Prophet’s Birthday

This article is an extension of the previous one “Happy Birthday to Me” where in we had discussed that the method of celebrating birthdays which is currently followed has its roots in paganism; following such practices is unislamic.

Unfortunately, such unislamic practices have found their way into our religion, and is shaking the foundations of our faith. See below links for more details:

1- Eid Milad Cake

2- Singing Happy Birthday Ya Rasoolullah

Celebrating the birthday of Rasoolullah (ﷺ) in a manner which is full of paganism, where is this ummah headed to? Is this how we show love to our beloved Prophet (ﷺ), by not following his Sunnah? Taking one day in a year for celebrating Prophet’s Birthday as an Eid for the Muslim Ummah, is this our beloved Prophet’s (ﷺ) Sunnah?

This brings us to the question, did Rasoolullah (ﷺ) Celebrate his birthday? If he did so, how did he do it?

The answer to this question is found in the following Ahadith of Rasoolullah (ﷺ):

[1] Abu Qatada Ansari (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Massenger (ﷺ) was asked about fasting on Monday, whereupon he said: It is (the day) when I was born and revelation was sent down to me.

وَحَدَّثَنِي زُهَيْرُ بْنُ حَرْبٍ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنُ مَهْدِيٍّ، حَدَّثَنَا مَهْدِيُّ بْنُ مَيْمُونٍ، عَنْ غَيْلاَنَ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ مَعْبَدٍ الزِّمَّانِيِّ، عَنْ أَبِي قَتَادَةَ الأَنْصَارِيِّ، رضى الله عنه أَنَّرَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم سُئِلَ عَنْ صَوْمِ الاِثْنَيْنِ فَقَالَ ‏ “‏ فِيهِ وُلِدْتُ وَفِيهِ أُنْزِلَ عَلَىَّ ‏”‏‏ ‏

[2] Abu Qatada al-Ansari (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was asked about his fasting. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) felt annoyed. Thereupon ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him) said: We are pleased with Allah as the Lord, with Islam as our Code of Life, with Muhammad as the Messenger and with our pledge (to you for willing and cheerful submission) as a (sacred) commitment. He was then asked about perpetual fasting, whereupon he said: He neither fasted nor did he break it, or he did not fast and he did not break it. He was then asked about fasting for two days and breaking one day. He (the Holy Prophet) said: And who has strength enough to do it? He was asked about fasting for a day and breaking for two days, whereupon he said: May Allah bestow upon us strength to do it. He was then asked about fasting for a day and breaking on the other, whereupon he said: That is the fasting of my brother David (peace be upon him). He was then asked about fasting on Monday, whereupon he said: It was the day on which I was born. on which I was commissioned with prophethood or revelation was sent to me, (and he further) said: Three days’ fasting every month and of the whole of Ramadan every year is a perpetual fast. He was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Arafa (9th of Dhu’I-Hijja), whereupon he said: It expiates the sins of the preceding year and the coming year. He was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Ashura (10th of Muharram), whereupon be said: It expiates the sins of the preceding year. (Imam Muslim said that in this hadith there is a) narration of Imam Shu’ba that he was asked about fasting on Monday and Thursday, but we (Imam Muslim) did not mention Thursday for we found it as an error (in reporting).

حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى، وَمُحَمَّدُ بْنُ بَشَّارٍ، – وَاللَّفْظُ لاِبْنِ الْمُثَنَّى – قَالاَ حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ جَعْفَرٍ، حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ، عَنْ غَيْلاَنَ بْنِ جَرِيرٍ، سَمِعَ عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ مَعْبَدٍ الزِّمَّانِيَّ، عَنْ أَبِي قَتَادَةَ الأَنْصَارِيِّ، رضى الله عنه أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم سُئِلَ عَنْ صَوْمِهِ قَالَ فَغَضِبَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ عُمَرُ رضى الله عنه رَضِينَا بِاللَّهِ رَبًّا وَبِالإِسْلاَمِ دِينًا وَبِمُحَمَّدٍ رَسُولاً وَبِبَيْعَتِنَا بَيْعَةً ‏.‏ قَالَ فَسُئِلَ عَنْ صِيَامِ الدَّهْرِ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ لاَ صَامَ وَلاَ أَفْطَرَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ أَوْ ‏”‏ مَا صَامَ وَمَا أَفْطَرَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ فَسُئِلَ عَنْ صَوْمِ يَوْمَيْنِ وَإِفْطَارِ يَوْمٍ قَالَ ‏”‏ وَمَنْ يُطِيقُ ذَلِكَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ وَسُئِلَ عَنْ صَوْمِ يَوْمٍ وَإِفْطَارِ يَوْمَيْنِ قَالَ ‏”‏ لَيْتَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ قَوَّانَا لِذَلِكَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ وَسُئِلَ عَنْ صَوْمِ يَوْمٍ وَإِفْطَارِ يَوْمٍ قَالَ ‏”‏ ذَاكَ صَوْمُ أَخِي دَاوُدَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ وَسُئِلَ عَنْ صَوْمِ يَوْمِ الاِثْنَيْنِ قَالَ ‏”‏ ذَاكَ يَوْمٌ وُلِدْتُ فِيهِ وَيَوْمٌ بُعِثْتُ أَوْ أُنْزِلَ عَلَىَّ فِيهِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ صَوْمُ ثَلاَثَةٍ مِنْ كُلِّ شَهْرٍ وَرَمَضَانَ إِلَى رَمَضَانَ صَوْمُ الدَّهْرِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ وَسُئِلَ عَنْ صَوْمِ يَوْمِ عَرَفَةَ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ يُكَفِّرُ السَّنَةَ الْمَاضِيَةَ وَالْبَاقِيَةَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ وَسُئِلَ عَنْ صَوْمِ يَوْمِ عَاشُورَاءَ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ يُكَفِّرُ السَّنَةَ الْمَاضِيَةَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ وَفِي هَذَا الْحَدِيثِ مِنْ رِوَايَةِ شُعْبَةَ قَالَ وَسُئِلَ عَنْ صَوْمِ يَوْمِ الاِثْنَيْنِ وَالْخَمِيسِ فَسَكَتْنَا عَنْ ذِكْرِ الْخَمِيسِ لَمَّا نَرَاهُ وَهْمًا ‏.‏

[3] It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (ﷺ) used to fast on Mondays and Thursdays. It was said: “O Messenger of Allah, why do you fast on Mondays and Thursdays?” He said: “On Mondays and Thursdays Allah forgives every Muslim except two who have forsaken one another. He says: ‘Leave these two until they reconcile.’”

حَدَّثَنَا الْعَبَّاسُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الْعَظِيمِ الْعَنْبَرِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا الضَّحَّاكُ بْنُ مَخْلَدٍ، عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ رِفَاعَةَ، عَنْ سُهَيْلِ بْنِ أَبِي صَالِحٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ كَانَ يَصُومُ الاِثْنَيْنِ وَالْخَمِيسَ ‏.‏ فَقِيلَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّكَ تَصُومُ يَوْمَ الاِثْنَيْنِ وَالْخَمِيسِ فَقَالَ ‏ “‏ إِنَّ يَوْمَ الاِثْنَيْنِ وَالْخَمِيسِ يَغْفِرُ اللَّهُ فِيهِمَا لِكُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ إِلاَّ مُهْتَجِرَيْنِ يَقُولُ دَعْهُمَا حَتَّى يَصْطَلِحَا ‏”‏ ‏.‏

[4] Usamah bin Zaid said: “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, sometimes you fast, and you hardly ever break your hardly ever fast, except two days which, if you are fasting, you include them in your fast, and if you are not fasting, then you fast them on your own.’ He said: ‘Which two days?’ I said: ‘Monday and Thursday.’ He said: ‘Those are two days in which deeds are shown to the Lord of the worlds, and I like my deeds to be shown (to Him) when I am fasting.”‘

أَخْبَرَنَا عَمْرُو بْنُ عَلِيٍّ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا ثَابِتُ بْنُ قَيْسٍ أَبُو الْغُصْنِ، – شَيْخٌ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْمَدِينَةِ – قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي أَبُو سَعِيدٍ الْمَقْبُرِيُّ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي أُسَامَةُ بْنُ زَيْدٍ، قَالَ قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّكَ تَصُومُ حَتَّى لاَ تَكَادَ تُفْطِرُ وَتُفْطِرُ حَتَّى لاَ تَكَادَ أَنْ تَصُومَ إِلاَّ يَوْمَيْنِ إِنْ دَخَلاَ فِي صِيَامِكَ وَإِلاَّ صُمْتَهُمَا ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ أَىُّ يَوْمَيْنِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قُلْتُ يَوْمَ الاِثْنَيْنِ وَيَوْمَ الْخَمِيسِ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ ذَانِكَ يَوْمَانِ تُعْرَضُ فِيهِمَا الأَعْمَالُ عَلَى رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ فَأُحِبُّ أَنْ يُعْرَضَ عَمَلِي وَأَنَا صَائِمٌ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

[5] Narrated Usamah ibn Zayd: The client of Usamah ibn Zayd said that he went along with Usamah to Wadi al-Qura in pursuit of his camels. He would fast on Monday and Thursday. His client said to him: Why do you fast on Monday and Thursday, while you are an old man? He said: The Prophet of Allah (ﷺ) used to fast on Monday and Thursday. When he was asked about it, he said: The works of the servants (of Allah) are presented (to Allah) on Monday and Thursday.

حَدَّثَنَا مُوسَى بْنُ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبَانُ، حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى، عَنْ عُمَرَ بْنِ أَبِي الْحَكَمِ بْنِ ثَوْبَانَ، عَنْ مَوْلَى، قُدَامَةَ بْنِ مَظْعُونٍ عَنْ مَوْلَى، أُسَامَةَ بْنِ زَيْدٍ أَنَّهُ انْطَلَقَ مَعَ أُسَامَةَ إِلَى وَادِي الْقُرَى فِي طَلَبِ مَالٍ لَهُ فَكَانَ يَصُومُ يَوْمَ الاِثْنَيْنِ وَيَوْمَ الْخَمِيسِ فَقَالَ لَهُ مَوْلاَهُ لِمَ تَصُومُ يَوْمَ الاِثْنَيْنِ وَيَوْمَ الْخَمِيسِ وَأَنْتَ شَيْخٌ كَبِيرٌ فَقَالَ إِنَّ نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم كَانَ يَصُومُ يَوْمَ الاِثْنَيْنِ وَيَوْمَ الْخَمِيسِ وَسُئِلَ عَنْ ذَلِكَ فَقَالَ ‏ “‏ إِنَّ أَعْمَالَ الْعِبَادِ تُعْرَضُ يَوْمَ الاِثْنَيْنِ وَيَوْمَ الْخَمِيسِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو دَاوُدَ كَذَا قَالَ هِشَامٌ الدَّسْتَوَائِيُّ عَنْ يَحْيَى عَنْ عُمَرَ بْنِ أَبِي الْحَكَمِ ‏.‏

The reason Rasoolullah (ﷺ) gave for Fasting on Monday’s is that:
1- Monday is the day I was born – Rasoolullah’s (ﷺ) Birthday
2- Monday is the day the Quran was revealed to him (ﷺ)
3- Monday is one of the days in a week, while Thursday being the other day when the works and deeds of Human Beings are presented before Allah (SWT), so Rasoolullah (ﷺ) wanted to be in a state of Fasting.

If we claim to love Rasoolullah (ﷺ) and want to celebrate his day of birth, then the only way is to fast every Monday and Thursday, in compliance with his Sunnah. This way we remember our Rasool (ﷺ) every wek and not every year as some of us claim to be doing in his love and affection.

It is important to be pointed out here that if our Rasool (ﷺ) celebrated his day of birth weekly, the method he (ﷺ) used to do so is really humbling himself before his Rabb, thanking him for the life, the guidance (through Quran) and the great role allocated to him (ﷺ) to convey Allah (SWT) message and not by arrogant and extravagant deeds. Even if we assume that he (ﷺ) celebrated his day of birth, then we can also assume that greatest human being did so being the greatest.

There is no way one should be compelled to follow the ways of others, other than our beloved Prophet (ﷺ), if one fasts two days in a week, this shall serve to revive the forgotten Sunnah and act as a deterance for celebrating one’s own birthday following the footsteps of others.

If we want to celebrate our day of birth, one should first ponder what greatness do we have in comparison with our beloved Prophet (ﷺ), then we would realize why the Sahaba (RA) did not celebrate their birthdays! All these great men around our beloved Prophet (ﷺ) did was to follow his footsteps by fasting on Monday’s and Thursday’s.

Although this is not a fatwa, but if some of us still insist on celebrating their birthdays consider fasting on the day, every week. Atleast on the day of Judgement we could claim to have followed the method of our beloved Prophet (ﷺ) rather than some pagan customs.

Wallahu Alam

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