The Prophet’s Birth sallâllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam
Al-Istiqaamah Issue No.3 – Rabî’ul-Awwal 1417H / August 1996
THE YEAR OF HIS NOBLE BIRTH
According to the most correct opinion of the Scholars, the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was born in the city of Makkah in the year of the Elephant (in the year 570 or 571CE), in the month of Rabee’ul-Awwal.1
THE DAY OF HIS NOBLE BIRTH
There is an agreement amongst the Scholars that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was born on a Monday, since he sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was asked about fasting on a Monday, and he said: “On that day I was born and on that day Revelation descended upon me.”2 However, as regards the exact date of his birth, then the Scholars have differed about this, although the majority of Scholars say that he sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was born on the 12th of Rabee’ul-Awwal.
Imaam an-Nawawee (d.676H) – rahimahullaah– said: “There is on agreement that he was born on Monday in the month of Rabee’ul-Awwal. There is a difference of opinion whether this day was the 2nd, 8th, 10th or 12th day of the month – and these ore the four most well-known opinions concerning this.”3
EVENTS AT THE TIME OF HIS BIRTH
Certain miraculous events are reported to have occurred at the time that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was born. However, most of them are not authentically related, rather they are da’eef (week) or mawdoo’ (fabricated) and therefore cannot be relied upon as decisive proof; such as the narration which relates that some of the galleries of Kisraa’s palace broke-up and collapsed, that the sacred-fire of the Magians died-out and that some of the churches on Lake Saawah collapsed and sank down.4 However, it is authentically related that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayi wa sallam said. “I am a result of the supplication of my father Ibraaheem and the glad-tidings brought by ‘Eesaa ‘alayhimus salaam. And my mother – when she bore me – saw that a light shone out from her, which lit up the palaces in Syria … “5
CELEBRATING THE DAY OF HIS NOBLE BIRTH
Imaam al-Faakihaanee (d.734H) – rahimahullaah -said:6
“Celebrating his birthday has no basis in the Book nor the Sunnah, nor is this action recorded from any one of the Scholars of this Ummah; those who are taken as examples to be followed and who cling to the narrations. Rather it is a bid’ah (innovotion), which was introduced by the (deviated) Battaaloon sect.7”
As regards to the origins of this newly-invented celebration, then some of the research Scholars have stated that the first person to innovate this practice was ‘Umar ibn Muhammad al-Mulaa in the city of Mawsil in Iraaq, during the fourth century, as is mentioned by the Imaam Abu Shaamah (d.665H).8 He was followed in this by the likes of Abul-Khattaab ‘Umar ibn Dihyaa: “who was employed in the west, then travelled to Syria, then he travelled to the city of Irbil in ‘Iraaq, during the fourth century, where he found its king Mudhaffarud-Deen ibn Zaynud-Deen showing a keen interest in the milaad (birthday) of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. So he composed a book for him called at-Tanweer fi Mawlidis-Siraajil-Muneer; so he recited this to the king who then rewarded him with one thousand deenaars.”9
Imaam Maalik (d.179H) – rahimahullaah – said:
‘Whosoever introduces into Islaam an innovation, and holds it to be something good, has indeed alleged that Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has betrayed his message. Read the saying of Allaah – the Most Blessed, the Most High:
“This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you and I have chosen for you Islaam as your religion.” [Soorah al-Maa’idah 5:3].
So that which was not part of the religion at that time, cannot be part of the religion today. And the last part of this Ummah cannot be rectified, except by that which rectified its first part.”10
Thus, had the practice of celebrating milaadun-Nabee (the birthday of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) been something praiseworthy then: “the Salaf (the Pious Predecessors) – may Allaah be pleased with them all – would have instituted it. For they were the ones having a greater love and honour for Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and a greater zeal for doing good. Indeed, the most perfect expression of love and honour for him is by following him, obeying him, carrying out his commands, upholding and reviving his Sunnah (guidance and example) – both inwardly and outwardly – and in spreading his message and striving in this, with the heart, the hand and the tongue. Such was the path of the Companions and those who followed them in goodness (i.e. beliefs and actions).”11
1. Refer to Taareekh (p.53) of Khaleefah ibn Khayaat, as-Seerah (1/167) of Ibn Hishaam and also Tabaqaatul-Kubraa (1/62) of Ibn Sa’d.
2. Related by Muslim (2/820) and Ahmad (5/297).
3. Tahdheeb Seeratun-Nabawiyyah (p.20) of Imaam an-Nawawee.
4. Munkar: Related by Imaam adh-Dhahabee in as-Seeratun-Nabawiyyah (pp. 11-14), who said: “This narration is munkar ghareeb (rejected).”
5. Related by al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak (2/600) and Ibn Katheer in al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah (1/229) who said: “Its isnaad is good and strong.” Refer to as-Saheehah (no.1545) of Shaykh al-Albaanee for a detailed discussion concerning its authenticity.
6. Al-Mawrid fi ‘Amalil-Mawlid (pp.21-22).
7. The Battaaloon: they are one of the deviated Baatiniyyah sects from the Faatimids – as al-Maqreezee says in al-Khatat (1/490).
8. In al-Baa’ith ‘alaa Inkaaril-Bida’ wal-Hawaadith (pp.23-24). Ibn al-Jawzee stated something similar in Miraatuz-Zamaan (8/310).
9. Al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah (13/144-145) of al-Haafidh Ibn Katheer.
10. Related by al-Qaadee ‘lyaadh in ash-Shifaa fee Huqooqil-Mustafaa (2/676).
11. Iqtidaa’us-Siraatul-Mustaqeem (p.295) of Ibn Taymiyyah