon him or seeking
his support against their enemies, and so on.
Whatever kinds of celebrations they are and whatever
form they take, they are undoubtedly bid'ah and haraam
innovations that were introduced long after the time
of the best generations.
The first one who introduced this innovation was Abu
Sa'eed Kawkaboori, the king of Irbil, at the end of
the sixth or beginning of the seventh century AH, as
was mentioned by the historians such as Ibn Katheer,
Ibn Khalqaan and others.
Abu Shaamah said: The first one who did that in Mosul
was Shaykh ‘Umar ibn Muhammad al-Mulla, one of the
well known righteous men, and the ruler of Irbil and
others followed his example.
Al-Haafiz Ibn Katheer said in al-Bidaayah (13-137), in
his biography of Abu Sa'eed al-Kawkaboori:
He did the Mawlid in Rabee' al-Awwal and celebrated it
with a great celebration. … Then he said:
Al-Sabt said: Some of those who attended the feast
given by the king on some of the Mawlids said that
this feast included five thousand roasted heads, ten
thousand chickens, one hundred thousand bowls and
thirty thousand plates of sweets. And the Sufis sang
from Zuhr until Fajr, and he himself danced with them.
Ibn Khalqaan said in Wafiyaat al-A'yaan (3-274):
When the first of Safar came, they would adorn those
domes with all kinds of fine adornments, and in every
dome there was a group of singers and a group of
puppeteers and musical players, and they did not leave
any dome but they installed a group there. End quote.
But most of what these innovators do on this day is
making food of various kinds and distributing it and
inviting people to eat. If a Muslim joins in this
action, eats their food and sits in their gatherings,
then undoubtedly he is taking part in keeping the
innovation alive, and is cooperating in it, and Allaah
says (interpretation of the meaning):
"Help you one another in Al‑Birr and At‑Taqwa (virtue,
righteousness and piety); but do not help one another
in sin and transgression. And fear Allaah" [al-Maa'idah
Hence the fatwas of the scholars state that it is
haraam to eat food that is distributed on this day and
on other innovated festivals.
Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was
asked the following question in Majmoo' al-Fataawa
What is the ruling on meat that is slaughtered for the
He (may Allaah have mercy on him) replied:
If it is slaughtered (as a sacrifice) to the one whose
birthday is being celebrated, then it is major shirk,
but it is slaughtered just to be eaten, there is
nothing wrong with that. But it should not be eaten,
and the Muslim should not attend (the feast), so as to
denounce them in word and in deed, unless he attends
in order to denounce them without joining them in
eating or anything else. End quote.
We have also quoted some fatwas concerning this
previously. Please see the answers to questions no.
7051 and 9485.
And Allaah knows best.