In the introduction, the article states, ‘There was once a time when the coming of the month of Rabiul Awwal was a time of unmitigated joy for the Muslim Ummah of the entire world.
This is a misleading statement to readers to make them believe that the Muslims through the whole world used to celebrate the invented ‘Miladun Nabi’ by rejoicing and sharing love because of the month of Rabiul Awwal.
This statement was written simply to ‘trick’ the common Muslims. In reality, for those who have travelled far and wide to Muslim countries and have seen the conduct of Muslims, they will bear witness’ to the fact that this so-called expression of joy and ‘rejoicing’ and the singing of songs etc. is practiced by a small number of Muslims who are bidatis (innovators) in different places. For example in India only the sect known as the Bereilvis and Raza Khanis do this Miladun Nabi. All the other Muslims which are in the majority totally abhor this practice because they know it to be a clear cut Bidah innovation which has no source in Islamic teachings.
In Pakistan, it is the same small amount of Muslims belonging to sect of Bereilvis and Raza Khanis that do this Miladun Nabi. All the other Muslims in Pakistan which are in the majority do not subscribe to this practice and do not celebrate Miladun Nabi, since it is not evident in the teaching of Islam, and has been condemned by all scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah to be Bidah. The same is the case with other countries. Only the Bidati faction of the people (i.e. the innovators) support these innovated acts.
So, to say that the Muslim Ummah of the entire world used to rejoice and all the other things mentioned by the writer is nothing but sheer falsehood.
Muslims throughout the world are happy to be Muslims and are happy to follow the Prophet (S.A). This feeling of happiness occurs everyday in their lives and not only in Rabiul Awwal. It is on account of this joy and happiness they recite Darood and send ‘Salaah’ and ‘Salaams’ everyday in their lives and do not wait for the month of Rabiul Awwal. Their remembrance of the Holy Prophet (S.A) and his sacrifices for the religion of Islam occurs everyday in their lives. And it is on account of this deep love for the Prophet (S.A) they try their best to emulate him in his manners and conduct, in his dress and appearance. They try their best to practice all his Sunnah. They are not like the innovators who speak about the Prophet (S.A) only in the month of Rabiul Awwal, and are not bothered about implementing his blessed Sunnah.
The true and sincere Muslims who are not innovators, feel the true sense of love and attachment to the Prophet (S.A). Everyday they recite hundreds of Darood (Salaah and Salaams – that is, greetings and blessings upon the Prophet S.A), and on account of their closeness to the Prophet (S.A) they are honoured to see him in their dreams. They are not like the fake lovers of the Prophet (S.A) whose claim of love is limited only to the tongue and does not pass the throat to go to the heart. They are not like those who show total disregard to the Sunnah of the Prophet (S.A) and detest his lifestyle while falsely claiming to love him.
In short, the true and sincere lovers of the Prophet (S.A) are those who extol his greatness and virtues everyday in their lives. They remember him each day and they express their love for him in the way he has shown to them. Their deep love for him makes them do what he has ordered them to do and they stay away from that which he prohibited for them. They do not invent new ways, and introduce new things in the teachings of the Prophet (S.A). instead, they hold firm to his teachings and do exactly what he has asked them to do.
These true believers whose hearts are filled with love for Allah and His Prophet (S.A) do not wait for the month of Rabiul Awwal to celebrate something which the Prophet of Allah (S.A) did not celebrate. Instead, they look into his life and say, ‘we love him so much that we will do exactly what he did and we will not budge an inch away from his blessed path.
The writer/writers of the article, through their above mentioned statements, that is, where it was written ‘There was once a time…, tried their best to beautify the offensive/innovated practice of Miladun Nabi by using ‘sweet’ words to describe it, rather than openly saying ‘the celebration of Miladun Nabi’. As such, they used words like, ‘unmitigated joy, they (the Muslims) would rejoice remembering the birth of the Prophet (S.A), they will read his biography, they will read poems, listen to speeches, extol his greatness etc.’ All these statements were simply used to decorate the innovation of ‘celebrating the Prophet’s birthday’. These were stated to ‘capture’ the minds of the innocent readers, so that they may think that all these actions are good, so there is nothing wrong with ‘the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday’.
Readers must understand that although these things are in themselves good, they are tied into a celebration which was not preached by the Prophet (S.A), nor was it practiced by the illustrious Sahabahs, the Tabieen, the Tabut Tabieen and those after them. So, why should one do something which the Prophet (S.A) never preached? And seeing that these things are good, then they should be done everyday. Why wait for one day in the year to speak about the Prophet (S.A) and extol his virtues? Why wait for the 12th Rabiul Awwal to speak about his life? The Prophet (S.A) is extremely important to us everyday in our lives, and so we must remember him, speak about his greatness and send Salaah and Salaam (blessings and greetings) to him everyday of our lives. This is what the Shariah has taught and this is what the Prophet (S.A) has taught. The Shariah did not teach us to wait for the month of Rabiul Awwal to have a big celebration, nor did the Prophet (S.A) give us the authority to celebrate his birthday.
The celebration of a Prophet’s birthday is the tradition of the Christians, majians and polytheists, and the Prophet (S.A) clearly told us to oppose them, and be different from them. In this regard, he said, ‘Oppose the polytheists’ (all those who commit shirk). (Bukhari, Muslim). Here, the Prophet (S.A) told his followers to be different from the polytheists in all our practices and actions. Do not be like them. In another tradition, the Prophet (S.A) said, ‘Oppose (and be different) from the magians (the fire worshippers). (Bukhari, Muslim). In another tradition, the Prophet (S.A) said, ‘He is not from among us (that is, he is not a Muslim) who likens himself and behaves like others besides us. Do not imitate and follow (the practices of) the Jews and Christians’. (Tirmizi). In another tradition, the Prophet (S.A) said, ‘Whoever imitates another group shall be from amongst them’. (Abu Dawood).
Readers must take note of these traditions and know that the Prophet (S.A) has strongly prohibited all Muslims from following the customs of other religious groups. The mere fact that the Prophet (S.A) did not celebrate his birthday and did not indicate towards its celebration, is sufficient evidence to show that he totally disapproved of this act. Further to this we see that none of his blessed wives who are our mothers and none of his daughters and family members, celebrated his birthday after his demise. Then, from among the 124,000 Sahabahs who were his ardent followers, and loved him more than their own selves, not a single one of them celebrated his birthday or even thought about doing it. It is about these Companions, Allah revealed in the Holy Quran that He was well pleased with them, and that they were indeed true believers. He also told us that He will be pleased with anyone who follows them, as they walked in the footsteps of the beloved Messenger of Allah (S.A). In this respect, the Holy Quran states, ‘And the foremost to embrace Islam of the Muhajireen (those who migrated from Makkah to Madinah) and the Ansar (the citizens of Madinah who helped and gave aid to the Muslims) and those who followed them in goodness, Allah is well pleased with them as they are well pleased with Him. (Sura Tawbah verse 100).
Here, in this verse, Allah announces to the whole mankind that He is well pleased with the Muhajireen of Makkah, and also with the Ansar of Madinah. He also mentions that He is well pleased with all those who followed these Sahabahs. The Prophet (S.A) also told us that the best people of his Ummah, in faith, practice, knowledge and in the sacrifice for Islam was the Sahabahs. He also said that the best after them were the Tabieen (generation of Muslims after the Sahabahs) and the best people after the Tabieen were the Atba’ut Tabieen (generation of Muslims after the Tabieen). About this, he (the Prophet S.A) said, ‘The best people of this Ummah (Muslims) are those who live at his time, then those after them, and then, those after them’. (Bukhari, Muslim)
These three times are known to the scholars as ‘Khairul Quroon’, the best of all times. The Prophet (S.A) told us that these were the three best generations of Muslims, with the Sahabahs being the best of all. The Sahabahs were those who ate and drank with him, they walked and travelled with him and they spent almost all their time in his companionship. They learnt Islam directly from the Prophet (S.A). They understood his teachings and knew the extent and limit of his approvals and disapprovals. They knew what pleased him and what displeased him, and they have a comprehensive and deep knowledge of the entire religion of Islam. The Prophet (S.A) saw the great state of his beloved Sahabahs in faith, practice, knowledge and understanding of Islam. He saw their great devotion to himself and he knew that they sacrificed their lives, all their wealth and their family lives for his sake. He saw that they were pillars of faith and knowledge who will reach out the message of Islam in its pristine purity and so he advised his Ummah saying, ‘My Companions are like stars. Whomsoever you follow from amongst them, you shall be guided (to the right path).
In another tradition, he told his Ummah, ‘It is essential upon you to hold on to my Sunnah and the Sunnah (way) of the rightly guided Khalifas. Hold firm to this and grip it with your teeth’. (Tirmizi, Abu Dawood).
In these beautiful traditions, along with the Quranic verses (which were mentioned before) readers will see clearly that it is also essential upon us, as Muslims to adopt the path and the teachings of the Sahabahs (R.A). It is for this reason all the scholars of the past and present have unanimously agreed that the Ijma of the Sahabahs is proof and evidence in Islam.
With all these guidelines before us with respect to adhering to the path of the Sahabahs and accepting their teachings as a proof, a question which must be asked is, ‘When all the Sahabahs (who were the best of the entire Ummah), as well as the Tabieen and Tabut Tabieen did not celebrate the birthday of the Prophet (S.A), then where, why and how did this practice become a part of Islamic practices?’ When it is evident that the Holy Quran did not teach this, neither did the Prophet (S.A) teach it, nor was it a practice of all the early generations of Islam, then why should Muslims adhere to a practice which never existed in Islam?
Muslims must therefore make a choice. On one side, we have the action of the Prophet (S.A), the Sahabahs, the Tabieen, the Tabut Tabieen and six hundred years of the early generations of Muslims, who never celebrated the Prophet’s birthday. On the other side, we have an innovated act of celebrating the Prophet’s birthday which was introduced by a person sometime after the sixth century after Hijrah, who was not even a scholar of Islam. Which side will a Muslim take? A true and sincere Muslim who truly loves the Prophet (S.A) will never leave the way and practice of his beloved Messenger for anyone, and thus will do what the Prophet (S.A) himself did by not celebrating the Prophet’s birthday.
As for that person who is deep rooted in innovations, he will try to justify his actions based on his personal feelings and conviction, and without any evidence of the Sacred Shariah will go right ahead to preach and practice this innovated act of celebrating the Prophet’s birthday. The innovator shows no consideration to the Prophet’s words, deeds or actions, he is only concerned about his personal feelings and thoughts, and seeing that he has no proof for what he says or does, he works on the emotions of the simple minded Muslims, always reminding them that ‘this is what your forefathers did’. Their actions therefore, seem beautiful and enjoyable to them, and although they have no proof from the Sacred Shariah, they continue upon their innovated practices, showing total disregard to the ‘real’ and true Sunnah (path) of the Prophet (S.A). It is regarding such people, whose wrong actions seem beautiful to them, Allah has rebuked in the following verse of the Holy Quran, ‘By Allah, We indeed sent Messengers to nations before you (O Muhammad), but satan made their deeds beautiful to them. So he (Satan) is their helper today (in this world) and theirs will be a painful torment’. (Sura An Nahl (16) verse 63)
In this verse, Allah told the Prophet (S.A), that He sent Prophets and Messengers to the nations before. However, the people did not listen and obey the Messengers. Instead, they did their own actions/practices and considered these to be good and beautiful, although they were upon wrongdoings. Allah said to the Prophet (S.A) that it was satan who guided them to their practices and it is he who made it seem good and beautiful for them. On account of this, they will be punished in the hereafter.
Having mentioned the above to the Prophet (S.A) which is a warning to his followers, Allah continues in verse 64 of the same Sura by saying, ‘And We have not sent down the Book (the Holy Quran) to you (O Muhammad S.A), except that you may explain clearly unto them those things in which they differ, and (as) a guidance and a mercy for a people who believe’. (Sura An Nahl verse 64)
Here, in this verse, Allah tells the Prophet (S.A) that He has sent the Quran so that he can clear up the issues that people differ about. He also mentioned that it is a guidance and mercy for those who truly believe in Allah. Based on this verse, one can look at the Quran to settle the issues of whether the Prophet’s birthday should be celebrated or not. A study of the Glorious Quran in this respect will show clearly there is absolutely no verse or teaching which has any indication to this practice. Similarly, if this teaching could have been correctly deduced or inferred from any verse, then the Prophet (S.A) would have been the first to practice upon it.
Further to this, if it is stated that on account of humility the Prophet (S.A) did not celebrate his birthday, then the question will be, ‘If this be the case, then why didn’t the Sahabahs, or Tabieen or Tabut Tabieen do it?’ The answers are very straightforward in all cases and the only thing that is established is that this practice has never been preached in Islam nor will it ever be accepted as an Islamic practice by the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah.
Going back to the article, we find that the writer said, ‘There was once a time when the coming of the month of Rabiul Awwal….’ It seems to us, that through this statement, the writer wishes to give the impression to readers that ‘there was once a time’ that the Prophet’s birthday used to be celebrated by the Muslim Ummah of the entire world.
This is a very misleading statement since it represents and gives an idea of something that is untrue. The truth is opposite to what the writer has alluded. The correct information to what the writer said is that, ‘There was once a time that no Muslim on the face of the earth celebrated the Prophet’s birthday’. This is an accurate statement which is supported by historical facts. During the time of the Sahabahs, not a single one of them celebrated the Prophet’s birthday. Similarly, during the entire period of the Tabieen and Tabut Tabieen, no one celebrated the Prophet’s birthday. This practice of not celebrating the Prophet’s birthday continued for a long period of over six hundred years after the Hijrah. No one knew about this foreign practice and no Muslim for this entire period celebrated the birthday of the Prophet (S.A). So here is it, where in the most blessed periods of Islamic history where thousands of Muslims existed, not a single Muslim celebrated the Prophet’s birthday. It is only in the seventh century, this new innovated practice came about. When it came about, the scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah outrightly condemned it and from that very time they all considered it to be an offensive and innovated bad practice which was introduced. However, although the sound and reliable scholars spoke and wrote against it, it still took root in the minds of some people who began to propagate it. As it moved to different lands, those who were already practicing innovations, welcomed it and added it to their other offensive practices.
While these people adopted these practices, the sound and reliable scholars of every town/city and of every land showed total opposition to these acts of innovation and collectively ruled that it was against the teachings of Islam, and must not be practiced. The innovators however, never paid heed (just as they do today) to the rightly guided scholars, and instead of ending their innovated/offensive practices, went on to search for proofs and evidences to substantiate their innovation. It is in this respect, they fabricated traditions, quoted verses of the Quran wrongfully and applied their own/personal opinions to the verses of the Quran. This trend continues until today with the innocent simple minded Muslims, most of whom who lack basic Islamic knowledge regarding sound beliefs and practices, being caught up in the satanic trap of innovated/offensive practices. The truth however, stands upright and manifest, like the sun in the sky. Those who possess a clear sight and a sound heart will recognize the truth and follow its path. As for those whose hearts are corrupted, they will turn their backs on the truth, and will take to the path of deviation.
The writer continues in his ‘introduction’ to state, ‘Sadly now a group of Muslims now spend this time attacking anyone who partakes in these blessed gatherings claiming to be the sole defenders of Islam and decrying that Meeladun Nabi or Mawlid as Bidah (Innovation)’.
This is another one of the ‘tricks’ of the writer of the article. First of all he calls the opposers of ‘celebrating the Prophet’s birthday’ as a ‘group of Muslims’. Innaa lillah! May Allah have mercy on the writer. He must open his eyes to see that it is the whole Ummah of the Prophet (S.A) who opposed this invented practice. The only people who support it are the innovators themselves who are a small group of Muslims in the globe. From its inception in the seventh century, the scholars and the majority of Muslims always opposed this practice and warned the Muslims to refrain from this offensive innovation. They continued to remind the small band of innovators that this act was never done by the Prophet (S.A) nor was it done by the Sahabahs, Tabieen and Tabut Tabieen. In every generation thereafter, all the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah and the Sunni Muslims who were always in the majority, openly opposed the bidatis (innovators) for this practice. So our brother should know that a group of Muslims he is speaking about is really the group of innovators, for certainly it is the Ummah in its majority that oppose this innovation.
Another point that we note from the writer’s statement is that he says, ‘Sadly now a group of Muslims…’
Here, he expresses his sadness over the fact that some people are opposing the practice of celebrating the Prophet’s birthday. Before our brother expresses his emotions, he should take note of the fact that not celebrating the Prophet’s birthday is the true Sunnah and the real practice of the Prophet (S.A), and that of the Sahabahs, Tabieen, Tabut Tabieen and all those who came after them. The true, real/original and pure teachings that came from Allah and His Prophet (S.A) is that one should not celebrate the Prophet’s birthday. If this was a teaching from Allah, then the Prophet (S.A) would have been the first to observe it, and if it was a teaching of the Prophet (S.A), then the Sahabahs would have been the first to practice it. However, it was none of the above and so, the true and unadulterated teachings of Islam in this issue was that one must not celebrate the birthday of the Prophet (S.A).
On the other hand, those who celebrate the Prophet’s birthday are practicing a newly invented act which was not given by Allah, and was not taught by the Prophet (S.A). This act of celebrating the Prophet’s birthday therefore, is a clear violation of the blessed Sunnah of the Prophet (S.A) and is against his teachings. With this understanding, it becomes clear to us that the writer of the article expresses his sadness over those who wish to uphold the Sunnah and (indirectly) pleads for those who violate the Sunnah.
It is extremely disheartening to see a Muslim (the writer) who gives his full support to those who break the Sunnah, and go against the blessed teachings of the Prophet (S.A), while at the same time he vents his unhappiness and displeasure to those who want to uphold the Sunnah, and wish to propagate the blessed teachings of the Prophet (S.A).
I will like to say to the writer that opposing those who violate the Sunnah is the job of every true Muslim, and this is clearly evident from the following tradition of the Prophet (S.A). Abdullah bin Masood (R.A) narrates that the Prophet (S.A) said, ‘There has not been a prophet whom Allah has sent to a nation before me except that there were helpers and companions (for that prophet). They held on to his Sunnah and followed his orders. Then groups came after them who said what they did not do, and did practices which they were not commanded to do. So whoever fights them with his hand, then he is a believer. And whoever fights them with his tongue, he is a believer. And whoever fights them with his heart (by disliking what they do), he is a believer. And besides this, there is no Imaan even to the extent of a seed of mustard’. (Sahih Muslim).
Going further in the article, the writer states, ‘The celebration of Meeladun Nabi or Mawlid is based on evidence from the Shariah and therefore is permissible’.
This is another misguiding statement of the writer. I have looked at the entire article and I have not seen a single evidence from the Sacred Shariah that promotes Meeladun Nabi. Verses of the Quran, and traditions of the Prophet (S.A) have been quoted which have no relation or connection to Meeladun Nabi. The writer has simply drawn his personal deductions and inferences from general verses and selected Ahadith, and have considered these to be evidences in the Shariah. If the writer is a scholar of Islam, he must know that one’s personal deductions cannot constitute an evidence in the Shariah.
If there were really evidences for this Meeladun Nabi in the Shariah, how is it the Prophet (S.A) and the Sahabahs did not see it, when the Shariah was revealed to him in the presence of the Sahabahs?
The truth my dear readers, is that there is no evidence in the Shariah for Meeladun Nabi. Please be guided.
The writer went on to explain the word Bid’ah. In doing so, he quoted the statement of Imam Nawawi and also that of Shaikh Izzudeen bin Abdus Salaam. After this, he explained a little about good Bid’ah and bad Bid’ah. Let’s take a look at what was written.
The above explanations of the word Bid’ah have been given by many great scholars of the past and present times. The reason that many scholars have divided ‘Bid’ah’ in different categories is that they have taken the literal meaning into consideration. The lexical (literal) meaning of the word Bid’ah which comes from the word Bada’a is ‘to bring a new thing into being’. Based on this, it means that the word itself (i.e. Bid’ah) can be used for any new thing which came up after the time of the Prophet (S.A), whether it be good or bad. So, it is in order to identify what is good and what is bad, the scholars explained the different division of the word Bid’ah to show what may be good, bad, allowed etc.
In doing so, they placed certain things into the category of Hasana (good), Sayi’ah (bad), Mahmooda (praiseworthy), Haraam (unlawful), Makrooh (reprehensible) etc. As mentioned before, this classification of new things into different headings of Bid’ah was based upon the literal meaning of Bid’ah, and hence, the scholars had to identify what was acceptable and what was not. In this regard, the great scholar Allama Khaleel writes in his book, ‘All the scholars from the beginning to the end are unanimous on the point that literally Bid’ah means any new thing. When used in books of the Islamic Sciences, it refers to any matter which came up after the Prophet (S.A) whether it is good or bad. If the matter is of a nature that its source can be found in the Shariah, then it becomes acceptable. If its source cannot be found in the Shariah, then it is offensive and blameworthy. This is the way the word Bid’ah has been generally used. However, sometimes the word Bid’ah is used only for those new matters that are in opposition to the way of the Prophet (S.A), and there is no manner of showing its permissibility in the Shariah. This is the meaning which is used and discussed in the Shariah. (Baraheen Qaati’a pg.30)
The gist of this discussion is that, when used generally in its literal context, the word Bid’ah can refer to a matter that is acceptable and also rejected. However, when used with its Shariah technical meaning, the word Bid’ah refers to that which is bad and offensive. It is with this understanding, we find that many great scholars have given such definitions of the Bid’ah which have no division and classification. In this respect, the great scholar Allama Abu Ishaq Ash Shatibi has written, ‘Bid’ah is a path in Deen (religion) which has been made up and is seen to resemble the Shariah. The objective of this fabricated path is that one follows it for the same reason he is required to follow the Sacred Shariah’. (Al Itisaam vol.1 pg.37)
It means that Bid’ah is a fabricated path in Islam which people invent in order to practice upon it to get blessings and rewards, just as he would have received these blessings if he had practiced upon the Sacred Shariah. It means that the reason that people bring about Bid’ah is that they wish that it should resemble Islamic practices, and they hope to achieve blessings from what they are doing.
Hafiz Ibn Hajar has also written, ‘Bid’ah is what has been brought about and there is no source for it in the Shariah’. (Fathul Baari vol.13 pg.253)
Imam Raghib Al Isfahani writes, ‘Bid’ah in religion is that a person brings about such statements which are not in conformance to the one who brought the Shariah (that is, the Prophet S.A). It is also not in conformity to the established path of the Shariah and is not in accordance to its firm principles’. (Mufradatul Quran pg.37)
Allama Al Jurjani stated, ‘Bid’ah is an action that opposes the Sunnah’. (At Ta’reefaat – by Jurjani).
At another place in Fathul Baari, Hafiz Ibn Hajar writes, ‘Bid’ah, its origin is that which is newly brought about and in the Shariah it is used for that which is opposing to the Sunnah, hence, it is blameworthy’. (Fathul Baari vol.4 pg.298)
Allama Abul Baqa Al Kufi writes, ‘One who practices Bid’ah is one who opposes the Ahlus Sunnah in the matter of beliefs’. (Al Kuliyaat pg.243-244)
Al Imam Allama Ad Dardeer writes, ‘Bid’ah is an action which one practices and there is no source for it (in the Shariah). There is no text for it, and there is no Ijma upon it’. (Ash Sharhul Kabeer Al Mukhtasar Khaleel vol.1 pg.302)
With all these explanations given, it should be noted that although some scholars have given a division/classification for Bid’ah, many others (the majority) have generally used Bid’ah in their books, statements and fatawas to refer to all those actions and practices which have no source in Islam and are thus, condemned as deviation and being rejected in Islam. In other words, we find that the word Bid’ah is rarely used in Islamic Sciences to refer to anything that has its source in the Shariah. It is mainly used to refer to acts/practices that are newly introduced, and are opposing to the Sunnah, and cannot be established as Islamic practices.
It is in this regard, Hafiz Ibn Rajab Hanbali has stated, ‘What is meant by Bid’ah is that which is newly introduced and has no source for it in the Shariah which indicates towards it. As for that which has a source in the Shariah which indicates towards it, then this is not a Bid’ah, even though it can be referred to as a Bid’ah literally’. (Jami Al Uloom Wal Hikam pg.193)
Here, Hafiz Ibn Rajab has made it very clear that whatever has a source in the Shariah, the word Bid’ah would not be used for it with respect to Shariah rulings. It therefore means that when scholars use the word Bid’ah for a practice, then it is one which is rejected in Islam, and has no source in the Shariah.
In a similar manner, Allama Abu Shama writes, ‘Bid’ah is that which was not present at the time of the Prophet (S.A) – from that which he did or established, and its permission is not evident from the principles of the Shariah’. (Al Ba’ith ala Inkaril Bid’i Wal Hawadith)
While dealing with this topic, the great scholar Al Imam Abu Ishaq Ash Shatibi who was an expert scholar on many subjects including this has written extensively in his book Kitabul I’tisaam. In this book, he has dealt with all the other definitions and explanations of Bid’ah given by the great scholars, and has summarized the definition of Bid’ah in the most comprehensive way that no other scholar has done. In his book Al I’tisaam, he has written, ‘Lexically, Bid’ah referred to as ‘religious innovation’ or simply ‘innovation’ signifies everything new or recent. In the terminology of the Shariah, it means some newly introduced act or practice deemed to be religious and has been adopted with the intention of receiving rewards. (This invention) has occurred after the Holy Prophet (S.A) and the rightly guided caliphs, although there existed the motive and reason for it during the blessed times of the Prophet (S.A) and his noble companions, yet there is no proof to support its existence neither in words spoken, nor in deeds performed, nor explicitly, nor suggestively’. (Kitabul I’tisaam pg.11)
The definition given above tells us that all new inventions, instruments and technologies that keep coming out everyday have nothing to do with what is known as Bid’ah in the Shariah of Islam. The reason is that they are not pursued as an act of religious worship or with the intention of earning ‘thawab’ (reward from Allah). All these are permissible and rated as ‘allowed’, of course on the condition that they do not fall against a religious command. It also tells us that an act of worship which stands proved on the authority of the Holy Prophet (S.A) or his noble companions, through their word or deed, explicitly or suggestively, that too cannot be classed as Bid’ah.
Further on, it also shows that the need for something which did not exist during the period of prophethood, but did come to exist later on in order to achieve some religious objective, that too is not included under Bid’ah, for example, institutions of Islamic learning, associations devoted to teaching and propagation of the faith, religious publishing houses, sciences required to understand the Quran and Hadith, such as grammar and syntax, Arabic literary forms, aspects of style and eloquence or books of logic and philosophy to refute anti-Islam forces and the manner of teaching and learning Islam are all things that enjoy the status of an act of worship in a way and certainly were not present during the blessed times of the Holy Prophet (S.A) and his noble companions, yet these cannot be termed as ‘Bid’ah’ just because they were not needed in that blessed time. What happened later is that the scholars of the Muslim community saw the need as it manifested during the course of time and they devised appropriate ways and means to meet the challenge, staying within the textual imperatives of the Holy Quran and Sunnah.
It can be further explained by saying that these things are not acts of worship as they are, nor anyone pursues them with the intention that the ‘thing itself’ is an act of worship. The fact is that these things are known as acts of worship on the basis of their being the means to that worship. (Kitabul Itisaam)
The above explanation of the great scholar Allama Shatibi, also points to the fact that inventing an act or practice which did not exist during the time of the Prophet (S.A), nor was it existent during the time of the Sahabahs, although the need was felt to do it, would be classified as Bid’ah and will be prohibited in Islam. For example, let’s take the case of celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (S.A). According to those who celebrate this, they say that it is on account of their great love for the Prophet (S.A), and to show their great appreciation and gratitude that he was sent to the world, they celebrate the birthday. Upon this, one will ask, ‘Didn’t the Sahabahs have greater love for the Prophet (S.A) more than any other person? And didn’t they show great appreciation and gratitude for the fact that the Prophet (S.A) came to them? The answer to both these questions will be, yes. Indeed they had the most love for the Prophet (S.A). They also knew when he was born. They lived with him for his entire 63 years of life, witnessing his birthday every year – the need and cause to celebrate his birthday was there, however, none of them did it since their leader, their mentor, their beloved Prophet (S.A) did not teach them to do this. So, they had all the reasons to do this practice, yet, they did not do it because they understood that this was not a teaching of their blessed Messenger (S.A).
The summary of this entire discussion points to the understanding that when the word Bid’ah is used in Ahadith and in the books of Shariah rulings etc, it is used for every such act and practice which is rejected and condemned in Islam. It is for this reason, we see that while condemning Bid’ah, the Prophet (S.A) did not classify it into different categories. Instead, he condemned Bid’ah as being a misguidance. For example, he said in one beautiful narration, ‘Beware of newly invented matters, for, every new practice is a Bid’ah and every Bid’ah is misguidance’. (Tirmizi).
In another hadith, he said, ‘Whoever brings into our religion (of Islam) any new practice which is not from the religion (Islam) then it shall be rejected and condemned’. (Bukhari, Muslim).
In another tradition, the Prophet (S.A) said, ‘Whoever practices an action which is not based on our practices, then it is rejected and condemned’. (Bukhari)
All these traditions point to the fact that when the Prophet (S.A) used the word Bid’ah, he referred to a new practice/act which was not in accordance to the teachings he came with, (as can be seen from the above two narrations). As such, he openly condemned Bid’ah as being misguidance.
Not only did the Prophet (S.A) condemn the act of introducing and innovating practices in Allah’s religion, but he also spoke against those who are involved in introducing Bid’ah, as well as those who practice it and respect it.
In this regard, he said, ‘Allah will not accept from the one who is involved in Bid’ah, his fast, his Salaah, his Sadaqah. He will not accept his Hajj, nor Umrah, nor will He accept his Jihad, his Farz worship or Nafl worship. The one who practices Bid’ah comes out from Islam just as a strand of hair comes out from flour’. (Sunan Ibn Majah).
In another tradition, the Prophet (S.A) (while speaking about Madina) said, ‘Madina is a Haram between the place of Ayr and Thaur. Whosoever innovates in this place or gives refuge to an innovator, then upon him shall be the curse of Allah, His angels and all mankind. Allah will not accept from him, his Farz worship or his Nafl worship’. (Bukhari, Muslim)
Both these traditions present a clear warning and threat to those who innovate new practices in Islam or become involved in practicing innovations.
In another tradition, the Prophet (S.A) said, ‘Certainly Allah has veiled/stopped repentance (tawba) from every person who does Bid’ah (Tabrani in Al Awsat). It means that the tawba (repentance) of an innovator is not accepted by Allah.
In another hadith, the Prophet (S.A) said, ‘Whoever shows respect and honour to a man of Bid’ah (an innovator) then he has helped in the destruction of Islam’. (Mishkaat)
Another hadith states that the Prophet (S.A) said, ‘When people introduce innovations in their religion of Islam, then Allah removes that same amount of Sunnah from them. Then He does not return it to them until the Day of Judgement’. (Mishkaat). This hadith tells us clearly that those who practice upon innovations are deprived of practicing upon the Sunnah of the Prophet (S.A). This is certainly a reality, since it is witnessed daily that those who practice upon innovations (Bid’ah) really do not have the Sunnah of the Prophet (S.A) in their lives.
From these narrations, one can see how evil and destructive innovations are. The Prophet (S.A) spoke repeatedly against it and warned his followers about it. He told them clearly to hold firm on to his Sunnah and the practices of his companions. They must never go away from this path. The great Sahabi Huzaifah (R.A) used to say, ‘O Muslims, whatever religious practices the Sahabahs did not do, you must not do them’. (Kitabul Itisaam)
The Prophet (S.A) also warned his followers and strongly prohibited them from inventing and introducing new practices. As Muslims it is our binding duty to be obedient to our beloved Prophet (S.A).
The Rabiul Awwal Newsletter continues with another topic under the heading of ‘Evidence of Bid’ah Hasanah’. In this section, the writer has given two traditions, which, according to him shows that it is okay to introduce new things in Islam which can bring rewards to a person.
The first tradition he gives is that the Prophet (S.A) stated, ‘The person who introduced a good thing in Islam, shall obtain the reward for it and also the reward for those who adopt it. As for the one who introduces a bad thing (Bid’ah Sayyiah) he will obtain the punishment for introducing it and also the punishment for those who adopt it’.
The writer has used the above tradition to prove that inventing a good act is permissible. However, while giving the translation of the second part of the hadith, he used the word ‘Bid’ah Sayyiah’, which was not used by the Prophet (S.A). In fact, although the English translation given by the brother is about ‘one who introduced a good thing in Islam’ and ‘one who introduced a bad thing in Islam’, the word Bid’ah or Ibtada’a was not used by the Prophet (S.A). It is noteworthy to mention that when the Prophet (S.A) used the word Bid’ah, he outrightly condemned the entire Bid’ah and did not talk about a good one and a bad one. He said, ‘Every Bid’ah is misguidance’. (Bukhari)
Obviously, as an Arab, the Prophet (S.A) knew his language very well, so he understood fully what he said and what he referred to. It is with this perfect understanding, he condemned every Bid’ah, since this is something which is introduced as a new practice in Islam for the sake of achieving blessings, while it has no source in Islam.
The hadith which the brother quoted states, ‘Man Sanna Sunnatan Hasanatan’ which means, ‘whoever adopts and shows a good path’. The word ‘Sanna’ as used by the Prophet (S.A) in Arabic means ‘to show a path, to adopt a part’. (This is given in the famous book of Lughah (Arabic Language – Al Qaamosul Waheed vol.1 pg.811). In Mu’jam Al Waseet, another famous and well known dictionary it states that when the word ‘Sanna’ is used in the context of ‘a path’ (like following a path), it means to ‘guide someone to an action’. (Al Mu’jam Al Waseet pg.455).
With these sound and reliable explanation of the word which the Prophet (S.A) used in his hadith, the proper meaning of the hadith is, ‘He who follows a good path in Islam, then for him shall be its reward and the reward of those who practice upon it after him without their rewards decreasing. And whoever follows a bad path in Islam, then upon him shall be its sin and the sin of those who practice upon it after him, without their sins decreasing’. (Sahih Muslim)
This is the correct understanding of the hadith, even though other English translations may have been given. The Prophet (S.A), through this statement did not refer to the act of someone bringing into Islam something which he did not teach or practice. Nor did he give any license (through this statement) to anyone to bring in whatever they view as good under the guise of ‘good innovations’. When we look into the context in which the Prophet (S.A) used this statement, it will be clear to us that he did not encourage anyone to introduce and invent a religious practice, instead he encouraged his followers to adopt and follow the path of goodness/religious practices which have already been established and endorsed in Islam. This is why, he (the Prophet S.A) said, ‘He who follows a good path in Islam’. The phrase ‘in Islam’ goes to show that the ‘good path’ which one is encouraged to follow must be one which is already in Islam and is clearly evident from the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah.
By following this ‘good path’, one will be directly involved in showing and guiding others to a good path, and on account of this he will receive the blessings of those who practice upon it, without the blessings of the others being decreased.
The complete and full version of the hadith in which the Prophet (S.A) used the above statement is as follows:
Hazrat Jarir bin Abdullah (R.A) relates: We were present in an audience (with the Prophet S.A) on one day in the forenoon. In the meantime, some people came there who had nothing but pieces of sackcloth on their bodies, some of them had robe-like garments with their swords dangling on one side. Almost all of them belonged to the Muzar tribe. The Holy Prophet (S.A) was greatly moved on seeing them with their emaciated and starved bodies. He got up and went into his chamber then came out and asked Hazrat Bilal (R.A) to call the Azan as it was the time for prayer. He led the prayer and at the end addressed that assembly:
O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single soul (Adam) and from him (Adam) He created his wife (Eve), and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allâh through Whom you demand your mutual (rights) of one another, and towards the wombs (that bore you). Surely, Allâh is Ever a Watcher over you. (4:1). And then he read another verse from Sura Hashr, ‘O you who believe! Observe your duty to Allah. And let every soul look to that which it sendeth on for the morrow. And observe your duty to Allah: Lo! Allah is informed of what you do’ (59:18)
After this the Holy Prophet (S.A) asked those present to make contribution towards charity out of his dinars and dirhams, cloths, wheat and dates; although it may be only half a date. Hearing this, one of the Ansars brought a heavy bag, the weight of which became difficult for him to hold; then others followed one after the other till the collections made two heaps of eatables and clothes. Then I saw that the face of the Holy Prophet (S.A) was shining like gold.
The Holy Prophet (S.A) then said: ‘Whoever adopts and shows a good in Islam, will have his reward for it and also a reward for those who act upon it after him without reducing anything from this reward: likewise one who introduces an evil practice in Islam, will be punished for this and all those who act upon that evil practice after him without their sins decreasing in any way’. (Sahih Muslim)
From the above narration, it is very clear that the Prophet (S.A) used the statement, ‘Whoever adopts and shows a good in Islam’ when he saw the ‘good act’ of the Ansari companion. Looking at the entire incident, and the context in which this prophetic advice was given, it can be seen that the Ansari companion did not introduce any new matter, act or practice in Islam. The companion did what Allah had already commanded and exhorted them to do, which is giving charity, helping the poor and needy, and sending good deeds in the hereafter. It is for this reason, the Prophet (S.A) quoted (to them) the verse of Sura Al Hashr, in which he reminded them of Allah’s exhortation. Besides this, the Prophet (S.A) also encouraged them to give charity and to help the poor and needy to their best ability. Hence, in the same hadith, we see that the Prophet (S.A) himself requested them to give Sadaqah. So, what the Ansari companion did was that he simply obeyed the instructions of Allah and His Prophet (S.A), however, the amount of Sadaqah he gave was outstanding since no one did that. In fact, no one was giving anything as yet. But when they saw what the Ansari companion did, they all got up, one after the other to follow the same path. The Prophet (S.A) became extremely happy to see what was done (by the Ansari companion), to the extent his face was radiant and bright like that of gold (filled with joy and happiness). It was on this occasion when he saw that the Ansari companion had shown and encouraged others to follow this ‘good path’, he used the statement, saying, ‘He who adopts a good path or shows a good path in Islam (that is, which has already been established in Islam). For him shall be its reward and the reward of those who practice upon it…’
The hadith clearly tells us that the encouragement given in the hadith is not about introducing and inventing new religious acts. It is about adopting and following that which has been already established in Islam, and through this one will be guiding and showing others a good path. A look into the above hadith shows that the Ansari companion (about whom the hadith was said) did not introduce/invent anything new. He simply followed what was already established, and his action became an encouragement and invitation to others. In other words, he was the beginner of an action which others followed in goodness.
This same explanation has been given by Imam Nawawi in his Sharh (commentary) of Sahih Muslim. While explaining the above mentioned hadith (of Sahih Muslim), Imam Nawawi writes, ‘In this hadith, there is the encouragement to begin in Khairaat and acts of goodness, and there is also a prohibition for inventing baseless practices and disapproved actions. The reason for this statement of the Prophet (S.A) was that the Ansari companion brought a bag which he could not carry (that is, a heavy bag of Sadaqah) and others followed him. This therefore, was a great virtue for the one who initiated this goodness and the one who was an opener to this door of kindness’. (Sharhul Muslim by Imam Nawawi – Chapter on exhortation to give charity).
The hadith about ‘showing a good path’ has also been recorded by Imam Nasa’i in his Sunan in its entire form, just as it has been given by Imam Muslim. In the Sharh (commentary) of Sunan An Nasa’i, Shaikh Abu Ubaidullah mentions under the commentary of the above hadith, ‘He who adopts/follows a good path’ means ‘he who follows a path that is approved and acceptable’. (Sharh of Sunan Nasa’i)
What is established from all these guidelines is that, all Muslims are encouraged to do as much good acts as possible. They should be the forerunners in doing good acts so that others will follow. However, regardless of what good act they do, the source and root of it goes straight back to the Holy Quran and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (S.A). There is absolutely no good act that a Muslim will do or initiate except that its foundation has already been laid in the Holy Quran. In this regard, Allah commands all believers by saying, ‘And do good, for Allah loves the doers of good’. (2:195). Here, Allah has exhorted the Muslims to do all types of good acts.
So, no matter what act of goodness a man does or initiates (that others may follow), the Holy Quran has already given the order to do it. Hence, it cannot be said that a man has invented and introduced something which the Shariah has not ordained.
This allowance from the above hadith (in Sahih Muslim) to initiate a good act and adopt a path of good that others will follow should not be taken to mean that one is also allowed to invent and initiate a new religious act/deed. Both are different from each other. With respect to acts of goodness or a path of goodness, these are many and they incorporate every good act that emanates from a human being. There is no restriction in doing a good deed, and there is no limit in doing it. As such, a Muslim may continue to help his neighbor, family members etc. to whatever extent and in whatever way he wishes, as long as he does not violate the laws of the Shariah. He can feed the poor everyday or whenever he wishes. He can build roads, supply water to others whenever and in whatever capacity he wishes. He can distribute books/Quran and publish them in any amount. Giving charity to Muslims as we as non-Muslims and taking care of even the animals are all good acts that are encouraged in Islam. The allowance to do them and initiate them have already been given in Islam, however, they all fall under the category of ‘good acts’.
The same however, does not hold for religious actions and deeds. In the matter of religious acts and practices, Muslims are ordered to adhere strictly to what has been given by Allah and in the way it was done by the Prophet (S.A) without opposing his practices and without exceeding the limits. Hence, we see that in the matter of Salaah, Zakaah, fasting, Hajj etc, the time, manner and mode of doing everything have already been fixed. Going against the prescribed manner will cause one to invalidate his religious acts.
For example, if one wishes to perform four rakaats of Farz Salaah at Fajr, this will not be acceptable, since this is opposing to the teachings of the Prophet (S.A). Similarly, if one wishes to decrease the amount of Zakaah to be given from 2 ½ % to 1 ½ %, this will not be permissible, since it is against what the Prophet (S.A) has taught. In a similar manner, if one wishes to fast on the day of Eid ul Fitr, then this will be rejected and condemned, since it is opposing the teachings of the Prophet (S.A). In a like manner, in the season of Hajj, if one wishes to stay at Muzdalifa when he is supposed to be at Arafah, or he throws the stones at the Jamaraat on the 8th of Zul Hijjah, or he makes Tawaaf Az Ziyaarah on the 9th of Zul Hijjah, then his Hajj will not be accepted, even though he must have done all the rituals. It was farz for him to do it in the manner which the Prophet (S.A) has taught.
Similarly, if a person loves Salaatul Jumah so much that he wants to have it also on Sunday, then this will be rejected. If one begins Salaah, and instead of reciting Sura Fatiha and other Suras, he recites Darood through his Salaah, instead of the other recitations, then his Salaah will be invalid, since he has opposed the teachings of the Prophet (S.A). Even through his recitation of Darood throughout the Salaah was to express his love for the Prophet (S.A), yet seeing that his actions were opposing to the way of the Prophet (S.A) his Salaah will be invalid.
In all these affairs and matters that are connected to our religion (Islam), Muslims are commanded to hold firm to that which has been given, and are totally prohibited from introducing/inventing new religious practices. It is for this reason, the Prophet (S.A) said, ‘Whoever introduces in our religion anything that is not there, then his practice shall be rejected and condemned’. (Bukhari, Muslim). In another tradition he said, ‘Whoever innovates in this religion (Islam) a practice which is not upon our practices, then it shall be rejected’. (Bukhari)
From this, we can clearly understand that in the matter of general good acts, we can do as many as we want, in the way we want to do them as long as they do not oppose the Shariah. However, in the matter of religious affairs and practices, we do not have that liberty. In this regard, we have been ordered to follow that which has been given to us in Islam. Allah has already completed and perfected the religion of Islam, and there is no need to bring into it any religious practice which the Prophet (S.A) did not do.
As we can see, ‘the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday’ is known to Muslims as a religious act and is not simply a ‘good act’. In fact, the Organization who is responsible for the ‘Newsletter’ has clearly mentioned in their constitution that it is ‘Mustahab’. In other words, they have gone deep into this invention to the extent that they have given it an official ‘Shariah’ ruling. By falsely saying that it is ‘Mustahab’, the Organization forces their Imams to do it and those who do not do it are reproached in different ways.
By saying it is a ‘Mustahab’ act, they have committed a grave wrong since they are falsely attributing to the Prophet (S.A) an act which he never did in his life. In the Shariah, the word ‘Mustahab’ is a ruling which is only given to an act which was done by the Prophet (S.A) sometimes, and left out sometimes. However, his act of leaving it out was more than the act of doing it. Seeing that he did it, at least a few times, it has become an act that is commendable and hence, the ruling of ‘Mustahab’ has been given.
This explanation of the word ‘Mustahab’ is one which has been unanimously agreed upon by all the leading Fuqaha (jurists) of Islam. Hence, when it is used for an action, it gives the impression to a person that the Prophet (S.A) has indeed practiced the relevant action at least once or twice. (for the minimum.
With this understanding, it becomes quite apparent that the usage of the word ‘Mustahab’ for celebrating the Prophet’s birthday is misleading, and a fabrication against the beloved Messenger of Allah (S.A), since the Prophet (S.A) himself did not do it.
With respect to celebrations, the authentic tradition of the Prophet (S.A) tells us that the Prophet (S.A) told his followers that ‘Allah has removed all the pre Islamic celebrations and has replaced it with two celebrations, they are Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adha’. The hadith establishes the fact that when one wishes to have religious celebrations, then Islam allows him to have only two. They are the celebration of Eid ul Fitr and the celebration of Eid ul Adha. Only both of these are accepted in the Shariah as religious celebrations. As for the birthday of the Prophet (S.A), the Prophet (S.A) knew exactly when he was born, yet, he did not celebrate his birthday nor did he indicate through his blessed teachings that it should be celebrated. The Sahabahs also knew the date of his birth, yet, they did not take it as a celebration. The Tabieen and the Tabu’t Tabieen generations of Muslims also knew exactly when the beloved Prophet (S.A) was born, yet, not a single one from among these thousands of Muslims in these three blessed periods celebrated the Prophet’s birthday.
The gist of this entire discussion is that the hadith which was quoted by the writer, cannot be used as a proof to invent a religious practice in Islam. The hadith speaks about a good path and showing a good act to others, so that they may also do good acts and deeds. The hadith does not give a permission to introduce and invent religious practices as mentioned before. In this regard, the great scholars have written extensively, emphasizing upon the Muslims to hold firm to the Sunnah of the Prophet (S.A). Regarding this, the great Muhadith, Qazi Thana’ullah (A.R) quotes the following hadith in his book ‘Irshaadut Taalibeen’. The hadith states, ‘Verily, a statement is not accepted if not practiced upon. And a statement and a practice are not accepted without a sincere intention. And the statement, the practice and the intention are not accepted if they are not in accordance with the Sunnah’.
Similarly, the great saint/scholar and reformer, Shaikh Sayyid Abdul Qadir Jelani states, ‘A statement without practice is not accepted. Nor a practice without sincerity and without the correct Sunnah’. (Fathe Rabbani)
It is also important to know that this great Shaikh was opposed to Bid’ah and innovations. While writing about him, the scholars have written, ‘Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jelani (A.R) was gifted with divine grace and illumination. He was even conscious of the purification of spirit and rectitude of morals, yet, he did not lose sight of the importance of teaching and disseminating the correct doctrines of the faith. Being a follower of the Hambalite school of Sunni theology, he endeavoured, like his mentor, to root out innovations and deviations from the orthodox faith and practice. Because of his forceful defense of the strict orthodoxy reports (of the Shariah), Ibn al Sam’ani, the traditionist and their followers came to be held in high esteem by the masses’ (Saviours of Islamic Spirit vol.1 pg.181)
In Tabqatul Kubra it is written that he used to tell his disciples that if any action transgresses the commandments of Allah, then it is surely an imposition by the satan. In such cases, one should return to the tenets of the Shariah, inculcate an unflinching faith, and firmly reject the temptations of self indulgence, for whatever is not permitted by the Shariah is decidedly misleading’. (Tabqatul Kubra)
There are many other statements of the great scholars of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah that state that in the matter of religious practices, we have to stick to the teachings which have already been given in the Shariah.
With respect to the hadith, we are also encouraged to practice upon it by adopting many beautiful teachings which Allah and His Prophet (S.A) has given to us. Whether it is a matter of charity, optional Salaah, teaching, waqf, good advice, writing books, building Islamic Institutes etc, these have all been established in Islam, and we are all encouraged to initiate acts of goodness which the Shariah has endorsed, so that it will be an encouragement to others.
Like this hadith (that is, whosoever adopts/shows a good path) there are other similar traditions which inform us about the proper understanding of these statements used by the Prophet (S.A). In one hadith recorded by Imam Muslim, the Prophet (S.A) is reported to have said, ‘The recompense of one who directs somebody to do good deeds will be equal to the reward of the latter’. (Sahih Muslim). In another tradition, it is recorded that the Prophet (S.A) said, ‘A person who calls people towards doing good deeds will get the same reward as those who follow him and do good, and nothing will be diminished from the rewards of the latter. And he who calls people to misguidance, then upon him shall be the same sins as those who follow him, without any decrease in the punishment of those who do wrong’. (Sahih Muslim)
It is therefore clearly understood from these traditions that the exhortation given by the Prophet (S.A) is about following and adopting that which is good. It is about calling and inviting towards good, all of which have been established in Islam. In this way, when we initiate good acts/deeds which we have been encouraged to do in Islam, others will follow in the same good path, and we will get a tremendous amount of blessings. The traditions and the explanations given by the scholars do not allude to the fact that one is allowed to invent and introduce new religious practices which have no origin and source in Islam.
Having quoted the above hadith of Sahih Muslim, the writer continues in his article to state, ‘This hadith gives proof of the fact that it is permissible to introduce a good act in Islam; and it gives permission to follow that deed with the intention of reward’ (Article)
To this, we say that all good acts have already been encouraged in the Quran and the Sunnah (as we have mentioned in details) and Muslims have been exhorted to do as much good deeds as possible. Hence, knowing that the foundation of doing all good deeds/acts have already been laid, it will be totally wrong to refer to general good acts as Bid’ah. It is for this reason, while commenting on the same hadith which was used by the writer to prove ‘Bid’ah Hasanah’, the great Imam, Allama Shatibi, writes, ‘This hadith cannot be used to prove that Bid’ah (introducing and inventing good acts/deeds) is permissible and possible. The reason for this is that every good or bad act is recognized only through the Shariah. For certainly, it is the Shariah alone which deems an act/deed to be good or bad’. (Kitabul I’tisaam). Imam Shatibi goes on to mention, ‘As for that which is done based on the principles, guidelines and teachings of the Shariah, this cannot be called a Bid’ah’. (Kitabul I’tisaam). In other words the phrase ‘Bid’ah Hasanah’ cannot even be used for such actions, since they are established directly from the Shariah. So, it is well established that one cannot use the hadith quoted by the writer to say that it is permissible to introduce religious acts/practices in Islam. This is totally false.
The writer of the Newsletter continues by saying, ‘Even…
In the eyes of the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah, this statement is nothing but sheer falsehood, and a deviated statement. This has only been used to deceive the common Muslims so that they may think that ‘if the companions introduced new things then we can also do the same’. This statement as well as mode of thinking is clear misguidance and deviation from the straight path. The Sahabahs (R.A) followed the Prophet (S.A) in the minutest detail and did not go away from his teachings. If we look at any of the acts of the Sahabahs which the writer indicated to as ‘being introduced’, we will see that the Sahabahs had with them the endorsement and the approval of the Prophet (S.A). They vehemently opposed Bid’ah in all its forms and strove with their might to teach the people the Sunnah and teachings of the Prophet (S.A). There are many narrations that are recorded in many books which tell about their steadfastness upon the Sunnah of the Prophet (S.A) and the guidelines set by the Shariah. They never crossed these paths.
In Tirmizi, a narration is mentioned in which it is stated that a man sneezed in the presence of Abdullah bin Umar (R.A) and then said, ‘Alhamdulillah was Salaam ala Rasoolillah’. Upon this, Abdullah bin Umar (R.A) immediately rebuked him and told him that the Prophet (S.A) has taught that one should only say ‘Alhamdulillah ala kulli haal’. (Tirmizi). Here, Abdullah bin Umar told him clearly that he was going against the teachings of the Prophet (S.A) and he must not do that.
In another narration, it is mentioned that Abdullah bin Masood (R.A) was informed of a group of people who sat in the Masjid after Maghrib Salaah. One among them would say, ‘Recite Allahu Akbar so many times, recite Subhanallah so many times and recite Alhamdulillah so many times’. The group would then do as was requested. Abdullah bin Masood (R.A) arrived at the Masjid and when he heard what they were reciting, he said, ‘I am Abdullah bin Masood. I take an oath by Allah, besides whom there is no one to be worshipped, that you have innovated a dark Bid’ah, or you are regarding yourselves superior to the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A). (Kitabul I’tisaam)
When we look at the above act of the people, we will see that they were simply glorifying Allah and praising Him. Hence, one will ask, ‘What is the issue with this? Why did Abdullah bin Masood (R.A) stop them and said that it was a dark Bid’ah?’ The answer to this is that Abdullah bin Masood (R.A) saw that these people have invented and introduced in Islam something which was not taught by the Prophet (S.A). The Tasbeeh (Subhanallah), Takbeer (Allahu Akbar) and Tahmeed (Alhamdulillah) were definitely good, however, the form and manner in which they were doing it was not evident from the teachings of the Prophet (S.A). Hence, Abdullah bin Masood (R.A) who was one of the greatest companions and most learnt among the companions condemned this act which the people were practicing as a deviated practice, and so, he referred to it as a ‘dark Bid’ah’.
In another narration which is recorded in Fatawa Qadhi Khan, it is stated that Abdullah bin Masood (R.A) heard that some people gathered in the Masjid and were reciting ‘laa-ilaaha illallah’ and Darood (Salaah and Salaam) in a loud manner. He went to them and said, ‘This (way of recital) was non-existent during the time of the Prophet (S.A). I regard you as innovators’. Abdullah bin Masood (R.A) continued to repeat this until they were all sent out of the Masjid.
When we look at what was being recited, these were good and these recitals were highly rewarding. Abdullah bin Masood (R.A) did not condemn what they were reciting, (which was ‘la-ilaaha illallah’ and Darood) instead, he openly condemned the manner in which they had devised for these good actions. He showed total disgust to their behaviour until he got them out of the Masjid. Can you imagine what this great companion of the Prophet (S.A) would have done if he had witnessed the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday and all the other innovations that the innovators have invented?
In this way, there are countless incidents that are recorded in the books of narrations that show the grave detestation the Sahabahs had for Bid’ah and inventing religious practices which were not done/endorsed by the Prophet (S.A). So, to say that they introduced new things in Islam, (as the writer of the article suggested) is nothing but a misleading and misguiding statement. If, at any time the companions did an action prior to the approval of the Prophet (S.A) and then the Prophet (S.A) approved it, then this cannot be considered as ‘introducing a new thing’. Instead, all the traditionists have unanimously declared that such acts fall under the category of the ‘Taqreer’ (approval and consent) of the Prophet (S.A). All traditionists (Muhaditheen) have unanimously declared that the word Sunnah incorporates the words, actions and approval/consent of the Prophet (S.A). As such, whatever was approved by the Prophet (S.A) would be termed ‘Sunnah’ and cannot be referred to as an invention of the Sahabahs. Furthermore, when the actions of the Sahabahs were approved by the Prophet (S.A), then it cannot be considered as ‘new things introduced by the Sahabahs’. In fact, the companions would not do anything which did not get the approval/ consent of the Prophet (S.A), and they would also refrain from everything which he disapproved of. This clearly tells us that the companions would not do anything without getting the permission of the Prophet (S.A). They would either get the permission before it was done or would get it after an action has been done. If at any time an action/practice occurred when the Prophet (S.A) was not with them, they would immediately consult with the Prophet (S.A) at the earliest time. If the Prophet (S.A) then consents to the act/practice, then it will be acceptable in Islam based upon the approval of the Prophet (S.A), and not based upon the fact that it was a ‘new introduction of the Sahabahs’. According to all scholars of Hadith and Fiqh, an action of this nature falls under the ‘category’ of the Taqreer of the Prophet (S.A) and is also incorporated in his teachings (Sunnah). In this regard, the scholars of hadith, while defining the word, states, ‘the statements, actions, and approval/disapproval of the Prophet (S.A).
This goes to show that whatever the Prophet (S.A) approved of, then it became part of his teachings and the word Sunnah would be used for it.
Let’s look at some narrations where it is clearly evident that when the Sahabahs did an action when they were not with the Prophet (S.A), then they would consult the Prophet (S.A) and get his approval.
Imam Bukhari has recorded the tradition in which a group of companions camped at a close by village while on a journey. During the course of the night, the leader of the village was stung by a scorpion or snake and one companion recited Sura Al Fatiha in order to cure the person. The person got cured and the companions received a few animals as a gift for curing the leader. They accepted the gift of the animals but since they did not know whether they can take benefit from the animals or not, they went straight to the Messenger of Allah (S.A) and related the entire incident. The Prophet (S.A) asked the companion how he knew that Sura Fatiha would help. The companion answered that he learnt from him (that is, the Prophet S.A) that Sura Fatiha is a cure, hence, he recited it. The Prophet (S.A) then allowed them to use the animals which they had received since it is permissible for them’. (Sahih Al Bukhari)
Here, we see clearly that the Sahabahs ensured that they got an approval from the Messenger of Allah (S.A) before they considered something to be allowed or disallowed.
It is also recorded by Imam Bukhari in his Sahih that once Ammar (R.A) was on journey when he fell in a state of Janabah (major ritual pollution). He then searched for water to take a bath, but could not find any. He then decided to make Tayamum, but, thinking that Tayamum for ghusl (a bath) could be different from the Tayamum for wuzu (ablution), he decided to roll on the sand so that it would touch the different parts of his body. However, as soon as he reached the Prophet (S.A) he related the incident to find out whether he was correct or not. The Prophet (S.A) then told him that the manner of Tayamum for Ghusl (bath) is the same as the Tayamum for wuzu, and he is not required to let the sand/earth touch all the parts of his body.
This is another tradition which shows clearly that the Sahabahs would ensure that they got the approval of the Prophet (S.A) for an act which they did in his absence. Like these, there are hundreds of other incidents that are recorded in the books of Ahadith which show clearly that the Sahabahs (R.A) would get the approval of the Prophet (S.A) before they considered an action or a practice to be acceptable in the Shariah. It is therefore deluding for the writer to say, ‘Even our Prophet’s companions (R.A) introduced new things in Islam that the Messenger of Allah himself had not done, and our Prophet did not stop them’.
The narrations given above show that the companions never introduced new things in Islam. This statement is nothing but a ‘sheer slander’ and ‘an attack of the dignity’ of the Sahabahs. Whatever they did, it was on account of the teachings of the Prophet (S.A) which they had knowledge of. If any issue came up which they needed to address when they were not with the Prophet (S.A), then they would do that which they understood to be correct and then immediately, at the first opportunity, consult the Prophet (S.A) on the matter to see if it was allowed or not. When the Prophet (S.A) gave an approval, it became part of his teachings as mentioned before, and when a disapproval was given, it became known to be ‘not permissible in Islam’. It is to be noted however, that these cases would have only occurred in matters of Islamic law and Jurisprudence, and not about customs, practices and beliefs. Therefore, it is totally wrong to suggest that the blessed companions would bring about a new custom or practice which they never saw or learnt from the Prophet (S.A). This will be a false accusation against the blessed companions.
In the same ‘accusation’, the writer stated that ‘the companions introduced new things, which the Prophet (S.A) did not do, and he (the Prophet S.A) did not stop them’. This is another statement of misguidance which the writer has invented, through which he seeks to tell the innovators that they can continue to introduce new things in Islam. For this statement and the example given afterwards, it shows that the writer has very little knowledge and understanding of the concept of the ‘Sunnah’ as a fundamental source in Islam.
Let’s look at these narrations and we will see clearly that on different occasions the Prophet (S.A) stopped his companions from certain actions.
In his Sahih, Imam Bukhari records a narration in which the Prophet (S.A) was teaching a companion a dua before going to bed. At the end of the dua, the Prophet (S.A) taught him to say, ‘O Allah I believe in the Book that you have revealed, and I believe in the Nabi (Prophet) which you have sent’. In order to learn this dua, the companion repeated it and instead of saying, ‘and I believe in the Nabi (Prophet) which you have sent’, he said, ‘and I believe in the Rasool (Messenger) which you have sent’. As soon as he said this word ‘Rasool’, the Prophet (S.A) immediately stopped him and said, ‘No! Say ‘and I believe in the Nabi which you have sent’. So the companion repeated it with the word Nabi (Prophet). (Bukhari)
What we see here is that, the companion did not really make a mistake while saying the word ‘Rasool’. In fact, understanding that the title of ‘Rasool’ is greater than that of ‘Nabi’, the companion decided to use the word ‘Rasool’. This however, was not the teaching of the Prophet (S.A), and seeing that the companion changed the word which he (the Prophet S.A) taught, he immediately stopped him and said that he must say what he (the Prophet S.A) said.
This incident may seem to be small and insignificant, however, when we analyze it, we are able to see the significance of the Prophet’s teaching.
The Prophet (S.A) did not tolerate the changing of even a small word (which was not literally incorrect), how would he tolerate the changing of his practices and teachings. We also see that the Prophet (S.A) would stop the companions from an act when it was not in conformance to his teaching.
Another narration states that on the occasion of Hajj, the Prophet (S.A) told Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A), ‘Bring for me seven pebbles like little clay stones’. When Abdullah bin Abbas brought the pebbles (as mentioned), the Prophet (S.A) took them and started to overturn them in his hands, saying, ‘Just like these, just like these’. He was saying to Abdullah bin Abbas that when one is about to throw the pebbles at the pillars (for Hajj), he should use pebbles just like the ones he had in his hand. They must be the same amount and the same size. Having said this, the Prophet (S.A) then continued by saying, ‘Do not exceed (in the matters of your religion), for certainly those (people) before you were destroyed when they exceeded in religion’. (Recorded in Al Bada’i As Sanaa’i Vol. 2 Pg. 152; Ahmad; Nasaa’i; Ibn Majah).
Here, the narration teaches that even in matters that one would not normally pay attention to, the Prophet (S.A) ensured that his followers did the correct practice and they do not go against his teachings.
We see that he emphasized that the stones used for pelting at the Jamaraat (on the occasion of Hajj) should be of a certain number and also a specific size. Lest this should be overlooked by the Muslims, the Prophet (S.A) emphasized this point by rolling the stones in his hand and saying, ‘Do not exceed in your religion ‘. Here, he give a general law and instruction which was not merely confined to the pebbles, but it was also connected to every act the Muslims do’ as a religious or Islamic act. He gave a clear command saying ‘Do not exceed in your religion’. It means that the Muslims must not cross the limits set in Islam, they should not go beyond what has been ordered and must not add practices which were not given in Islam. In order to warn the Muslims of this grave wrong, he (the Prophet) said, ‘Certainly those before you were destroyed by Allah for exceeding in religion’. Muslims should therefore take this as a warning. In fact, while explaining the above narration Ibn Taimiyyah said, ‘This instruction (of the Prophet S.A) is general for all forms of extremism in matters of beliefs and deeds’. (Taiseer Al Azeez Al Hameed).
In the above tradition also shows that the Prophet (S.A) stopped his followers from using more than seven pebbles for Hajj, and also prohibited them from exceeding the limits of religious practices and beliefs which Allah has fixed in Islam.
In another narration recorded by Imam Bukhari, it is stated that one night when the Prophet (S.A.S) got up to perform Tahajjud Salaah , Abdullah bin Abbas got up and stood on his left side. Seeing that this was wrong, the Prophet (S.A) immediately stopped him from this act by pulling him to his right. (Sahih Al Bukhari).This tradition clearly shows that the Prophet (S.A) stopped his companion from doing what he started.
In another narration recorded by Imam Bukhari it is stated that on one occasion some young children started to recite some poetic phrases in the presence of the Prophet (S.A). While reciting these, they began to say, ‘And amongst us, there is a Prophet who knows what will happen tomorrow’. Upon this, the Prophet (S.A) immediately stopped them from saying this and asked them to say the other stanzas. (Sahih Al Bukhari). Here again, we see that the Prophet (S.A) would stopped his companions when anything was done which went against his teachings and approval.
It is also narrated that on one occasion the Prophet (S.A) heard Abu Bakr (R.A) reciting very loud in his Salaah and he heard Umar (R.A) reciting very soft. He then called both of them and said, to Abu Bakr (R.A) that he should recite a bit softer in Salaah, and he told Umar (R.A) to recite a bit louder in his Salaah. Here, we also see that the Prophet (S.A) corrected these Sahabahs in what they were doing and stopped them from doing it in a certain way.
In this way there are countless narrations that show that the Prophet (S.A) would immediately stopped the companions from acts which were not in accordance to the teachings he brought. As such, it is totally wrong for the writer to state that the companions introduced new things in Islam that the Messenger of Allah did not do, and the Prophet did not stop them.
The writer goes on to highlight an example of an incident which he thinks was a new invention by a companion, and the Prophet (S.A.S) did not stop him. When we look at the explanation of this example (given by the writer) we will realize that the writer has a grave misunderstanding of this topic and his misunderstanding has led him to make wrong statements.
The example he has quoted is an incident of Bilal (R.A), and he states:
‘Our Prophet (S.A.S) asked Bilal (R.A) what do you practice that you look forward to a lot of reward———-
which spoke about the permissibility of introducing a new act with the intention of reward. This is his own deduction and hence, he translated the hadith in such a manner to arrive at this opinion.
The proper translation of the hadith is the following, ‘Abu Hurairah (R.A) narrated, at the time of Fajr prayer, the Prophet (S.A) asked Bilal, ‘Tell me of the best deed you did in Islam (that is after embracing Islam), for I heard your footsteps in front of me in Paradise’. Bilal (R.A) replied, ‘I did not do anything worth mentioning that except that whenever I performed ablution during the day or night, I prayed after that ablution as much as was written for me’. (Sahih Al Bukhari – Chapter on Tahajjud).
After quoting the above narration in their commentaries, none of the commentators of ahadith has given any such explanation as the writer did. No one from among these great scholars and traditionists has stated that it is evident from the narration that one can introduce a new act in Islam for the sake of rewards. In fact, Imam Bukhari himself has quoted the hadith to establish two virtues. One is the virtue of remaining with Wuzu during the day and night and the virtue of offering nafl salaah (optional prayer) after Wuzu.
The great commentator of Sahih Al Bukhari, Hafiz Badrudeen Aini (A.R) has given a beautiful commentary of the hadith and has explained the different laws established from it, however there is no mention of what the writer has said about the permissibility of introducing a new good act.
A deeper look into the practice of Bilal (R.A) shows that his act was not a new one which he introduced in Islam. Instead, it was based on the teachings of the Prophet (S.A) which is evident in different traditions.
With respect to performing Salaah after ablution, this is evident in the hadith of Sahih Al Bukhari in which it is stated that Uthman bin Affan (R.A) said (after showing others how to perform a complete Wuzu), ‘I saw the Prophet (S.A.S) performing ablution like that of mine and he said, if anyone performs ablution like that of mine and offers two rakaat salaah during which he does not think of anything else, then his past sins will be forgiven’. (Sahih Al Bukhari – Chapter on Wuzu).
The above hadith shows that the act of performing optional (nafl) salaah after making Wuzu is from the teachings of the Prophet (S.A) and is extremely virtues. As such, the action of Bilal (R.A) was on account of this teaching which he knew was from the teachings of the Prophet (S.A), and it was not his personal ‘new’ act which he introduced in Islam (as the writer wants us to believe).
So, what we have seen from the writer so far, is that he has tried to prove ‘Bidah Hasanah’ from the narrations he has quoted, but has failed miserably in doing so. The principles he has tried to deduce from the above quoted narrations are all inaccurate and unsound, and cannot be used to establish what he says.
Further in the ‘Rabiul Awwal News Letter’ the writer states, ‘Proofs that celebrating the Prophet’s birthday is accepted in Shariah – evidence from the Quran’. Under this section, the writer again tries to delude the readers by giving verses with general meanings and giving his personal deductions from them. In this section he has not quoted a single verse which indicates to the practice of celebrating the Prophet’s birthday. He has misused these verses and has applied his personal judgements, which no scholar of the Quran has ever done in the history of Islam.
The first verse, the writer quotes was, ‘Say: In the bounty of Allah and his Mercy, therein let them rejoice. That is better than what they amass’. (Sura Yunus verse 58)
After quoting this verse, the writer, without quoting a single authority of the Tafseer of the Quran, he draws his own conclusion by saying, ‘In this verse, Allah Most High tells us that we should be happy when we receive blessings and mercy from him. Without doubt, the Prophet (S.A) is the greatest mercy and blessing of Allah Most High.’
Truly the Quran tells us to be happy with Allah’s beauties, but Allah’s favours do not come once a year. They are with us every single day we live. Every day Allah gives us life, health, Imaan, food, drink, wealth and happiness. All these are from Allah’s favours. Hence, we need to rejoice and be happy every single day of our lives for these bounties. Furthermore, the Prophet (S.A) is indeed one of Allah’s greatest blessings to mankind. This however, must not be remembered once for the year on the 12th Rabiul Awwal. Instead, it should be remembered every day seeing that we are Muslims every day of our lives. We should be rejoicing for this favour every day that we live as Muslims and express our thanks to Allah and keep on sending Darood (Salaah and Salaams to the beloved Prophet (S.A). In this way, we will truly be showing our appreciation and gratitude to Allah for having sent his beloved Messenger to this world.
With respect to the above verse that the writer quoted, let’s look at the renowned and reliable commentaries of the Holy Qur’an to see if any of the great Mufassir arrived at the same conclusion as our dear writer.
First of all, the writer of the ‘Newsletter’ quoted only verse 58 of Sura Yunus; he did not quote the verse above it which clarifies the meaning of verse 58. Had he quoted and looked at verse 57 he would have immediately realized that his personal understanding from the verse is not the correct one. When one look at the context in which verse 58 is given, he would get a different understanding from that which the writer has given. Both verses 57 and 58 have been quoted and explained together since they are connected to each other. Let’s look at the two verses together and we will get the meaning and importance of verse 57 and 58 of Sura Yunus (10). It states:-
57. O Mankind! There has come to you a good advice from your Lord and a healing for that which is in the breast/chest and guidance and a mercy to the believers.
58. Say: In the Bounty of Allah, and in His Mercy therein let them rejoice. That is better than what they amass.
While explaining these verses, the great exegete and commentator of the Holy Qur’an Hafiz Ibn Katheer writes, ‘Here Allah speaks about His kindness and favour to His creation by revealing the Holy Quran upon the Prophet (S.A). Allah informs them that he has sent an exhortation which warns them about indecent and immoral things and it is a healing for that which is in the breasts (hearts) from doubts, and it will remove dirtiness and impurities from the hearts. Through this Quran, one will achieve guidance and mercy from Allah, and this is for those who believe in it, for those who testify to it and for those who have certainly in it- This is just as Allah’s statement (at another place in the Qur’an) ‘and we revealed from the Qur’an that which a healing and a mercy to the believers’. And Allah says, ‘Say in the Bounty of Allah and in His Mercy, therein let them rejoice, it means that let them rejoice with that which came from Allah from the guidance and the true religion, for certainly it is the best for which happiness can be shown. Then Allah says, ‘That is better than what they amass’- It means this guidance from Allah is far better than what they amass from the worldly affairs’. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer (Arabic) vol. 2 pg. 420-421).
From this entire explanation of Hafiz Ibn Katheer, it is evident that the ‘bounty and mercy’ of Allah which is mentioned in verse 58, refers to that which Allah spoke about in verse 57. In this way verse 58 of Sura Yunus is directly connected to verse 57, and one must look at the both verses together in order to achieve the message which Allah Has intended through these verses.
In verse 57 Allah told us that He Has sent down the Holy Quran as an exhortation, a good advice, a guidance, a healing and as a mercy to man. Having identified this as his great favor, Allah goes on in verse 58 to tell man that he must rejoice and be happy with this great bounty and mercy which He has given to him. Note that there is absolutely no mention of Prophet (S.A) in this verse neither that of celebration his birthday. We know very well that the bounties of Allah are many every day we witness them. The Prophet (S.A) is indeed one of Allah’s greatest bounty to man. However, the verse mentioned above was revealed with a different purpose and message, and not to speak about the Prophet (S.A) or his birthday.
The other great exegete and commentator of the Holy Quran, Imam Qurtubi has given a similar explanation. In addition, while commenting on verse 58, which states, ‘Say: In the Bounty of Allah, and in His Mercy therein let them rejoice’, he states, ‘The companions like Abu Saeed Al Khudri and Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A) have stated, ‘The Bounty of Allah (in this verse) is the Quran and His mercy (in this verse) is Islam’. They have also stated that, ‘The Bounty is the Quran, and His Mercy is that He has made you from the people of the Quran’. Imam Qurtubi goes further to state that ‘It is the opinion of other great commentators like Hasan Basri, Dhahak, Mujahid and Qatada that in this verse, the bounty of Allah refers to Imaan and His Mercy is the Quran’. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi (Arabic) vol.8 pg.316)
It should be noted here that no mention has been made of the Prophet (S.A) or his birthday, since these are not within the message and understanding of this verse.
What we have seen from the authentic, sound and reliable commentaries of the Holy Quran is that one is required to rejoice at the bounties of Allah which He has given in the form of Islam and the Holy Quran. In fact, this is clearly established from the words of the Prophet (S.A) as mentioned in Tafseer Al Bahrul Muheet. In this Tafseer, it is mentioned
So, with respect to the immediate message and true understanding of the above verse, we see that there is no mention of the Prophet’s birthday, nor is there any mention of the Prophet (S.A) himself. Allah revealed the verse for a particular purpose which is to tell the believers to be happy with the great favour of Islam and the Bounty of the Quran.
If one wishes to deduce a general meaning and message from the verse, then there are many other things that the Muslims must rejoice at and be happy with, not only one thing. For example, the day the Prophet (S.A) was made a ‘Prophet’ was indeed one of the greatest days in his life and the life of the whole mankind, for certainly it was a Divine command that was made by Allah to honour Muhammad to become Prophet Muhammad (S.A). With this task, his entire life was transformed and the darkness of polytheism, disbelief and transgression from the lands of Makka and Madina were now destined to leave forever. It is on account of this apostleship we have Islam today, and it was on account of him being a Prophet, we have Allah’s final revelation with us today. So, when we look at something great to rejoice at, we can look at the day he received his prophethood.
Another great day we can rejoice at is the day on which Allah completed and perfected the religion of Islam. This was undoubtedly one of the greatest days in the life of the Prophet (S.A), since it was a day on which the religion which he has given his life for, was now completed and perfected. The joy and happiness which that special day brought could be understood from the following narration of Imam Bukhari. It is narrated that a Jewish man came to Umar (R.A) and said, ‘O commander of the believers, there is a verse in your Book, if it was revealed to us (the jews) we would have taken the day (on which it was revealed) as an Eid’ (that is, as a day of great celebration). Hearing this, Umar (R.A) said, ‘I know the verse (you are speaking about) and I know the day on which it was revealed, as well as the place where the verse was revealed’.
By: Mufti Waseem Khan
This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.