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Concerning the Mawlid (Prophet's Birthday Celebration)
  Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah on the Mawlid
Author: Shaikh ul-Islam
Article ID : BDH060002  [47769]  
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He says in another place of the same book, "there is no doubt that the one who practices these - i.e. the innovated festive seasons - either the mujtahid or muqallid will have the reward for his good intention and the what the action contains of legislated actions, and will be forgiven for what it contains of innovation if his ijtihaad or taqleed contains one of the excuses (that would lift this sin from him)…."

He continues:

"But this does not prevent one from detesting and prohibiting it and to replace it with a legislated action containing no bid'ah.... Just as the Jews and Christians may find benefit in their worship because it is possible that their worship includes an aspect of what is legislated but this does not necessitate that you perform their actions of worship or you report their words because all of the innovations contain evil that outweighs their good, this due to the fact that if their good outweighed the evil then why would the Sharee'ah have disregarded it? So we depend upon the fact that it's sin is greater than it's benefit and this necessitates forbiddance."

He continues:

"And I say: it's sin is removed from some of the people due to the reason of ijtihaad or other than it, as the sin of usury and alcohol (from dates) which has been differed about (by the salaf) is removed from the salaf (who allowed it), then despite this it is necessary to explain it's condition and not to follow those that considered it permissible.... So this is sufficient evidence in explaining that these innovations include corruptions of belief or condition contradicting what the Messenger (sallallaahu `alaihi wasallam) came with, and that what benefit they contain is marjooh (not to be relied upon) and it not correct to use for objection"

He continues:

"As for what they contain - i.e. these innovated festive seasons such as the Mawlid - of benefit then they are opposed by what they contain of the corruption of innovations that outweigh the benefit, alongwith with what has preceded of the corruptions of belief and state - that the hearts become content with it at the expense of a large number of Sunnahs to the extent that you find that the elite and the general masses preserve this in a way that they do not preserve the Taraaweeh's or the five prayers...." mentioning many more cases.[al-Qawl al-Fasl (pg. 102) of Shaykh Ismaa’eel al-Ansaaree]

A number of points can be seen here:

  1. Ibn Taymiyyah regards the mawlid as a bid’ah which the strict believer is not allowed to follow.
  2. he allows it only for those who would leave this bid’ah for a greater bid’ah.
  3. he states that those practising this, either out of taqleed or ijtihaad, will get reward for their good intentions, but they will get no reward for their practising it.
  4. that they will not get the burden of the sin of the innovation if their taqleed of ijtihaad contains the excuses that would lift this from them.

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