Comparison between celebrating the Mawlid and performing Da`wah programs for weeks and the National Day

Question: I am an Imam in one of the Masjids (mosques) in Jeddah. I delivered a Khutbah (sermon) concerning the mission of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and I mentioned that celebrating the Mawlid (the Prophet’s birthday) is a Bid`ah (innovation in religion). The following week, the Khutbah was about the Masjids (mosques). I talked about maintaining Masjids and carpeting them. I based my argument and viewpoint upon the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah. After finishing the prayer, one of the worshippers came and said to me: “Shaykh, you said last week that celebrating the Mawlid of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is a Bid`ah. Can I ask you a question?”I said: “Yes, you can. I will answer your question to the best of my knowledge.” He said: “What is the legal ruling on celebrating the Mawlid of the Prophet (peace be upon him), children’ birthdays, Mother’s Day, the Week of the Tree, the Week of the Traffic, the National Day of the Kingdom and the Week of the Masjids? Are all these festivals Bid`ahs? Why do you oppose celebrating the Mawlid of the Prophet (peace be upon him) though he is the best out of all the creatures and he is the worthiest of glorification and veneration, and at the same time permit other celebrations? Moreover, you, Saudis, encourage these festivals.”

I pointed out to him that what is meant by the Week of Masjids is to urge Muslims to maintain and take care of them. He said to me: “Look at the streets, you will find Ayahs of the Qur’an written on paper and clothes torn by wind thrown in streets and in unclean places. Is that permissible, especially in the Week of Masjids?” He gave me a piece of cloth and said: “Look Shaykh at this piece of cloth wherein is the saying of Allaah: The Mosques of Allaah shall be maintained only by those who believe in Allaah and the Last Day This piece of cloth is thrown in the garden and upon which rubbish is thrown. To Allaah we belong and unto Him is our return.” These are the words of this person. I took this piece of cloth and washed it, and then I burnt it.

He added: “Shaykh, I do not want anything, but to make you; Khutabaa (preachers) and those whose words reach people talk. But you Saudi Khutabaa do not talk. If the government says that this is unlawful, you will say that it is unlawful, and if it says that this is lawful, you will say that it is lawful. You are the first one to tell me that this is good and doing so encourages Muslims to do good. I will not accept your saying except with a legal Fatwaa from senior scholars. You should not forget, Shaykh, that he who is silent with regard to spreading the truth is similar to a mute devil.”

Therefore, I would like to have a detailed legal Fatwa with regard to the festivals mentioned above along with mentioning the proof for every subject. May Allaah protect you.

Answer: Firstly, `Eed (festival) means in Arabic gatherings that Ta’ood (comes again) on a habitual manner. It may come again in a year, a month, or a week. Therefore, the word ‘Eed means a day that comes again like `Eed-ul-Fitr (the Festival of Breaking the Fast) or Friday, the gathering on that day and the acts done as acts of worship or habits on that day… read more here.

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