Mawlidur Rasul

Mawlid According to the Salafi ‘Ulama

by Sheikh Hisham Kabbani

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

What the Salafi `Ulema Say about Mawlid

We begin with the name of Allah Almighty, and with praise and the invocation of peace on His beloved Messenger, and on his family and Companions, and his followers in the way of Truth against falsehood and injustice, up to the end of time.

We are now in a time when the enemies of Islam are like wolves, not just barking on the threshold, but roving through our home with no one armed and able to defend the weak and frightened within. The majority of “scholars” are under the pay of one oppressive regime or another and none are free or willing to risk themselves to bring forth the light of truth.

Alhamdulillah, praise be to our Lord Almighty, who in every century sends some of His righteous servants to rouse the Ummah from its sluggishness, restore it to its rightful position as the leader of Nations and to raise the flag of Prophet Muhammad high for all nations and all people to gaze upon with awe and respect.

The Importance of Loving Prophet Muhammad

Love of the Prophet (s) is a requirement on every believer. This is mentioned in Qur’an: “Say: If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you” (Ali `Imran, 31).

The celebration of the Holy Prophet’s birth (s) is motivated by this obligation to love the Prophet, peace be upon him, to obey him, to remember him, to follow his example, and to be proud of him as Allah is proud of him, since Allah has boasted about him in His Holy Book by saying:

“Truly you are of a magnificent character” (al-Qalam, 4).

Love of the Prophet (s) is what differentiates the believers in the perfection of their Iman. In an authentic hadith related in Bukhari and Muslim, the Prophet (s) said:

“None of you believes until he loves me more than he loves his children, his parents, and all of mankind.”

Perfection of faith is dependent on love of the Prophet (s) because Allah and His angels are constantly praising his honor, as is meant by the verse:
“Allah and His angels are praying on the Prophet.”
The divine order that immediately follows in the verse,
“O Believers, pray on him…”
makes it clear that the quality of being a believer is dependent on and manifested by praying on the Prophet. O Allah! Send peace and blessings on the Prophet, his family and his Companions.

The Need for Mawlid in America

In our Islamic countries, love of the Prophet (s) is found everywhere and is encouraged by the society. There, our children are brought with the name of Muhammad (s) in their mind, as their leader and example and the one to be loved above all people. However here, in the West, no such environment exists and we find ourselves cut off from that connection. In western nations and especially the United States, we believe that the emphasis on the love of the Prophet (s) needs to be stressed, even more perhaps than in our Islamic nations. Because we are living in a secular society, where even the public mention of God is almost a criminal act and where the name of Muhammad (s), brings images of desert bandits, terrorism and compulsion with swords. Unfortunately this is the propaganda which we find ourselves and our children subject to.

On the other hand, Jesus (as) is remembered with fondness, but with the false misconception that he is the “son” of God (hasha). With the extensive amount of advertising and information about Jesus (as) according to the Christian perspective, we find our children being strongly influenced, especially because of Christmas and its pagan trappings. Therefore we find that many Muslim children, raised by practicing Muslim parents with the best of intentions, know the exact date of the birth of Jesus (as), according to the Christian beliefs. But if you ask them “when was your prophet born” they cannot answer. In this way, the importance of Sayiddina Muhammad is reduced in their eyes in front of “baby Jesus.”

Since the permissibility of Mawlid according to Ahl as-Sunnah wal Jama’at scholars is well-established, we believe the most effective way to influence and effect our children to love our beloved Prophet (s) is the remembrance of the Birthday of the Prophet (s) in keeping with the sharia’a, and in a manner that will completely counter the effects of Christmas on their young minds and hearts. We cannot emphasize enough how beneficial the effect of such observances is on young children growing up in the land of kufr.

Unfortunately, when the celebration of Mawlid is proposed in many mosques and Islamic Centers in the west, and especially in the U.S. and Canada, we find a small but vocal group opposed to this practice, even though its permissibility is well-established. They vigourously oppose even the mention of the birthday of the Prophet (s) as a bida’a. And they claim that their viewpoint is supported by Salafi scholars.

Our intention in this pamphlet is to provide evidence that the Mawlid is acceptable according to the scholars of the Salafi school, the school followed by those who are opposed to the Mawlid. Such fatawi (religious legal rulings) were made by all the scholars of the Salafi school and they must be studied by all those who claim to follow that school.


Permissibility of Mawlid According to Ahl as-Sunnah w’ al Jama’at Scholars

The opinion of the scholars of Ahl as-Sunnah wal Jama’at on the permissibility of Mawlid is well known. Our intention here is not to present the proofs of Ahl as-Sunnah wal Jama’at scholars on the acceptibility of the Mawlid. These proofs are numerous, and are based on Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (s). For references to such proofs, see our book entitled “Innovation and True Belief: The Celebration of Mawlid.”(1) Our intention is to present the fact that the `ulama of the Salafi school accepted the Mawlid and did not object to it.

In any case, it is well-known that the mawlid is celebrated in nearly every Islamic country in the world. It goes by many names, but the concept is the same: to show our love, respect and praise to our Lord for sending our beloved Prophet (s) to us and to all creation on that day, the day of his birth (s). Mawlid is known as Mevlud in Turkey, Albania, Greece, Bosnia (where its celebration is an important festival). It is called Milad in Pakistan and India, where its celebration is a wonderful holiday. And of course is called Dhikr Mawlid Rasul-Allah (s) in almost all Arab countries.


Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyya’s Opinion on the Celebration of the Mawlid

This is Imam Ibn Taymiyya’s opinion about Mawlid from: “the Collected Fatwas,” (“Majma’ Fatawi Ibn Taymiyya,”) Vol. 23, p. 163: “fa-t’adheem al-Mawlid wat-tikhaadhuhu mawsiman qad yaf’alahu ba’ad an-naasi wa yakunu lahu feehi ajra `adheem lihusni qasdihi t’adheemihi li-Rasulillahi, salla-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam”

“To celebrate and to honor the birth of the Prophet (s) and to take it as an honored season, as some of the people are doing, is good and in it there is a great reward, because of their good intentions in honoring the Prophet (s).”


Ibn Qayyim’s Opinion on Recitation of the Prophet’s (s) Birthday

Allama Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyyah, the best and most reknowned student of Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyya, writes, on page 498 of “Madarij as-Salikin,”
“Listening to a good voice celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (s) or celebrating any of the holy days in our history gives peace to the heart, and gives the listener light from the Prophet (s) to his heart, and he will drink more from the Muhammadan spring (`ayn al-Muhammadiyya).”


Ibn Kathir Praises the Night of Mawlid

One of the most reknowned scholars is Ibn Kathir. Ibn Kathir was a muhaddith from the followers of Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyya, rahmatullah `alayh. Ibn Kathir, in the last days of his life wrote a book entitled “Mawlid Rasul Allah (s)” which was spread far and wide. That book mentioned the permissibility and recommendability of celebrating the Mawlid.

Ibn Kathir says in the aforementioned book, p. 19:
“The Night of the Prophet’s (s) birth is a magnificent, noble, blessed and holy night, a night of bliss for the believers, pure, radiant with lights and of immeasurable price.”

Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyya Said: “Laylat al-‘Israa’ wal-Mi’raj is Greater than Laylat al-Qadr”

Imam Ibn Taymiyya said that Laylat al-‘Israa’ wal-Mi’raj was better than Laylat al-Qadr. He is quoted by Ibn Qayyim in the latter’s book, “al-Badaa’i,” Vol. 3, page 162: “wa suila shaikh ul-Islam `an Laylat ul-Qadri wa Laylat ul- ‘Israai’ ayyuhuma afdal? Fa-ajaaba bi-anna Laylat ul-‘Israai’ afdal fee haqq in-Nabee”

“Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyya was asked, `Which is better, Laylat al-Qadr or Laylat al-‘Israa’?’ and he answered, `With respect to the Prophet (s), Laylat al-‘Israa’ is better than Laylat al-Qadr.'”


The Importance of Laylat al-Mawlid

Now we ask: If Ibn Taymiyya accepted that Laylat al-‘Israa’ may be considered better than Laylat ul-Qadr, why not consider that Laylat al-Mawlid is better than Laylat al-‘Israa’, since the Night of the Prophet’s (s) Birth is the night in which was born the one who went to `Isra’ and Mi’raaj? Therefore we say, as Ibn Marzuq, the reknowned student of Imam Nawawi said: “Laylat al-Mawlid is better than Laylat al-Qadr.”


Ibn Kathir Mentions The Prophet (s) Accepting Poetry in His Honor

In the time of the Prophet (s), it is well-known that poets came to him with all kinds of works praising him, writing about his campaigns and battles and about the Sahaba. This is proved by the numerous poems quoted in the Siras of Ibn Hisham, al-Waqidi, and others. The Prophet (s) was happy with good poetry. It is reported in Bukhari’s “al-Adab al-Mufrad” that he said: “There is wisdom in poetry.”

Ibn Kathir says in his “Mawlid,” page 30: “The Prophet’s (s) uncle al-‘Abbas (r) composed poetry praising the birth of the Prophet (s), in which are found the following lines: `When you were born, the earth was shining, and the firmament barely contained your light, and we can pierce through, thanks to that radiance and light and path of guidance.'”

Ibn Kathir mentions the fact that according to the Sahaba, the Prophet (s) praised his own name and recited poetry about himself in the middle of the battle of Hunayn in order to encourage the Companions and frighten the enemies. That day he said (s): “Ana an-Nabee, laa kadhib Ana ibn `abd al-Muttalib” meaning: “I am the Prophet! This is no lie. I am the son of `Abd al-Muttalib!”


Ibn Qayyim on the Singing and Recitation of Poetry

`Allama Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya wrote in his book “Madarij as- Salikin,” Vol. 1:
“the Prophet (s) also gave permission to sing in wedding celebrations, and allowed poetry to be recited to him. He heard Anas (r) and the Companions praising him and reciting poems while digging before the famous battle of the Trench (Khandaq) as they said: “We are the ones who gave bay’ah to Muhammad for jihad as long as we are living.”

Ibn Qayyim also mentions `Abdullah ibn Rawaha’s long poem praising the Prophet (s) as the latter entered Mecca, after which, the Prophet (s) prayed for him. He prayed that Allah support Hassan, another poet, with the Holy Spirit as long as he would support the Prophet (s) with his poetry. Similarly the Prophet (s) rewarded Ka’b ibn Zubayr’s poem of praise with a robe. Ibn Qayyim continues, “`A’isha always recited poems praising him and he was happy with her.”

Ibn Qayyim on the Melodious Recitation of Qur’an

Ibn al-Qayyim says in the same book, page 488, “Allah gave permission to his Prophet (s) to recite the Qur`an in a melodious way. ”

Ibn Qayyim continues, “The Prophet (s) said, `Decorate the Qur’an with your voices,’ and `Who does not sing the Qur’an is not from us.’ Ibn Qayyim comments on page 490: “To take pleasure in a good voice is acceptable, as is taking pleasure from nice scenery, such as mountains or nature, or from a nice smell, or from good food, as long as it is conforming to shari’a. If listening to a good voice is haram, then taking pleasure in all these other things is also haram.”

Ibn Taymiyya’s Opinion on the Meetings of Dhikr

The following is the opinion of Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyya on meetings of dhikr. It can be found in Vol. 22, page 253 of the Collected Fatwas, King Khalid ibn `Abdul `Aziz edition (“Majma’a Fatawa Ibn Taymiyya”):
Ibn Taymiyya was asked about people that gather in a masjid making dhikr and reading Qur’an, praying to Allah and taking their turbans off their heads (leaving their heads bare) and crying, while their intention is not pride nor showing off but seeking to draw closer to Allah: is it acceptable or not?

He replied: Not only is it acceptable but it is good and recommended.

Wa min Allah at-tawfiq (from Allah is all success).

HUSN AL MAQSID FI `AMAL AL-MAWLID

THE GOODNESS OF INTENTION IN CELEBRATING THE PROPHET’S BIRTHDAY

Translated from Suyuti’s ‘Al-Hawi lil-Fatawi’ 2 vols. (Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-`Arabi, n.d.) 1:251-252.

Praise be to God and peace be upon those of His servants He has elected. The question has been asked about the celebration of Mawlid al-Nabawi in the month of Rabi` al-awwal: what is the ruling concerning it according to shari`a, and is it praiseworthy or blameworthy, and does the one who practices it obtain reward for it or no?

“I answer that the origin of the celebration of Mawlid, which consists in the gathering of people, the recitation of Qur’an, the narrating of accounts related to the beginnings of the Prophet (s) and the miracles that have been told as taking place upon his birth, and then in the giving of food to the people who eat and leave without adding anything to this, — *this is one of the praiseworthy innovations* [huwa min al-bida` al-hasana] for the doing of which one obtains reward, because of the respect shown to the greatness of the Prophet (s) and the demonstration of joy and happiness at the news of his noble birth.

“The first to have innovated that practice is the ruler of Irbil, King al-Muzaffar Abu Sa`eed… one of the noblest and most generous kings (to have ruled). He left man good bequests. He is the one who built the Muzaffari mosque on the side of Jabal Qasyun [in Syria; it is said that Judgment Day will take place on that mountain].

“Ibn Kathir said in his ‘Tarikh’ [History]:

  • ‘He [Muzaffar] used to celebrate the noble Mawlid in Rabi` al-Awwal and organize huge festivities for it. He was a wise king, brave, a fierce fighter, intelligent, learned, and just. May he have mercy on him and ennoble his grave. Shaykh Abu al-Khattab ibn Dihya compiled for him a book on the Mawlid of the Prophet (s) an named it ‘al-Tanwir fi Mawlid al-Bashir al-Nadhir’ [The Illumination Concerning the Birthday of the Bringer of Glad Tidings and Warner] and the king rewarded him with 1,000 dinars for it. His rule lasted until he died in the year 630 [Hijri] as he was besieging the French in the city of Acca [Acre, Palestine] after a glorious and blameless life.'”

It is enough for now to show the position of Suyuti on celebrating the Mawlid. His entire fatwa is that it is good to celebrate it. He calls it “a praiseworthy innovation” according to Imam Shafi`i’s classification of innovations between “good” and “bad.”

To name but a few other sources on the same opinion:

Ibn Kathir composed an entire book proving that Mawlid is permissible. So did Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, so did the Shaykh of hadith al-Kattani, and so did Shaykh al-Maliki al-Husayni more recently in ‘al-Dhakha’ir’, as did Shaykh Hisham Kabbani publish a booklet  on the subject for English-speaking Muslims

Blessings and Peace on the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions.

 

al-Hafiz Imaduddin Ibn Kathir

About Ibn Kathir’s Book of Mawlid

We are currently in the process of translating the book Dhikr Mawlid Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi was-salam wa Rida’atihi li ibn Kathir. The book was written by Shaikh ul-Islam ‘Imaduddin Ibn Kathir, a follower of ash-Shaikh Taqi ad-Din Ibn Taymiyya.

The book consists of 31 pages. We obtained a copy from the Library of University of Princeton, between the many manuscripts there where it was kept in collection under number 4098. Collection 4098 has sixteen different important manuscripts, with “Dhikra Mawlid Rasulullah” being one of them.

That book was written by Ibn Kathir who is a vey well-known scholar from the Salafi school and who was a student of the main Imam and founder of the Salafi school Shaikh ul-Islam, Taqi ad-Din Ibn Taymiyya. When he died, Shaikh Ibn Kathir was buried beside his shaikh, Ibn Taymiyya in the Sufi cemetery in Damascus (al-maqbirat is-sufiyya fi Dimashq).

On the first page of the manuscript, Ibn Kathir says he wrote the book at the request of one of the muadhineen (adhan callers) in the mosque al-Muzaffari in Damascus, mosque of the Hanbalis, in the Salihiyya District –the mosque built by Muzaffar ad-Din Kawkaburi. It was known in Damascus as Jami’a al-Hanabila. At that time Ibn Kallikan, the historian, described the Mawlid of the Prophet (s) as a big celebration, which all scholars of the time used to take as a national holiday and a religious, holiday including Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Kathir. In that mosque was happening a big ceremony for the mawlid. Therefore the muadhins of that mosque, ash-Shaikh ‘Imad ud-din Abi Bakr and the Shaikh Badruddin Hassan asked Ibn Kathir to write a book about the permissiblity of Mawlid in Islam.

Being a talmeez (follower) to his shaikh, Ibn Kathir felt it necessary to ask his shaikh’s permission for writing such a book. He asked Shaikh Ibn Taymiyya, if he had permssion to write it. Shaikh Ibn Taymiyya gave him permission and encouraged him to do that. This manuscript tells us that Ibn Kathir and Ibn Taymiyya, the great scholars of Islam, were giving permission and authorizing reading of the remembrance of the Mawlid ash-sharif.

In order for the general public to understand, Ibn Kathir wrote it in a very easy language and he included in it what is good to be done in the remembrance of the Mawlid of the Prophet (s), specifically the poetry, the seerah and what is to be said.

Ibn Kathir says in this book, on page 19:

“The Night of the Prophet’s (s) birth is a magnificent, noble, blessed and holy night, a night of bliss for the Believers, pure, radiant with lights and of immeasurable price.”

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