Ruling on Celebrating the Birthday of the Prophet ﷺ
By the Shaykh – the noble Scholar – ‘Abdul-Azeez bin Baaz 
Al-Istiqaamah Issue No.3 – Rabî’ul-Awwal 1417H / August 1996
All praise is for Allaah and the blessing of Allaah and His peace be upon the Messenger, and upon his Family, his Companions and all those who follow his guidance. After that:
It is not permissible to celebrate Milaadun-Nabee (the birthday of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), nor the birthday of anyone else, since this is from the acts of bid’ah (innovations) that have been newly-invented into the religion. 2 Neither did Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, nor the Rightly-Guided Khaleefahs (Successors), nor the Companions, may Allaah be please with them all, nor any of their followers from the first three excellent generations, celebrate this day – and they were the most knowledgeable of people concerning the Sunnah (the Prophetic guidance), and had the greatest love for Allaah’s Messengersallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and were the foremost in following his Sharee’ah (Prescribed Laws).
It has been authentically established from the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that he said: “Whosoever introduces into this affair of ours, that which is not part of it, will have it rejected.” 3
In another authentic narration, he sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Hold fast to my Sunnah (guidance) and the way of the Rightly-Guided Khaleefahs after me, cling to it tightly. And beware of newly-invented matters, for every newly-invented matter is an innovation, and every innovation is misguidance.” 4
So these two narrations contain a strong warning against innovations in the religion, and acting upon them. This is why Allaah – the One free of all defects – says in His Clear Book:
“And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it. Whatever he forbids you from, then keep away from it.” [Soorah al-Hadeed 59:7].
Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – said:
“Let those beware who withstand the command of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, unless some trials and afflictions befall them, or unless they are afflicted with a painful punishment.” [Soorah an-Noor 24:63].
Allaah – the Most High – said:
“And the first to embrace Islaam from the Muhaajirs and the Ansaar, and those who followed them in goodness, beliefs and actions. Allaah is well-pleased with them, and they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens of Paradise, beneath which rivers flow, to live therein forever. That is the supreme achievement.” [Soorah at-Tawbah 9:100].
And Allaah – the Most High – said:
“This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen Islaam as your way of life.” [Soorah al-Maa’idah 5:3].
The verses with this meaning are plenty. So to accept this celebration, or any other newly-invented act of worship, implies that Allaah – the Most Perfect – did not complete and perfect the religion for this Ummah, and that the Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not completely convey to his Ummah what was necessary regarding their duties, until the advent of those who came later and innovated in the religion of Allaah that for which they had no permission, claiming that they would draw closer to Allaah by such innovations. And this – without doubt – is a great danger and amounts to criticising Allaah – the Most Perfect – and His Messengersallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. For Allaah – the One free from all defects – has indeed perfected this religion for His servants, and has completed His favour upon them. And the Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has clearly conveyed the Message, not leaving any way that leads to Paradise, nor any way that distances a person from the Fire, except that he explained it to his Ummah. This has been established in an authentic narration, from ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr radiallaahu ‘anhu, in which Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:“Allaah did not send any Prophet except that it was his duty to inform his Ummah of the good that he knew, and to warn them about the evils that he knew.” 5
It is known that our Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is the best of all the Prophets and the last of them and the most perfect of them with regards to conveying the Message and advising the people. So if celebrating his milaad (birthday) was a part of the religion that Allaah – the Most Perfect chose, then the Messengersallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would have most certainly explained it to his Ummah, or he would have celebrated it himself, or his noble Companions radiallaahu ‘anhum would have celebrated it. However, since nothing like this happened, then we know that the celebration of milaad has nothing to do with Islaam whatsoever. Rather, it is from those innovations which the Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam warned his Ummah from, as has been shown in the preceding narrations.
There is another authentic narration similar in meaning to the two preceding ones, and it is his sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam’s saying in his Jumu’ah khutbah (Friday sermon): “Indeed the best speech is the Book of Allaah, and the best guidance and example is that of Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. And the worst affairs are the newly-invented ones, and every newly-invented matter is an innovation, and every innovation is misguidance.” 6
Due to this, a group of the Scholars rejected the practice of milaad and warned against it, acting upon the aforementioned proofs, and their like. However, some of the later Scholars differed, in that they have allowed such a practice, providing it does not entail any sinful and evil matters; such as exaggerating in the praise of Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, or free-mixing between men and women, or the playing of musical instruments and singing, and other such matters which are rejected by the pure Sharee’ah (Prescribed Law). They think that such a practice is a bid’ah hasanah (a good innovation in the religion). 7 However, theSharee’ah principle is: whenever any dispute arises amongst the people, then the issue should be referred back to the Book of Allaah and to the Sunnah of His Messenger, Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – said:
“O you who believe! Obey Allaah and obey the Messenger and those in authority amongst you. If you differ in anything amongst yourselves, then refer it back for judgment to Allaah and His Messenger, if you do truly believe in Allaah and the Last Day. That is better and more befitting for final determination.” [Soorah an-Nisaa 4:59].
Allaah – the Most High – said:
“And in whatever you differ, the judgement is with Allaah.” [Soorah ash-Shooraa 42:10].
So if we refer this issue – about the validity of celebrating milaad – back to the Book of Allaah, we find that the Book (i.e. the Qur’aan) commands us to follow the Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in that which he brought, and it warns us against that which he prohibited. It also informs us that Allaah – the Most Perfect – has perfected the religion of Islaam for this Ummah. Thus, from this angle, there is nothing in what the Messenger came with concerning this celebration, and therefore it cannot be part of the religion which Allaah perfected for us and ordered us to adhere to by following the Messenger.
Then if we turn to the Sunnah of the Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam we do not find in it that hesallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam celebrated his own birthday, nor ordered its celebration, nor do we find any of the Companions radiallaahu ‘anhum celebrating it! Therefore, it will be absolutely clear to anyone who has the slightest insight and is desirous of truth and justice, that the practice of celebrating the Milaadun-Nabee (the birthday of the Prophet) is not part of t he religion, rather it is a bid’ah (innovation) which we have been warned against and ordered to abandon.
It is also a form of blind imitation of the Jews and Christians in their festivals. Therefore, the sensible person should not be deceived by the large number of people, from the various lands, who practice this, since the truth is not known by mere numbers, but the truth is known by the Sharee’ah proofs. Allaah – the Most High said concerning the Jews and the Christians:
“And they say: None shall enter Paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian! These are their own desires. Say to them: Bring your proof if you are indeed truthful.” [Soorah al-Baqarah 2:111].
And Allaah – the Most High – said:
“And if you were to obey most of those on earth, they would mislead you far away from Allaah’s path.” [Soorah al-An’aam 6:116].
Most of these milaad celebrations – as well as being an innovation – involve other types of evils as well; such as the free-mixing between men and women, singing and playing musical instruments, and the drinking and smoking of intoxicants. There are in such celebrations, something which is worse than all this, and it is the greater form of shirk (associating partners in the worship of Allaah), through exaggerating about Allaah’s Messengersallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, or the dead awliyaa (pious servants of Allaah), by supplicating to them, seeking their aid and help, or by believing that they have the knowledge of the ghayb (hidden Unseen), and other such matters of kufr (disbelief). Whereas it is authentically related from Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that he said: “Beware of ghuloo (exaggeration) in the religion. For indeed those who came before you were destroyed due to their exaggerating in the religion.” 8 And he ‘alayhis-salaatu was-salaam also said:“Do not over-elevate me as the Christians over-elevated Jesus, Son of Mary, but rather I am just a slave of Allaah. So call me the slave of Allaah and His Messenger.” 9
One of the strangest matters is that a great number of people who actively participate in this innovated celebration, and who defend it vigorously, do not take care of fulfilling those matters which Allaah has made obligatory upon them, such as praying the five daily Prayers, and this does not even bother many of them at all. Indeed many of them do not even think that they are committing a great sin! There is no doubt that this is due to their weak eemaan (faith) and their short sightedness and the Fact that their hearts are covered with the filth of sins and disobedience. We ask Allaah to protect and forgive us and all of the Muslims.
One of the strangest matters also is that some of them believe that Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is actually present at their milaad celebrations, so consequently the participants stand to greet and welcome him. However, this is from the greatest of lies and the worst form of ignorance, because the Messengersallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam shall neither come out of his grave before the Day of Judgement, nor will he meet anyone, nor attend their gatherings. Rather, he shall remain in his grave until the Day of Judgement, whilst his noble rooh (soul) resides in the highest of places with his Lord in the home of the exalted, as Allaah – the Most High – said:
“Then you shall surely die, then you shall be raised-up again on the Day of Resurrection.”[Soorah al-Mu’minoon 23:15-16].
The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “I will be the leader of the children of Aadam on the Day of Resurrection, and I will be the first for whom the earth will split open, and will be the first to intercede and the first whose intercession will be accepted.” 10
So this noble aayah (verse) and this noble hadeeth – and those verses and ahaadeeth with a similar meaning – prove that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and others that have also died, will only come out of their graves on the Day of Resurrection. And this is a matter about which there is an agreement amongst the Muslim Scholars, there being no difference between them. So it is a must upon every Muslim, to carefully consider these matters and to beware of those innovations and deviations that have been introduced by the ignorant ones and their like, for which Allaah has not sent down any authority. It is Allaah’s help that is sought, and He alone is relied upon, and there is no might, nor any power, except with Allaah.
As for sending the salaah and the salaam (invoking praises and blessings of peace) upon Allaah’s Messengersallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, then this is from one of the best ways of drawing closer to Allaah and from those actions which are righteous. Allaah – the Most High – said:
“Indeed Allaah sends His salaah upon the Prophet (i.e. Allaah praises the Prophet to the angels), as do the angels (by supplicating for forgiveness for him) O you who Believe! Send yoursalaah upon him and invoke the best salaam (blessings of peace) for him.” [Soorah al-Ahzaab 33:56].
The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Whosoever sends a single blessing upon me, then Allaah will send upon him ten blessings.” 11 So this is prescribed at all times, particularly at the end of every Prayer. Rather, a group from the people of Knowledge actually consider it obligatory in the final sitting of every Prayer, and consider it highly recommended at other times, such as after the adhaan (call to Prayer), and after mentioning the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam’s name, and also on the day of Jumu’ah (Friday), as is proven by the various authentic narrations.
May Allaah help us and all the Muslims to attain a sound understanding of the religion, and that He favours us all by causing us to cling to the Sunnah and causing us to beware of bid’ah (innovations in the religion). Indeed He is the Most Generous, the Most Kind. And may the salaah and salaam (Allaah’s praises and blessings of peace) be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon his Family, his Companions and his followers.
1. At-Tahdheer minal-Bid’ah (pp.3-6) of Shaykh Ibn Baaz.
2. Ash-Shaatibee said in al-‘ltisaam (1/33), about the technical definition of the word bid’ah (innovations): “A newly invented way in the Religion, in imitation of, or corresponding to the Sharee’ah, through which nearness to Allaah is sought. Such action is not supported by any authentic proof – neither the action itself, nor the way in which it is performed.”
3. Related by al-Bukhaaree (2/166) and Muslim (5/133), from ‘Aaishah radiallaahu ‘anhaa.
4. Saheeh: Related by Ahmad (4/126) and Abu Daawood (no.4607), from al-‘lrbaad ibn Saariyah radiallaahu ‘anhu. It was declared authentic by al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr in Takhreej Ahaadeeth Mukhtasar-Ibnul-Haajib (1/137).
5. Related by Muslim in his Saheeh (no. 1844).
6. Related by Muslim (6/153), from Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullaah radiallaahu ‘anhu.
7. Refer to the following article in refutation of this concept.
8. Saheeh: Related by Ahmad (1/215) and Ibn Maajah (no.3064), from Ibn ‘Abbaas radiallaahu ‘anhu. It was authenticated by al-Haafidh Ibn Taymiyyah in Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (3/383).
9. Related by al-Bukhaaree (no.3445) and Muslim (no.1691), from ‘Umar radiallaahu ‘anhu.
10. Related by Muslim (7/59), from Abu Hurayrah radiallaahu ‘anhu.
11. Related by Muslim (no.408), from Abu Hurayrah radiallaahu ‘anhu.