Celebrating the Prophet's Birthday (Maulid Nabi)
In the next few days, 12th of Rabi'ul Awwal, Muslims in all over the world will celebrate the birth anniversary (Maulid) of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the best of creations and mercy to the worlds.
But there are some scholars disagree about celebrating the Prophet's birthday (Maulid), they said it is an improper innovation and forbid its celebration.
And for that I would like to cite for you the following fatwa about is it permissible to celebrating Prophet's birthday (Maulid) issued by Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr, former head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, and also from Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), and the president of the International Association of Muslim Scholars (IAMS),
Fatwa about celebrating Prophet's birthday (Maulid) from Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), says that the day he was born was a special day. Since it is well known from the Shari`ah that Muslims should seize the opportunity in blessed days and do good deeds, Muslims should celebrate the Prophet's birthday so as to thank Allah for guiding them to Islam through Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
Therefore, celebrating the Prophet's birthday is permissible provided that it does not include committing any of the prohibited things. As for throwing banquets, this comes under the verse saying: (O ye who believe! Eat of the good things wherewith We have provided you, and render thanks to Allah if it is (indeed) He whom ye worship.?) (Al-Baqarah 2: 172)
My opinion is that celebrating such a religious occasion is recommended especially nowadays for youth have become forgetful of these religious occasions and their significance because they have indulged in other celebrations.
Celebrating such a great event should be done through reading more about the Prophet's Sunnah and life, building mosques, religious institutes and doing other forms of charity work that remind people of the Prophet's life and his struggle.
Therefore, it is permissible to celebrate the Prophet's birthday as an expression of our love to him and our endeavor to follow him as an example provided that these celebrations do not involve any of the prohibited things. Some prohibited things are improper intermingling between men and women, behaving improperly at mosques and partaking in innovations such as worshiping at tombs and other things that violate the teachings of Islam. If such previously mentioned violations surpass the religious benefit realized from these celebrations, then they should be stopped in order to prevent harm and wrongdoing as indicated in the Shari`ah.
Fatwa about celebrating Prophet's birthday (Maulid) from Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi
We all know that the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did not celebrate the Prophet's birthday, Hijrah or the Battle of Badr, because they witnessed such events during the lifetime of the Prophet who always remained in their hearts and minds.
Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas said that they were keen on telling their children the stories of the Prophet's battles just as they were keen on teaching them the Qur'an. Therefore, they used to remind their children of what happened during the Prophet's lifetime so they did not need to hold such celebrations. However, the following generations began to forget such a glorious history and its significance. So such celebrations were held as a means of reviving great events and the values that we can learn from them.
Unfortunately, such celebrations include some innovations when they should actually be made to remind people of the Prophet's life and his call. Actually, celebrating the Prophet's birthday means celebrating the birth of Islam. Such an occasion is meant to remind people of how the Prophet lived.
Allah Almighty says: (Verily in the Messenger of Allah ye have a good example for him who looketh unto Allah and the last Day, and remembereth Allah much.) (Al-Ahzab 33: 21)
By celebrating the Prophet's Hijrah, we should teach people values such as sacrifice, the sacrifice of the Companions, the sacrifice of `Ali who slept in the Prophet's place on the night of the Hijrah, the sacrifice of Asma' as she ascended the Mountain of Thawr. We should teach them to plan the way the Prophet planned for his Hijrah, and how to trust in Allah as the Prophet did when Abu Bakr told him: We could be seen so easily, the Prophet replied saying: "O Abu Bakr! What do you think of two when Allah is their third?" (Have no fear, for Allah is with us.) (At-Tawbah 9: 40)
We need all these lessons and such celebrations are a revival of these lessons and values. I think that these celebrations, if done in the proper way, will serve a great purpose, getting Muslims closer to the teachings of Islam and to the Prophet's Sunnah and life.