Should I celebrate the birth (mawlid) of the Prophet Muhammad?

Short Answer

The Prophet Muhammad changed the world for the better, so his coming into existence is worth celebrating. However, neither the Prophet nor his Companions celebrated the day of his birth or of any other messenger. Therefore, Muslims should avoid this practice. Having a gathering to discuss any aspect of the life of the Prophet is virtuous, regardless of what name is given to the gathering, but if someone thinks that an act is part of Islam, but it is not, then it is a sinful innovation.

What the Scholars Said

Mufti Taqi Usmani says: “On the celebration of the birth of the Prophet (mawlid), holding a meeting to discuss different aspects of the life of the Prophet is a very meritorious act for which Muslims should strive to the best of their ability. But confining this discussion to the events of the birth of the Prophet, restricting it to a particular date, and considering attendance at such meetings as necessary or obligatory for every Muslim causes this practice to become a sinful innovation (bid`ah). Most gatherings of celebrating the Prophet’s birthday today are of this type…If the life of the Prophet is made the subject of a meeting, and the meeting is free of the above mentioned defects, nobody should call it a sinful innovation. It is in this context that some scholars of the past have allowed the practice.” (See albalagh.net/general/rabi-ul-awwal.shtml)

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Shaykh Mustafa Umar