بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Instituting an `Eed: The Unlegislated Mawlid an-Nabawi

Below is an excerpt from a dialogue between shaykh Muhammad Nāsir-ud-dīn (rahimahullāh) and a proponent of the 'Eed Mawlid an-Nabawi (which is an event instituted by some latter-day muslims for the celebration of the messenger's (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) birthday.  It is also known commonly as just Mawlid or Milad)).  For full details, see The Ruling Concerning Mawlid an-Nabawi.

Shaykh: “ …
We say to everybody who approves of this celebrationMawlid is Khayr {good} in your opinion, so did the Messenger of Allā
h (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) guide us to it or did he not?

If they say, "He (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) guided us to it."
We say to them, "Produce your proof if you are truthful." [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 11] and they can never bring a proof of it... they have no proof or argument except (saying), "This is a Bid’ah Husna (a good innovation)!"

All - those who approve of Mawlid and those who forbid it - are in agreement that this (celebration of) Mawlid neither existed at the time of Allāh's Messenger (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam) nor at the time of the Sahābah...

However, the supporters of Mawlid say, "What is in Mawlid? It is just remembering the Prophet (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), sending blessing upon him and similar acts."

We say, "If it was Khayr, there would have been precedence in it (by the Salaf as-Salih).  You know the Hadeeth of Allāh's Messenger (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), “The best of my ummah is my generation, then those who come after them, then those who come after them.”  This is an agreed upon Hadeeth. The Prophet's (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) generation was in which he and the Sahabah lived, then those who followed them were the Tabi'oon, and then those who followed them were the followers of Tabi'oon. This again is an agreed upon matter.

So, do you think that there could be any Khayr in which we could excel them in terms of knowledge and actions? Is it possible?

So, (to say in a more clear way), my question is in terms of the Sharee'ah knowledge and actions.  It is not concerning (the knowledge of) medicine for example. In this time of ours, a disbeliever is more knowledgeable than the other people in these secular sciences - does this bring him closer to Allāh?

So, now we are not talking in terms of worldly knowledge but we are speaking about knowledge with which we seek nearness/closeness to Allāh. 
Brother, I am asking about the totality and not some part, we are asking a common question – who is more knowledgeable as a whole about Islam?

Mawlid Proponent: “Obviously Allāh's Messenger (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam) and his Sahabah.”

Shaykh: “ …
So, Mawlid was non-existent during the time of Allāh's Messenger – as agreed upon by everybody. So, this Khayr was non-existent during the time of Allāh's Messenger, his Sahābah, Taba'een and the Imams.  How could this Khayr be concealed from them?

We have to say one of the two things:
(1) They knew this Khayr like we know (because) they were more knowledgeable than us.
Or (2) They did not know this Khayr, then how did we know it?

So, if we say, they knew - and this saying is more in favour of those who approve the celebration of Mawlid - so, why did they not act upon it?  Are we closer to Allāh then they were?!  Why did not even one of them perform this act - a Sahabi, a Tabi'ee, a knowledgeable or even a common person?

Does it suit your mind that nobody ever acted upon this Khayr – although their number was in millions, they were more knowledgeable than us, righteous than us and closer to Allāh than us?  You know the saying of Allāh's Messenger (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam), "Do not revile my companions. By (Allāh) in Whose Hand my soul is, if any one of you spends gold (piled up) like (mount) Uhud it will not equal a pint of any one of them, nor its half." [Agreed upon]

Do you see the difference between them and us?  They struggled in the path of Allāh with the Prophet (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam).  They took the knowledge 'gaddan taryan' (fresh and anew) without these many mediums that are between us and the Prophet (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam).  Allāh's Messenger (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam) pointed towards a similar meaning in the Saheeh Hadeeth, "Whoever wants to read the Qur'ān as gaddan taryan as when it was revealed, then let him read according to the recitation of IbnUmmAbd (i.e. Abdullāh ibn Mas'ood)."

We cannot imagine that these Salaf as-Sālih and at the head of them the Sahābah were ignorant of something that would bring one closer to Allāh and we know of it.  If we say that they knew it like we know then we cannot imagine that they ignored this Khayr.  Insha'Allāh, this issue has been made clear to you after I have repeatedly mentioned it. If the celebration of Mawlid was Khayr then it would have been from Islam.
I remind you of the saying of Allāh, "This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed my Favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion." [Soorah al-Maidah (5):3]
The day when the above verse was revealed, there was no celebration of Mawlid.

So, if the celebration of Mawlid was Khayr then it would have been from Islam and if it was not Khayr then it would not have been from Islam and we are agreed upon that Mawlid was non-existent when this verse was revealed.

Imam Malik said,
"Read if you wish, 'This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed my Favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.'" [Soorah al-Maidah (5):3]  So, something that was not from the Deen that day is also not from the Deen today.”
When did Imam Malik make this statement? In the 2nd century after Hijrah - one of the generations that was promised goodness. So, how about the 14th century?!

Imam Malik speaks in clear Arabic, 'something that was not from the Deen that day, is not from the Deen today.'

How can the celebration of Mawlid be from the Deen, when it was not so during the time of Allāh's Messenger, the Sahabah, the Taba'een and their followers?!

Imam Malik was from the followers of the Taba'een and was included in the Hadeeth, “The best of my ummah is my generation, then those who come after them, then those who come after them.” [Agreed upon]

Imam Malik said, “The affairs of the later part of this ummah can never be corrected except with that which corrected the affairs of the early generations of this Ummah.”  With what were the first part of the Ummah corrected?  By innovating in the religion and (seeking to) achieve closeness to Allāh with that which Allāh's Messenger (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam) did not prescribed?!

Allāh's Messenger (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam) said, “There is nothing that will take you closer to Paradise but that I have enjoined it upon you, and there is nothing that will take you closer to Hell but that I have warned you from it.” [Musnad ash-Shafa'ee]

Why did Allāh's Messenger (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam) not order us with the celebration of Mawlid?

This is a question and it has an answer, (because) there exists a legislated celebration of Mawlid an-Nabawī {i.e., a way of commemorating the prophet's birth that he himself (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam) has taught us} in contrast to the unlegislated celebration of Mawlid an-Nabawi.  The legislated celebration existed during the time of Allāh's Messenger (šallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam) in contrast to the unlegislated one.

There are two big differences between these two celebrations;
(1) The legislated celebration is a form of worship and is agreed upon by all the Muslims (in contrast to the unlegislated one, which is neither legislated nor a worship and is not agreed upon by all Muslims)
(2) The legislated celebration comes {in the form of fasting} once every week and their celebration of Mawlid comes once a year.

I do not say this without a proof, I will relate to you a Hadeeth from Saheeh Muslim, Abi Qatadah al-Ansaree related, “There came a man to Allāh's Messenger and said, 'O Messenger of Allāh, why do you fast on Mondays?” He replied, “That is the day on which I was born and the day on which I was entrusted with the Mission or when I was first given Revelation.” [Saheeh Muslim]

What is the meaning of this statement? The Prophet is saying, why do you ask me this while on this day Allāh gave me life and revealed the Qur'ān upon me?! Which means that it is required to fast on Mondays as a gratitude to Allāh for His creating me and revelation of the Wahy.

Now I ask, 'These people who celebrate Mawlid, do they fast on Mondays?'  No, they do not fast on Mondays. But most of the people celebrate Mawlid an-Nabawi every year! Is this not altering the facts? 

So, where are the scholars who defend Mawlid, why don't they enlighten the people that fasting on Monday is the legislated celebration of Mawlid (i.e., birthday of Allāh's Messenger 
(sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam))? And why don't they encourage the people to it instead of defending the unlegislated celebration?

Allāh truly says, “Would you exchange that which is better for that which is lower?” [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 61]
The Messenger (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam)
 truly said, “They will follow the ways of those who came before them, handspan by handspan, cubit by cubit, until even if they entered a lizard's hole they will follow them.” We said, “O Messenger of Allāh, (do you mean) the Jews and Christians?” He said, “Who else?” [Agreed upon]

So,we have followed in the footsteps of the Jews, they chose that which was less over that which was Khayr, like we have chosen the celebration of Mawlid an-Nabawi that comes once a year and is baseless - over the Khayr i.e., celebration (of Mawlid an-Nabawī) {by fasting} every Monday.  It is a legislated practice that you fast while keeping in mind the motive behind it which is being thankful to Allāh for His creation of Allāh's Messenger (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam) on this day and the revelation of Wahy...

Mawlid Proponent: “Isn't reading the Seerah (biography) of Allāh's Messenger (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam) an act of honouring him?”

Shaykh: “ …
All of it is Khayr, there is no benefit (for your stance) in this question so I interrupt you with a question, 'Does anybody stop you from reading his (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam) Seerah?'  Let me ask you a question, 'If there was a legislated worship, but Allāh's Messenger (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam) did not assign a specific time or specific manner for it. Is it allowed for us to set a specific time and manner for it from ourselves? Do you have an answer?'

Mawlid Proponent: “No, I don't have an answer.”

Shaykh: “
Allāh says, “Or have they partners with Allāh, who have instituted for them a religion which Allāh has not allowed.” [Soorah Shurah (42): 21]  Similarly, Allāh says, “They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allāh (by obeying them in things which they made lawful or unlawful according to their own desires without being ordered by Allāh), and (they also took as their Lord) Messiah, son of Maryam, while they (Jews and Christians) were commanded to worship none but One Ilāh (Allāh) la ilāha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshiped but He). Praise and glory be to Him, (far above is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him).” [SoorahTawbah (9): 31]

Narrated Adee Ibn Hatim that he heard the Prophet of Allāh (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam) reciting the verse: (above verse), he (Hatim) said “We didn't worship them.” The Messenger of Allāh (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam) said, “Did they not make Haraam what Allāh made Halaal and you all made it Haraam, and they made Halaal what Allāh made Haraam and you all made it Haraam?” He replied, 'Certainly.' The Prophet of Allāh (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam) said, “That is your worship to them.”  [at-Tirmidhee, vol. 3, p. 56. no. 247]

This shows the danger of innovating in the Deen of Allāh. "

[Ref: Cassette no 1/94 of the series al-Huda wan-Nur, Translated by Shawana A. Aziz, Arabic text can be found on www.binbaz.org]