Clergy Corner

Celebrating the Prophet’s Birthday

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Gathering together to celebrate the Prophet’s birthday and reciting poems and mentioning the virtues and merits of his holiness are not worshiping him. If someone knows even a little about general rules of Divine Law and religious principles, (s)he will not call these actions worship. Of course, these works are for celebration and respect and glorification of Imams, but any veneration and glorification is not worship. If this is in this way, any speech or sermon on reverence toward any person will be worship.

Is celebrating the Prophet’s and holy personalities’ (peace be upon them) birthdays considered worship and/or innovation?

It is evident that celebrating the Prophet and the holy personalities’ birthdays is not considered as worshiping them, because when a person sets something as God or a god and considers him to have an effect on his fate and the world, and as an object of worship and God, he venerates and prostrates in the presence of him/it, whether in speech or in action, these acts will be worship. However, gathering together to celebrate the Prophet’s birthday and reciting poems and mentioning the virtues and merits of his holiness are not worshiping him. If someone knows even a little about general rules of Divine Law and religious principles, (s)he will not call these actions worship. Of course, these works are for celebration and respect and glorification of Imams, but any veneration and glorification is not worship. If this is in this way, any speech or sermon on reverence toward any person will be worship.

Muslims respect and praise each other, mention virtues and merits of each other, stand up in front of each other, commend and admire the heads and the authorities of their country – if praising and commending are equal to worship, all of us would be heathens. It means that this matter is not reserved for glorifying and exalting the Prophet and holy figures, but rather includes all panegyrics and reverences. All of these claims and accusations are in the way that no one performs these celebrations and mourning as worship. Thus, these difficulties and objections are unimportant and unacceptable.

The claim of being innovation is not acceptable, because ”innovation” is that we attribute a matter to the Lawgiver and religion and claim that this act is desirable to the Lawgiver or, for example, it is compulsory or recommended. That is, if there is not such a thing in Divine Law and religious teachings, and no evidence can be found for its claim. Naturally, if there is even any evidence in general way or absolute, acceptability will suffice, but if there is no evidence, and we still attribute that matter to religion, such a thing is ”innovation”.

But if a person performs an act in the hope that it is desirable to the Lawgiver, neither with the claim of desirability of Lawgiver nor believing that this act is from religion, it will not be innovation. Similarly, if a person performs permitted acts without believing that these acts are desirable to the Lawgiver, that is also not innovation. Also, there is no objection in performing other acts without claiming that they are desirable or recommended. For example, celebrating children’s birthdays is not recommended in religious law, but it is also not forbidden, so it is allowable, and anyone who does so is not accused of innovation and the like. In celebration and gatherings which are held for the Prophet and the Imams, if a person does not intend to consider something recommended or add something in religious law, there is no logical possibility of innovation.

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