Fourth claim: Although we acknowledge that it is a Bid’ah (innovation) to celebrate Al-Mawlid due to the fact that the different acts of worship performed during it were not collectively practiced at the time of the Prophet (pbuh) we still hold that it is a good Bid’ah because these acts are mentioned in some general texts individually. So we accept that it is a Bid’ah in the sense that it is a new phenomenon, but not regarding all its details because these did exist individually at the time of the Prophet (pbuh).
Refutation: The presence of the necessity of establishing a certain act of worship at the time of the Prophet (pbuh) plus the absence of any preventing factors, in addition to the fact that the Prophet (pbuh) did not do it, are all factors which determine that celebrating Al-Mawlid is a Bid’ah.
A Bid’ah can never be deemed as good, even if there are texts that generally recommend the innovative acts performed for other times and places. To illustrate this point, the remaining companions of the Prophet (pbuh) condemned and rejected Marwaan Ibn Al-Hakam (رحمه الله)when he innovated of a new Adhaan, or call for prayer, for the ‘Eed prayer. This was despite the fact that the Adhaan already existed for the five daily prayers and so was not something entirely new. Likewise, it would be an innovation if someone were to pray at a specific time of the day or the week, a certain number of optional prayers. This is because although praying is an act which is legislated and the Islamic texts recommend it, specifying a time and a set number of prayers with the intention of pleasing Allah is an innovation if specific supportive evidences to prove the legitimacy of the specified time, day and number of prayers are not given.
Once an act is proven to be a Bid’ah, it can never be deemed of as good because the Prophet (pbuh) gave a comprehensive statement saying: “Every Bid’ah (innovation) is misguidance” [Ahmad, Tirmithi and others].
Shaykh Al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (رحمه الله)said: “If something is called a Bid’ah, yet was proven to be good according to evidences from the Sharee’ah, then it must be one of two things:
It is not a Bid’ah by the Islamic definition but rather linguistically (i.e. something abandoned and then newly revived) like the saying of ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab : “Good Bid’ah” when he observed that the people had gathered behind one Imaam to lead them in their Taraaweeh prayers in congregation during Ramadan”.
It is a special case which is exempted from the general texts because it has a specific evidence, but the general text still applies to every other case other than the special one (i.e. nobody is permitted to use this special case as an excuse to oppose the general text and innovate new things due to it).” He) (رحمه الله) also said: “It is well known that any form of worship which was not established by either the Prophet (pbuh) or his companions, or shown by the trustworthy scholars to have a firm foundation, is rejected.”
Ibn Rajab, (رحمه الله) said: “The description of some of the Salaf about some matters being ‘good Bid’ah'(s) are always in the linguistic sense of the term and never the religious one, like for example, the saying of ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab : “Good Bid’ah” when he observed that the people had gathered behind one Imaam to lead them in their Taraweeh prayers in congregation during Ramadan. Praying Taraweeh in congregation was practiced by the Prophet (pbuh) and all that these people were doing was simply reviving an act which already existed, so the usage of the term here must have been purely linguistic.”