Question: Your eminence O Shaykh! May Allaah be kind to you. In the previous meetings, we became aware of Bid’ah and its ruling. There are people who claim that the celebration of the Prophet’s (salla llaahu alayhi wa aalihee wa sallam) birthday brings the minds of the Muslims together after the dissension in the Ummah. What would you admonish these people?’
Answer: My response to those who claim that the celebration of the Prophet’s (salla laahu alayhi wa aalihee wa sallam) birthday do bring minds together and that it is in memory of the Messenger of Allaah (salla llaahu alayhi wa aalihee wa sallam) is as follows:
Firstly, I do not agree to this because those who converge for that purpose do differ in many other issues. It is impossible that Muslims’ minds generally converge on Bid’ah.
Secondly, this invention is something not legislated by Allaah and Allaah - The Exalted – as made other gatherings to the unify souls; people gather in the houses of Allaah five times daily. This suffices in soul unification and as such, we are not in need of their invented Bid’ah which they claim that unifies souls.
However, for the claim of the memory of the Messenger of Allaah (salla llaahu alayhi wa aalihee wa sallam), - Glorified is Allaah! - will someone not remember him except yearly? Do we not mention the Messenger in every act of worship? When we make ablution, two things are imperative; sincerity to Allaah and to comply with the Messenger of Allaah (salla llaahu alayhi wa aalihee wa sallam). So, each time one feels such compliance, one is in memory of the Messenger of Allaah (salla llaahu alayhi wa aalihee wa sallam). You say your prayers with the intent of complying with the Prophet (salla laahu alayhi wa aalihee wa sallam). Then on daily basis, we mention him at least five times in the Adhaan: ‘I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah’. From the foregoing, we are never in need of the Bid’ah, the Bid’ah of the Prophet’s birthday and we will refute it with a paragon; Glorified is Allaah!, who are you before the companions (may Allaah be pleased with them)? Who are you before the Taabi’oon? Who are you before the followers of the Taabi’oon? During the three favored generations (as above), such a celebration was not known until after the four hundredth year. Without doubts, this is a non-praiseworthy Bid’ah and all Bid’ah is heresy.
(Culled from ‘Liqaa’ul Baabal Maftooh’ (37/19) by Shaykh Saalih bn Uthaymeen (may Allaah bestow his mercy on him)).