Celebrating innovated festivals
What is the shar’i ruling on celebrating festivals such as the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), children’s birthdays, Mother’s Day, Tree Week and national holidays?

Praise be to Allaah.
Firstly:
‘Eid (festival) is the name given to something
which returns ya’ood , and is used to describe gatherings which happen repeatedly, on a yearly, monthly or weekly basis, etc. So an ‘eid includes a number of things, such as a day which comes regularly, e.g., ‘Eid al-Fitr and Friday; gatherings on that day; and actions such as acts of worship and customs which are done on that day.

Secondly:
any of these things which are intended as rituals or acts of worship aimed at drawing closer to Allaah or glorifying Him in order to earn reward, or which involve imitating the people of Jaahiliyyah or any other groups of kaafirs, is a prohibited bid’ah, an innovation which comes under the general meaning of the hadeeth: “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours (Islam) that is not part of it, will have it rejected.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim).

Examples of that include Mawlid al-Nabi (the Prophet’s birthday), Mother’s Day and national holidays, because in the first case there are innovated acts of worship which Allaah has not prescribed, and because it involves imitation of the Christians and other kaafirs. And in the second and third cases there is imitation of the kuffaar.

But in cases where the intention is to organize work to serve the interests of the ummah and to put its affairs straight, or to organize programs of study, or to bring employees together for work purposes etc., which in and of themselves do not involve acts of worship and glorification, then these are a kind of benign innovation which do not come under the meaning of the hadeeth, “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours (Islam) that is not a part of it will have it rejected.” So there is nothing wrong with such things, indeed they are allowed by sharee’ah.

And Allaah is the Source of strength. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions, and grant them peace.