Ayatollah Ja’far Sobhani said: “The [Wahhabi] clergy of Saudi Arabia shout and yell about how the birth anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad is an innovation and a heresy, but al-Azhar University has rejected this view, saying that the Prophet Muhammad fasted for two days because of his birthday.”
The remarks came days after some of the Wahhabi clerics banned the celebration of the Prophet Muhammad’s birth anniversary (PBUH) calling it “innovation”. Some Iraqi local news outlets also claimed last Sunday that security forces inside the occupied territories of the Islamic State has blocked efforts by Muslims to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad.
During his advanced principles of jurisprudence class, Ayatollah Sobhani opposed the action, saying: “Innovation denotes anything [new] which is without precedent in the religion and which a person imported into it. While there’s nothing which states we should celebrate the Prophet’s birth anniversary, we have no narration which states that we should not.”
The renowned scholar referred the Holy Quran which states: “Said Jesus son of Mary, ‘Oh God! Our Lord! Send down to us a table from the sky, to be a festival for us…” [5:114] and noted that Christians also celebrate this event [the Last Supper]. “Our proof is in these type of verses,” he explained.
He asked: “Is the birth of the Prophet Muhammad less [important] than the heavenly food sent down to the Prophet Jesus and his apostles? This heavenly food fed and satiated the apostles, yet the birth anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad is a blessing which enlightened the world and these blessings are thousands of times higher than the blessings which God sent to the apostles.”
Ayatollah Sobhani explained that when the divine food was sent down, Jesus Christ celebrated that day. “Don’t we have the right to celebrate the birth anniversary of the dearest personality in the world? A personality who saved the world from darkness, idolatry, female infanticide and other issues,” he stated.
He added that the love of the Prophet Muhammad is one of the obligations of our faith, asking: “Is sitting and reciting the verses of the Holy Quran about the Prophet Muhammad a symbol of love or hatred? This is an act of love in which by obeying the commands of the Prophet, we celebrate his birthday. Where is the innovation and heresy in this action?