Some say that he was born on the 2nd Rabiul-Awwal. Others say that he was born on the 8th Rabiul-Awwal. Another group suggests that he was born on the 10th Rabiul-Awwal. And another group says that he was born on 12th Rabiul-Awwal. It was also said that he was born in Ramadan or in Safar. Along many other opinions. No one is certain about the date of his birth.
"Perhaps the reason for this difference of opinion is that when he was born, no one expected that he would attend such a status. For that reason, he did not live in the spotlight from the beginning of his life. When Allah decreed that the Messenger ﷺ should begin to convey His message forty years after he was born, people began to seek out whatever memories they had about this Prophet, and they asked one another about every detail of his life. They were helped in that by what the Messenger ﷺ himself narrated about incidents that he had experienced from his birth, as well as the reports narrated by his Companions and those who had also gone through those events with him.
At that time the Muslims began to collect everything that they had heard about the life story of their Prophet ﷺ in order to transmit it to the people down throughout the ages".
- Dr. Muhammad at-Tayyib an-Najjaar (may Allah have mercy on him)
Al-Qawl al-Mubeen fi Seerat Sayyid al-Mursaleen, p. 78
What has been reported is that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ made the day of his birth a day of worship, which is different to celebration. He was asked about fasting on Mondays, and he said:
“That is the day on which I was born and the day on which I was entrusted with the Mission or when I was first given Revelation.”
- Reported by Muslim, al-Nisaa’i and Abu Dawood
Moreover, we know that the Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them) were the people who loved the Prophet most. Was it reported that Abu Bakr, who was the closest of people to him and the one who loved him the most, ever celebrated the birthday of the Prophet ﷺ? Was it reported that ‘Umar, who ruled for twelve years, or ‘Uthmaan, did this? Was it reported that ‘Ali, his relative and foster son, did this? Was it reported that any of the Sahaabah did this?
No, by Allah! Is it because they were not aware of its importance, or did they not truly love the Prophet ﷺ? No one would say such a thing except one who has gone astray and is leading others astray.
Did any of the imaams – Abu Haneefah, Maalik, al-Shaafi’i, Ahmad, al-Hasan al-Basri, Ibn Seereen – do this or command others to do it or say that it was good? By Allah, no! It was not even mentioned during the first and best three centuries. The Prophet ﷺ said in a saheeh hadeeth:
“The best of mankind are my generation (or my century), then those who come after them, then those who come after them. Then there will come a people who will not care if their testimony comes before their oath or vice versa (i.e., they will not take such matter seriously).”
- Reported by al-Bukhaari, Muslim and al-Tirmidhi
The celebration of the Prophet’s birthday appeared many centuries later, when many of the features of true religion had vanished and bid’ah (religious innovation) had become widespread.
Thus this celebration became a sign of one’s love for the Prophet ﷺ? But can it be possible that the Sahaabah, the imaams and the people of the best three centuries were unaware of it, and it was only those who came later who were aware of its importance?! What the Quran tells us is that love of the Prophet ﷺ is demonstrated by following the guidance he brought. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
The first aayah explains that love is just a claim, but the proof of sincerity is following what the Prophet ﷺ brought. The second aayah reaffirms the importance and necessity of obeying Allah and His Messenger. Hence Allah ended the aayah with a very stern warning in which those who refuse to obey are described as kaafirs, and Allah does not love the disbelievers. We ask Allah to keep us safe from that. The Prophet ﷺ told us of the danger of not obeying him, and the danger of adding to what he brought. The celebration of Mawlid or his birthday is indeed an addition to what he brought – as all the scholars agree. He said:
“The best of speech is the Book of Allah, and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. The most evil of things are those which are newly-invented (in religion), and every innovation is a going astray.”
- Reported by Muslim and al-Nisaa’i
We ask Allah to protect us from bid’ah and to bless us by helping us to follow. Allah knows best.