Ibn Taymiyyah did not approve celebrating the Prophet's Mawlid

Question:

Brother A.M.M. From Kuwait says: “One of the scholars said that Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah be merciful to him) approved celebrating the Mawlid (the Prophet’s birth day). Is it a sound saying?””

Answer:

Celebrating the Mawlid of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is Bid’ah (innovation in religion) which is prohibited according to the soundest opinion of scholars. This is because the Prophet (peace be upon him), the rightly guided Caliphs, the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them), scholars and rulers in the first three generations did not do this. This was innovated after that by Shiites and those who followed them. Therefore, it is not permissible to do this or to imitate those who celebrate it.

Taqy Al-Din Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah be merciful to him) condemned doing so and was of the view that doing so is a Bid’ah. However, he mentioned in his book Iqtida al-Sirat al-Mustaqim Mukhalafat Ashab al-Jahim the one who does this ignorantly.

No one should be deceived by those who do that or call for it as Muhammad ‘Alawy Maliki and others. This is because men’s saying and deeds can not be cited as evidence, but the evidence is what Allah (Glorified be He) says, what was said by His Prophet (peace be upon him) or what is consensually agreed upon by the Salaf (righteous predecessors). Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: “O you who believe! Obey Allâh and obey the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allâh and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم), if you believe in Allâh and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.” [Al-Nisa: 59]

Allah (Glorified be He) also says: “And in whatsoever you differ, the decision thereof is with Allâh (He is the ruling Judge).” [Al-Shura: 10]

Allah (Glorified be He) also says: “Indeed in the Messenger of Allâh (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes for (the Meeting with) Allâh and the Last Day, and remembers Allâh much.” [Al-Ahzab: 21]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not celebrate his Mawlid and he conveyed to us the message by his sayings and deeds. The Companions (peace be upon them) also did not do that. If doing so was a good matter, they would precede us in doing it. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “He who innovates things in our affairs for which there is no valid (reason) (commits sin) and these are to be rejected.” This Hadith is reported by Al-Bukhary and Muslim. 1

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “He who did any act for which there is no sanction from our behalf, that is to be rejected.” This Hadith is reported by Muslim in his Sahih. 2

The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to say during his Khutbah (sermon): “And then, the best of speech is embodied in the Book of Allah, and the best of guidance is the guidance given by Muhammad. And the most evil affairs are their innovations; and every innovation is error.” This Hadith was reported by Muslim in his Sahih. 3


  1. Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Book on reconciliation, no. 2697; Muslim, Sahih, Book on judicial decisions, no. 1718; Abu Dawud, Sunan, Book on Al-Sunnah, no. 4606; Ibn Majah, Sunan, Introduction, no. 14; and Ahmad, Musnad, vol. 6, p. 240. 

  2. Muslim, Sahih, Book on judicial decisions, no. 1718; and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 6, p. 256. 

  3. Muslim, Sahih, Book on Friday, no. 867; Al-Nasa’i, Sunan, Book on the two ‘Eid Prayers, no. 1578; Abu Dawud, Book on tribute, spoils, and rulership, no. 2954; Ibn Majah, Sunan, Introduction, no. 45; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 3, p. 311; and Al-Darimy, Sunan, Introduction, no. 206. 

  • Date: Muharram 29, 1442 AH
  • Source: One of the questions asked by Al-'Arabiyyah Magazine, dictated by His Eminence on 29/5/1417 A.H.
  • Mufti: Shaykh Ibn Baz