By Dr. A S Siddiqui
The evidence in the Qur’aan and Sunnah indicates
that celebrating birthdays is a kind of bid’ah or innovation in religion, which has no basis in the pure sharee’ah.
It is not permitted to accept invitations to birthday celebrations, because this involves supporting and encouraging bid’ah.
Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Or have they partners
with Allaah (false gods) who have instituted for them a religion which Allaah has not allowed…?” [al-Shoora 42:21]
“Then We have put you (O Muhammad) on a plain way of (Our) commandment. So follow that, and follow
not the desires of those who know not. Verily, they can avail you nothing against Allaah (if He wants to punish you). Verily,
the zaalimoon (wrongdoers) are awliyaa’ (protectors, helpers, etc.) to one another, but Allaah is the Wali (Protector,
Helper) of the muttaqoon (pious).” [al-Jaathiyah 45:18-19]
“Follow what has been sent down
unto you from your Lord, and follow not any awliyaa’ (protectors, helpers, etc.) besides Him. Little do you remember!”
According to saheeh reports, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
said: “Whoever does something that is a not part of this matter of ours (i.e., Islam) will have it rejected” (reported
by Muslim in his Saheeh); and “The best of speech is the Book of Allaah and the best of guidance is the guidance of
Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). The most evil of things are those which have been newly invented (in
religion), and every innovation is a going astray.” There are many other ahaadeeth that convey the same meaning.
Besides being bid’ah and having no basis in sharee’ah, these birthday celebrations also involve imitation
of the Jews and Christians in their birthday celebrations. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, warning
us against following their ways and traditions: “You would follow the ways of those who came before you step by step,
to such an extent that if they were to enter a lizard’s hole, you would enter it too.” They said, “O Messenger
of Allaah, (do you mean) the Jews and Christians?” He said, “Who else?” (Reported by al-Bukhaari and Muslim).
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.”
MAWLID ( MILAAD UN NABI )
Celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
upon him) is not permitted because it is an invented bid’ah (innovation) which was not done by the Messenger of Allaah
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or by his rightly-guided successors (al-khulafa’ al-raashideen), or by the
scholars of the best three generations [i.e., the first three generations of Islam.]
“O Allaah, send perfect blessings and complete peace upon our master Muhammad s.a.w by virtue of whom [as some of
them say] all obstacles are removed, distress is relieved, needs are met, desires are fulfilled and a good end may be achieved
and by virtue of whose noble face clouds may be sent, and [send blessings and peace] upon his family and companions with every
breath and glance.”
Praise be to Allaah.
1.The words of this innovated prayer are clear enough,
but there is nothing wrong with explaining them further.
“obstacles are removed” means, a way out is found
from whatever obstacles and difficult matters one is faced with.
The phrase may also mean “by virtue of whom anger
“distress is relieved” means anxiety and grief are taken away.
met” means one gets what one is trying to achieve.
“desires are fulfilled and a good end may be achieved”
means his wishes are fulfilled whether that is in this world or in the Hereafter, one of which is that one meets a good end.
“by virtue of whose noble face clouds may be sent” means that he is asked to pray to Allaah to send rain.
2.The above prayer, involves shirk and it is not permissible to recite it. This so-called prayer includes things
which clearly go against Islam, such as the following:
(i) It is supposed to be said at times of calamity. This is a
contrived reason for an innovated act of worship.
(ii) It is supposed to be recited a set number of times, 4444
times. This is a contrived amount for an innovated act of worship.
(iii) It is supposed to be recited in a communal fashion.
This is a contrived method for an innovated act of worship
(iv) It contains phrases which go against Islam, which constitute
shirk and which are an exaggeration
about the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). It attributes to him
actions which cannot be attributed to anyone other than Allaah, such as meeting people’s needs, relieving distress,
fulfilling their desires and granting a good end.
Allaah commanded His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah
be upon him):
“Say: ‘It is not
in my power to cause you harm, or to bring you to the Right Path’” [al-Jinn 72:21 – interpretation of the
(v) It ignores what is taught in the sharee’ah, and makes up a contrived prayer and supplication.
implies that one is accusing the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) of failing to explain everything
that the people need, and that one is trying to fill gaps in the sharee’ah.
On the authority of the
Mother of Faithful Umm Abdullah Aisha (RAA)
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“Whoever innovates anything in this matter of ours (Islam) that
is not a part of it, will have it rejected”
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2550; Muslim, 1718).
to a report narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim, The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“Whoever does any action that is not in accordance with this matter
of ours (Islam) will have it rejected.”
Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “This
hadeeth represents one of the most important basic principles of Islam. It is like a yardstick for measuring the outward appearance
of actions, just as the hadeeth ‘Actions are but by intentions’ is a yardstick for measuring the inward nature
Just as actions which are not done for the sake of Allaah bring no reward to the one who does
them, so too actions which are not done in accordance with the command of Allaah and His Messenger are rejected and thrown
back at the one who does them. Everyone who innovates something in the religion for which Allaah and His Messenger have not
granted permission, that action has nothing to do with the religion.”(Jaami’ al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hukam,
Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “This hadeeth is one of the most important basic principles
of Islam and is one of the most comprehensive sayings of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). It is a
clear rejection of bid’ah and innovations. The second report adds a further idea, which is that some people may persist
in doing some innovated action (bid’ah) for which there is a precedent, and when the first report – ‘Whoever
innovates anything…’ – is quoted as proof, such a person may say, ‘But I did not innovate anything.
Then the second report – ‘Whoever does any action…’ – may be quoted, which clearly states that
all innovated actions are rejected, whether the one who does them invented them or they were previously invented. This hadeeth
is one of those which should be memorized and used in denouncing evil actions, and it should be propagated widely.
3. With regard to celebrating the Mawlid (birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)), doing this
is bid’ah. If it was good, those who love the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) more than we do would
have done it before us, i.e., the Sahaabah, may Allaah be pleased with them. Most of what is recited on this occasion are
weak or fabricated reports of the life of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and it involves exaggeration
about our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). There follow the comments of the scholars:
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about the one who completes the reading of the Qur’aan
each year on the night of the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) – is that mustahabb
“Praise be to Allaah. For the people to come together to eat on the two Eids and the
days of Tashreeq is Sunnah. This is one of the symbols of Islam which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
set out for the Muslims. Helping the poor by giving them food during Ramadaan is also one of the ways of Islam. The Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever gives a fasting person food to break his fast will have a
reward like his.’ Giving poor Qur’aan-readers that which will help them to devote their time to the Qur’aan
is a righteous deed at any time, and whoever helps them in this manner will have a share in the reward.
as special occasions days which are not prescribed in Islam – such as one of the nights of Rabee’ al-Awwal which
is called Laylat al-Mawlid (the night of the Prophet’s birthday), or some of the nights of Rajab, or the eighteenth
of Dhu’l-Hijjah, or the first Friday of Rajab, or the eighth of Shawwaal, which the ignorant call ‘Eid al-Abraar
(the Feast of the Righteous)’ – these are bid’ahs which the salaf did not regard as mustahabb and they did
not do these things. And Allaah knows best.”(al-Fataawa al-Kubraa, 4/415)
(b) Ibn al-Haaj said:
of them commit actions at this time which go against this meaning. When the month of Rabee’ al-Awwal begins, they hasten
to indulge in idle entertainment, playing the daff (hand-drum) and reed flute, and other things as mentioned above.
wants to weep, let him weep for himself and for Islam, and how it and its people and those who follow the Sunnah have become
alienated. If they simply wanted to sing songs and entertain themselves, I wish that they would limit themselves to that.
But some of them try to follow proper etiquette, so they start the Mawlid with the recitation of Qur’aan. So they look
for the one who can recite in the most melodious fashion and provoke enjoyment, and he reads ten aayahs. There are several
things wrong with this:
(i) The way in which the reciter reads in this manner which is condemned in sharee’ah,with
a quavering tone like that of a singer. This has been discussed above.
(ii) This involves a lack of proper respect towards
the Book of Allaah.
(iii) They read Qur’aan briefly before turning to what they really desire, which is to listen
to the entertainment of the tambourine and reed-flute, and the singing and quavering tones of the singers, etc.
They show outwardly something different from that which is in their hearts. This is the essence of hypocrisy, whereby a person
makes an outward display of something when deep inside he really means something else –this is wrong except in cases
specifically exempted by sharee’ah. They start with Qur’aan recitation when the thoughts of some of them are really
focused on the singing.
(v) Some of them cut the recitation short, because they are thinking too much of the pleasure
of that which comes after it, as mentioned above.
(vi) If the Qur’aan reading goes on for a long time, some of
the audience begin to show signs of boredom, and they do not settle down until the entertainment they like begins. This is
not what is meant by the description which Allaah gives of the humble believers, because they love to hear the words of the
Lord, as He says in praise of them (interpretation of the meaning):
"And when they listen to what has
been sent down to the Messenger (Muhammad), you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of the truth they have recognized.
They say: “Our Lord! We believe; so write us down among the witnesses”’[al-Maa’idah 5:83]
This is how Allaah describes those who listen to His words. But some of these people do the opposite of that. After listening
to the word of their Lord, they get up to dance and celebrate and enjoy themselves in unseemly ways.
“Truly, to Allaah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return”
Interpretation of the meaning:
[This phrase is an expression of grief and sorrow] for the lack of shame for committing sins. They do the deeds of the Shaytaan
and seek reward from the Lord of the Worlds, claiming that they are doing acts of worship and goodness. Would that only the
lowest of people did that, but now this problem has become widespread and you see those who claim to have some knowledge and
good deeds doing that, and even some of those who claim to be shaykhs, i.e., those who have followers. All of them are included
in what is said above.
It is strange that they have been deceived by this trick of the accursed Shaytaan. Do you
not see that a wine-drinker, when the wine first starts to take effect, he begins to move his head non-stop. When the effect
becomes stronger, he loses his shame and dignity before those who are with him, and what he wants to conceal will be exposed
to his companions. Look at this singer, may Allaah have mercy on you and us. When he starts to sing, you will see people who
have dignity and respect, who appear decent and are followed by people of knowledge, falling silent when he starts to sing.
Then they start to move their heads a little, exactly like wine-drinkers, as described above. Then when they really start
to enjoy the entertainment, they lose their shyness and dignity, exactly like the wine-drinkers, so they get up and start
to dance and shout and weep in a show of fake humility. They move in and out and raise their arms and heads towards the heavens
as if receiving divine inspiration. They start to foam at the mouth and may even rend their garments and play with their beards.
This is obviously something to be denounced, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade
wasting money, and rending one’s garments is obviously included in that.
Secondly, this obviously goes beyond
the limits of common sense, because they act like crazy people most of the time.”(al-Madkhal, 2/5-7)
the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is not permitted because it is an invented bid’ah
(innovation) which was not done by the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or by his rightly-guided
successors (al-khulafa’ al-raashideen), or by the scholars of the best three generations [i.e., the first three generations
(Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 3/2)
(d) Shaykh Ibn Baaz was asked: is it permissible
for the Muslims to hold celebrations in the mosque to commemorate the life of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
upon him) on the night of 12 Rabee’ al-Awwal, to celebrate the Mawlid or birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings
of Allaah be upon him), without taking that day off as an “Eid”? We are having some disputes concerning this.
Some say that it is a bid’ah hasanah (“a good innovation”) and some say that it is not a good innovation.
“The Muslims should not celebrate the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah
be upon him), whether on the night of 12 Rabee’ al-Awwal or on any other date, just as they should not celebrate the
birthday of anyone (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), because celebrating birthdays is an innovation which has been
introduced into the religion. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not celebrate his birthday during
his lifetime, and he is the one who conveyed the religion and laws from Allaah. He did not enjoin that, and it was not done
by his rightly guided successors or by any of his Companions or those who followed them in goodness during the best three
generations. So it is known to be an innovation, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever
innovates anything in this matter of ours (Islam) that is not a part of it, will have it rejected’ (Saheeh –
agreed upon). According to a report narrated by Muslim, which al-Bukhaari narrated in a mu’allaq majzoom report: “Whoever
does any action that is not in accordance with this matter of ours (Islam) will have it rejected.”
the Mawlid is not in accordance with the command of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), rather it is
something which the people innovated and introduced into their religion during later centuries, so it is to be rejected. The
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say in his khutbah (sermon) on Fridays:
"The best of speech is the Book of Allaah and the best of guidance is the guidance
of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). The most evil of things are those which are newly-invented, and every
innovation is a going-astray.’ This was narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh. It was also narrated by al-Nasaa’i with
a jayyid isnaad, adding the words, ‘and every going-astray leads to Hell."
Instead of celebrating
the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), we should study his seerah (biography) and the history
of his life during the jaahiliyyah and Islam, in schools, mosques and elsewhere. That includes describing the circumstances
of his birth and death, with no need to innovate celebrations which are not prescribed by Allaah or His Messenger, and for
which there is no evidence in sharee’ah.
Allaah is the Source of Strength. We ask Allaah to grant guidance
and strength to all the Muslims and to help them to follow the Sunnah and avoid bid’ah.
And Allaah knows best.
OTHER FORMS OF BIDDAH
If a family member dies overseas, what should the family do overhere? can we perform the
janaza prayer, that means there will be two janaza prayers, one overseas and one here. Is it allowed? Are we allowed to read
the quran together and hopefully the blessing will go to the deceased? Do we have to do a special Quran reading and invite
people for a meal after three days and after 40 days also? This is being practiced back home and that the spirit of the deceased
comes to the house for 40 days and wait to get all these blessings. I am told that the Prophet sws and His companions never
Firstly: if a relative or close friend dies in another country, a person may travel to attend the funeral
prayers if that is easy to do. There is nothing wrong with this travelling because it is travelling for a legitimate purpose,
even though this action was not known among Muslims in the past. It was not done in the past because they were not able to
do that, unlike today when travelling has become easier with faster methods of transportation.
With regard to offering
the funeral prayer for the deceased in absentia, there is a great deal of difference of opinion among the scholars on this
matter, because it is not reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did that, except in the case
of the Negus (ruler of Abyssinia), and it was not narrated that the Muslims outside of Madeenah prayed for the Prophet (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in absentia when he died, even though their love for him was so great.
it is not reported that the Muslims prayed in absentia for any of the khulafaa’ al-raashideen (the rightly-guided khaleefahs,
the first four leaders of Islam after the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)) when they died. Prayer for
the dead in absentia was not known among the Muslims even though circumstances might have dictated it, such as the eagerness
of the Muslims to do something of benefit for their brothers, especially those who were held in high esteem by all the Muslims,
or one to whom one is related or who one is fond of, which would make one seek to do something good for him by praying for
him. For this reason, scholars such as Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah were of the view that the fact that the Prophet (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prayed for the Negus was an exceptional case which applied only to him, because there
was no one in the land where he died who could offer the janaazah prayer for him. In my view, this is a sound view in the
light of the above. Some scholars say that the funeral prayer in absentia may be offered only for certain people among the
ummah, such as famous scholars and just rulers; this view is close to the previous view.
On this basis, there is
no reason why the funeral prayer should not be offered for the deceased both when one is present and in absentia.
Gathering to read Qur’aan and give the reward for that to the deceased is a bid’ah (reprehensible
innovation), even if it is not done in return for any payment. If it is done in return for payment then it is haraam, because
it is being done for a reason other than for the sake of Allaah, and any such action will not earn any reward.
if a person reads Qur’aan by himself and gives the reward for that to a relative or friend, without gathering with others
for that purpose and without seeking payment, then there are two scholarly views in this case, one of which says that it is
permissible and that the reward for the reading will reach the deceased.
The second view is that it is not prescribed
to give the reward for the reading to anyone, because there is no evidence (daleel) to indicate that this is prescribed.
If the family of the deceased have a special reading, and invite people to a meal three days and forty
days after the death, this is bid’ah (reprehensible innovation).
And every bid’ah is a going astray.
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever invents something in this matter
of ours (i.e., Islam) that is not a part of it will have it rejected.” The action mentioned is a matter that has been
invented in the religion, so it is to be rejected, and the one who does it is a sinner and will not be rewarded.
What people say about the soul of the deceased visiting the house after forty days to get the reward is a lie which has
no basis.The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his Companions did not do any of these things. This is
how the Muslim should be; his concern should be to know the truth so that he can follow it, and know what is false so that
he can avoid it.
We ask Allaah to make us and you steadfast in following the Straight Path. May Allaah bless our
Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions, and grant them peace.