The Sahabah who loved and followed the Prophet (ﷺ) the most did not celebrate his Mawlid (Birth of the Prophet)
My question is about celebrating the Mawlid (the Prophet’s birthday). In our locality there is a custom that after three days of a person’s death, the family of the deceased holds a celebration of the birthday of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Some people hold it one month or one year after a person’s death. They slaughter a cow or buy meat, prepare food and distribute it to the people of the village; afterwards, they hold a celebration of the birthday of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Is this permissible? Is it recommended to do this? Was it practiced by the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet Muhammad) or by anyone from the Salaf (righteous predecessors)? Please explain this issue, may Allah reward you with the best!
Celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is one of the Bid'ahs (innovations in religion) introduced into Islam. There is no difference between celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and other’s birthdays. The Prophet (peace be upon him) is the best of creatures and he is the teacher and advisor, yet he (peace be upon him) did not celebrate his birth. Similarly, his Rightly-Guided Caliphs did not celebrate his birthday, and the rest of Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them all) who were the most knowledgeable, loved the Prophet (peace be upon him) more than anyone of us, and were the most well-informed of his Sunnah did not celebrate it. This indicates that this celebration is Bid'ah and all kinds of Bid'ah are deviation from the right way as stated by the Hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him):
“Every Bid‘ah is a Dalalah (deviation).”
The earliest and best three centuries of Islam passed and there was no celebration of the birthday of the Prophet (peace be upon him) during these times and, as far as we know, the Salaf did not celebrate it.
Therefore, it is Bid'ah introduced by those who came after the best centuries in virtue and righteousness. It is said that the first to introduce this Bid'ah were the rulers of Egypt from Al-‘Ubaydiyyun, who were Shiites, as reported by a group of historians. They introduced it during the fourth century after Hijrah. It is said that they are the first who held these celebrations. In any case, it is a newly-introduced matter in Islam having no basis which some people from past centuries and in our age thought it to be recommended and there is nothing wrong in celebrating it, because it is a good Bid'ah. This is not only an incorrect opinion, but it goes against the Messenger (peace be upon him) as well. It is also in contradiction with the way of the Sahabah who were the most knowledgeable and the best people; however, they did not hold these celebrations. Therefore, it is a duty upon Muslims to reject this act. The biography of the Prophet (peace be upon him) can be studied in educational circles and daily and weekly lessons in which people can learn about the Sunnah of the Messenger (peace be upon him) and know his words and deeds. They can also learn the Islamic rulings brought by the Prophet (peace be upon him). This is what should be taught in school classes, in the educational circles in the Masjids (mosques) and in admonitions and reminders from which people learn the Sunnah and the biography of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and reject the celebration of the Mawlid and what takes place there. All these acts are possible and they are sufficient for Muslims and meet their needs. As for holding such birthday celebrations and preparing banquets, there is no basis for doing this. It is a newly-invented Bid'ah and every Bid'ah introduced in Islam is misguidance. It is not proper for any person of sound mind to be tricked by these people, because their actions are baseless and most of these people do not have insight into Islamic issues. The Almighty states: And most of mankind will not believe even if you desire it eagerly. Therefore, the decisive criterion is the evidence and proof.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) stated:
“Anyone who introduces anything into this matter of ours (Islam) that is not part of it will have it rejected.”
He (peace be upon him) also stated:
“Anyone who does an action which is not in accordance with this matter of ours (Islam) will have it rejected.”
Also, the manners of the Prophet (peace be upon him), his biography, his birth and his Hijrah (the Prophet’s migration to Madinah) are all taught by scholars at schools, in educational circles, in admonitions and reminders without any need to hold such celebrations invented by Mubtadi’s (those who introduce innovations in religion). Acts of Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) and excessive praising of the Prophet (peace be upon him) take place at some of these celebrations, and different forms of wrongdoing known only by Allah. Therefore, we need to shut this door and be satisfied with the Islamic lessons in the Masjids, in the educational circles, in reminders and admonitions related to important religious affairs and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and its rulings. This is the truth, and what people do nowadays and in the past of celebrating the birthday of the Messenger (peace be upon him) or the birthdays of Al-Badawy, Shaykh 'Abdul-Qadir or any other person are all innovations having no basis. It is obligatory to reject all these newly-introduced matters in compliance with the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him): Anyone who does an action which is not in accordance with this matter of ours (Islam) will have it rejected. And: Every Bid‘ah is a Dalalah (deviation).
— The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta