Shaykh Abdullah Bin Bayyah on Mawlid

I don’t celebrate mawlid yet I respect Shaykh bin Bayyah so I’m including his fatwa on the issue as a continuation of the series on the least private mawlid in the world that occurred in his absence in his hotel suite. I don’t like how these sort of litmus test issues become a major source of division and much ill-will between Muslims.


The celebration of the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is an issue of controversy amongst the scholars. Thus, there were some who considered it a disliked innovation, a few even saying it reached the level of prohibition. And there were others who considered it a praiseworthy innovation. This difference is traced back to a divergence concerning the division of innovation (bid’ah).

Some scholars recognized the validity of such innovations and this was, primarily, the school of Imam Al-Shafi’i (May Allah have mercy upon him) and the head of this thought was Al-’Izzi Adin Abdul Salam (May Allah have mercy upon him). In addition, Imam Al-Qurafi (May Allah have mercy upon him) who was a Maliki, carried this same opinion, giving it great attention and explaining it in an exhaustive manner. In his discussion Al-Qurafi (ra) expanded the concept of innovation to included innovations that were commendable, highly recommended and of an obligatory and disliked nature.

Thus, he divided innovation into five parts: (obligatory, recommended, permissible, disliked and forbidden). However, there were some scholars who failed to accept this division contending that, “Indeed, any innovation, if it appears, then it is repulsive in nature.” They did this by regulating the statement of ‘Umar, regarding the tarawih prayers, “This is a good innovation” to its linguistic meaning. There was a large body of scholars who held this opinion such as Taqi al-Din Ahmad Ibn Taymiyyah, Al-Shatibi, in his book Al-’Itisam, and many scholars from the Maliki and Hanbali schools (may Allah have mercy upon all of them).

Finally, there were scholars who wrote in support of celebrating the Mawlid such as Al-Suyuti (May Allah have mercy upon him) and, at the same time, there were others who wrote against it. Thus, in my opinion, there is no need to drag this discussion out, nor continue to argue about it any longer.

The Ruling:

Indeed, whoever wants to celebrate the Prophet’s (sal Allahu alyahi wa sallam) birthday should celebrate it and avoid doing any action contrary to Islamic Law. In addition, this act should be done with an intention that it is not a sunna nor an obligatory act. If these conditions are observed, and one is careful not to contradict Islamic Law, out of sincere love for the Prophet (Peace and blessing of Allah upon him), then, Allah willing, there is nothing wrong with this action and this person will be rewarded.

Commenting on this, the Shaykh of Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (May Allah have mercy upon him) said, “Indeed, such a person will be rewarded because of his intention.” Likewise, for the one who shuns this celebration, seeking to cling to the sunna out of fear of falling into innovation, then this person will also be rewarded, Allah willing. It is important to note that this is not a big issue. Nor is it necessary to give it more attention then it deserves.

The Methodology

Our attention towards this issue is directed towards uniting the Muslims and curbing these differences. We base this understanding on facilitation (for both sides) and ease. This ease is not founded on an empty premise, but is referenced directly back to the Quran, traditions of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), the fundamental objectives of Islamic law, and the order of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) to work towards unity between others.

Therefore, if a contentious issue arises pertaining to a matter, we exercise great consideration and respect for both sides. This consideration is not simply an act of being overly accommodative, as some contend, or attacking those who hold weak opinions. But, this respect and consideration for differences is guided by the fact that both opinions are based on proofs from Islamic Law.

In some regards these proofs are clear, and in other regards the opposite holds true. Thus, some (scholars) have provided evidences for these acts legitimacy, and others hold proofs for the opposite. In conclusion, our stance is that both are on goodness, Allah willing, as long as this act is not mixed with some type of evil and the intention is correct.

Allah knows best

Shaykh Abdullah Bin Bayyah (May Allah preserve him)

Remixed by TheTranslators 2007 {Suhaib Webb}

First Seen on Ahl al Hadith

Mawlid & Hadra and Deleted RIS Mawlid Video


  1. Asalaamualaikum Sister,

    I am happy to hear that you don’t celebrate Mawlid but I’m puzzled at the fact that you would promote a fatwa which condones it when it clearly against the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (Salallahualaihiwasalaam), and what the Rightly guided Caliphs were upon.

    It’s sad to see you send such mixed messages…the truth is clear. You shouldn’t be ashamed about saying that this was not done by the Prophet (sws) or the early generations. Let’s unite and agree on the truth instead of uniting for the sake of uniting.

    As the 4 Imaams have clearly stated we do not follow their statements but rather the proof. The fatwa you mentioned does not give any proof. With regards to your quote of Shaykh Ibn Taymiyah…

    He continues to say:

    “But this does not prevent one from detesting and prohibiting it and to replace it with a legislated action containing no bid’ah…. Just as the Jews and Christians may find benefit in their worship because it is possible that their worship includes an aspect of what is legislated but this does not necessitate that you perform their actions of worship or you report their words because all of the innovations contain evil that outweighs their good, this due to the fact that if their good outweighed the evil then why would the Sharee’ah have disregarded it? So we depend upon the fact that it’s sin is greater than it’s benefit and this necessitates forbiddance.”

    He continues:

    “As for what they contain – i.e. these innovated festive seasons such as the Mawlid – of benefit then they are opposed by what they contain of the corruption of innovations that outweigh the benefit, alongwith with what has preceded of the corruptions of belief and state – that the hearts become content with it at the expense of a large number of Sunnahs to the extent that you find that the elite and the general masses preserve this in a way that they do not preserve the Taraaweeh’s or the five prayers….” mentioning many more cases.[al-Qawl al-Fasl (pg. 102) of Shaykh Ismaa’eel al-Ansaaree]

    “A number of points can be seen here:

    1. Ibn Taymiyyah regards the mawlid as a bid’ah which the strict believer is not allowed to follow.
    2. he allows it only for those who would leave this bid’ah for a greater bid’ah.
    3. he states that those practicing this, either out of taqleed or ijtihaad, will get reward for their good intentions, but they will get no reward for their practising it.
    4. that they will not get the burden of the sin of the innovation if their taqleed of ijtihaad contains the excuses that would lift this from them. ”

    The proof from the Quran and Sunnah overwhelmingly show that this is not a festival that we as Muslims, who understand the rulings on it, should be indulging in or promoting. Thank you for letting me share this information with you. I pray I was able to convey this message in a clear and kind manner and apologize if I came of rude or offensive…It just hurts to see the Ummah so divided…when all we need is to turn back to Islaam to solve all our problems and differences…we as a community need to unite our basic beliefs/aqeedah and Inshallaah that will solve all of the minor differences.

    JazakAllaah Kheir.

    Here is a good e-book on this issue:

    Click to access en3168.pdf

    Celebrating the occasion of the birthday of the Prophet (sws) is forbidden and is to be rejected for a number of reasons:

    1 – It is not part of the Sunnah of the Messenger (sws) or of the khaleefahs who succeeded him. Since this is the case, then it is a forbidden innovation, because the Prophet (sws) said:

    “I urge you to follow my Sunnah and the way of the rightly-guided khaleefahs after me; adhere to it and cling to it firmly. Beware of newly-invented things, for every newly-invented thing is an innovation (Bid‘ah) and every innovation is a going-astray.”
    (Ahmad & Tirmidhi)

    Celebrating the Mawlid is an innovation introduced by the Shee‘ah Faatimids after the three best centuries of Islaam in order to corrupt the religion of the Muslims. If a person does anything in order to draw closer to Allaah which was not done by the Messenger (sws) or enjoined by him, and was not done by the khaleefahs who succeeded him, this action implies that he is accusing the Messenger (sws) of not fully explaining the religion to the people, and that he disbelieves in the words of Allaah what translates as:

    “This day I have perfected for you your religion.”
    (Al-Maa’idah: 3)

    …because he is adding something extra and claiming that it is a part of the religion, which the Messenger (sws) did not bring.

    2 – Celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (sws) is an imitation of the Christians, because they celebrate the birth of the Messiah (). Imitating them is extremely Haraam. The Hadeeth tells us that it is
    forbidden to imitate the Kuffaar, and we are commanded to differ from them. The Prophet (sws) said:

    “Whoever imitates a people is one of them” (Ahmad & Abu Daawood).

    And he said,

    “Be different from the mushrikeen (polytheists)” (Muslim)
    …especially with regard to things that are the symbols or rituals of their religion.

    3 – Besides being Bid‘ah and an imitation of the Christians, both of which are Haraam, celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (sws) is also a means that leads to exaggeration and excess in venerating him, which even goes as far as calling upon him (making Du‘aa to him) and seeking his help, instead of calling upon Allaah, as happens now among many of those who observe the Bid‘ah of the Mawlid, when they call upon the Messenger (sws) instead of Allaah, and ask him for support, and sing Qaseedahs (odes) of shirk praising him, like Qaseedat Al-Burdah etc. The Prophet (sws) forbade going to extremes in praising him, as he said:

    “Do not extol me as the Christians extolled the son of Maryam. For I am just His slave, so call me the slave of Allaah and His Messenger” (Bukhaari)

    … i.e., do not exaggerate in praising me as the Christians exaggerated in praising the Messiah and venerated him until they worshipped him instead of Allaah. Allaah forbade them to do that when he said that which translates as:

    “O people of the Scripture (Christians)! Do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allaah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a Messenger of Allaah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at command] from Him.”
    (An-Nisaa’: 171).

    Our Prophet (sws) forbade us to exaggerate concerning him lest the same thing happen to us as happened to them, so he said:
    “Beware of exaggeration, for those who came before you were destroyed because of exaggeration.” (An-Nasaa`i)

  2. Asalamalaikum,

    Dear brothers and sisters; my capability of imparting knowledge is only to advise because I am not qualified to relate quran and hadith, let alone make interpretations.

    So I say about Shiek Abdullah bin Bayyah, that he is a well trained Muslim scholar of our ummah who appears to be very strong in Islamic law, Arabic language, being very articulate having strong knowledge of Islam in general, and he has excellent manors.

    May Allah reward him generously for his efforts and dedication to learning; and may Allah forgive him for his deficiencies.

    And I advise that you if you are able; to take knowledge from what he is competent in offerring but to stay away from such a scholars on issues of aqeedah and holding to sunnah.

    This is because the senior scholars do agree that celebrating the Prophets birthday is an innovation in worship. It is not a small matter to them. Such a continued innovation may bring a muslim to a terrible fire, because he never repented for the act.

    I am not here to say who is right or wrong; that is not my speciality- that is for scholars. I am here only to express that If this is the position that you also hold (mawlid is innovation); then you should at least respect the knowledge that he does possess, do not boycott him completely- treat him like your brother; pray for him; respect him.

    He is still a muslim as far as I know, Al hamdulilah- so treat him with respect because he is elder than us and a scholar with a lot of knowledge. We hate the actions of those who commit bida but that does not mean we do not love for them what we love for ourselves – forgiveness and the garden.

    Let the seniors scholars debate and correct if they like; that is thier job! The ruling of the scholars that we follow we teach our families but it is not necesary to argue and convince or try to defame every muslim. Our job is to avoid arguing and help each other to worship Allah (t). This is the middle way, the best way.

    If you see someone make a statement of falsehood, respond to it with a statement of truth and leave it at that; do this in the best way not causing a greater fitnah. And this is what I have attempted here.

  3. Salam

    There in lies the problem. Sincere Advice is not taking into account that Sheikh Abdullah Bin bayyah is a scholar of great repute. Do you really think that the Sheikh is not familiar with the arguments against The Mawlid? Also that which has been mentioned in the background section shows that the Jurists who were greater scholars than those of today identified the concept of categories of innovations, and there were those who disagreed with them. Why continue to maintain one point of view when it is clear this is an issue which can be differed over? I do not celebrate Mawlid also, and would also advise against it due to the nature of things which take place in many Mawlid gatherings these days. However, as the Sheikh has said if the actions of the people in a gathering do not contradict the Shariah ( which is our legal framework) then there is no harm in such gatherings. Let me clarify my stance before anyone misunderstands me, I am not a proponent of Mawlid but recognise the Usool regarding Innovations being classified into categories, hence judge actions that are new based on the foundations that are laid down by some of our prominent scholars.
    Wa Salam

  4. Why can’t we preserve our religion by calling it like it is, a bida’a – an action which, in all its varyious incarnations, has been outlawed by Rasululah (Salla lahu ‘alaik wa Salaam) – remembering that Umar and the other four righly guided Khalifa (Radia’Allahu anhum) were, uniquely, granted the authority by Rasululah (Salla lahu ‘alaik wa Salaam) to make rulings (so, Umar (Radi Allahu anhum) can make a “good” bida’a lawful and we cannot – AND also keep unity with our brother who is making a mistake, be he scholar or otherwise, out of the equally fard order to be merciful, compassionate and forgiving – all of which are as “Fard” in Islam as not innovating. This will preserve our religion on two counts. Now, of course, stopping it with your mouth or hand is also our Fard obligation, but, since it is obvious that all out war may be the cost, if it has not already been the cost, and division and divisiveness have already manifested themselves, all of which are equally Haram as innovating, the result of trying to “stop” this innovation with our mouths and our hands is the problem – not the innovation – we should expect our practice of our religion to be imperfect – codifying such imperfections is the problem!!!!!!! My vote is for keeping unity with flaws rather than corrupting the whole of our religions – that way, just a few of us are in variance with the whole, but still in the fold, but the whole is not lost as well?

  5. “I don’t like how these sort of litmus test issues become a major source of division and much ill-will between Muslims.”

    Perhaps some of the previous commenters missed this part.

    If you disagree with the mawlid, then don’t go, but don’t pretend that the Shaykh is an idiot and doesn’t know what he’s talking about or that this issue is cut and dry. There is a difference of opinion on this issue, just as there is one for photography, niqab and a whole host of other issues. Why must we keep rehashing the same old debates and sow division?

    Sincere Advice, if you really want to differ with the fatwa, don’t complain to the sister here, send your response to the source. Perhaps he will be convinced of your argument and change his mind.

    1. “Sincere Advice, if you really want to differ with the fatwa, don’t complain to the sister here, send your response to the source. Perhaps he will be convinced of your argument and change his mind.”

      This is nonsense. Let us take a more profound example.

      We may find some people – who say ‘we are Muslims’ – calling to clear shirk; for example, grave worship. Let us say now that someone has decided to post a ‘fatwa’ from someone considered by some people to be ‘knowlegable’ legislating such a practice. This is then followed by someone attempting to clarify the matter. So what do we say? ‘Forget trying to clarify it, we’re not interested; send the clarification to the one who is propagating this evil’?

      Kindly post my last two ‘replies’; and I emplore you not to post that which is a cause for confusion and not other than it

  6. But the question remains it would seem.. why have you decided to post this? What about the numerous trutworthy Scholars of the past and present? And by saying ‘he is someone who has knowledge and is known for this’ – or words to the effect – does not legitimize it.

    The amount of knowledge one has/is perceived to have doesn’t qualify one to speak the truth. That is, the unacceptable doesn’t suddenly become acceptable should it come from the mouth of someone ‘perceived to have knowledge’. As Imam Malik, may Allah have mercy on him, said:

    “Everyone after the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) will have his sayings accepted and rejected – not so the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam).”

    There is more that may be said, but I hope this will suffice.

    How many are those – thought by people to have knowledge – who call to innovated ways that Islam is free of?

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