Praise be to Allaah alone, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger and his family and companions.
Celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is an innovation (bid’ah) which goes against the guidance of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and of the Rightly Guided Khaleefahs (al-khulafaa’ al-raashidoon) and the Sahaabah, may Allaah be pleased with them. It is proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever does anything that is not part of this matter of ours (i.e., Islam), will have it rejected.” (For more details, please see Question # 249).
Believing that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is not like the rest of humanity, and that he is light from the Light of Allaah Himself is not a correct belief, because it contradicts the Qur’aan. Allaah has stated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is human, and has explained what makes the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) different from the rest of mankind. He said (interpretation of the meaning):
“Say (O Muhammad): ‘I am only a man like you. It has been inspired to me that your God is One God (Allaah). So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.” [al-Kahf 18:110]
Mankind, human beings, are created, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him He created his wife (Hawwa/Eve), and from them both He created many men and women…” [al-Nisaa’ 4:1]
“O mankind, if you are in doubt about the Resurrection, then verily! We have created you from dust, then from a nutfah (mixed drops of male and female sexual discharge)…” [al-Hajj 22:5]
“O Prophet! Verily, We have sent you as witness, and a bearer of glad tidings, and a warner, - and as one who invites to Allaah by His leave, and as a lamp spreading light.” [al-Ahzaab 33:45-46]
In contrast, Allaah is the First, and He has no beginning, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“He is the First (nothing is before Him) and the Last (nothing is after Him), the Most High (nothing is above Him), and the Most Near (nothing is nearer than Him). And He is the All-Knower of every thing.” [al-Hadeed 57:3]
Allaah called His Prophet “light” and a “lamp spreading light” because of the guidance and light with which Allaah sent him, with which Allaah guides all those who answer his call (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“… Indeed, there has come to you a light (Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)) and a plain Book (this Qur’aan).” [al-Maa’idah 5:15]
Saying that he is present and watching in every place, that he is himself present at every gathering to celebrate his birthday, and that he hears what the people present are saying, is all false. There is no basis for this in either the Qur’aan or the Sunnah.
Calling on him and seeking his help and support is a form of major shirk which is not permitted, whether one is calling on the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or on any other created being, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“… so invoke not anyone along with Allaah.” [al-Junn 72:18]
“And whoever invokes (or worships) besides Allaah, any other god of whom he has no proof, then his reckoning is only with his Lord. Surely! Al-kaafiroon (the disbelievers) will not be successful.” [al-Mu’minoon 23:117]
(Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 3/4)
The Muslim should follow, not innovate. He should believe in Allaah alone, call on Him alone and seek His help alone. He should not call on or seek the help of anyone else. The consequences of shirk are devastating, as it will wipe out all a person’s good deeds and lead to his doom in Hell. Bid’ah is a serious matter, which will cause a person’s deeds to be thrown back at him, not accepted. The Muslim should love, respect, honour and obey the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and give his words precedence over the words of any other human being, but it is not permitted to exaggerate about him, or to raise his status above that which has been bestowed upon him by Allaah, or to call on him instead of Allaah, because this is a violation of the rights of Allaah, and involves directing acts of worship to someone other than Allaah, when they should only be directed towards Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted. We ask Allaah to help us to do that which will please Him and to avoid that which will earn His wrath, and to help us to love Him and His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad. And Allaah knows best.