قَالَ تَعَالَى * وَمَآ آتَاكُمُ ٱلرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَٱنتَهُواْ * وَ فِي الْحَدِيثِ قَالَ صَلَى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، ((عَلَيْكُمْ بِسُنَّتِي وَ سُنَّةِ الْخُلَفَاءِ مِنْ بَعْدِي عَضُّواْ عَلَيْهَا بِالنَّوَاجِذِ))
The Most High says, “Whatever the Messenger gives you, take it. And whatever he forbids you, abstain from it.” - Quran - 59:7And in the hadith, he may Allah bless him and grant him peace said, “It is obligatory upon you to follow my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Caliphs after me. Hold to it stubbornly”. - This hadith was related by Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi
Says the poor slave in need of the mercy of his Lord – Imam Na’eem Abdullah: It is our intention to clarify our position regarding the month of Rabi’ al-Awwal and Celebrating the Birth of Allah’s Beloved (habeebullah) – Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Success is with Allah!
When we say “our position” we are referring to the position taken by Nur uz-Zamaan Institute, Masjid al-Mu’min (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), Masjid ‘Uthman Dan Fodiyo (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), as well as those other believers who align themselves with us and adhere to the minhaj (methodology) and teachings of Shehu (Shaykh) ‘Uthman Dan Fodiyo, may Allah envelop him in His Mercy.
The Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was born in Makkah of the clan of Hashim (Bani Hashim), belonging to the tribe of Quraysh. He was born in Makkah, Arabia, on Monday, 12 Rabi’ Al-Awwal (August 2, 570 C.E.). This date is debated among our scholars. It is also the well-known opinion of the majority of the scholars that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, also died on Monday, 12 Rabi’ Al-Awwal in 633 C.E. or 13 years after his hijrah or migration to Madinah. In fact, many scholars have declared that there is ijmaa’ or consensus regarding this.
It is not our intention to enter the fray of bickering, argumentation and name calling regarding Mawlid un-Nabiy or the celebration of the birth of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. We only wish to  clarify this issue for our followers and to  make known the source of our position to those who differ with us or are otherwise curious.
There is a legitimate ikhtilaaf (difference of opinion) among the scholars of ahlus-sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah (the people of the Sunnah and the community) regarding the observance or celebration of the Prophet’s birth. The root of this ikhtilaaf lies in the classification of an act which was not done during the time of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. In other words, when something was not done during the time of the Prophet, but aspects of it can be supported by the Qur’an and the Sunnah – is it a Sunnah or is it a bid’ah? Shaykh ‘Uthman ibn Muhammad (Dan Fodiyo) clarifies this several times in his book – The Revival of the Sunnah and the Destruction of Innovation (Ihya us-Sunnah wa ikhmaadul-bid’ah):
فَإِنْ قُلْتَ : هَلْ مَا لَهُ مُسْتَنَدٌ مِنَ الشَّرْعِ وَ لَمْ يَرِدْ عَنِ السَّلَفِ فِعْلُهُ ، هَلْ هُوَ سُنَّةٌ أَوْ بِدْعَةٌ؟ قُلْتُ : قَالَ أَحْمَدُ زَرُّوقُ فِي عُمْدَةِ الْمُرِيدِ الصَّادِقِ : قَالَ مَالِكٌ : هُوَ بِدْعَةٌ ، لِأَنَّهُمْ لَمْ يَنْرُكُوهُ إِلَّا لِأَمْرِ عِنْدَهُمْ فِيهِ ، فَإِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا أَحْرَصَ النَّاسِ عَلَى الْخَيْرِ وَ أَعْلَمَ بِالسُّنَّةِ . وَ هُوَ مُقْتَضَى قَوْلِ ابْنِ مَسْعُودٍ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ ، إِذْ قَالَ لِقَوْمٍ رَآهُمْ يَذْكُرُونَ اللهَ جَمَاعَةً : تَا اللهِ لَقَدْ جِئْتُمْ بِبِدْعَةٍ ظُلْماً . أَوْ قَدْ فُقْتُمْ أَصْحَابَ مُحَمَّدٍ عِلْماً . ذَكَرَهُ ابْنُ الْحَاجِّ فِي الْمَدْخَلِ ، فَانْظُرُوا.
If you were to say, “If there is something which draws its proof from the Shari’ah, but it was not utilized by the early community (as-salaf), is it a Sunnah or a bid’ah (an innovation)?” I say: that Ahmad az-Zaruuq said in his Umdat'l-Murid 's-Saadiq, “(Imam) Malik said, ‘It is an innovation (bid’ah)’ because they did not leave it except because of an order for them to do so. They were the most desirous (ahrasa) of people for doing good (al-khayr) and the most knowledgeable of people concerning the Sunnah (a’lama bis-sunnah). This is in accordance with the words of Ibn Mas`ud, may Allah be pleased with him, when he said to some people whom he saw doing the remembrance of Allah in a group (jamaa`ah), “By Allah! You all have come with a dark innovation. Do you think that you have superseded the Companions of Muhammad (ashaaba Muhammad) in knowledge?” This was mentioned by Ibn al-Hajj in his al-Madkhal, so examine that!
The Shehu then continued – illustrating the highest level of intellectual integrity and honesty – by mentioning the opposing view:
“(Imam) Ash-Shafi`i, may Allah be pleased with him said, “Not everything which does not have its foundation from the Shari’ah, is to be considered an innovation, even if the early community (as-salaf) did not do it. Their leaving doing that action could have been for some excuse which existed at that time, or they may have left it for something better than it. Perhaps had that action reached all of them, it could have been utilized. This was because these legal judgments were taken from the Shari’ah and was verified by it.”
It should already be clear to the reader at this point that the Mawlid of the Prophet falls within this category because everyone will admit that this practice did not exist during the early period of Islam – more specifically, the 1st three generations collective called as-Salaf. We would like to remind the reader that both Imam Malik and Imam Ash-Shafi’i are Imams of the Salaf representing 3rd generation.
In his chapter on the Sunnah and innovations connected to the fast of Ramadan the Shehu digresses while discussing the innovations connected to the fast and says the following:
إِذْ وَرَد فِي الْحَدِيثِ التَّرْغِيبُ فِيهِ وَ لَمْ يَرِدْ عَنِ السَّلَفِ فِعْلُهُ ، وَ لَا وَرَدَ فِي كَيْفِيَّتِهِ شَيْءٌ فَقَالَ الشَّافِعِيٌّ : سُنَّةٌ ، وَ قَالَ مَالِكُ : بِدْعَةٌ مَكْرُوهَةٌ لِقِيَامِ الشُّبْهَةِ. فَإِنْ قُلْتُ : مَا حُكْمُ مَا يَفْعَلُ النَّاسُ فِي شَهْرِ رَبِيعِ الْأَوَّلِ فِي يَوْمِ الْمَوْلِدِ ، أَوِ الْيَوْمِ السَّابَعِ مِنَ الْمَوْلِدِ مِنِ اجْتِمَاعِ النَّاسِ لِلذِّكْرِ وَ الطَّعَامِ الَّذِي يَعمَلُونَهُ لِذَلِكَ. قُلْتُ: إِنَّهُ بِدْعَةٌ مَكْرُوهَةٌ إِنْ خَلَا عَنْ كُلِّ مَعْصِيَةِ ، وَ قِيلَ : إِنَّ الصَّوَابَ أَنَّ عَمَلَ الْمَوْلِدِ الشَّرِيفِ النَّبَوِيِّ مِنَ الْبِدَعِ الْحَسَنَةِ الْمَنْدُوبَةِ إِذَا خَلَا عَنْ كُلِّ مَعْصِيَةٍ ، وَ أَمَّا مَا يَعْتَادُهُ النَّاسُ فِي هَذَا الزَّمَانِ فِي ذَلِكَ : مِنِ اخْتِلَاطِ الرِّجَالِ وَ النِّسَاءِ ، فَمَعَاذَ الله أَنْ يَقُولَ أَحَدٌ بِجَوَازِهِ.
Whenever a reported tradition provokes the performance of an action but there is no report that the early community (as-Salaf) did it; nor is there a report as to how (kayfiyyah) it was done - then Imam ash-Shaafi` said it is a sunnah while Imam Malik said it is a reprehensible innovation (bid’ah makruuhah) because a doubtful matter emerges (li qiyaam 's-shubha).
If you were to say, “What is the legal judgment concerning what the people do during the month of Rabi` 'l-Awwal on the day of Prophet's birthday (al-mawlid) or on the seventh day of the mawlid where people gather together for remembrance of Allah (dhikr) and the food which is prepared for that purpose?” I say: That is a reprehensible innovation (bid’ah makruuhah) if it is free of every disobedience (ma`siyya). It is said that the answer is that the practice of the Mawlid of the noble Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace is a highly recommended good innovation (bid`ah hasana manduubah) when it is free of every disobedience. As for what the people have made a habit in these times where men and women mix freely, Allah forbid that any scholar would make that permissible.
With that being said, our position on the matter of Mawlid un-Nabiy is the same as that of the Shehu ‘Uthman Dan Fodiyo, may Allah have mercy on him – it is a makruuh (disliked/reprehensible) innovation! We do not observe it! This is the case even when there is nothing which is prohibited taking place, such as the free mixing of the sexes, the playing of prohibited instruments, etc…
Even though we refrain from participating in gatherings intended for this purpose, we do not criticize those who do; nor do we argue with them! This is in accordance with the Islamic principle which prohibits argumentation when there is a legitimate difference of opinion. As it was expressed by the Shehu when he quoted Shaykh Izzud-Deen ibn ‘Abdus-Salaam (who was a well-known 7th century (hijrah) Qadi and faqih of the Shaafi’i school often referred to as Sultan ul-‘Ulamaa’) who said
اَلْاِنْكَارُ مُتَعَلِّقٌ بِمَا أُجْمِعَ عَلَى إِيجَابِهِ أوْ تَحْرِيمِهِ
“Objection (inkaar) can only be made when it pertains to that about which there is agreement concerning its obligation (i'jaab) or its prohibition (tahreem).”
We conclude by leaving these instructions for our jamaa’ah (community):
 Do not participate in any of these Mawlid gatherings. If you are invited, politely and respectfully decline the invitation. If the Shehu is your Shaykh and you adhere to his minhaj, remember his “Last Testament” to his Jamaa’ah. He mentioned 5 things or characteristics you must have in order to benefit from him – the mujaddid. The fifth and last one he mentioned was: “He should consider every scholar during his age below the rank of the mujaddid and not place anyone above him and not give any consideration to the teachings of any shaykh who disagrees with his teachings.”
 Do not be seduced into indulging in any of these blameworthy arguments. There is no benefit in them. Shaytan is in control of these debates! Each party is diverted from the remembrance of Allah and imitation of His Prophet and is solely concerned with crushing his opponent! The end result is always animosity and the hardening of the hearts and we find it hard to believe that the Messenger of Allah would be pleased with this! Those who persist are only doing this for show – ar-riya’.
As for those who differ with us, we have this to say:
 We believe our position is correct and yours is not. However, we respect your position! There have been many (scholars and awliyaa) in the past (and present) – who were greater than all of us – who have agreed with your position on the validity of celebrating the birth of Allah’s beloved, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Likewise, if you are sincere, honest, and have any level of knowledge, you would have to admit that the same is true of our position.
We believe, as stated above in the words of our Shaykh ‘Uthman Dan Fodiyo, “They (the Sahaabah /Companions of the Prophet) were the most desirous (ahrasa) of people for doing good (al-khayr) and the most knowledgeable of people concerning the Sunnah (a’lama bis-sunnah).” If there was any good in it, they would have beaten us to it. And being that they did not do it, we will not do it.
 If you resort calling us names or placing us in the same category as those who have a faulty ‘aqeedah (belief system) because of our position (and we all know who we are referring to) – we will not stoop to your level. We leave that for you to sort out with Allah on the Day of Judgment!
 As we stated in the beginning, we have composed this only to make our position clear. We do not want or expect anything from you. If you respect our position, well and good; if not, we praise Allah even in that situation. We do not want to argue or fight with you! We pray that your acts of worship bring you closer to Allah and that your love of the Messenger of Allah and sincerity towards him is increased manifold.
May Allah guide us all! O Allah give us success in following the Sunnah of Your Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, by his rank with You.