Dubai Fatwa: Should We Celebrate Mawlid – the Prophet’s (s) Birthday?

Office of Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs, Dubai Administration of Ifta’ and Research

Question: Should We Celebrate Mawlid – the Prophet’s (s) Birthday?

Yes we should celebrate it every year and every month and every week and every hour and every moment!

Nowadays, we find publications filled with lies and deception which mislead many Muslims into thinking negatively about the honorable Mawlid of the Prophet (s). These publications claim that to celebrate the Mawlid is an act of innovation that goes against Islam. This is far from the truth, and it is therefore necessary for those who can speak clearly to help clarify and reverse the doubts surrounding this most blessed day. It is with this humble intention that I present the following proofs in support of celebrating our beloved Prophet’s (s) birthday.

The Prophet (s) said, “He who innovates something in this matter of ours that is not of it will have it rejected.” He also said, “Beware of innovations, for every innovation (kullu bid`a) is misguidance.”

Those opposed to Mawlid cite this saying and hold that the word every (kul) is a term of generalization, including all types of innovations, with no exception, and that therefore, celebrating Mawlid is misguidance. By daring to say that, they accuse the scholars of Islam of innovation. At the top of the list of those they have accused, then, is our Master `Umar (r). Those in opposition to Mawlid quickly reply to this, “But we did not mean the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (s) .”

It follows, then, that the meaning of “every” (kul) cannot be taken in its general sense. Therefore, although the Prophet (s) may not have said to celebrate his blessed birthday, it is nonetheless not an innovation to do so. For, as the following examples show, there were many actions and practices instituted by his close followers after his time that are not deemed innovation.

Compiling the Qur’an

In a hadith, Zaid Ibn Thabit (r) related, “The Prophet (s) passed away and the Qur’an had not been compiled anywhere.” Then `Umar (r) suggested to Abu Bakr (r) to compile the Qur’an in one book when a large number of Companions were killed in the battle of Yamama. Abu Bakr wondered, “How could we do something that the Prophet (s) did not do?” `Umar (r) said, “By Allah, it is good.” `Umar (r) persisted in asking Abu Bakr (r) until Allah (swt) expanded his chest for it (Allah made him agree and accept these suggestions) and he sent for Zaid Ibn Thabit and assigned him to compile the Qur’an. Zaid said, “By Allah (swt), they had asked me to move a mountain, it would not have been more difficult than to compile the Qur’an.” He also said, “How could you do something that the Prophet did not do?” Abu Bakr said, “It is good, and `Umar kept coming back to me until Allah expanded my chest for the matter.” This Tradition is narrated in Sahih Al Bukhari.

The Maqam of Ibrahim (as) in relation to the Ka`aba

Al Bayhaqi narrated with a strong chain of narrators from A’isha, “The Maqam during the time of the Prophet (s) and Abu Bakr (r) was attached to the House, then `Umar (r) moved it back.” Al Hafiz Ibn Hajar said in Al Fath, “The Companions did not oppose `Umar, neither did those who came after them, thus it became unanimous agreement.” He was also the first to build the enclosure (maqsura) on it, which still exists today.

Adding the first call to prayer on Friday

In Sahih Al-Bukhari, Al-Sa’ib bin Yazid related, “During the time of the Prophet (s), Abu Bakr (r) and `Umar (r), the call to Friday prayer used to occur when the Imam sat on the pulpit. When it was `Uthman’st time, he added the third call (considered third in relation to the first adhan and the iqama. But it is named first because it proceeds the call to the Friday prayer.)”

Salutations on the Prophet (s) composed and taught by our Master `Ali (r)

The salutations have been mentioned by Said bin Mansoor and Ibn Jareer in Tahzeeb al-Aathar, and by Ibn Abi `Assim and Ya`qoob bin Shaiba in Akhbar `Ali and by Al Tabarani and others from Salamah Al Kindi.

The addition to the tashahhud by Ibn Mas`ud:

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