Worshipping Allah by maintaining His unity is very important. We do so in the way the companions of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) did. We do not invent or introduce new ways of worship as some people do.
They celebrate the birth of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), and they believe it is something good. They will even bring a verse from the Quran, saying: Allah says : Inn Laha Wa Malaikatahu Yu Salluna Alan Nabiy, Ya Ayyuhal lazeena amanu Sollu alaihi wa sallimu taslima.
“Verily, Allah and His Angels send blessings on the Prophet: O’ you who believe! Send blessings on him, and salute him with a worthy salutation.” [Quran: Al Ahzab Chapter 33], They will tell you that is what the verse means – to celebrate the birth of the Prophet. Unfortunately, that is their interpretation.
The point is the Companions of the Prophet did not interpret the verse that way. That is why they never celebrated his birthday. The prophet himself did not understand the verse that way and that was why he too never celebrated his birthday.
The early generation of the Muslims did not understand that way and they never celebrated it throughout their generation. It was 400 years after the death of the Prophet (s.a.w) that his birthday began to be celebrated in Egypt by the Shiites.
Come to think of it, what are we doing in the celebration?
We remember the prophet (s.a.w) and ask Allah to bless him, we remember his life times and messages. Yes all these are good, but to combine them and choose a day to celebrate these activities amounts to creating a new thing in the religion. This is bid’ah.
Similarly, if somebody suggests to you that you have to understand bid’ah. It is something completely new like the idea of celebrating the birthday of the prophet, because we do not have any precedence about it in Islam. The Sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w) is not just following what he did but also what he did not do. We have the Sunnah feeliyah – which means sunnah of actions which he did and Sunnah Terikiyah – sunnah of the actions which he did not do especially about things connected to the religion.
The things he did not do is the sunnah not to do. This can open the door for a lot of things he didnt do and before you know it, the religion becomes innovated. You then have the liberty to change the religion at will.
Look at the issue of what the Prophet said: “prayer in jamaah is worthy 27 times than prayer by yourself. He also said: Whenever you entered the Masjid, you should pray 2 rakah before sitting down. These are elementary of the hadiths.
Everybody knows these. But let us put these two together. You now come to the masjid and I tell you let us pray the tayyiatul Masjid 2 rakaah of entering mosque in jamaah, because the prayer in jamaah is worth 27 times than prayer by yourself. Can we do that? Looking at the two hadiths, what will be the logical thing to do?
Obviously, we cannot pray the 2 rakah in jamaah simply because the Prophet himself did not do it? He made Tahjud in Jamaah, we can also do that, this is sunnah.
Certainly not tayyiatul masjid in jamaah. This is well emphasise in his statement that: maa taraktu shaiy’an, yuqoribukum illa Lahi, illa wa martukum bihi. Meaning: I didn’t leave with you anything which will bring you closer to Allah without instructing you to do it. That is the bottom line. If it is going to bring you closer to Allah, Prophet Muhammad, (s.a.w) would have told us to do. If he didn’t tell us to do, it will not bring us closer to Allah, no matter how good you think it is or how many reason you give behind it.
It will rather take you far away from Allah. Mann adatha fi amrina, hazha maa laisa fihi, fahuwa rodu. Meaning whoever introduces anything new in this religion not approved by Allah, it is rejected. This is to protect the religion in its pristine purity so that it will not be distorted like other religions.