Some Bid`ahs and evil acts on the Mawlid

Q: We are a group of people who memorize the Qur'an; we meet every year on the day of the Mawlid (the Prophet's birthday) in the shrine of a Waliy (a pious person), where an annual celebration is held, in which children are circumcised and people offer Sadaqah (voluntary charity) to students, whether in the form of money or supplies. After the people go away, the students collect the money, each according to their standard and generosity, and hold an auction to sell the items given to them as Sadaqah. For instance, one of them asks the others, "What have you put in this piece of cloth?" They reply, "We have put health, wealth, obedience of children, etc." Thus, this old piece of cloth is sold for many times its original price. This money is used to buy animals to be sacrificed in the shrine. The students stay in the shrine for a week, reciting the Qur'an many times every night, (Part No. 3; Page No. 42) and offering Salah inside the shrine, given that the shrine is inside the chamber, and the chamber is inside the graveyard. What is the ruling on such a deed? Is it a means to become closer to Allah or is it groundless in Shari`ah? Please advise, may Allah reward you!

A: First, Muhammad (peace be upon him) is our beloved Prophet; the most pre-eminent among the descendants of Adam; the last of prophets; the Messenger sent to all the people; and the first one to make Shafa`ah (intercession) on the Day of Judgment. However, celebrating his Mawlid is a Bid`ah (innovation in religion), as neither he (peace be upon him) nor the Rightly-Guided Caliphs or the rest of his Sahabah (Companions) did it, although they were the people who knew his Shari`ah the most, the believers who loved him most, and they were keen on following and honoring him. If celebrating the Mawlid had been permissible, they would have done it. This was not authentically reported from him (peace be upon him) or from them; it is considered an innovated Bid`ah. It was authentically reported that he (peace be upon him) said, If a person innovates things in our affairs for which there is no valid reason, these are to be rejected. Narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim. Doing this in the shrine of a righteous person makes this Bid`ah even more rejected and exceeding the limits in honoring the righteous people, which is considered evident falsehood. Second, circumcision for children is an act of Sunnah recommended by Fitrah (natural disposition); and Sadaqah itself extinguishes (the fire of) sin just as water extinguishes fire. Both are ordained and recommended by Shari`ah. However, doing this in an annual celebration at (Part No. 3; Page No. 43) the shrine of a righteous person and sacrificing animals there are Bid`ahs related to Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) and Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic time of ignorance), as they entail making the shrine a place of festivity and offering Qurbans (Oblations) for it, seeking blessing as it seems from the facts that circumcision is annually done there, money is given as Sadaqah, and animals are sacrificed there. It is reported from Thabit ibn Al-Dahhak (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said, A man made a vow to slaughter camels in Buwanah, so he asked the Prophet (peace be upon him), who in return asked him, "Did that place contain any idols worshipped in the time of Jahiliyyah?" People said, "No." He asked, "Was any pre-Islamic festival observed there?" They said, "No." The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Fulfill your vow, for a vow to do an act of disobedience to Allah is the one that must not be fulfilled, nor that over which a human being has no control. Narrated by Abu Dawud. Third, what the students do, staying for a week by the shrine, reciting the Qur'an many times every night, is another Bid`ah. Reciting Qur'an for the dead by the graves is another rejected Bid`ah. Fourth, their Salah inside the shrine in the chamber built in the graveyard is invalid, as it entails turning the graves into places of `Ibadah (worship), which the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) cursed. Thus, it is evident that the deeds you mentioned are a series of Bid`ahs which lead to Shirk and abominable acts. A person who sees such acts should renounce and change them (Part No. 3; Page No. 44) with their hand; if they are not able to do this, they should change them orally; if they are not able to do this, they should renounce them with the heart; and that is the least that should be done. It is authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Whoever, among you, sees something abominable should rectify it with the hand; if they are not able to do this, they should do it orally; and if they are not able to do this, they should renounce it with the heart; and that is the least that could be done." Narrated by Ahmad , Muslim , Abu Dawud , Al-Nasa'y , Al-Tirmidhy and Ibn Majah. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.