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Khutbah No.

The Innovation of Celebrating the Prophet’s Birthday

Khutbah Title

Innovations

Secondary Topic

Issues on faith

Primary Topic

20

Khateeb’s No.

Muhammad Al ‘Uthaymeen

Khateeb’s Name

Nasim Chowdhury

Edited By

Al-Manaar Publishing House

Translated By

 

ÈÏÚÉ ÇáÇÍÊÝÇá ÈÇáãæáÏ

Summary

1)     The great blessing of Allaah sending us Messengers.

2)     Merits of the Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.

3)     How would the situation of the Muslim nation be if they were to adhere to the Qur'aan and the Sunnah?

4)     How the Muslims can regain their might, honour and dignity.

5)     Due to the fact that the religion of Islaam is comprehensive and complete; no new act of worship should be legislated other than what has been proven to be of the practice of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.

6)     How the innovators treat the Sunnah of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.

7)     Religious festivals and holidays are forms of worship and therefore it is forbidden to introduce new ones.

 

All praise is due to Allaah, Who conferred a great favour on the believers when He sent them a Messenger from among themselves, rehearsing unto them the signs of Allaah, sanctifying them, and instructing them in the Scripture and Wisdom (i.e., the Qur'aan and Sunnah), while before that, they had been living their lives in manifest error. I testify that there is nothing worthy of worship except Allaah, with whom there are no associates. He is the Lord of the very first to the very last of creation. He has poured His bounties upon His servants in exceeding measures, and His Mercy overwhelms them, for He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.

I testify that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger, whom He sent to lead mankind out of the depths of darkness into light and complete His religion. Therefore, we must acknowledge that Allaah's Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam left no means that draw people near to Allaah and benefit them without directing them to it, nor did he leave any means that drive people away from the way of their Lord or bring harm upon them without warning them against it. Thus, he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam left his nation on a clearly defined religion, which none deviate from except those who are destined to doom and destruction.

May Allaah bless him, his family, his companions and all those who follow them sincerely and correctly until the Day of Resurrection.

O people! Fear Allaah the Almighty and know that the greatest favour He has ever conferred upon His servants is sending them Prophets as warners and bearers of glad tidings. Allaah sent these prophets with scriptures so that He would judge between people in their disputes. The most effective and esteemed message of all of these was that of the Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam whom Allaah sent to guide all of mankind - and to seal prophethood.

 

Allaah sent Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam after a break in the series of His messengers, when people were in dire need of His guidance. It was through him that Allaah guided people after they were astray; united them after their disunity; and sufficed them after they were needy. They thus became brothers and supported the religion of Allaah, due to his grace and bounty. It was due to this that nations submitted to this religion and its adherents became a luminous series in the annals of history.

Due to the wholeheartedness of the early Muslims with regard to the comprehensive implementation of Allaah’s laws in personal issues, financial transactions, and social and community affairs in accordance with the precepts laid down by this religions guide and leader, Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, it naturally followed that they would be victorious in all their undertakings.

 

However, when the Muslims deviated from the correct path, the order and stability which they enjoyed collapsed, turning the Muslim nation into groups of disputing factions, whose enemies held as insignificant.

 

This nation will never regain its past power and dignity, nor will it re-live its glorious history, until and unless its people return to their religion and practice it in word as well as in deed, in compliance with the methodology of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and his companions, may Allaah be pleased with them.

As a consequence of the comprehensive implementation of the religion of Islaam, no devotional act or religious ceremonies can be initiated into it unless it has a basis in the conduct of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Mankind have been commanded by Allaah to do no more than the following: to worship Allaah alone; to offer him sincere devotion; and to be true in faith. Thus, whoever attempts to worship Allaah with any act that He has not prescribed will have that act rejected by Him. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “He who performs any deed which is not according to what we are upon (i.e., the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and his companions) then it is rejected.” Such acts are held as innovations in the sight of the lawgiver and every innovation is misguidance.

 

Among the innovations introduced into this religion is the celebration of the birthday of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, which is celebrated in the month of Rabee’ Al-Awwal. People gather in the mosques or stay within their homes on the twelfth night of that month and send salutations upon the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam with innovated phrases as well as reciting laudatory poems and prose which concern him. These poems and prose are excessively commendatory and exceed the limits that were defined by the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Some people even spend their nights cooking certain types of food, to be served on this occasion. Thus, they uselessly spend their time and money in matters that are not prescribed either by Allaah or His Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, nor were practiced by the four rightly-guided caliphs after him, nor any other of the Muslims who were from the first three distinct generations, whose merit was attested to by the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.

 

If these innovations were of any benefit, then surely the pious early Muslims would have preceded us in them? If they were meritorious then surely Allaah would never have deprived the early Muslims, including the rightly-guided caliphs of them? The fact of the matter is that this practice was first introduced by people who lived during the fourth Hijri century.

Shaykh Al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said in his book Iqtidaa’ As-Siraat Al-Mustaqeem Mukhaalafatu Ashaabu Al-Jaheem [The Implication of the Straightforward Way Is to Contradict the Companions of the Fire]: “Some people, due to their imitation of what the Christians do on the claimed birth-date of ‘Eesaa (Jesus), peace be upon him, or because of their love of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam or out of their wish to glorify him, celebrate the Prophet’s birthday. This is despite the fact that there is controversy among the scholars regarding the exact date of his birth. The early Muslims did not practice this, although there was good reason to honour and express their love of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and no preventing factors existed. Thus, if the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday was something meritorious, they would have had a better right to precede us in this, as their love and esteem of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was far greater than ours. Also, they were far keener to perform good deeds in general than we were.

Loving and esteeming the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was thus represented by the early Muslims  in following his methodology, obeying him, applying his Sunnah inwardly and outwardly, propagating his mission and striving in this cause with their hearts, bodies and tongues.

Most of those who instigate religious innovations are heedless when it comes to the application of the well-known principles that were brought by the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. They are like those who ornament the Qur’aan but do not recite it, or recite it but do not follow its teachings.”

O Muslims! The innovation of celebrating the Prophet’s birthday, which is done on the twelfth night of the month of Rabee’ Al-Awwal, has no historical basis. In fact, historians have differed greatly on the actual birth date of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Some have said that it was on the second of Rabee’ Al-Awwal , others said the eighth, ninth, tenth, twelfth, seventeenth or twenty-second; thus  making up seven different opinions. None of these opinions have any evidence which would make them take priority over others.

Moreover, the innovation of celebrating the birthday of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam has no religious basis. Neither the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam nor any of his Companions or the followers did so. In fact, the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “You must hold fast to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs – cling to it stubbornly. Beware of innovations, for every innovation is misguidance." (Abu Daawood, Tirmidhi).

Religious celebrations, festivals and other such occasions which glorify Allaah and His Messenger are acts of worship. Only that which Allaah has prescribed among these is considered to be from the pure Sharee’ah, or Islamic law. None of these events can be taken as a means of devotion to Allaah except those that have been sanctioned by Allaah and His Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.

The Sharee’ah already contains the sufficient means with which a believer can glorify the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and show his love to him. So fear Allaah, O servants of Allaah, and limit yourselves to Allaah’s obligations and the Prophet’s Sunnah, to the exclusion of innovations.

Allaah the Exalted and Almighty said that which translates as: “And verily this is my Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His Path. This; He has ordained for you that you may become the pious.”  (Al An’aam: 153).