(MENAFN- Gulf Times)
O people! Fear Allah the Almighty and know that the greatest favour He has ever conferred upon His servants is sending them Prophets as warners and bearers of glad tidings. Allah sent these prophets with scriptures so that He would judge between people in their disputes. The most effective and esteemed message of all of these was that of the Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, whom Allah sent to guide all of mankind – and to seal prophethood.
Allah sent Muhammad, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, after a break in the series of His messengers, when people were in dire need of His guidance. It was through him that Allah guided people after they were astray; united them after their disunity; and sufficed them after they were needy. They thus became brothers and supported the religion of Allah, due to his grace and bounty. It was due to this that nations submitted to this religion and its adherents became a luminous series in the annals of history.
Due to the wholeheartedness of the early Muslims with regard to the comprehensive implementation of Allah's laws in personal issues, financial transactions, and social and community affairs in accordance with the precepts laid down by this religions guide and leader, Muhammad, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam,, it naturally followed that they would be victorious in all their undertakings.
However, when the Muslims deviated from the correct path, the order and stability which they enjoyed collapsed, turning the Muslim nation into groups of disputing factions, whose enemies held as insignificant.
This nation will never regain its past power and dignity, nor will it re-live its glorious history, until and unless its people return to their religion and practice it in word as well as in deed, in compliance with the methodology of the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, and his companions, may Allah be pleased with them.
As a consequence of the comprehensive implementation of the religion of Islam, no devotional act or religious ceremonies can be initiated into it unless it has a basis in the conduct of the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam,. Mankind have been commanded by Allah to do no more than the following: to worship Allah alone; to offer him sincere devotion; and to be true in faith. Thus, whoever attempts to worship Allah with any act that He has not prescribed will have that act rejected by Him. The Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, said:“He who performs any deed which is not according to what we are upon (i.e., the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, and his companions) then it is rejected.” Such acts are held as innovations in the sight of the lawgiver and every innovation is misguidance.
Among the innovations introduced into this religion is the celebration of the birthday of the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam,, which is celebrated in the month of Rabee' Al-Awwal. People gather in the mosques or stay within their homes on the twelfth night of that month and send salutations upon the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, with innovated phrases as well as reciting laudatory poems and prose which concern him. These poems and prose are excessively commendatory and exceed the limits that were defined by the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam.
Some people even spend their nights cooking certain types of food, to be served on this occasion. Thus, they uselessly spend their time and money in matters that are not prescribed either by Allah or His Messenger, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, nor were practiced by the four rightly-guided caliphs after him, nor any other of the Muslims who were from the first three distinct generations, whose merit was attested to by the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam.
If these innovations were of any benefit, then surely the pious early Muslims would have preceded us in them? If they were meritorious then surely Allah would never have deprived the early Muslims, including the rightly-guided caliphs of them? The fact of the matter is that this practice was first introduced by people who lived during the fourth Hijri century.
Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allah have mercy upon him, said in his book Iqtidaa' As-Siraat Al-Mustaqeem Mukhaalafatu Ashaabu Al-Jaheem [The Implication of the Straightforward Way Is to Contradict the Companions of the Fire]:“Some people, due to their imitation of what the Christians do on the claimed birth-date of 'Eesaa (Jesus), peace be upon him, or because of their love of the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, or out of their wish to glorify him, celebrate the Prophet's birthday. This is despite the fact that there is controversy among the scholars regarding the exact date of his birth. The early Muslims did not practice this, although there was good reason to honour and express their love of the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, and no preventing factors existed. Thus, if the celebration of the Prophet's birthday was something meritorious, they would have had a better right to precede us in this, as their love and esteem of the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, was far greater than ours. Also, they were far keener to perform good deeds in general than we were.
Loving and esteeming the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, was thus represented by the early Muslims in following his methodology, obeying him, applying his Sunnah inwardly and outwardly, propagating his mission and striving in this cause with their hearts, bodies and tongues.
Most of those who instigate religious innovations are heedless when it comes to the application of the well-known principles that were brought by the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam,. They are like those who ornament the Qur'an but do not recite it, or recite it but do not follow its teachings.”
O Muslims! The innovation of celebrating the Prophet's birthday, which is done on the 12th night of the month of Rabee' Al-Awwal, has no historical basis. In fact, historians have differed greatly on the actual birth date of the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam. Some have said that it was on the second of Rabee' Al-Awwal , others said the eighth, ninth, tenth, twelfth, seventeenth or twenty-second; thus making up seven different opinions. None of these opinions have any evidence which would make them take priority over others.
Moreover, the innovation of celebrating the birthday of the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, has no religious basis. Neither the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, nor any of his Companions or the followers did so. In fact, the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, said:“You must hold fast to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs – cling to it stubbornly. Beware of innovations, for every innovation is misguidance.” (Abu Daawood, Tirmidhi).
Religious celebrations, festivals and other such occasions which glorify Allah and His Messenger are acts of worship. Only that which Allah has prescribed among these is considered to be from the pure Shari'ah, or Islamic law. None of these events can be taken as a means of devotion to Allah except those that have been sanctioned by Allah and His Messenger, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam.
The Shari'ah already contains the sufficient means with which a believer can glorify the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, and show his love to him. So fear Allah, O servants of Allah, and limit yourselves to Allah's obligations and the Prophet's Sunnah, to the exclusion of innovations.
Allah the Exalted and Almighty said that which translates as:“And verily this is my Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His Path. This; He has ordained for you that you may become the pious.” (Al An'aam: 153).
The authority of the Prophet
Is the scope of the authority of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) limited only to the doctrinal affairs and the matter of worship, and not to worldly affairs? By some Western circles, the function of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) is restricted to correct the doctrinal beliefs of the Ummah and to teach them how to worship Allah. According to them, worldly affairs are not governed by the prophetic authority. Nevertheless, the authority of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) is clearly established by the Holy Qur'an for all people and all times.
These worldly affairs include, in the view of those who would limit the scope of the Prophet's authority, all the economic, social and political affairs which should be settled according to the expediency at each relevant time, and the Prophetic authority has no concern with them. Even if the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) gives some directions in these fields, he does so in his private capacity, and not as a Messenger. So, it is not necessary for the Ummah to comply with such directions.
A report which is often misquoted to support the above-mentioned fallacious view is as follows from Imam Muslim: The blessed Companion Talha (radiallahu 'anhu) says:“I passed along with the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) across some people who were on the tips of the palm-trees. The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) asked, What are they doing? Some people said,“They are fecundating the tree. They insert the male into the female and the tree stands fecundated”. The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, I do not think it will be of any use.
The people were informed about what the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said. So, they stopped this operation. Then the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) was informed about their withdrawal. On this, the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) says, If it is in fact useful to them, let them do it, because I had only made a guess. So, do not cling to me in my guess. But when I tell you something on behalf of Allah, take it firm, because I shall never tell a lie on behalf of Allah. Further, According to Anas (radiallahu 'anhu), the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) has also said on this occasion, You know more about your worldly affairs.
If the Ummah was to take the above-mentioned hadith literally, Islam, like some other religions would only be restricted to doctrines and rituals, and having no concern with the day-to-day affairs of the human life. Once one has observed the prescribed doctrines and rituals, he is free to run his life in whatever way he likes, not hindered in any manner by the divine imperatives. However, it is an established fact that Islam, unlike some other religions which can coincide and co-exist with the secular concept of life, is not merely a set of doctrines and rituals. Islam is a complete way of life which deals with the political, economics and social problems as well as the theological issues. Allah states in the Holy Qur'an: O those who believe, respond to the call of Allah and His Messenger when he calls you for what gives you life (8:24).
There are vast fields in our day-to-day worldly affairs which are not directly commented upon by the Qur'an and Sunnah, where people have been allowed to proceed according to their needs and expedience on the basis of their knowledge and experience. However, for these worldly affairs that are not directly addressed by the Qur'an and Sunnah, the Muslim must align his decision with existing principles laid down by both, to ensure that they are guided Islamically in the performance of that affair, and most importantly, avoiding the major sin of committing shirk.
For, if Allah and His Messenger (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) are to call people towards life, the affairs of life must totally be within the jurisdiction of Allah and His Messenger (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam). Otherwise, vital branches of human life will always fall prey to satanic desires leading the people toward disaster.
Furthermore, none who has studied the Qur'an can endorse that its teachings are limited to worship and rituals only. There are specific injunctions in the Qur'an about sales, purchase loans, mortgages, partnership, penal laws, inheritance, matrimonial relations, political, social and family affairs, problems of war and peace and other aspects of worldly relations. Likewise, the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) also deals with the economic, social, political and legal problems in such details that voluminous books have been written to compile them. The injunctions of the Qur'an and the Sunnah in this field (worldly affairs) are so absolute, imperative, and of mandatory nature that they cannot be imagined to be personal advises lacking any legal (divine) reference.
Finally, there are numerous verses from the Qur'an which enjoin the obedience of Allah and the authority of the Messenger (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) upon the believers.
[Compiled from The Authority of Sunnah, by Justice Muhammad Taqi Usmani.]
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