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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Celebrating the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم)'s birthday, Mawlid, Reading Quran together and Giving good deeds to the dead


Praise be to Allaah.  

Firstly, Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is the Messenger of Allaah to all of mankind, the one through whom Allaah leads people from darkness into light, from misguidance to guidance.

Secondly, acts of worship in Islam are based on an important principle, which is that no one is permitted to worship Allaah in any way except that which Allaah has prescribed in his Book or which was taught by His Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Whoever worships Allaah by doing something that Allaah and His Messenger have not enjoined, Allaah will not accept that from him. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us of that, as it was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours [i.e., Islam] that is not part of it will have it rejected.’” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-Sulh, 2499). 
Acts of worship include festivals. Allaah has prescribed two festivals or Eids for us to celebrate, and it is not permissible for us to celebrate any others.
In general, celebrating birthdays is an innovation in the religion of Allaah, and it is not permissible to do this. It is not permissible to eat the food that has been prepared for this occasion. Their claim that the food for the birthday celebration is for the guests does not make it excusable to eat it. Hospitality is subject to its own rulings, and matters are judged according to the intentions behind them. It is very clear that the food is being prepared for this innovated occasion, and eating this food is one of the things that helps them to persist in doing this. It is a kind of co-operation in sin and transgression. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Help you one another in Al Birr and At Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression” [al-Maa’idah 5:2]
 Shaykh ‘Abd al-Kareem al-Khudayr
With regard to celebrating the day on which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was born, it should be noted that he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not tell us to celebrate this day, and he himself (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not celebrate it, nor did his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them). They loved the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) far more than we do, yet despite that they did not celebrate this day. Hence we do not celebrate this day, in obedience to the command of Allaah Who has commanded us to follow the commands of His Prophet. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 
“And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad) gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it)” [al-Hashr 59:7] 
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I urge you to adhere to my Sunnah [way] and the way of the Rightly-Guided khaleefahs. Adhere to it and cling tightly to it. And beware of newly-invented matters [in religion], for every newly-invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is a going-astray.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood, al-Sunnah, 3991; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, no. 3851). 
The extent to which a person loves the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is to be seen in how he follows him with regard to all that he commanded or forbade. That includes following him in not celebrating the day on which he was born.
Al-Faakihaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 
I do not know of any basis for this mawlid in the Qur’aan or Sunnah, and there is no report that any of the scholars of this ummah, who are examples in matters of religion and adhere to the path of those who came before, did this. Rather it is an innovation (bid’ah) which was introduced by those who have nothing better to do, and it is a means for them to have fun and eat a lot. 
Al-Mawrid fi ‘Aml al-Mawlid, quoted in Rasaa’il fi Hukm al-Ihtifaal bi’l-Mawlid al-Nabawi, 1/8, 9 
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 
If celebrating the Prophet’s birthday was prescribed, then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would have told his ummah of that, because he is the most sincere of people and there is no Prophet after him who could explain anything he did not speak about. He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is the Seal of the Prophets and he explained to the people what he had to explain of the truth, such as loving him and following his sharee’ah, sending blessings and salaams upon him and other rights of his that are explained in the Qur’aan and Sunnah. He did not tell his ummah that celebrating the day of his birth was something prescribed so that they would do that. He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not do that during his lifetime and his companions (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) who were the dearest of people to him and the most knowledgeable of his rights did not celebrate that day, neither did the Rightly-Guided Caliphs or any others. Then those who followed them in truth of the best three generations did not celebrate this day either. 
Do you think that all these people were ignorant of his rights or fell short with regard to them, until the later generations came and made up for this shortfall and made the truth complete? No, by Allaah. No wise man who understands the nature of the Sahaabah and how they followed the truth would say this. If you understand that the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday was unknown at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the time of his companions and the time of their earliest followers, you will realize that it is an innovation that has been introduced into the faith, and it is not permissible to do it, approve of it or advocate it, rather we must denounce it and warn people against it. 
Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 6/318, 319
Whoever wants to venerate the day on which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was born should follow the alternative that is based on Islamic evidence, which is that one should fast on Mondays, not just the day that he was born but every Monday. 
Muslim (1162) narrated from Abu Qataadah al-Ansaari (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) was asked about fasting on Mondays and he said: “On (that day) I was born and on it Revelation came down to me.” 
Al-Tirmidhi (747) narrated, in a hadeeth that he classed as hasan, from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Deeds are presented (to Allah) on Monday and Thursday and I like my deeds to be presented when I am fasting.”
However, from the saheeh hadeeths quoted above, it is clear that just as the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) fasted on Mondays out of gratitude for the blessing of his birth on this day, he also fasted it because of its virtue, because the Revelation came down to him on that day, and on that day deeds are presented to Allah. So he (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) liked his deeds to be taken up when he was fasting. The fact that he was born on that day was one of several reasons for fasting that day.
If a person fasts on Mondays, as the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) did, hoping for forgiveness on that day, out of gratitude for the blessings that Allah bestowed upon His slaves on the day – the greatest of which blessings is the birth of His Prophet and His sending him – and hoping to be among the people who are forgiven on that day, then this is something good and is in accordance with what is proven of the Sunnah of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). But he should not single out one week for that to the exclusion of others, or one month to the exclusion of others. Rather he should do that as much as he can on a permanent basis. 
Moreover, it is not known that any of the salaf or early scholars said that it is prescribed to fast on any particular day of the week or the month or the year, and regard that day as a “festival” because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) used to fast on the day of his birth every week, which was a Monday. If that was prescribed, the people of knowledge and virtue of the early generations who hastened to do all that is good would have hastened to do it before us. As they did not do that, it is known that this is something that is innovated and it is not permissible to do it.
With regard to singling out one day of the year for fasting it, in celebration of the birth of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), this is an innovation (bid‘ah) that is contrary to the Sunnah of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) fasted on Mondays, and no other day, but from year to the next, his birthday may come on that day or any other day of the week.  
Conclusion: celebrating the Prophet’s birthday was not prescribed by Allaah or by the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), so it is not permissible for the Muslims to celebrate his birthday, in obedience to the command of Allaah and the command of His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). We ask Allaah to guide you to the Straight Path. 

Reading Qur’aan together, giving good deeds to the dead
Praise be to Allaah.
Firstly: 
In the saheeh Sunnah there are many reports which speak of the virtues of gathering to read the Book of Allaah, but in order for the Muslim to attain those rewards, he should ensure that the gathering is in accordance with sharee’ah. One of the prescribed ways in which people may gather to read Qur’aan is for the people gathered to read together for the purpose of study, learning the meanings and how to recite properly. Another kind of gathering that is prescribed is for each of them to read and the others to listen, so that they may ponder the meanings of the verses. Both are mentioned in the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). 
With regard to what each person reads being counted as a khatmah (complete reading of the Qur’aan) for each of them, this is not correct, because none of them has read the entire Qur’aan, or even listened to it, rather each of them has read a part of it, so they will only be rewarded for whatever they have read of the Qur’aan. 
The scholars of the Standing Committee said: 
Distributing ajza’ or parts of the Qur’aan to those who are present so that each one of them may read a hizb of the Qur’aan is not necessarily regarded as a khatmah or complete reading of the Qur’aan on the part of each one of them. End quote. 
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 2/480 
Secondly: 
It is not prescribed to say du’aa’ together after reading Qur’aan, and it is not permissible to pray that the reward for the reading go to any of the dead or the living. Our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not do that, and neither did any of his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them). 
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked: 
Is it permissible for me to read the entire Qur’aan for my parents, knowing that they are illiterate and cannot read or write? Is it permissible for me to read the entire Qur’aan for a person who knows how to read and write, but I want to give this khatmah to him? Is it permissible for me to read the entire Qur’aan for more than one person? 
He replied: 
There is no report in the Holy Qur’aan or in the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), or from his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them) to indicate that it is prescribed to give one's reading of Qur’aan (or the reward thereof) to one's parents or to anyone else. Rather Allaah has enjoined reading Qur’aan so that one may benefit from it, learn from it, ponder its meanings and act upon it. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 
“(This is) a Book (the Qur’aan) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings, that they may ponder over its Verses, and that men of understanding may remember”
[Saad 38:29] 
“Verily, this Qur’aan guides to that which is most just and right”
[al-Isra’ 17:90] 
“Say: It is for those who believe, a guide and a healing”
[Fussilat 41:44] 
And our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Read the Qur’aan, for it will come as an intercessor for its companions.” And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The Qur’aan will be brought on the Day of Resurrection along with its people who used to act upon it, preceded by Soorat al-Baqarah and Aal ‘Imraan, like two clouds or two flocks of birds, spreading their wings, pleading on behalf of their companions (i.e., those who used to read them).”  
The point is that it was revealed to be acted upon and pondered, to be read as an act of worship and read a great deal, not to be given to the dead or to anyone else. I do not know of any reliable basis for giving it to one’s parents or anyone else. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever does any action that is not in accordance with this matter of ours will have it rejected.” Some of the scholars are of the view that that is permissible, and they said: There is no reason why the reward for reading Qur’aan and other righteous actions cannot be given to others, and they liken that to the case of charity and du’aa’ for the deceased and others. But the correct view is the first view, because of the hadeeth quoted above, and other similar reports. If giving the reward for reading to another was permissible or prescribed, the righteous salaf would have done it. It is not permissible to make analogies with regard to acts of worship, because they can only be proven by a text from the Book of Allaah, may He be blessed and exalted, or the Sunnah of His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), because of the hadeeth quoted above and other similar reports. 
Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 8/360, 361 
With regard to the hadeeth, “When the son of Adam dies, all his good deeds come to an end…” this is not correct, rather if you think about it, you will see that the hadeeth indicates that it is not prescribed to give the reward for reading Qur’aan to the dead, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “A son who will pray for him,” not “who will read Qur’aan for him.” 
We hope that what we have mentioned is sufficient to make the laymen refrain from this innovation. We advise them to fear Allaah and follow the Sunnah. They should remember that Allaah does not accept any innovated act of worship, no matter what efforts and wealth are expended on it. Being moderate in following the Sunnah is better than striving hard in following innovation, as the great Sahaabi ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) said. 
We ask Allaah to guide them to that which pleases Him, and we advise the readers to convey this message well and not take part in that with them, and to be patient in bearing any problems that may result from that. 
And Allaah knows best.

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