بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The time of year is upon us where those with a restricted share of knowledge from the Qur’an and Sunnah, upon the methodology of the Salaf of this Ummah, find themselves engaged in acts of “love” for the prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم – and yet in reality they are barren and void of any true love. They find themselves conducting marches, food festivals and other affairs claiming guidance within their activities, and in reality no revelation ever descended upon its validity.
Shaikh bin Baz رحمه الله was asked the following, “What is the ruling on the “prophet’s birthday”? And what is the ruling upon the one who attends it? And is the one who does it and dies upon that state [not having repented] punished?”
Regarding birthdays, then there is nothing in the legislation that indicates they should be celebrated, neither the “birthday” of the prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم or other than him. That which we know from the pure legislation and what the people of knowledge have established is that celebrating birthdays is an innovation – there is no doubt in that. Since the prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم who was the greatest in his advice to the people, and the most knowledgable regarding the legislation of Allah and the one who preached and spread it, did not celebrate his “birthday” and nor did the companions, neither Abu Bakr, Umar, ‘Uthman, ‘Ali رضي الله عنهم or other than them.
So if this was correct and a sunnah they would have hastened to doing it, and the prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم himself would not have left it, rather he would have done it himself صلى الله عليه و سلم and taught us to do it, and the companions would have done it…but since they all left it and did not do it, then we know with certainty this is not from the legislation. Similarly the righteous Salaf did not do it, and so it becomes clear this is an innovation and indeed the prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said translated, “Whomsoever introduces something into our religion that which is not from it will have it rejected”.
Therefore celebration of the “prophet’s birthday” in Rabee’ ul-Awwal [an islamic month] or in other months [since it is not established the exact date!], similarly other celebrations such as birthdays of al-Badawy or of al-Husain – all are reviled innovations and it is upon the people of Islam to abandon them. Instead Allah سبحانه و تعالى has bestowed upon us ‘Eid ul-Fitr and ‘Eid ul-Adha as the days of legislated celebration.
It is not a demonstration of love to the prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم in celebrating the “birthday”, rather the true love of the prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم necessitates following him and clinging to his Sunnah, and defending it, and calling to it, and being upright upon it…this is the true love, as Allah سبحانه و تعالى stated in Surah Ale ‘Imran: 31, the meaning of which is, “Say (O Muhammad SAW to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Quran and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
As for the individual being punished or not [the one who participates and dies upon that state], then that affair is with Allah. However, innovations and sins are from the means that lead to punishment, so a person may be punished due to his sin or he may be pardoned by Allah, the individual is under the command of Allah”.
[Summarized from Shaikh bin Baz’s fataawa on the Radio -volume 1 -, via his official website]