Archive for the ‘Commemorating the Prophet’s Birthday’ category

Fatawa of rightly guided Imams on Mawlid

June 29, 2007

Razing the house of the prophet’s birthplace

June 29, 2007

Excerpt from al-Sayyid Yusuf al-Rifa`i’s recent epistle, *Advice to Our Brothers the Ulema of Najd* (Nasiha li-Ikhwanina `Ulama’ Najd):

34 – Eradicating the House of his Mawlid

You tried and continue to try – as if it were your goal in life – to destroy the last remnant of the historical vestiges of the Messenger of Allah , namely the noble place where he was born.

This house was razed then changed into a cattle market, then some pious people used ruse to transform it into a library which became “Maktabat Makka al-Mukarrama.”

You began to pry at that place with evil stares and vengeful threats, trying to entrap it with the official departments. You openly requested that it be destroyed and have shown hostility to the authorities, pressing them hard to effect such destruction after the decision taken to that effect by the organization of your major scholars a few years ago. I have an explicit taped recording of this decision. But the Custodian of the Two Sanctuaries, King Fahd – the prudent and wise man who is aware of next-worldly consequences – ignored your request and froze it indefinitely.

Alas, for shame! Such disrespect and disloyalty against this noble Prophet by whom Allah Most High brought us out and yourselves and your ancestors into light! What shamelessness in his presence the Day we come to drink from his blessed Basin! Alas, woe and misery for a Sect that hates its Prophet whether in word or in deed, holding him in contempt and trying its best to eradicate his traces! Yet Allah Most High says to us: {Take as your place of worship the place where Ibrahim stood (to pray)} (2:125). And He said, bestowing on the Israelites the gifts of Talut, Musa, and Harun: {And their Prophet said unto them: Lo! the token of his kingdom is that there shall come to you the ark wherein is peace of reassurance from your Lord, and a remnant of that which the house of Musa and the house of Harun left behind, the angels bearing it. Lo! herein shall be a token for you if (in truth) you are believers} (2:248). The Ulema of Quranic commentary said that these vestiges consisted in the staff of Musa – upon him peace-, his sandals, etc.1

Read also, if you like, the sound and authentic hadiths that pertain to the physical and personal relics of the Prophet and the true concern of the Companions – Allah be well-pleased with them – over them as mentioned in the pages of Sahih al-Bukhari. There is enough evidence {for him who has a heart or gives ear with full intelligence} (50:37) and ample provision for those who think and reflect.2

NOTES

1 “The Beast shall come out and with her is Sulayman’s seal-ring and Musa’s rod…” Narrated from Abu Hurayra by al-Tirmidhi (hasan gharîb) and Ahmad.

2 Cf. Shaykh H. Kabbani’s Encyclopedia (4:135-156) and defect LINK: http://sunnah.org/ibadaat/tawassul_3.htm#Tabarruk

GF Haddad


Salam `alaykum:Someone wrote in newsgroup soc.religion.islam:

Assalam Alaiqum.I come from a family where Mawlid (Milad un Nabi) has been regularly observed together with Darood Sharif etc, hence I myself see nothing wrong with it. Please do answer some of my questions:

Is Mawlid only considered a bad innovation in Saudi Arabia or is it considered bad throughout the Middle East (Egypt etc)?

Wa `alaykum as-Salam,

It is considered a bad innovation by the Wahhabi school which is prevalent in Saudi Arabia and has spread through the Middle East. However, the prevalent position in the Middle East other than Saudi Arabia, is that Mawlid is permissible and praiseworthy.

Is it true that the saudi Government actually desecrated the grave of the mother of Prophet Muhammed last year and further desecrated the grave of his father back some years ago? Even typing this makes me tremble, but is it true? I’ve heard they accuse people of “worshipping” the graves and that’s why they decided to buldoze them.

Yes, as I just mentioned in my post “Grave Destruction and Desecration” they poured gasoline over the grave of the Prophet’s Mother Amina bint Wahb RadyAllahu anha wa Ardaha, and may Allah requite them with His full measure.

Yes, they bulldozed the graves of the Noble Family and Companions on the grounds of their impious accusations of shirk against the Umma, but when it came to the University of Damascus bulldozing the graves of their beloved Ibn Taymiyya and his student Ibn Kathir to make way for its campus in the Fifties, King Sa`ud ibn `Abd al-`Aziz intervened and they still stand today.

Further, so many historical places, visited by the Prophet and his Sahabi’s are being destroyed, then why dosen’t the Islamic world raise their voices against this and protest to the Saudi Government?

Because – I am sorry to say – the Islamic world has added Riyal Riyal Riyal as a fourth Tasbih after Salat, as our teacher Mawlana al-Shaykh Nazim said. See the page http://sunnah.org/articles/adhan_muhammadi.htm for his complete talk.

The majority of scholars do agree don’t they that it is possible to see the Prophet in ones dreams? And is it also true that whenever one greets the Prophet whether in Medina or any where else, the Prophet actually responds to that?

The totality of the Ulema, including the scholars of their school, agree that it is possible to see him in dream. Where they rear up their heads is on seeing him while awake, as I mentioned in my original post. For they judge everything according to their blind sights.

GF Haddad ©

Mufti Taqi Usmani on Mawlid

June 29, 2007

Mufti Taqi Usmani’s
Fatwa on Mawlid

Comments on Mufti Taqi Usmani’s Fatwa on Mawlid

by GF HaddadBismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim

{ Obey Allah, and Obey the Messenger
and those in authority among you. }

“None of you is a believer until he loves me more than his own soul.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

On http://www.albalagh.net/taqi.shtml, a page in English devoted to Mufti Taqi Usmani says verbatim that “[He] is one of the leading Islamic scholars living today. Author of more than 40 books, he is an expert in the fields of Islamic law, Economics and Hadith. For the past 35 years, he has been teaching at the Darul-Uloom in Karachi that was established by his father Mufti Muhammad Shafi, the late Grand Mufti of Pakistan. He also holds a degree in law and is a Judge at the Sharia Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. He is a consultant to several international Islamic financial institutions and has played a key part in the move toward interest free banking and the establishment of Islamic financial institutions. He is the deputy chairman of the Jeddah based Islamic Fiqh Council of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).”

On http://www.albalagh.net/general/rabi-ul-awwal.shtml another page in English features Mufti Taqi Usmani’s fatwa on Mawlid.

From the latter page I’ve excerpted the following statements as they were posted verbatim as of 11 July, 2000, in their order of appearance in the text. I’ve numbered them for easier perusal and reference. After each excerpt, I’ve added a few comments according to need, in conformity with the duty enjoined on us by the Prophet of Nasiha – sincere faithfulness to Allah and sincere, faithful advice to the Muslims.

These comments were written in the light of what I have learnt through the immense mercy of Allah Most High at the hands of our Sunni Naqshbandi Shuyukh – may Allah grant them long life and health – at their forefront Mawlana al-Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani, shedding much-needed light on the numerous misconceptions and misrepresentations of this fatwa.

It is left to the Muslim reader to verify firsthand to what extent such a fatwa by Mufti Taqi Usmani is based on fact and on the sources of Islam which are Qur’an, Sunna, Ijma` and Qiyas. And may Allah send uninterrupted blessings and peace on the first and foremost subject of these lines, Sayyidina Muhammad, and grant him the Wasila and Highmost Station of Intercession for Mankind, and upon his Family and all his Companions. Amin.

Mufti Taqi Usmani said:

1. “Rabi’ul-Awwal is the most significant month in the Islamic history, because humanity has been blessed in this month by the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam.”

Comment: This is true, yet the author further down (item #17) annuls the benefit of his own statement by denying the validity of any specific day of that month as an appropriate or preferable date for celebrating Mawlid and goes so far as to condemn the choice of that date as a reprehensible innovation. Then he castigates the highlighting of that month to celebrate Mawlid as well!

2. “Thus the birth of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was the most significant and the most remarkable event in human history.”

Comment: This is a confession by Mufti Taqi `Usmani that the night of the Mawlid Sharif is of greater significance and merit than Laylat al-Qadr which is the position of some of the Maliki Imams as cited by Abu al-`Abbas al-Wansharisi (d. 914) in his encyclopdia of Maliki fatwas titled _al-Mi`yar al-Mu`rab wa al-Jami` al-Mughrib fi Fatawa Ahl Ifriqya wa al-Andalus wa al-Maghrib (11:280-285).

Similarly, the Maliki Hadith Master and Imam, al-Sayyid al-Sharif Muhammad ibn Ja`far al-Kattani stated in his book _al-Yumn wa al-Is`ad bi Mawlid Khayr al-`Ibad_ (p. 21): “The two nights of the distinguished noble birth and the magnificent Prophetic Ascension appear to be the very best of the nights of the world without hesitation nor doubt… and if this is the case then such as these two nights [ MAWLID and MI`RAJ] deserve to be taken henceforth each as a recurring festival among other recurring festivals (`Eid min al-A`yad) and as a seasonal celebration (mawsim) among other seasonal celebrations devoted to good deeds and striving. Therefore those dates should be respected and venerated, the Book of Allah should be recited in them, and in their honor deeds should be performed that indicate joy and happiness at their immense merit as well as thankfulness to Allah Most High for His blessings and favors in them. This the Law in no way denies nor condemns, and no reprimand nor prohibition can be directed at those who perform this whatsoever.”

3. “Had there been room in Islamic teachings for the celebration of birthdays or anniversaries, the birthday of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, would have undoubtedly deserved it more than the birthday of any other person. But that is against the nature of Islamic teachings.”

Comment: This is a Wahhabi misconception of Usul which was refuted notably by the Ghumari Shuyukh (see item #23), namely, that Tark (not doing something) is NOT a proof that something is condemned or that it is not praiseworthy, as the Prophet did not, in his lifetime, do absolutely everything that was praiseworthy or permissible. The same goes for the early generations. Rather, the criteria for judging if something belongs on the accepted side of Shari`a and is endorsable by the Sunna or not, is to evaluate it in the balance of the Qur’an and Sunna: whatever is confirmed by them is part of them and whatever violates them is rejected.

4. “That is why, unlike Judaism, Christianity, and Hinduism, there are very few festivals in Islam, which provides for only two Eids (Eidul-fitr and Eidul-Adha) during the whole year.”

Comment: There are only two `Eids that are sanctioned by the Law as of a required character, but this is not to mean that it is not allowed to have other `Eids metaphorically speaking. For one, the Prophet himself named Jumu`a a `Eid.

Among educated Muslims there is a verse of poetry that goes,

“The day of Jumu`a, the day of `Eid, and the visit of a beloved friend: These are three `Eids for which I thank our Most High Lord.”

In fact, every highlighted date in the Islamic calendar is a `Eid, for example the first ten days of Dhu al-Hijja, the Day of `Arafa, the Day of `Ashura, Laylat al-Qadr, and the night of Mi`raj which is the greatest mu`jiza of the Prophet after the Glorious Qur’an. But the Mawlid of the Prophet looms larger and more important than all of the above including the two prescribed `Eids in Islam. Sayyid Muhammad al-Maliki said in his fatwa _Hawl al-Ihtifal bi Dhikra al-Mawlid al-Nabawi al-Sharif_ (p. 8-9): “How many times did we say that the day of the Mawlid of our Master Muhammad is not a `Eid, nor do we consider it a `Eid, because it is BIGGER THAN THE `EID AND GREATER AND NOBLER. A `Eid only comes once a year, as for the celebration of his Mawlid and the consideration of his remembrance and Sira, they must be permanent and not restricted to a particular time nor place!”

5. “The dates of these two Eids do not correspond to the birthday of any of the outstanding persons of Islamic history, nor can their origin be attributed to any particular event of history that had happened in these dates.”

Comment: As shown above, it has never been a condition for `Eid that it correspond to a birthday, nor, inversely, does the nature of birthday preclude a day from being considered a `Eid. Secondly, it is patently false that the origin of the two `Eids cannot be attributed to any particular event of history that had happened on these dates as the books of Tafsir are replete with the story of the sacrifice of Ibrahim (as) with his son Isma`il (as) on the occasion of which was offered a huge ram as stated in the Holy Qur’an.

6. “The first event is the completion of the fasts of Ramadan and the second event is the completion of Hajj, another form of worship regarded as one of the four pillars of Islam.”

Comment: We already said that the `Eid that takes place at the completion of Hajj has historical connections according to the authorities of Tafsir. We might say also that the `Eid that takes place at the completion of the month of Ramadan, was also given an historical dimension by Allah Most High when He said that fasting is prescribed for us { just as it was prescribed for those before you} . All this shows that Allah Most High did not place these two Pillars in a vacuum but in a historical whole of which Muslims are eminently supposed to be aware and observant, just as the Prophet said in reaction to the Jewish celebration of `Ashura’: “We have more right of remembering Musa” i.e. of commemorating the historical circumstance of his deliverance. Most of the Ulema who wrote fatwas on Mawlid adduce this report as a proof of the desirability of the celebration of Mawlid and its licit character in the Law.

7. “The manner prescribed for the celebration of these two Eids (festivals) is also different from non-Islamic festivals. There are no formal processions, illumination or other activities showing formal happiness.”

Comment: The manner prescribed for the celebration of these two `Eids falls into two categories: the requirements prescribed in the Law and the customs followed by the people. The latter do *not* have a fixed form and *may* include everything that does not violate the guidelines of the Law. Processions, illumination or other activities showing formal happiness do *not* in themselves violate the guidelines of the Law.

8. “Islam has not prescribed any festival for the birthday of any person, however great or significant he may be. The prophets of Allah are the persons of the highest status amongst all human beings. But the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, or his noble companions never observed the birthday or anniversary of any of them. Even the birthday of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, which was the most happy day for the whole mankind was never celebrated by the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, himself, nor by his blessed Companions.”

Comment: Regarding the first phrase: It is true that “Islam has not prescribed any festival for the birthday of any person” but nobody claimed it did. On the other hand, it is untrue that Islam has prescribed NOT to commemorate the birthday of any person, yet this is being claimed by the opponents of Mawlid. As for the rest of the paragraph I am sorry to say it is a blatant lie, the Prophet expressly commemorated his own birthday – as did the early Umma in his wake – by fasting every Monday. He and they treated his birthday as the cause and driving factor (`illa) for this act of devotion as shown in the Sahih and as illustrated by the commentators of those narrations, among them Ibn Khuzayma and his student Ibn Hibban, each one of them in his Sahih. And this suffices as evidence for those endowed with sight.

“[Subheading:] Mention of the Desirability of the Fast of Yawm al-Ithnayn BECAUSE (li’anna) on that Day was Born Rasulullah and on that Day Descended upon Him the Beginning of Revelation.” Sahih Ibn Hibban (Arna’ut ed. 8:403).

“Chapter of the Desirability of the Fast of Yawm al-Ithnayn SINCE (idh) the Prophet was Born on Yawm al-Ithnayn and on that Day Revelation Came to Him and on that Day He Died.” Sahih Ibn Khuzayma (A`zami ed. 3:298).

9. “In fact, commemorating the birth of a distinguished person has never been prescribed by any religion attributing itself to divine revelation. It was originally a custom prevalent in pagan communities only. Even Christmas, the famous Christian feast commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ finds no mention in the Bible or in the early Christian writings.”

Comment: Here we find three errors. First, and this is the gravest error, the author denies that the commemoration of the birth of a distinguished person was ever prescribed by any heavenly religion as if he never heard that the Prophet was ordered to dismount from the Buraq during Isra’ and pray at the spot where `Isa (as) was born precisely for that reason and no other. The narration goes, “Then he reached a land where the palaces of al-Shaam became visible to him. Gibril said to him: ‘Alight and pray.’ He did so and remounted, then the Buraq continued his lightning flight and Gibril said: ‘Do you know where you prayed?’ He said no. Gibril said: ‘You prayed in Bayt Lahm, where `Isa ibn Maryam was born.'” Narrated as part of a longer hadith from Anas by al-Nasa’i with a sound chain and from Shaddad ibn Aws by al-Bayhaqi who declared it sound in Dala’il al-Nubuwwa (2:355-357), and by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir and al-Bazzar with a sound chain as indicated by al-Haythami in Majma` al-Zawa’id and Ibn Hajar in Mukhtasar Zawa’id Musnad al-Bazzar (1:90-91 #32). Secondly, the prescription of the commemoration of the birth of Christ *was* prescribed in the early Christian Church, even if its chronological proximity to the pagan commemoration of the winter solstice was co-opted by the political authorities as a means to recycle prevalent social customs in certain regions including those of pagan origins. Thirdly, what flimsier way to adduce evidence is there than to cite tampered Scriptural texts in order to infer or disinfer a Shari`a ruling? Is Mufti Taqi `Usmani a Christian or Jew addressing Christians or Jews??

10. “In original Islamic resources, also we cannot find any instruction about the celebration of birthdays or death anniversaries. Many Companions of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, passed away during his life-time. His beloved wife Sayyidah Khadijah, Radi-Allahu anha, passed away in Makkah. His beloved uncle Sayyidna Hamzah, Radi-Allahu anhu was brutally slaughtered during the battle of Uhud. But the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, never observed their birthday or their death anniversaries, nor did he ever advise his followers to celebrate his own birthday in Rabi’ul-Awwal.”

Comment: The above again shows strange or rather tragic (for such a celebrated author) ignorance of the Sunna. We already established beyond doubt that the Prophet celebrated his birthday by fasting. As for death anniversaries, the Prophet definitely visited his wife and uncle’s graves on a regular basis as well as his mother’s. Al-Bayhaqi narrates that the Prophet used to visit the graveyard of the martyrs of Uhud annually and punctually – “`ala ra’si kulli hawl”. Al-Bayhaqi also narrated in Shu`ab al-Imaan (6:201 #7901) that the Prophet said: “Whoever visits the grave of his parents or the grave of one of them every Friday, he will be forgiven and [his name will] be written among the pious sons.” (Man zaara qabra abawayhi aw ahadihima fi kulli Jumu`ah, ghufira lahu wa kutiba barran). And he is without the shadow of a doubt the most pious of all pious sons. Also, al-Bazzar narrates that the Prophet visited the Jannat al-Ma`la graveyard in Makkah, where his dear wife Sayyidah Khadijah was buried and called the whole place a blessed graveyard: “Ni`ma al-Maqbarah Hadhihi.” Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq narrated with his chain from al-Hasan ibn `Ali that Fatima the daughter of the Prophet used to visit every Jumu`a the grave of her uncle Hamza ibn `Abd al-Muttalib – may Allah be well-pleased with all of them! – which she had marked with a rock in order to recognize it, and she used to pray and weep there as narrated by `Abd al-Razzaq in his Musannaf, al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan, al-Hakim in his Mustadrak and he declared its chain sahih, and Ibn `Abd al-Barr in al-Tamhid.

11. “The reason for abstinence from such celebrations is that they divert the attention of people from the real teachings of Islam towards the observance of some formal activities only. Initially, these celebrations may begin with utmost piety and with a bona fide intention to pay homage to a pious person.”

Comment: The above is speculation and has no place here. As for the latter sentence, it seems to come verbatim from the deviant book of Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhab titled al-Tawhid.

Comment [from Brother Ahmad I on msa-ec mail list, 11 July 2000]: The Ulama of Deoband celebrated their hundred years anniversary of Darul Uloom Deoband in which they called Indhira Ghandi who was dressed in a Sarrie. She was seated on the stage while hundreds of Ulama were seated on the ground. Was this Islamic? Early Muslims did not celebrate hundred years establishment of Islam which was far more important that the establishment of Darul Uloom Deoband. According to you, our Nabi (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) did not celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. If the Ulama-e-Deoband claim to be true followers of the Sunnah, why then did they celebrate the hundred year anniversary of Darul Uloom Deoband? Was this not a Bid`at?

12. “Yet, the experience shows that the celebration is ultimately mixed up with an element of merrymaking and rejoicing and is generally confused with secular festivals and the secular, and often sinful, activities creep into it gradually. [Next paragraph:] The example of Christmas will again be relevant.”

Comment: All this shows how far from the principles of the Shari`a one ends up when free rein is given to speculation and personal or regional pretexts such as the bad things one has experienced or seen in one’s province. Has Mufti Taqi Usmani never heard of “merrymaking and rejoicing” in the authentic Sunna? The Sahaba and the Prophet definitely were not, as he seems to imagine, staid officials of rigid and censorious manners although they were the most dignified generation of human beings ever to walk the earth. They knew laughter, merriment, and good humor.

Nor is his harping on “the example of Christmas” when referring to Muslims acceptable. One well-known contributor on the newsgroup soc.religion.islam, `Abd al-Rahman Lomax, said in a thread titled “Re: Al-Mawled ( 6/7 ) : Even

worse!” Date: 22 Sep 1996: “I remember my first ‘Eid al-Fitr, in Tucson. This was a largely student community, with a few older Muslims including professors at the University of Arizona at Tucson. My clearest memory is of the sub-teen daughters of some of these families getting up on the tables and dancing to the encouragement of nearly everyone, with drum music coming over the P.A. system. This was not mawlid, this was ‘Eid ul-Fitr! Times have changed. But it is not clear to me that the more sober ‘Eids I have seen in recent years are closer to the actual sunna than that first ‘Eid. I’ll leave it to someone else to cite the relevant hadith; suffice it to say that the Prophet did, it appears, encourage having *fun* on ‘Eid, and that dancing and at least some form of music were actually encouraged.” Following Mufti Taqi Usmani’s reasoning in the above paragraph, if enough “bad” displays such as the above had been witnessed on `Eid, then `Eid celebrations should have been banned, either in absolute terms or in temporary and local terms. But isolated incidents are never a proof in ruling for or against something.

13. “The Holy Qur’an has clearly pronounced on the occasion of the last Hajj of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam: “Today, I have completed the teachings of your religion.” [Al-Maida 5:3] [Next paragraph:] It means that all the teachings of Islam were communicated to the Muslims through the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. No one is allowed after it to add any thing to them as a part of religion. What was not a part of religion during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, can never become part of it. Such additions are termed by the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, as Bid’ah or innovation.”

Comment: This is the weakest paragraph in the entire fatwa as it is entirely borrowed from the Wahhabi conception of bid`a, which violates the principles and methods of the Jumhur of Sunni `Ulema as to what constitutes bid`a and what does not. The Ulema have clarified this major methodological innovation in many useful publications which we have summarized elsewhere and there is no space nor need to reproduce this material here. Suffice it here to quote the words of Sayyid Muhammad al-Maliki – Allah keep him and all our impeccable Ulema and true Teachers – in one of his fatwas on Mawlid: “There is no doubt that such singing, dancing, reciting of poetry, and banging the drum [as narrated in the authentic Sunna] was for joy at being with the Prophet , nor did he condemn nor frown upon such displays in any way whatsoever. These are common displays of happiness and lawful merriment, and similarly to stand up at the mention of the birth of the Prophet is an ordinary act that shows love and gladness symbolizing the joy of creation: it does not constitute worship, nor law, nor Sunna!”

It is also ironic that the verse they quote: { This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favor unto you} (5:3) was revealed on a Monday, the day of his Mawlid – Allah bless and greet him and his Family – according to some reports narrated by Ibn `Asakir as mentioned by al-Salihi in _Subul al-Huda_ (1:401).

14. “Thus, the observance of the 12th of Rabi’ul-Awwal as a religious feast is not warranted by any verse of the Holy Qur’an or by any teaching of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam.”

Comment: Al-Hamdu lillah, the falsehood of the above statement is by now evident on the basis of what was already replied.

15. “Had it been a part of the religion it would have been clearly ordered or practiced by the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and his blessed companions or, at least, by their immediate pupils. But no example of the celebration of the occasion can be traced out in the early centuries of the Islamic history.”

Comment: This is a needless repetition and stands refuted (see paragraphs #3 and again #23).

16. “It was after many centuries [Albalagh Note: According to Maulana Yusuf Ludhinavi it was in the year 604 A.H.] that some monarchs started observing the 12th of Rabi’ul-Awwal as the birthday of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, without a sound religious basis, and the congregations in the name of Maulood or Milad were held where the history of the birth of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, used to be narrated.”

Comment: As stated by al-Sayyid Muhammad al-Maliki in his Fatwa _Hawl al-Ihtifal bi Dhikra al-Mawlid al-Nabawi al-Sharif_ (10th ed. p. 15): “The first to observe the celebration of the Mawlid was the Prophet himself by fasting on Mondays because it was the day of his birth as narrated in Sahih Muslim. This is the soundest and most explicit textual proof for the licitness of commemorating the Noble Prophetic Mawlid.”

In the light of such a proof what does it matter that “after many centuries some monarchs started observing the 12th of Rabi’ul-Awwal” as the Mawlid date, and who can believe such a lie as to claim that such observance was “without a sound religious basis”? Is this what the reliable authorities say, or is it just the opinion of some latecomers unfamiliar with the differences of the Ulema and the principles of the Shari`a?

When the critics are unable to disprove the lawful on the basis of the foundations of the Religion, they turn to vacuous opinion unaware that in the field of opinion there are plenty of more trusted sources than themselves. Imam al-Dhahabi wrote in his Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’ (Arna’ut ed. 22:335-336): He [Muzaffar the King of Irbil] loved charity (sadaqa)… and built four hospices for the poor and sick… and one house for women, one for orphans, one for the homeless, and he himself used to visit the sick… He built a madrasa for the Shafi`is and the Hanafis… HE WOULD FORBID ANY REPREHENSIBLE MATTER TO ENTER INTO HIS COUNTRY… As for his celebration of the Noble Mawlid al-Nabawi, words are too poor to describe it. The people used to come all the way from Iraq and Algeria to attend it. Two wooden dais would be erected and decorated for him and his wife… the celebration would last several days, and a huge quantity of cows and camels would be brought out to be sacrificed and cooked in different ways… Preachers would roam the field exhorting the people. Great sums were spent (as charity). Ibn Dihya compiled a ‘Book of Mawlid’ for him for which he received 1,000 dinars. He [Muzaffar] was modest, a LOVER OF GOOD, AND A TRUE SUNNI who loved scholars of jurisprudence and scholars of hadith, and was generous even to poets. He was killed in battle according to what is reported.”

Similarly, Ibn Kathir said in al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya (Beirut and Riyadh: Maktabat al-Ma`arif & Maktabat al-Nasr, 1966 ed. 13:136-137): “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 Allah 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 and 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.”

From the above excerpts one can judge the shameless audacity of the statement of Majlis al-`Ulama or rather al-Juhala’ which said:

“MAINTAINING A CUSTOM WHICH WAS ORIGINATED BY IRRELIGIOUS PERSONS. It has already been explained elsewhere in this article that the originators of Meelad custom were irreligious persons. Six hundred years after our Nabi (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), the irreligious ruler of Irbal, assisted by irreligious learned men, invented and established this custom. Thus, those who organize Meelad functions and those who participate in them are in reality assisting to establish a practise introduced by evil men. They are aiding and abetting in the fostering of a custom which is in total conflict with the Shari’ah of Islam. It is a great crime to maintain and encourage customs and practices which were brought into being by those who had no connection with the Deen, more so, when these customs and practices are a conglomeration of un-Islamic elements”.

Observe how they begin with a lie and end with a greater lie, progressing from calling King Muzaffar and the Ulema of the Umma as “irreligious” until they end up saying they “had no connection with the Deen”! Is not the curse of Allah on the heads of the liars?

More importantly, Ibn Kathir himself composed a text on Mawlid, made of hadiths, invocations of blessings on the Prophet , and poetry in praise of him. It is entitled Mawlid Rasulillah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, and was edited and published by Salah al-Din al-Munajjid (Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-Jadid, 1961).

17. “The observance of the 12th of this month as the birthday of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is not only an innovation having no basis in the Islamic teachings, but the accuracy of this date as the real birthday of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is also very much doubted.”

Comment: Here the author contradicts what he had said in the first paragraph: “Rabi’ul-Awwal is the most significant month in the Islamic history, because humanity has been blessed in this month by the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam.” Does this not constitute “a basis in the Islamic teachings” since this Mufti deems himself one such basis and these are his words? As for the specific date of the 12th, it is enough to quote Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali on the matter in his book Lata’if al-Ma`arif (p. 185): “The VAST MAJORITY hold that he [the Prophet, Allah bless and greet him] was born on the Second Day of the Week (al-Ithnayn = “Monday”) 12 Rabi` al-Awwal… in the Year of the Elephant.”

So it is a good date for such a celebration because there is greater readiness for it in the hearts and minds of the people at that time; and, at

the same time “we do NOT claim that it is Sunna to do celebrate the Mawlid on a specific night and whoever claims this has committed innovation in the Religion, because we should remember him at all times… although the reason to do so becomes stronger in the month of his birth due to the turning of people to that event and their gatherings and their feelings [at that time].” Al-Sayyid Muhammad al-Maliki, Mafahim (10th ed. p. 317).

18. “There are different dates suggested in different traditions, and the majority of the authentic scholars is inclined to hold that the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was born on the 9th of Rabi’ul-Awwal.”

Comment: This is another half-truth in the light of Ibn Rajab’s report that the vast majority of the authorities settled on the twelfth. This is also stated in al-Salihi’s Subul al-Huda (1:403). Furthermore, by his words “the majority of the authentic scholars” the author apparently only means three contemporaries: Dr. Abu al-Hasan `Ali al-Nadwi, the Egyptian astronomer Mahmud Basha, and Muhammad Sulayman al-Mansur Furi, the latter two footnoted in al-Nadwi’s _al-Sira al-Nabawiyya_ (p. 99).

Nor has it been the adab of the true Ulema to scorn what the majority of the Ulema concur on as true and correct, as illustrated by the refined, scholarly style of our teacher Dr. Nur al-Din `Itr in mentioning both dates in his Mawlid book, al-Nafahat al-`Itriyya fi Sirat Khayr al-Bariyya (p. 5-6): “He was born on the ninth of Rabi` al-Awwal according to the verification of some of the Imams or on the 12th according to the most famous position (al-mashhur) in the Umma.” The Moroccan Shaykh of Tanalt (Great Atlas chain in South Morocco) al-Dadisi Muhammad al-Ghali did not even mention the 9th in his Sira compendium _Laft al-Anzar ila Qurrat al-Absar fi Sirat al-Mushaffa` al-Mukhtar_ (p. 38-39): “On the day of al-Ithnayn in the most radiant month, on the 3rd or the 12th or the 8th of Rabi` al-Awwal.” Nor does the hadith master al-Salihi mention the 9th at all in his encyclopedia of all Siras, Subul al-Huda wa al-Rashad fi Sirat Khayr al-`Ibad (1:403) but only, in order of strength among the Ulema: the 12th, 8th, 10th [preferred by al-Dhahabi in the Siyar (1:21) after his teacher Abu Muhammad al-Dimyati], 2nd, 17th, 18th, or 1st of Rabi` al-Awwal.

The date of the 12th was also given precedence over all other dates by Dr. Muhammad Abu Shuhba in his 1,400-page _al-Sira al-Nabawiyya_ (1:173), while Dr. Sa`id Ramadan al-Buti mentions the 12th exclusively of any other date in his _Fiqh al-Sira al-Nabawiyya_ (10th ed.). Where, then, are the irresponsibly-claimed “majority of the authentic scholars” or are all the above scholars frauds?

Furthermore, the author himself categorically stated at the beginning of his fatwa (item #1) that “Rabi’ul-Awwal is the most significant month in Islamic history because humanity was blessed in this month by the birth of the Holy Prophet ” although there are also other months reported in the Sunna for the event of his noble birth, such as Safar, Rajab, Ramadan, and Rabi` al-Thani, cf. Ibn Rajab, Lata’if (p. 184) and al-Haytami, al-Minah al-Makkiyya (1:181). If the author does not know this discrepancy in relation to the month then perhaps there are gaps in his knowledge of the facts in relation to the day and other aspects as well. And if the author does know this discrepancy in relation to the months then why does he speak in categorical terms to affirm the month of Rabi` al-Awwal then turns dubious when it comes to the day of the 12th?

19. “This difference of opinion is another evidence to prove that the observance of the birthday is not a part of the religion, otherwise its exact date would have been preserved with accuracy.”

Comment: Another wholly original and innovative speculative analogy leading to a false proof without firm basis in the Religion, what is more, couched in unscholarly terminology – “not part of the Religion” – to avoid stating clearly once and for all if such an observance is permitted or not. There has been, many times, a difference of opinion in our times on the exact date of the beginning of the months of Ramadan and Dhu al-Hijja, but does this have any bearing whatsoever on the fact that fasting and pilgrimage are part of the Religion?!

In fact, not only the day, month, and (most emphatically) year of the Mawlid are generally agreed upon but the specific time of day when he was born can also be known: according to the Ghawth Sidi `Abd al-`Aziz al-Dabbagh in al-Ibriz, the Prophet was born in the last third of the night, and this is supported by al-Hakim’s narration from `A’isha and al-Tabarani, al-Bayhaqi, and Ibn al-Sakan’s from Fatima bint `Abd Allah al-Thaqafiyya; although the Hadith Master Zayn al-Din al-`Iraqi in his _al-Mawrid al-Hani fi al-Mawlid al-Sani_ adduces from the Siyar evidence that it took place in the daytime; and the Sunan state at noon – mursal from Sa`id ibn al-Musayyib – as well as Ibn Dihya and al-Zarkashi in his _Sharh al-Burda_, but Allah Almighty knows best and the Prophet knows best.

20. “The narration of his pious biography (the Seerah) in itself is a pious act, which invites the divine blessings, but the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah have not prescribed a particular time or method for it. This pious act should be performed in all the months and at all the times.”

Comment: According to Usmani’s own criterion, the above advice is an invitation to bid`a because conferences and talks about the Sira have no precedent in the Sunna nor in the practice of the pious early centuries! Rather, the Sunna shows that the Sahaba would stand and declaim/sing poetry in praise of the Prophet and that he would reward them lavishly as he did with Ka`b, `Abd Allah ibn Rawaha, Hassan ibn Thabit, Qurra ibn Hubayr and many others.

As for the assertion that “this pious act should be performed in all the months and at all the times” its absurdity is evident for all to see in light of the prohibition of the same act in the month of Rabi` al-Awwal and specifically the 12th of that month, although these two times fall within the time frame of “all the months and at all the times”!

21. “The month of Rabi’ul-Awwal has not been designated by the Shariah as a special season for holding such congregations to commemorate the birth or life of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam.”

Comment: If someone repeats a false statement enough times, it might in the end pass for true among those whom Allah wishes to mislead, but not among those to whom He grants discernment.

22. “It is thus an innovation (Bid’ah) to restrict the Seerah meetings to the month of Rabi’ul Awwal only, or to believe that the meetings held in this month are worthy of more reward than the meetings held on any other date during the year.”

Comment: As was just replied, the Seerah meetings themselves are a bid`a according to this man’s own criterion. This new, imposed condition that such meetings must not be restricted to a particular month, shows that he readily considers those meetings a part of the Shari`a when he himself said that Allah has completed the Religion, and such meetings were neither revealed to the Prophet as part of it nor practiced by the early generations! And what is the status of someone who declares the belief of the vast majority of the Muslims a bid`a? Allah is our recourse and help against the entanglements of would-be legislators who break the ranks of Sunni unity and ask the people to follow them in their errings.

23. “In fact, the Companions of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, used to commemorate the life of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, throughout the year, not only by studying and conveying his message to others, but also by following his way of life and acting upon his teachings in each and every branch of their activities, and this is exactly what a Muslim is required and supposed to do.”

Comment: The above shows that Mufti Taqi Usmani admits that the principle of commemorating the life of the Holy Prophet was alive and well among the Companions and therefore not an innovation. However, he neglects to mention – or does not seem to know – that the Companions not only “studied” and “conveyed his message to others,” but also *recited and sang poetry* in his honor both in his lifetime and after!

As for the often-heard claim of would-be censors that “the Prophet and the Companions never celebrated the Mawlid as it is celebrated today”, this never formed proof for the undesirability or prohibitiveness of anything in the Law, Mawlid or otherwise. This was demonstrated at length by al-Sayyid `Abd Allah al-Ghumari in his epistle _Husn al-Tafahhum wa al-Dark li Mas’alat al-Tark_ (“Right Comprehension and Understanding the Issue of ‘Not Doing Something'”) reprinted by Dar al-Awqaf in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

24. “By this we do not mean that the Seerah meetings should not be held in the month of Rabi’ul-Awwal. The point is only that they should not be restricted to it, nor should it be believed that the Shariah has laid any kind of emphasis on holding such meetings in this particular month.”

Comment: Let those who wish hold them in Rabi` al-Awwal and let those who wish hold them in any other month. { And for this let all those strive who strive for bliss} (Q 83:26).

25. “It is often observed, especially in the Western countries, that the people hold the Seerah meetings where men and women sit together without observing the rules of hijab prescribed by the Shariah. The teachings of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, are obviously against such mixed gatherings. How can a Seerah meeting bring fruits where such fundamental teachings of the Shariah are openly violated?”

This never invalidates the ruling of desirability that applies to the principle.

Comment [from Brother Ahmad I on msa-ec mail list, 11 July 2000]:

Allama Shaami (radi Allahu anhu) states: “One must not leave visiting the graves just because some illegal activities are taking place, for example, inter-mingling of sexes. Mustahabbaat (recommended acts) should not be left out because of this type of illegal activities. It is necessary for the people to visit the graves *and* stop the Bid`a”. (Fatawa Shaami: Kitabul Jana’iz – Discussion on visiting the graves)

Allama Shaami (radi Allahu anhu) has stated categorically that inter-mingling of sexes will not make any Mustahab act Haraam or avoided. There were idols in the Kaaba before Makkah was conquered, but Muslims did not leave out performing the Tawaaf (circumbulation) or Umrah because of the idols. Yes,when Almighty Allah gave them the power, they eventually destroyed the idols.

When people go for Haj, there is inter-mingling of sexes at the airport, in the plane, during Tawaaf,at Mina and at Muzdalifah, yet no one puts a stop to Hajj. In Meelad gatherings, at least men and women sit separately and women are with Hijab. In the Nikah assembly, inter-mingling of sexes occurs and most of the women do not come with Shar`i Hijab. Will the Majlisul Ulama issue Fatwas condemning Nikah gathering to be Haraam? If not, why then is your entire effort spent to make Meelaad functions Haraam?

26. “In some meetings the Na’ts (poems) in the memory of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, are recited by the women before the male audience, sometimes with music, which is totally against the instructions of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. It is clearly prohibited by the Shariah to hold such meetings or to participate in them, because it is not only a violation of the Shariah rules, but it is an affront to the sanctity of the Seerah of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam.”

Comment: This has already been answered in the previous paragraph but we might add that the Prophet on so many public and private occasions heard female singers and did not stop them from their activity as long as what they were reciting was approved by the law, namely Na`at! { Truly it is not their eyes that are blind, but their hearts which are in their breasts} (22:46).

27. “All other activities, often practiced on the twelfth of Rabi’ul-Awwal, like holding processions, constructing the mock tombs of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and illumination of the buildings and the roads are not warranted by any rule of the Shariah. Rather they are based on conscious or unconscious imitation of certain other religions. No example of such activities can be traced out from the earlier Islamic history.”

Comment: It seems that in this single fatwa the author multiplies the indications that his knowledge of Islamic history, the Sunna, the Sira, and the principle of the Shari`a is full of gaps. Following are examples of the public celebration of the Mawlid from the sixth to the tenth centuries, some of them comprising most of the elements that Usmani claims were never present in earlier Islamic history:

– Ibn Jubayr (540-614) wrote in his Rihal (“Travels”), p. 114-115: “This blessed place [the house of the Prophet] is opened, and all men enter it to derive blessing from it (mutabarrikin bihi), on every Monday of the month of Rabi` al-Awwal; for on that day and in that month was born the Prophet.”

– The 7th-century historians Abul `Abbas al-`Azafi and his son Abul Qasim al-`Azafi wrote in their unpublished Kitab ad-Durr al-Munazzam: “Pious pilgrims and prominent travellers testified that, on the day of the mawlid in Mecca, no activities are undertaken, and nothing is sold or bought, except by the people who are busy visiting his noble birthplace, and rush to it. On this day the Ka`ba is opened and visited.”

– The famous eighth-century historian Ibn Battuta relates in his Rihla (1:309 and 1:347), that on every Friday, after the salat, and on the birthday of the Prophet, the door of Ka`ba is opened by the head of the Banu Shayba, the doorkeepers of the Ka`ba, and that on the Mawlid, the Shafi`i qadi (head judge) of Mecca, Najmuddin Muhammad Ibn al-Imam Muhyiddin al-Tabari, distributes food to the shurafa’ (descendants of the Prophet) and to all the other people of Mecca.

– The historian Ibn Zahira al-Hanafi in his al-Jami` al-Latif fi Fadl Makka wa Ahliha, p. 326; Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami in his Kitab al-Mawlid al-Sharif al-Mu`azzam; and the historian al-Nahrawali in al-I`lam bi-A`lam Bayt Allah al-Haram, p. 205 said that each year on the 12th of Rabi` al-Awwal, after the salat al-Maghrib, the four qadis of Mecca (representing the Four Schools) and large groups of people including the fuqaha’ (scholars) and fudala’ (notables) of Mecca, shaykhs, zawiya teachers and their students, ru’asa’ (magistrates), and muta`ammamin (scholars) leave the mosque and set out collectively for a visit to the birthplace of the Prophet, shouting out dhikr and tahlil (LA ILAHA ILLALLAH). The houses on the route are illuminated with numerous lanterns and large candles, and a great many people are out and about. They all wear their best attire and take their children with them. Having reached the birthplace, inside a special sermon for the occasion of the birthday of the Prophet e is delivered, mentioning the miracles (karamat) that took place on that occasion. Hereafter the du`a’ for the Sultan (i.e. the Caliph), the Emir of Mecca, and the Shafi`i qadi is performed and all pray humbly. Shortly before the salat al-`Isha’, the whole party returns from the birthplace of the Prophet e to the Great Mosque, which is almost overcrowded, and all sit down in rows at the foot of the Maqam Ibrahim. In the mosque, a preacher first mentions the tahmid (AL HAMDULILLAH) and the tahlil, and once again the du`a’ for the Sultan, the Emir, and the Shafi`i qadi is performed. After this the call for the Salat al-`Isha’ is made. After the salat, the crowd breaks up.

– A similar description is given by al-Diyarbakri (d. 960) in his massive Sira titled Ta’rikh al-Khamis fi Khabar Anfasi Nafis.

28. “What is really important with regard to the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is, first, to follow his teachings, and second to make his pious Seerah available to every Muslim, to preserve it in the hearts of the Muslims from the very childhood, to educate the family members to run their lives according to it and to hold it as the most glorious example of the human conduct the universe has ever witnessed — and all this with utmost love and reverence, not manifested by some formal activities only, but also through actual behavior of following the Sunnah.”

Comment: There is nothing in the principle of Mawlid gatherings, Qur’an and Na`at recitation, and distribution of food and sweets except what follows the Prophetic teachings, increases knowledge of his Sira among the Muslims, stimulates love for him in their hearts, and encourages them to educate their families according to Islamic principles from the cradle to the grave, “with utmost love and reverence, not manifested by some formal activities only, but also through actual behavior of following the Sunnah”!

29. “This cannot be done by merely holding processions and illuminating the walls. This requires constant and consistent efforts and a meaningful program of education and training.”

Comment: No-one disagrees with the above while the rest of the fatwa is mostly wrong and should be ignored.

Blessings and peace on our Master the Messenger of Allah, his Family, and all his Companions, and praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.

Hajj Gibril
GF Haddad ©

Refutation against Ibn Baz’s fatwa against Mawlid Al-Rasul

June 29, 2007

THE PERMISSIBILITY OF CELEBRATING THE MEELAD-UN NABI (saw)

IN REFUTATION OF THE FATWA OF SHEIKH ABDUL AZIZ BIN BAAZ OF SAUDI ARABIA

The Sunni Muslim community should be fully aware and forewarned of the new fitna presently perpetrated by the Jamiatul Ulama (KwaZulu Natal) and the Jamiatul Ulama (Transvaal) on the Internet regarding the issue of an old Fatwa against Eid-e-Meelad-un Nabi (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) by “Sheikh” Abdul Aziz bin Baaz of Saudi Arabia. The Fatawa of such like must be met with the fiercest of opposition and open condemnation from all circles.

This Fatwa was obviously instituted on the Internet, which is accessed by thousands of computer users, by these “theological” bodies as a flagrant attack on the Imaan and Aqeeda of Sunni Muslims or the righteous followers of the Ahle Sunnah Wa Jamaah, of whose beliefs and teachings the majority of Muslims the world over ascribe to.

Muslims must also take cognizance of the fact that Bin Baaz of the Saudi Government is not fulfilling his duty in his own country in issuing Fatawa against the evil practices of the Saudi Royal Family, such as gambling, horseracing, etc. Should this not be his first duty as the Head of Department of Islamic Researches Ifta and Propagation?

According to a great Muhaddith, Shams ad-Din Muhammad as-Sahawi (d.902 A.H.), the assembling for Meelad in Muslim history began in the 3rd Century A.H., but Ibn Taymiya (d.728 A.H.), almost five centuries later, was the first to begin argumentation and contention against this practice.

In conformity with Ibn Taymiya’s beliefs and views which are incompatible with the beliefs of Islam, Bin Baaz, until a few years ago, publicised his condemnation of Meelad-un Nabi by publishing a Fatwa. This Fatwa was met with strong disapproval and displeasure in the Muslim world which regards the celebration of Meelad-un Nabi as a beneficial and desirous act.

In opposition and reply to Sheikh Bin Baaz’ Fatwa, the distinguished Arab Scholar, Sheikh Sayyid Alawi Maliki, who is an Ustaz of Hadith in the Haram Shareef in Makkah, produced a clear, decisive and well-supported argument in Arabic on the permissibility of Meelad-un Nabi. Sheikh Sayyid Alawi, in his book “Holal Ihtefaal Bezikra-al Moulidin Nabawee al-Shareef” raised some very serious questions to Bin Baaz. He questioned Bin Baaz about his views on the innovations which are being practised “here” (in the Haram Shareef) and which were never practised before, neither in the Prophet’s (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) time, nor in the period of the Sahaba-Ikraam or of the Salf-e-Saleheen (ridwanullahi ta’ala ajma’in). The practices, which Sheikh Alawi mentioned were those such as:

1. THE FORMING OF A CONGREGATION TO PERFORM TAHAJJUD SALAAH BEHIND AN IMAAM.

2. THE RECITATION OF DU’A AFTER THE QURAN HAS BEEN COMPLETED AT THE END OF RAMADAAN IN TARAWEEH PRAYER.

3. THE GATHERING OF PEOPLE ON THE 27TH OF RAMADAAN AT TAHAJJUD WHERE THE IMAAM DELIVERS A SERMON.

4. THE CALL OF THE MUEZZIN BY SAYING “SALAATUL QIYAAM ATHABAKUMULLAH.”

Muslims, however, must realise that the Ulema have accepted such practices as Bid’ah, but Bid’ah-e-Hasanah.

Also in opposition to Sheikh Bin Baaz’ Fatwa, Sheikh Sayed Hashim al-Rifa’ie of Kuwait produced a lengthy Fatwa on the permissibility of Meelad-un Nabi celebrations which triggered off a tremendous increase in Meelad-un Nabi celebrations amongst the Arab populations of the cities of Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah, Ta’if, etc. and in the Gulf States.

An academic scholar, Sheikh Dr. Muhammad Abduhu Yamani, the Director of Darul Qibla Institute in Jeddah, who was also the ex-Minister of Information till 1983, and a renowned author in both the Arabic and English languages, recently on the occasion of Meelad-un Nabi celebration had written a detailed essay entitled “Assalatu Wassalaamu Alaika Ya Rasoollallah,” which was published in the daily newspaper “Ash Sharqul Ausat.” This article was published on the 12th of Rabbi-ul-Awwal in 1987, page 12 of this popular newspaper.

His very constructive essay, full of proofs, was well received by the Arabs, and Alhamdulillah, today there is a massive silent movement, known as “Irji’oo Ila Rasoolillah” or “Return to Rasoolullah”, in progress. This is a clear reflection and indication that the Arab Muslims have become fully aware of the evils of the Wahabi beliefs and have now turned to reinstating the love of Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) as the foundation stone of their Imaan.

At the present moment, the Saudi capital in Riyadh has published a 300 page book titled “Al Deobandiyah” written by Sheik Tuwaijeeri which exposes, with proof, the corrupt beliefs of the Ulema of Deoband and how they deviated from Islam on the basis of Aqaa’id. The issue regarding Meelad-un Nabi had always attracted disagreement from some quarters of the Ulema fraternity. Almost 600 years ago Imam Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (b.911 A.H.) had written a treatise on Meelad-un Nabi called “Hasnul Maqsid Fi Amalil Maulid” in which he stated that such a celebration is certainly permissible and Mustahab. In fact, so much has been written on this subject in various languages that there are abundant books to complete a library. Inspite of this, a specific group have always opposed this celebration and had no further proof to offer in support of their argument, other than saying that it is a Bid’ah.

For centuries, the Ulema-e-Deen have been produced the Shar’i definition of Bid’ah as an innovation which can be good or bad (Sai’yah or Hasanah). Meelad-un Nabi has been identified as Bid’ah Hasanah, in the same manner as the application of I’raab (Use of zabbar, zehr, pesh, etc.) in the Holy Quran, and the performance of Taraweeh Salaah; in the same manner as the construction of places of learning, e.g. Darul Ulooms, etc. for dissemination of education; in the same manner as Dastaar Bandi which is held on completion of Islamic courses; and the graduation ceremonies which are held on completion of Bukhari Shareef, etc. in Darul Ulooms. This actions were never practised before, neither in the Prophet’s (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) time, nor in the period of the Sahaba-Ikraam or of the Salf-e-Saleheen.

If one has to take the literal meaning of the word “Bid’ah” and abandon or discard the Shar’i meaning, then the Ij’tima for Tableegi purposes will be Bid’ah; the making of Ghusht will be Bid’ah; engaging in Chilla would be Bid’ah; publication of books would be Bid’ah, etc. – all of which would be classed as detestable in the extreme. However, such application of the literal meaning of “Bid’ah” cannot be found the entire period of Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), neither can it be found in the period of the Sahabah, nor in the period of Taba’i (ridwanullahi ta’ala ajma’in).

We wish to close this article by quoting to you a few authentic books from the thousands available written in earlier centuries by very renowned Ulama and Muhadditheen of that period on the permissibility of the celebrations of Meelad-un Nabi. These books are:

1. Al Mouridil Raweefil Maulideena Nabawee by Imam Mulla Ali Qari

2. At-Ta’rif bi ‘l-Mawlidi ‘sh-Sharif by Ibn Asir Muhammad al-Jazri (d.833 A.H.)

3. Jameeul Aasaar fee Maulidin Nabeeul Muqhthar by Imam Hafiz bin Nasirudeen Damishqi

4. Al Fazlur Raaiq fee Mauludi Khairul Khalaaik by Imam Hafiz bin Nasirudeen Damishqi

5. Maurid Al Saadi fi Maulidil Haadi by Imam Hafiz bin Nasirudeen Damishqi

6. Al Mouludil Hanni fil Mauludis Sanni by Imam Hafiz Iraqi (b.720 – d.808 A.H.)

7. An Ne’matul Kubra by Imam Ibne Hajjar

8. Hasanul Maqsid by Imam Hafiz Jalal ad-Din Suyuti

9. Meelad-ul Mustapha by Imam Ibne Kathir

10. Bayanu Meeladin Nabi by Imam Ibn Jawzi

11. Jami al-Asar fi Mawlidi ‘l-Muhtar by ibn Nasir ad-din ad-Dimishki

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE MERCIFUL, THE COMPASSIONATE

All praise is due to Allah who has guided us to follow the Noble Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), the leader of the Messengers; who has granted us the capacity to remain steadfast on the pillars and essential principles of Deen Al-Islam; who has made it easy for us to follow the footsteps and way of our pious predecessors, to the extent that our hearts have been illuminated with the knowledge of the Shari’ah and the conclusive argument in favour of the evident truth; and who has kept our internal souls free from the contamination of falsehood.

We praise and thank Him for having blessed us with the light of certainty, and for having granted us strength and courage to continuously hold fast to His strong rope. These favours are all out of His Bounty and Grace. We testify that there is no deity besides Almighty Allah, who is alone, and has no partner or associates, and that, without doubt, our Beloved Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) is the Servant and Messenger of Allah, the Leader of those who are first and those who are last. May Allah send His Salaams and Blessings upon him (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), his Household and Progeny, his Companions and those who follow their path until the Day of Judgement (ridwanullahi ta’ala ajma’in).

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala says in the Holy Qur’an: “O ye who believe! Fear Allah, and (always) say a word directed to the Right”.

Allah’s Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Hereafter should either say what is good, or otherwise remain silent”.

It is every Muslim’s duty to show people the truth in anticipation that they would follow it clearly and evidently and certainly not blindly. For truth is as clear as the sun in broad daylight. This brief introduction is due to what we have been hearing recently, as far as the celebration of the birthday of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) is concerned. Falsehood is regretabally attributed to such a noble event and mischief is stated as to the illegitimacy of celebrating such an esteemed occasion. Thus leaving ordinary people in a state of confusion not knowing whether they should partake in celebrating the event or otherwise. This is so, since the people who raise objection to the Meelad feel that they are at liberty to fabricate events in Islamic history and the traditions of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).

Therefore, we felt that it is incumbent upon us, and upon those who possess knowledge of Shari’ah, to clearly explain to the Muslim masses the truth about Meelad.

PART ONE

IGNORANCE AND LITTLE KNOWLEDGE

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Whoever brings forth an innovation into our religion which is not part of it, it is rejected”.

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) also said: “Beware of inventive matters for every invention is an innovation and every innovation is evil”.

Those who quote these two Ahadith claim that the word “Kul” which means “EVERY” or “ALL” which is mentioned in the above two Ahadith is used to include everything, i.e. all kinds of innovations or “Bid’ah” without any exception. They conclude therefore, that all innovations are “EVIL”.

By stating such an ill-fated statement, they have in fact accused the scholars (ULAMA) of the Muslim World of committing “EVIL” innovations, particularly Hadrat Umar (radi Allahu anhu). However, they quickly respond and say: No, we did not mean the Companions (SAHABA IKRAAM). In reply to that we say, yes, indeed you did so, because you said “EVERY” or “ALL” innovations are “EVIL”.

And you have rejected what the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) himself approved, i.e.”Tarawih Prayers”.

We will now quote before you many actions which were not carried out during the life of Prophet Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) but were in fact done following his demise by his Companions (ridwanullahi ta’ala ajma’in).

1. THE ISSUE OF COMPILING THE QUR’AN IN ONE BOOK

Hadrat Zaid bin Thabit (radi Allahu anhu) said: Prophet Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) had passed away and the Qur’an has not been compiled into one book! In fact, it was Hadrat Umar (radi Allahu anhu) who told Hadrat Abu-Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) to collect the Qur’an. Hadrat Abu-Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) was hesitant at first and he actually said, “How could we do something which the Prophet himself never did”. Hadrat Umar (radi Allahu anhu) replied, “BUT BY ALLAH IT IS A GOOD THING”. Hadrat Zaid (radi Allahu anhu) then said Hadrat Umar (radi Allahu anhu) kept coming back and forth until Hadrat Abu-Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) sent after him and assigned him the task of compiling the Qur’an. (Bukhari Shareef)

2. PROPHET IBRAHIM’S STATION (FOOTPRINT).

Imam Baihaqi said that Bibi Ayesha (radi Allahu anha), a wife of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said that Prophet Ibrahim’s Station (Footprint) was attached to “KAABA” during the Prophet’s (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) and Abu-Bakr’s (radi Allahu anhu) time. It was not until the time of Hazrat Umar (radi Allahu anhu) who changed its original position. Ibn Hajar, the great Muhaddith said: None of the companions raised any objection against Hazrat Umar (radi Allahu anhu) for doing so and he was the first person to cover Prophet Ibrahim’s Station (Footprint) in the state it is now.

3. THE INTRODUCTION OF THE SECOND AZAAN DURING FRIDAY PRAYER

Imam Baihaqi narrated that Sayyiduna Al-Saa’eb bin Zaid (radi Allahu anhu) said: The first call (AZAAN) for Friday Prayer commenced when the Imam sat on the Pulpit (MIMBAR). This was the practice during the Prophet’s, (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) Hazrat Abu-Bakr’s and Hazrat Umar’s time. But when Hazrat Uthman (radi Allahu anhuma) came, he introduced the second Azaan.

4. SENDING PRAISE AND SALAAMS UPON THE PROPHET (SALLAL LAAHU ALAIHI WASALLAM)

This was first introduced by Hazrat Ali (radi Allahu anhu) and he used to teach it to people of his time. Ibn Jabir mentioned that in his book called “Tah’theeb Al-Aa’thar” so did Imam Tabari, Ibi Assem and Yaqoub bin Shaibah.

5. THE ADDITION MADE BY IBN MASOUD TO TASHA’HUD

Imam Tabari said that Ibn Masoud use to read after saying “As Salaam Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakaatuhu”, “As Salaam Alaina Min Rabenna” (Peace be upon us from our Lord).

6. THE INTRODUCTION OF READING “BISMILLAH AL-RAHMAN AL-RAHIM” BEFORE COMMENCING TASHA’HUD.

Bukhari and Muslim both narrated that Ibn Umar use to read “Bimillah Al-Rahman Al-Rahim” before Tasha’hud.

All the above Companions have in fact introduced innovations which they have deemed beneficial and which were not practised during the life of the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). Hence, that these innovations where brought about in acts of worship! What then would you say about these renowned Companions? Are they going to be classified among those who practise “EVIL” innovations!

As for their (Bin Baaz, etc.) other statement which is even worse that the first one, where it is alleged by them that in the religion of Islam there is no such thing as “Good Innovation” or “BID’AH”. Let us quote the opinion of the most renowned scholars of Islam regarding this issue.

1. Imam Al-Hafiz Al-Nawawi said in Vol.6, p.21 in his “Commentary on Sahih Al-Bukhari”: What the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) meant when he said “EVERY” or “ALL” innovations, is that it is general but restricted, i.e. that most innovations are “EVIL” but not “ALL”. In “Tahdhib Al-Asma wal Lugat” Bid’ah is explained as follows:

“Bid’ah in Shari’ah is the invention of that which was not there in the period of the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), and it is divided into two categories HASANAH (or good) and QABIHAH (or evil)”.

2. Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani who explained Sahih Al-Bukhari said: “Every action which was not in practice at the Prophet’s (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) time is called or known as Innovation, however, there are those which are classified as ‘Good’ and there are those which are contrary to that”.

3. Imam Abu-Na’im said that he heard Imam Ibrahim Al-Junaid say that he heard Imam Shafi’i (radi Allahu anhuma) say: “The new things that are brought about are two kinds. One kind is that which brought about, inconsistent with something in the Qur’an or the Sunnah or with some Athaar or I’jma. This the category of BID’AH DALALAH (heretic innovation). The second kind is that which is brought about from good things which are consistent with any of the above”.

4. Imam of Imams Izzuddin Ibn Abd al-Salaam writes in his book “Al-Qawa’aid”: “Bid’ah is divided into Wajib, Haram, Mandub, Makruh and Mabah. And the way to know which category it belongs to, is to examine it together with the laws of Shari’ah. If it falls in with the laws that deal with what is Wajib, then it is Wajib. If with those laws that deal with Haram, then it is Haram. If with the laws dealing with what is Mandub, then it is Mandub. If with the laws dealing with what is Makruh, then it is Makruh. If with the laws dealing with what is Mubah, then it is Mubah”.

Following the examination of the statements of these highly renowned scholars of Islam, we ask: How is it then that what is alleged that the word “Kul” or “EVERY” includes all kinds of innovations or “Bid’ah” regardless? And where in the religion of Islam is it stated that there is no “Good Bid’ah” or “good innovation”. Hence, the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has said: “Whoever introduces a good innovation into the religion of Islam, will be granted due reward for it and the reward of those who acts upon it without any reduction in their deeds”.

From this hadith we find that every Muslim is entitled to introduce a “good Bid’ah or innovation” as long as it conforms with the test mentioned earlier, even though the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) did not do it, preach it or practice, in order that he/she could increase the deeds of goodness and rewards.

PART TWO

THE BEGINNING OF THE CELEBRATION OF MEELAD SHAREEF

As we all know as matter of fact, that when ever people want to promote and advance their ways, they pave the way to spread their falsehood among the Muslims masses and those who have very limited knowledge by misquoting what the Imams of Islam have stated or written. It is alleged by those people who disagree with Meelad that Imam Ibn Kathir stated in his book “Al-Bi’dayah Wa Ni’hayah” in Vol.11, p. 172 the following: “It was the Fatimy Government which ruled Egypt from 357-567 who was responsible for the celebration of Meelad”.

We say in reply to the above that after having consulted the above reference we found that it was a sheer lie, for we read that page and we found that the above is but allegations, deceit and dishonesty when quoting the renowned scholars of Islam. However, if they insist on the above, we demand that they produce it before us if there is any truth in what they allege!

Allow me now to quote before you what Imam Ibn Kathir has actually said in the same book “Al-Bi’dayah” Vol.13, p. 136: “Sultan Muzaffar used to arrange the celebration of the Meelad Shareef with honour, glory, dignity and grandeur. In this connection he used to organise a magnificent festival”. Then he said in praise of that man: “He was a pure-hearted, brave and wise Aalim (Scholar) and a just ruler, may Allah shower His Mercy upon him and grant him an exalted status.”

Shaikh Abu-Khattab Ibn Dihyah also wrote a book for him on the Meelad Shareef entitled “Enlightenment on the Birthday of the Bearer of Good News, the Warner”. For this book Sultan Muzaffar awarded him a gift of one thousand Dinars. He then said: “Every year his expenditure on the Meelad Shareef amounted to three hundred thousand Dinars”.

Examine carefully, dear brother/sister, such praise which has been conferred by Ibn Kathir upon that man, where he described him as “a wise Aalim, brave and pure-hearted” and then concluded by saying “may Allah shower his Mercy upon him and grant him an exalted status”. He did not say he was a corrupt or evil, he did not say he was committing “Bid’ah” or deeds which leads a person to be doomed, as it is alleged by those who reject the celebration of Meelad Shareef.

I refer you to that very reference which has been quoted to read further for yourselves what Imam Ibn Kathir has added in praise of this Sultan.

I would strongly recommend as well that you consult what Imam Zahabi in his book “Biography of the Elites”, Vol. 22, p. 336 has said in description of this Sultan: “Sultan Al-Muzaffar was humble, generous, follower of the Prophet’s (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) way and he liked the scholars and narrators of Hadith”.

POINT TWO

VIEWPOINT OF THE IMAMS OF THE MUSLIM UMMAH ON THE

CELEBRATION OF MEELAD SHAREEF

1. Imam Al-Hafiz Al-Suyuti in his famous book “Al-Hawii Lil-Fatawii” allocated a special chapter on that topic and named it “The Excellence of Objective in Celebrating the Mawlid” where he said: The question under consideration is what the verdict of the Shari’ah on celebrating the Holy Birthday of the Noble Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) during the month of Rabbi-ul-Awwal. From the point of view of Shari’ah is this a praiseworthy action or a blameworthy one? And do those who arrange such celebration receive blessings or not?

He said: “The reply to this question is that in my view the Meelad Shareef (Celebration of the Birthday of the Noble Prophet sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) is in fact such an occasion of happiness on which people assemble and recite the Holy Qu’ran to the extent that is easy. Then they relate the prophecies concerning the appearance of the Noble Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) that have been transmitted in Ahadith and Athar, and the miraculous events and signs that took place on his birth. Then food is set before them and according to their desire they partake thereof to satisfaction. This festival of celebrating the birthday of the Noble Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) is a Bid’ah Hasanah (good innovation) and those arranging it will get blessing, since in such a celebration is found the expression of joy and happiness at the greatness and eminence of the Noble Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) and his birth”.

2. Even Ibn Tay’miah said in his book “Necessity of the Right Path”, p. 266, 5th line from the bottom of that page, published by Dar Al-Hadith, the following: “As far as what people do during the Meelad, either as a rival celebration to that which the Christian do during the time of Christ’s birthday or as an expression of their love and admiration and a sign of praise for the Noble Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), Allah will surely reward them for such Ij’tiha”. He then said: “Although Meelad was not practised by (Salaf), they should have done so since there was no objection against it from the Shari’ah point of view”.

And we certainly only celebrate Meelad out of love and admiration to the Prophet of all Mankind.

3. Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar was asked, same reference of Imam Suyuti, about Meelad Shareef. His reply was: “Meelad Shareef is, in fact, and innovation, which was not transmitted from any pious predecessor in the first three centuries. Nevertheless, both acts of virtue as well as acts of abomination are found in it (i.e. sometimes acts of virtue are found therein and sometimes acts of abomination). If in the Meelad Shareef only acts of virtue are done and acts of abomination are abstained from, then the Meelad Shareef is a Bid’ah Hasanah (good innovation), otherwise not.” He then added “… to do any virtuous act and to observe it annually as means of recollection for any special day on which Allah Ta’ala has bestowed any favour or removed any calamity is a form of showing gratitude to Allah. Gratitude to Allah Ta’ala is expressed through different kinds of Ibaadah (worship) -prostration and standing in prayer, charity and recitation of the Holy Qu’ran. And what is a greater favour from Allah can there be than the appearance of the Prophet of Mercy (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) on this day (i.e. 12th of Rabbi-ul-Awwal)?”

Some people do not limit it and celebrate the Meelad Shareef on any day of Rabbi-ul-Awwal. Nay, some people have extended it even more and increased the period to the whole year. According to the latter, the Meelad Shareef can be celebrated on any day of the year. The objective here is the same, i.e. to rejoice at and celebrate the Holy Birth of the Noble Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).

4. Imam Abu-Bakr Abdullah Al-Demashqi compiled a number of books on the subject and called them “Collection of Traditions on the Birth of the Chosen Prophet”, “The Pure Expression on the Birthday of the Best of Creations” and “The Spring for the Thirsty One on the Birth of the Rightly Guided”.

5. Imam Al-Hafiz Al-Iraqi wrote a book and called it “The Pure Spring on the Sublime Birth”.

6. Imam Ibn Dahyah wrote a book and called it “Enlightenment on the Birthday of the Bearer of Good News, The Warner”.

7. Imam Mulla Ali Qari wrote a book and called it “The Quenching Spring on the Birthday of the Prophet”.

8. Imam Shams Ul-Din bin Naser Al-Dumashqi, said in his book “The Spring for the Thirsty One on the Birth of the Rightly Guided” about the story of Abu Lahab that he will receive a light punishment every Monday for expressing joy at the birth of the Noble Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) on that day. The Imam said the following verse of poetry, the translation of the above is:

If such Kafir was denounced in the (Qur’an)

And perished are his hands, and in the Flames is his eternal abode

It is narrated that every Monday

His torment is made easy for his Joy at the Birth of Ahmad

What is the expectation then of a servant who spent all his life

Happy with the Arrival of Ahmad and died on the Oneness of Allah.

9. Imam Shams Ul-Din Ibn aL-Jazri, the Imam of Reciters, wrote a book and named it “The Scent of Notification on the Blessed Birthday”.

10. Imam Al-Hafiz Ibn Al-Jawzi, said in the description of Meelad: “Peace and Tranquillity takes over during that year and a good glad tiding to obtain your wish and inspiration”.

11. Imam Abu-Shamah, The Sheik of Al Hafiz Al Nawawi, said: “The best of the innovations of our times is what is carried out on the day of corresponding to the birthday of our Beloved Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), where people give out donations, practice what is right, express their joy and happiness, in doing so is surely a sign of love and admiration for the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam)”.

12. Imam Al-Hafiz Al-Qastalani, who gave commentary on Sahih Bukhari, said: “May Allah shower his Mercy upon a person who takes the days of the month of Rabbi-ul-Awwal, in which the Noble Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) was born, as days of feast and celebration for doing so is the best cure for the heart of an ailing person.”

Following all of the above, there is yet another false accusation, i.e. THOSE WHO OPPOSE MEELAD SHAREEF CLAIM THAT IF MEELAD WAS PART OF “DEEN”, THEN SURELY THE PROPHET (SALLAL LAAHU ALAIHI WASALLAM) WOULD HAVE DONE IT HIMSELF AND HE WOULD HAVE MADE IT CLEAR FOR THE PEOPLE TO CELEBRATE IT?

THE REPLY IS:

Not everything which the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) did not do or his Companions would ultimately make things “HARAM”. Since the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) himself said: “He who introduces a new good Sunnah in Islam will be rewarded for it …”

Imam Shafi’i (radi Allahu anhu) said: “Anything which enjoys the backing of Shari’ah cannot be an innovation even if the Companions did not practice it, because their abstention from doing something may have been due to a particular reason which was there at that time, or they have left it to something which happens to be better, or perhaps news about a particular them did not reach them all”.

Therefore, whosoever alleges that this thing is Haraam on the basis that the Noble Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) did not practice it, then surely he has alleged something which has no foundation or backing in Shari’ah and thus his allegation is refuted and rejected.

FINALLY

It should be noted that, according to your allegations you have stated, i.e. That every person who innovates or brings about into action that which the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) or the Companion did not do, means that this person has in fact introduced something bad into the religion, will be interpreted that the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) did not fulfil “THE DEEN” for his “UMMAH” and the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) did not convey what was ought to be conveyed to the Muslims! and whoever believes in that is a “KAAFIR”.

We say, “We condemn you from your own words”, because you have brought and practised so many innovation which the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) or the Companions never practised nor preached, not even “SALAF” ever do them.

To name just a few and not all:

1. To gather collectively the Muslims to pray behind one Imam during “TARAWIH PRAYERS”, at the two Sacred Mosques and other Mosques.

2. Reading the “DU’A” at the conclusion of finishing the recitation of the Holy Qur’an during “TARAWIH PRAYERS” and “TAHAJUD PRAYERS”.

3. Allocating the 27th night of Ramadaan to recite the whole Quran at the two Sacred Mosques.

4. The Caller for Azaan saying when announcing to the people the commencement of the “TARAWIH PRAYERS” the following, “RAISE UP FOR TARAWIH PRAYERS, MAY ALLAH REWARD YOU”.

5. Claiming that “TARAWIH PRAYERS OR DIVINITY” is divided into three Parts.

Is this a Prophetic saying, or the saying of one of the Companions or of the Four Imams? And many other things such as the formation of the committees for “ENJOYING WHAT IS RIGHT AND FORBIDDING WHAT IS EVIL”, establishment of universities, Association for memorisation of the Holy Quran, Offices of Dawah and “SPECIAL WEEK OF MASHA’YEKH”. Hence, we do not raise objections to these things since they are in place for serving Islam. Let us add that these things are all “BID’AH” but we acknowledge that they are “GOOD BID’AH”.

REFUTATION OF THE FINAL OBJECTION?

It is alleged that since the Birthday of the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) is the same as his demise, therefore, expressing joy on that day is no better than expressing grieve over his demise and if the religion of Islam was to be applied on the basis of one’s opinion, then we are bound to show grief during this day and not happiness!

I will leave the rebut of such crooked argument to none other than Imam Suyuti himself, where he said in his famous book “Al-Hawaii Lil-Fatawii”, p. 193, the following: “The birthday of the Noble Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) is the greatest favour of Allah granted to us, and that his demise is the greatest affliction for us. However, Shari’ah has encouraged us to show gratitude for favours and has taught us to observe patient perserverence, silence and calm in the face of afflictions. The Shari’ah has ordered us to offer “AQIQAH” on the birth of a child. But the Shari’ah has not ordered us to sacrifice an animal on the death of someone nor to do such action. On the contrary, it has prohibited wailing and lamentation. Thus, the laws of Shari’ah indicate that to exhibit happiness in this Holy month in connection with the birth of the Noble Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), is better than showing grief at his demise.”

CONCLUSION

The Noble Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) foretold about the coming of such people in the Hadith narrated by “Abu-Yaa’li” on the authority of “Huzaifah” who said:

The Noble Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “What I fear most for you, is a man who reads the Qur’an until such time when the blessing of Qur’an is reflected on him and he takes Islam as his Cloak … he then turns around and strips himself off from Islam and then tosses it away behind his back, then he heads quickly towards his neighbour with his sword unsheathed and he calls him a ‘MUSHRIK'” I said: “O, Prophet of Allah! Who is more worthy of being called a MUSHRIK the one being attacked or the attacker”. He replied, “It is indeed the attacker.”

To end this research on a happy note let me draw your attention to the following Hadith: The Noble Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has himself indicated the excellence of this great month and day in reply to a questioner. When the questioner wanted to find out about fasting on Mondays, the Noble Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) replied: “That is the day on which I was BORN”.

COMPILED BY THE IMAM AHMED RAZA ACADEMY IN SOUTH AFRICA

Mawlidur Rasul

June 29, 2007

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.”

Milad-un-Nabi (The Prophet’s Birthday)

June 29, 2007

CONCLUSIVE RESPONSE TO DEVIANTS WHO DEFAME MAWLIDUR RASUL!

MAWLID
CELEBRATING THE BIRTH OF THE HOLY LAST MESSENGER
Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim

Is there evidence for the celebration of Mawlid — the Prophet’s Birthday — in the Qur’an and the Sunna? What do the Imams and scholars of the Four Schools say, and what about the contemporary “Salafi” scholars who forbade it on the grounds that it is an innovation, such as Albani, Bin Baz, al-Jaza’iri, Mashhur Salman, `Uthaymin? What about those who celebrate Mawlid, but forbid people from standing at the conclusion of Mawlid for sending darud or salawat — blessings and salutations — on the Prophet, Peace be upon him? And what about the objections of some to using the phrase: “As-salamu `alayka ya Rasulallah” (Peace upon you, O Messenger of Allah), and their claim that one cannot call the Prophet, peace be upon him, with the term ya, or O?

Preliminary remarks

Praise be to Allah, Lord of all the worlds, and Peace and Blessings upon His Prophet and Messenger Muhammad, his family and all his companions. In Islam there are two `Eids, `Eid al-Adha and `Eid al-Fitr. Other celebrations, like Mawlid, are neither obligatory nor forbidden. However, we have come to a time in which we hear too much complaining about the remembrance of the Prophet’s birthday, although there are more important matters that concern Muslims nowadays. We are living in a time when the enemies of Islam are destroying the Umma of the Prophet from within and without, without mercy, and there are now very few believers who are able to oppose them. We have reached a time of jahiliyya (ignorance) among the Muslims, so much so that the Truth has become a commodity and Falsehood has become the norm. Allah Almighty is ordering believers, “Hold fast to the Rope of Allah and do not separate” (Ali `Imran 103). Yet in this time, more than any other time, we are finding that the attacks of our enemies are not the only cause of our suffering. Within our own home, the Umma is being attacked and harmed deeply by some people, whom we don’t like to name but who are well-known. They are not happy to fight the enemies of Islam but instead find it necessary to fight Muslims and the community of believers throughout the Muslim world. Therefore I felt it was my duty to prepare a defense of the believers from the attacks of these Muslims, who have nothing to do while our enemies are rending the Umma, except to find fault with the beliefs of other Muslims. They take great pains to find anything that their scholars might consider doubtful as an excuse to deride and denigrate the faith of Muslims, calling them names like: mushrik, kafir, mubtadi`. And they have nothing better to do than to change what Muslim scholars have accepted as correct for 1400 years, and to call it bid`a, shirk, and kufr!

To celebrate the Prophet’s birthday is to celebrate Islam, because the Prophet is the symbol of Islam. Imam Mutawalli Sha`rawi said in his book, Ma’idat al-Fikr al-Islamiyya (p. 295), “If living beings were happy for his coming (to this world) and every inanimate creation was happy at his birth and all plants were happy at his birth and all animals were happy at his birth and all angels were happy at his birth and all believing jinn were happy at his birth, why are you preventing us from being happy at his birth?”

Therefore, and in order to defend the common Muslims and believers from such wrong and unacceptable accusations, especially in America and Canada, where there aren’t enough knowledgeable scholars to answer these ignorant people, it is necessary to know the actual position of Islam on this, which is permissibility based on khilaf (divergence of opinions among the scholars), and no one changes it to prohibition except the ignorant and the innovators. Insha Allah, I will present the facts and proofs relating to the celebration of Mawlid according to Qur’an and Sunna and the Scholars of Islam, with the intention of countering the criticism and questioning of some ignorant “scholars” who pretend to understand all of religion, and with the intention of sharing with others that understanding with which Allah has blessed the true scholars of Islam. Before going in-depth into explanations, I would like to present three statements:

  1. We say that celebrating the Mawlid of the Prophet is acceptable, that to make gatherings for the hearing of his Sira (Life) and listening to Madh (Praise) that has been written for him is acceptable, and that giving food to people and bringing happiness to the Umma on that occasion is acceptable.
  2. We say that the celebration of the Prophet’s Mawlid must not only be on the 12th of Rabi` al-Awwal, but can and should be on every day of every month in every mosque, in order for people to feel the light of Islam and the light of Shari`a in their hearts.
  3. We say that Mawlid gatherings are an effective and efficient means for the purpose of calling people to Islam and educate children; and that these meetings give a golden opportunity that must not be lost, for every scholar and da`i to teach and remind the Nation of the Prophet of his good character, his way of worshipping, and his way of treating people. This is a way to make children love and remember their Prophet, by giving them food and juice and gifts to make them happy.

Ten (10) PROOFS from the Qur’an and Sunnah that Celebrating the Nabi’s birthday is accepted in Shari’ah.

  • FIRST: Allah asks the Prophet, peace be upon him, to remind his Nation that it is essential for those who claim to love Allah, to love His Prophet: “Say to them: If you love Allah, follow (and love and honor) me, and Allah will love you” (3:31).The Celebration of the Holy Prophet’s birth 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 magnificient character” (68:4).

    Love of the Prophet is what differentiates the believers in the perfection of their iman. In an authentic hadith related in al-Bukhari and Muslim, the Prophet said: “None of you believes until he loves me more than he loves his children, his parents, and all people.” In another hadith in al-Bukhari he said: “None of you believes until he loves me more than he loves himself” and Sayyidina `Umar said: “O Prophet, I love you more than myself.”

    Perfection of faith is dependent on love of the Prophet because Allah and His angels are constantly raising his honor, as is meant by the verse already quoted, “Allah and His angels are praying on the Prophet” (33:56). 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 Prophet Emphasized Monday As the Day He Was Born.

  • SECOND: Abu Qatada al-Ansari narrates in Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-siyam, that the Prophet was asked about the fast of Monday, and he answered: “That is the day that I was born and that is the day I received the prophecy.”We quote again from Shaykh Mutawalli Sha`rawi:

    “Many extraordinary events occurred on his birthday as evidenced in hadith and history, and the night of his birth is not like the night of any other human being’s birth.”

    These events and the hadiths pertaining thereto, such as the shaking of Chosroes’ court, the extinction of the 1,000-year old fire in Persia, etc. are related in Ibn Kathir’s work al-Bidaya, Vol. 2, pages 265-268.

    We quote from the book Kitab al-Madkhal by Ibn al-Hajj (1:261):

    “It is an obligation that on every Monday of Rabi` ul- Awwal we increase our worship to thank Allah for what He gave us as a great favor — the favor of sending us His beloved Prophet to direct us to Islam and to peace… The Prophet, when answering someone questioning him about fasting on Mondays, mentioned: On that day I was born. Therefore that day gives honor to that month, because that is the day of the Prophet… and he said: I am the master of the children of Adam and I say that without pride… and he said: Adam and whoever is descended from him are under my flag on the day of Judgment. These hadiths were transmitted by the Shaikhayn [Bukhari and Muslim]. And Muslim quotes in his Sahih, the Prophet said, On that day, Monday, I was born and on that day the first message was sent to me.”

    The Prophet emphasized the day of his birth and thanked Allah for the big favor of bringing him to life by fasting on that day as is mentioned in the hadith of Abu Qatada. This means that the Prophet was expressing his happiness for that day by fasting, which is a kind of worship. Since the Prophet emphasized that day by fasting, worship in any form to emphasize that day is also acceptable. Even if we change the form, the essence is kept. Therefore, fasting, giving food to the poor, coming together to praise the Prophet, or coming together to remember his good manners and good behavior, all of this is considered a way of emphasizing that day. (See also the hadith “Dying on Monday” below.)

    Allah Said: Rejoice in the Prophet

  • THIRD: To express happiness for the Prophet coming to us is an obligation given by Allah through Qur’an, as Allah said in Qur’an: “Of the favor and mercy of Allah let them rejoice” (10:58).This order came because joy makes the heart grateful for the mercy of Allah. And What greater mercy did Allah give than the Prophet himself, of whom Allah says, “We did not send you except as a mercy to human beings” (21:107).

    Because the Prophet was sent as a mercy to all mankind, it is incumbent not only upon Muslims, but upon all human beings to rejoice in his person. Unfortunately, today it is some Muslims who are foremost in rejecting Allah’s order to rejoice in His Prophet.

    The Prophet Celebrated Great Historical Events

    FOURTH: The Prophet always made the connection between religious events and historical events, so that when the time returned for a significant event, he reminded his Sahaba to celebrate that day and to emphasize it, even if it had happened in the distant past. This principle can be found in the following hadith of Bukhari and others: “When the Prophet reached Madina, he saw the Jews fasting on the day of `Ashura’. He asked about that day and they told him that on that day, Allah saved their Prophet, Sayyidina Musa and drowned their enemy. Therefore they are fasting on that day to thank Allah for that favor.” At that time the Prophet responded with the famous hadith, “We have more right to Musa than you,” and he used to fast that day and the day preceding it.

    Allah Said: Invoke Blessings on the Prophet

  • FIFTH: Remembrance of the birth of the Prophet encourages us to pray on the Prophet and to praise him, which is an obligation on us through Allah’s order in the verse,“Allah and His angels are praying on (and praising) the Prophet; O believers! pray on (and praise) him and send him utmost greetings” (33:56). Coming together and remembering the Prophet causes us to pray on him and to praise him. Who has the right to deny the obligation which Allah has ordered us to fulfill through the Holy Qur’an? The benefit brought by obeying an order of Allah, and the light that it brings to our heart, cannot be measured. That obligation, furthermore, is mentioned in the plural: Allah and His angels are praying on and praising the Prophet — in a gathering. It is entirely incorrect, therefore, to say that praying on and praising the Prophet must be done alone.

    The Effect of Observing Mawlid on Unbelievers

  • SIXTH: Expressing happiness and celebrating the Prophet on his birthday causes even unbelievers, by Allah’s favor and mercy, to gain some benefit. This is mentioned in Sahih Bukhari. Bukhari said in his hadith that every Monday, Abu Lahab in his grave is released from punishment because he freed his handmaid Thuwayba when she brought him the news of the Prophet’s birth.This hadith is mentioned in Bukhari in the book of Nikah, and Ibn Kathir mentions it in his books Sirat al-Nabi Vol.1, p. 124, Mawlid al-Nabi p. 21, and al-Bidaya p. 272-273. The hafiz Shamsuddin Muhammad ibn Nasiruddin ad-Dimashqi wrote on this the following verses in his book Mawrid as-sadi fi Mawlid al-Hadi: “If this, a kafir who was condemned to hell eternally with “Perish his hands” [sura 111], is said to enjoy a respite every Monday because he rejoiced in Ahmad: what then do you think of the servant who, all his life, was happy with Ahmad, and died saying, “One”?”

    The Obligation to Know Sira and Imitate Its Central Character

  • SEVENTH: We are asked to know about our Prophet, about his life, about his miracles, about his birth, about his manners, about his faith, about his signs (ayat wa dala’il), about his seclusions, about his worship, and is not this knowledge an obligation for every Muslim? What is better than celebrating and remembering his birth, which represents the essence of his life, in order to acquire knowledge of his life? To remember his birth begins to remind us of everything else about him. This will make Allah happy with us because then we will be able to know the Prophet’s Sira better, and we will be readier to take the Prophet as an example for ourselves, to correct ourselves, and to imitate him. That is why the celebration of his birthday is a great favor sent to us.

    The Prophet Accepted Poetry in His Honor

  • EIGHTH: In the time of the Prophet, 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 was happy with good poetry since it is reported in Bukhari’s al-Adab al-mufrad and elsewhere that he said: “There is wisdom in poetry.” Thus the Prophet’s uncle al-`Abbas composed poetry praising the birth of the Prophet, 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.

    This text is found in Suyuti’s Husn al-maqsid p. 5 and in Ibn Kathir’s Mawlid p. 30 as well as Ibn Hajar’s Fath al-Bari.

    Ibn Kathir mentions the fact that according to the Sahaba, the Prophet praised his own name and recited poetry about himself in the middle of the battle of Hunayn in order to encourage the companions and scare the enemies. That day he said: “I am the Prophet! This is no lie. I am the son of `Abd al-Muttalib!”

    The Prophet was therefore happy with those who praised him because it is Allah’s order, and he gave them from what Allah was providing him. If we get together and do something in order to approach the Prophet, we are doing something to approach Allah, and approaching the Prophet will make Allah happy with us.

    Singing and Recitation of Poetry:

    It is established that the Prophet instructed `A’isha to let two ladies sing on the day of `Eid. He said to Abu Bakr: “Let them sing, because for every nation there is a holiday, and this is our holiday” [Agreed upon]. Ibn Qayyim in Madarij al-salikin comments that the Prophet also gave permission to sing in wedding celebrations, and allowed poetry to be recited to him. He heard Anas 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`a to Muhammad for jihad as long as we are living.”

    Ibn Qayyim also mentions `Abdullah ibn Rawaha’s long poem praising the Prophet as the latter entered Mecca, after which, the Prophet prayed for him. He prayed that Allah support Hassan ibn Thabit, with the holy spirit as long as he would support the Prophet with his poetry. Similarly the Prophet rewarded Ka`b ibn Zuhayr’s poem of praise with a robe. The Prophet asked Aswad bin Sarih to make poems praising Allah, and he asked someone else to recite the poem of praise of 100 verses which Umayya ibn Abi al- Salt had composed. Ibn Qayyim continues, “`A’isha always recited poems praising him and he was happy with her.”

    This Umayya ibn Abi al-Salt is a poet of Jahiliyya who died in Damascus before Islam. He was a pious man who had relinquished the use of wine and the worship of idols, as related by Dhahabi in Siyar a`lam al-nubala’ (2:23).

    Part of the funeral eulogy Hassan ibn Thabit recited for the Prophet states:

    I say, and none can find fault with me But one lost to all sense: I shall never cease to praise him. It may be for so doing I shall be for ever in Paradise With the Chosen One for whose support in that I hope. And to attain to that day I devote all my efforts.(1)

    Singing and Recitation of Qur’an:

    As Ibn al-Qayyim says in his book, “Allah gave permission to his Prophet to recite the Qur’an in a melodious way. Abu Musa al- Ash`ari one time was reciting the Qur’an in a melodious voice and the Prophet was listening to him. After he finished, the Prophet congratulated him on reciting in a melodious way and said, “You have a good voice.” And he said about Abu Musa al-Ash`ari that Allah gave him a “mizmar” (flute or horn) from Dawud’s mizmars. Then Abu Musa said, “O Messenger of Allah, if I had known that you were listening to me, I would have recited it in a much more melodious and beautiful voice such as you have never heard before.”

    Ibn Qayyim continues, “The Prophet said, “Decorate the Qur’an with your voices,” and “Who does not sing the Qur’an is not from us.” Ibn Qayyim comments: “To take pleasure in a good voice is acceptable, as is taking pleasure in a 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.”

    The Prophet Allowed Drum-Playing For A Good Intention:

    Ibn `Abbad the Muhaddith gave the following fatwa in his “Letters.” He starts with the hadith, “One lady came to the Prophet when he was returning from one of his battles and she said, “Ya Rasulallah, I have made an oath that if Allah sends you back safe, I would play this drum near you.” The Prophet said, “Fulfill your oath.” The hadith is found in Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, and Ahmad.

    Ibn `Abbad continues, “There is no doubt that the playing of a drum is a kind of entertainment, even though the Prophet ordered her to fulfill her oath. He did that because her intention was to honor him for returning safely, and her intention was a good intention, not with the intention of a sin or of wasting time. Therefore, if anyone celebrates the time of the birth of the Prophet in a good way, with a good intention, by reading Sira and praising him, it is accepted.”

    The Prophet Emphasized the Birthday of Prophets

  • NINTH: The Prophet emphasized in his hadith both the day and the place of birth of previous prophets. Speaking of the greatness of the day of Jum`a (Friday), the Prophet said in his hadith: “On that day [i.e. Jum`a], Allah created Adam.” This means that the day of Friday is emphasized because Allah created Adam on that day. That day is emphasized because it saw the creation of the prophet and father of all human beings. What about the day when the greatest of prophets and best of human beings was created? The Prophet said: “Truly Allah made me the Seal of prophets while Adam was between water and clay.” This hadith is related by Ahmad in the Musnad, Bayhaqi in Dala’il al-Nubuwwa and others, and is sound and established as authentic.Why Bukhari Emphasized Dying On Monday

    Imam Qastallani said in his commentary on Bukhari: “In his book on Jana’iz (Funerals), Bukhari named an entire chapter “Dying on Monday.” In it there is the hadith of `A’isha relating her father’s (Abu Bakr al-Siddiq) question: “On which day did the Prophet die?” She replied: “Monday.” He asked: “What day are we today?” She said, “O my father, this is Monday.” Then he raised his hands and said: “I beg you, O Allah, to let me die on Monday in order to coincide with the Prophet’s day of passing.”

    Imam Qastallani continues, “Why did Abu Bakr ask for his death to be on Monday? So that his death would coincide with the day of the Prophet’s passing, in order to receive the baraka of that day… Does anyone object to Abu Bakr’s asking to pass away on that day for the sake of baraka? Now, why are people objecting to celebrating or emphasizing the day of the Prophet ‘s birth in order to get baraka?”

    The Prophet Emphasized the Birthplace of Prophets

    A hadith authentified by the hafiz al-Haythami in Majma` al- zawa’id states that on the night of Isra’ and Mi`raj, the Prophet was ordered by Jibril to pray two rak`ats in Bayt Lahm (Bethlehem), and Jibril asked him: “Do you know where you prayed? When the Prophet asked him where, he told him: “You prayed where `Isa was born.”(2)

    The Ijma` of `ulama on the Permissibility of Mawlid

  • TENTH: Remembering the Prophet’s birthday is an act that all `ulama of the Muslim world accept and still accept. This means that Allah accepts it, according to the saying of Ibn Mas`ud related in Imam Ahmad’s Musnad with a sound chain: “Whatever the majority of Muslims see as right, then this is good to Allah, and whatever is seen by the majority of Muslims as wrong, it is wrong to Allah.”History of The Celebration of Mawlid: The Mawlid in Mecca According to Muslim Historians Celebration of the Birthplace of the Prophet

    Mecca, the Mother of Cities, may Allah bless and honor her, is the leader of other Islamic cities in the celebration of Mawlid as in other things. In his book Akhbar Makka, Vol. 2, p. 160, the 3rd- century historian of Mecca, al-Azraqi, mentions as one of the many places in Mecca in which the performance of salat is desirable (mustahabb), the house where the Prophet was born (Mawlid al- Nabi). According to him, the house had previously been turned into a mosque by the mother of the caliphs Musa al-Hadi and Harun ar-Rashid.

    The Qur’anic scholar al-Naqqash (266-351) mentions the birthplace of the Prophet as a place where du`a by noon on Mondays is answered. He is quoted in al-Fasi’s Shifa’ al-gharam Vol. 1, p. 199, and others.

    Earliest Mentions of the Public Mawlid

    The oldest source that mentions a public commemoration of the Mawlid is in Ibn Jubayr’s (540-614) Rihal (“Travels”), p. 114-115:

    “This blessed place [the house of the Prophet] is opened, and all men enter it to derive blessing from it (mutabarrikin bihi), on every Monday of the month of Rabi` al-Awwal; for on that day and in that month was born the Prophet.”

    The 7th-century historians Abul `Abbas al-`Azafi and his son Abul Qasim al-`Azafi wrote in their unpublished Kitab ad-durr al-munazzam:

    “Pious pilgrims and prominent travellers testified that, on the day of the mawlid in Mecca, no activities are undertaken, and nothing is sold or bought, except by the people who are busy visiting his noble birthplace, and rush to it. On this day the Ka`ba is opened and visited.”

    Ibn Battuta’s Account of the Mawlid

    The famous 8th-century historian Ibn Battuta relates in his Rihla, Vol. 1, p. 309 and 347, that on every Friday, after the salat, and on the birthday of the Prophet, the door of Ka`ba is opened by the head of the Banu Shayba, the doorkeepers of the Ka`ba, and that on the Mawlid, the Shafi`i qadi (head judge) of Mecca, Najmuddin Muhammad Ibn al-Imam Muhyiddin al-Tabari, distributes food to the shurafa’ (descendants of the Prophet) and to all the other people of Mecca.

    Three Tenth-Century Accounts of the Mawlid

    The following description consolidates eyewitness accounts by three 10th-century authorities: the historian Ibn Zahira al-Hanafi from his al-Jami` al-latif fi fasl Makka wa ahliha, p. 326; Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami from his Kitab al-mawlid al-sharif al- mu`azzam, and the historian al-Nahrawali from al-I`lam bi-a`lam bayt Allah al-haram, p. 205.

    Each year on the 12th of Rabi` al-Awwal, after the salat al-Maghrib, the four qadis of Mecca (representing the Four Schools) and large groups of people including the fuqaha’ (scholars) and fudala’ (notables) of Mecca, shaykhs, zawiya teachers and their students, ru’asa’ (magistrates), and muta`ammamin (scholars) leave the mosque and set out collectively for a visit to the birthplace of the Prophet, shouting out dhikr and tahlil (LA ILAHA ILLALLAH). The houses on the route are illuminated with numerous lanterns and large candles, and a great many people are out and about. They all wear special clothes and they take their children with them. Having reached the birthplace, inside a special sermon for the occasion of the birthday of the Prophet is delivered, mentioning the miracles (karamat) that took place on that occasion. Hereafter the du`a’ for the Sultan (i.e. the Caliph), the Emir of Mecca, and the Shafi`i qadi is performed and all pray humbly. Shortly before the salat al-`Isha’, the whole party returns from the birthplace of the Prophet to the Great Mosque, which is almost overcrowded, and all sit down in rows at the foot of the Maqam Ibrahim. In the mosque, a preacher first mentions the tahmid (AL HAMDULILLAH) and the tahlil, and once again the du`a’ for the Sultan, the Emir, and the Shafi`i qadi is performed. After this the call for the Salat al-`Isha’ is made. After the salat, the crowd breaks up. A similar description is given by al- Diyarbakri (d. 960) in his Ta’rikh al-Khamis.

    The Celebration of Mawlid in Islamic Countries Today

    In every Muslim country today, we find people celebrating the Prophet’s birthday. This is true of the following: Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq, Kuwait, the Emirates, Saudi Arabia (not officially, but in the majority of homes), Sudan, Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Djibouti, Somalia, Turkey, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaidjan, Uzbekistan, Turkestan, Bosnia (former Yugoslavia), Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, and most other Islamic countries. In most Arab countries it is a national holiday. All these countries, O Nation of Islam, are celebrating that event. How is it that today a minority is coming and making up a ruling that it is haram? And who are these scholars who spoke against Mawlid, in comparison to the huffaz (hadith masters) and scholars of the Community such as Abu Shama, `Asqalani, Suyuti, Sakhawi, Haytami, Shawkani, and al-Qari, all of whom declared Mawlid praiseworthy? How can any of the “Salafis” declare haram something that even the strictest of their scholars, Ibn Taymiyya, allowed under certain conditions, and which Ibn al-Jawzi and Ibn Kathir encouraged, each of them by writing a booklet entitled Mawlid and consisting of poems and passages from the sira?

The celebration of Mawlid as understood by the scholars of the “salafi” movement and the os the Four Schools of Ahl As-Sunnah

Ibn Taymiyya’s Opinion on the Celebration of Mawlid and the Deviation of “Salafis” from his Opinion

This is Ibn Taymiyya’s opinion about Mawlid from the Collected Fatwas, Majma` Fatawa Ibn Taymiyya, Vol. 23, p. 163 and his Iqtida’ al-sirat al-mustaqim, p. 294-295, Section entitled: “The innovated festivities of time and place” (ma uhditha min al-a`yad al-zamaniyya wa al-makaniyya):

And similarly what some people innovate by analogy with the Christians who celebrate the birth of Jesus, or out of love for the Prophet and to exalt him, and Allah may reward them for this love and effort, not on the fact that it is an innovation… To celebrate and to honor the birth of the Prophet 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.

This is what “Salafis” cannot stomach, for all their love of Ibn Taymiyya, and they cannot seem to forgive him for saying this. One “Salafi” editor of the Iqtida’, Muhammad Hamid al-Fiqqi, has a two-page footnote here in which he exclaims: “Kayfa yakunu lahum thawabun `ala hadha??… Ayyu ijtihadun fi hadha??” — “How can they possibly obtain a reward for this??… What effort is in this??” and the contemporary “Salafi” scholars are all without exception cut from the same cloth of intemperance and deviation regarding Mawlid, substituting their ruling to that of Ibn Taymiyya although the latter should be sufficient for them. Thus we see another “Salafi” author, Mashhur Salman, exploding in similar terms in his recent edition of Abu Shama’s al-Ba`ith `ala inkar al- bida` (Assault on all innovations), because when it comes to Mawlid, Abu Shama instead of censoring it declares: “Truly it is a praiseworthy innovation and a blessed one!”

Further on in the same text Ibn Taymiyya mentions a fatwa given by Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the Imam of Ibn Taymiyya’s madhhab, whereby when the people told Imam Ahmad about a prince who spent 1000 dinars on the decoration of Qur’an he said: “That is the best place for him to use gold.”

We ask: Was Ibn Taymiyya promoting bid`a when he permitted the celebration of Mawlid “as some of the people are doing”? Not only did he allow it, but he mentioned that their celebration of Mawlid “is good and in it there is a great reward.” We ask again: Was Imam Ahmad making bid`a when he allowed the decoration of Qur’an? The answer to both questions is no.

Ibn Taymiyya’s Opinion on the Meetings of Dhikr

The following is the opinion of Ibn Taymiyya on meetings of dhikr. It can be found in the King Khalid ibn `Abd al-`Aziz edition of the Majmu`at 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 answered: “Praise to Allah, it is good and recommended according to Shari`a (mustahabb) to come together for reading Qur’an, making dhikr, and making du`a’.”(3)

Ibn Kathir Praises the Night of Mawlid

Imam Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani, in his book al-Durar al-kamina fi `ayn al-Mi’at al-thamina, mentions that Ibn Kathir, a muhaddith from among the followers of Ibn Taymiyya, “in the last days of his life wrote a book entitled Mawlid Rasul Allah which was spread far and wide. That book mentioned the permissibility and recommendability of celebrating the Mawlid.”

Ibn Kathir’s book was edited and published in 1961.(4) In it he says, p. 19: “The Night of the Prophet’s birth is a magnificient, noble, blessed and holy night, a night of bliss for the believers, pure, radiant with lights, and of immeasurable price.”

`Asqalani and Suyuti’s Fatwas on the Permissibility of Mawlid

Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti said in his Hawi li al-fatawa: “The Sheikh of Islam and hadith master of his age, Ahmad ibn Hajar (`Asqalani) was asked about the practice of commemorating the birth of the Prophet, and gave the following written reply:

As for the origin of the practice of commemorating the Prophet’s birth, it is an innovation that has not been conveyed to us from any of the pious early Muslims of the first three centuries, despite which it has included both features that are praiseworthy and features that are not. If one takes care to include in such a commemoration only things that are praiseworthy and avoids those that are otherwise, it is a praiseworthy innovation, while if one does not, it is not.An authentic primary textual basis from which its legal validity is inferable has occured to me, namely the rigorously authenticated (sahih) hadith in the collections of Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet came to Medina and found the Jews fasting on the tenth of Muharram (`Ashura ‘), so he asked them about it and they replied: “It is the day on which Allah drowned Pharaoh and rescued Moses, so we fast in it to give thanks to Allah Most High,” which indicates the validity of giving thanks to Allah for the blessings He has bestowed on a particular day in providing a benefit, or averting an affliction. We repeat our thanks on the anniversary of that day every year, giving thanks to Allah with various forms of worship such as prostration, fasting, giving charity or reciting the Qur’an… Then what blessing is greater than the birth of the Prophet, the Prophet of mercy, on this day? In light of which, one should take care to commemorate it on the day itself in order to conform to the above story of Musa and the tenth of Muharram, [but] those who do not view the matter thus do not mind commemorating it on any day of the month, while some have expanded its time to any of day the year, whatever exception may be taken at such a view.”(5)

Other Scholars’ Opinions on the Mawlid

According to the Mufti of Mecca Ahmad ibn Zayni Dahlan, in his book al-Sira al-nabawiyya wa al-athar al- muhammadiyya, page 51: “To celebrate the Mawlid and to remember the Prophet is accepted by all the Ulama of the Muslims.” Most of the following quotations are taken from that work.

Imam Subki said, “When we were celebrating the Prophet’s birthday, a great uns (familiarity) comes to our hearts, and we feel something special.”

Imam Shawkani in his book al-Badr at-tali`, said, “It is permissible to celebrate the Prophet’s birthday.” He mentioned that Mullah `Ali Qari held the same opinion in a book entitled al- Mawrid ar-Rawi fi al-Mawlid al-Nabawi, written specifically to support the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday.

Imam Abu Shama, the sheikh of Imam Nawawi, said in his book on innovations entitled: al-Ba`ith `ala inkar al-bida` wa al- hawadith:

The best innovation in our day is the remembrance of the Prophet’s birthday. On that day, people give much donations, make much worship, show much love to the Prophet, and give much thanks to Allah Almighty for sending them His messenger to keep them on the Sunna and Shari`a of Islam.

Imam Sakhawi said, “The Mawlid was begun three centuries after the Prophet, and all Muslim nations celebrated it, and all `ulama accepted it, by worshipping Allah alone, by giving donations and by reading the Prophet’s Sira.”

Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Haytami said , “As Jews celebrated the day of `Ashura by fasting to thank Allah, we also have to celebrate the day of Mawlid,” and he quoted the aforementioned hadith, “When the Prophet came to Madina…” Ibn Hajar continues, “One gives thanks to Allah for the favor that He gave on a particular day either through a great good, or through the averting of a disaster. That day is celebrated every year thereafter. Thanksgiving entails various forms of worship like prostration, fasting, charity, and the recitation of Qur’an, and what greater good is there than the advent of that Prophet, the Prophet of Mercy, on the day of Mawlid?”

Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597) wrote a booklet of poems and sira to be read at mawlid celebrations. It is entitled Mawlid al-`arus(6) and begins with the words: al-hamdu lillah al-ladhi abraza min ghurrati `arusi al-hadrati subhan mustanira: “Praise be to Allah Who has manifested from the radiance of the bridegroom of His Presence a light-giving daybreak…”

To Celebrate Mawlid Is Mandub (Recommended)

Imam Suyuti in his book Husn al-maqsid fi `amal al-mawlid, p. 54 and 62, says: “The reason for gathering for tarawih prayers is Sunna and qurba (to seek nearness to Allah)… and similarly we say that the reason for gathering to celebrate mawlid is mandub (recommended) and qurba (an act of drawing near).. and the intention to celebrate mawlid is mustahsana (excellent) without a doubt.”

Imam Suyuti continues, p. 64-65, “I have derived the permissibility of Mawlid from another source of the Sunna [besides Ibn Hajar’s deduction from the hadith of `Ashura’], namely, the hadith found in Bayhaqi, narrated by Anas, that “The Prophet slaughtered an `aqiqa [sacrifice for newborns] for himself after he received the prophecy,” although it has been mentioned that his grandfather `Abd al-Muttalib did that on the seventh day after he was born, and the `aqiqa cannot be repeated.(7) Thus the reason for the Prophet’s action is to give thanks to Allah for sending him as a mercy to the worlds, and to give honor to his Umma, in the same way that he used to pray on himself. It is recommended for us, therefore, that we also show thanks for his birth by meeting with our brothers, by feeding people, and other such good works and rejoicing.” This hadith confirms the aforementioned hadith of the Prophet’s emphasis of Monday as the day of his birth and that of his prophethood.

Concerning the claim of contemporary “salafi” writers who forbade Mawlid on the grounds that it is an innovation, such as Al-albani, Bin Baz, Abu Bakr Jaza’iri, Mashhur Salman, ‘Uthaymin, and others.

This claim is not only an innovative departure from what the majority of the past scholars have said on the question; it is, first and foremost, defective in its logic and reasoning, since the scholars have defined innovations as being sometimes good, sometimes bad, and sometimes indifferent, and therefore it is not allowed to prohibit something solely on the ground that it is an innovation without first defining what kind of innovation it is.There is a bid`a hasana or excellent innovation according to the majority of the scholars who have written about bid`a, though some, like Ibn al-Jawzi and Ibn Taymiyya, consider all bid`a to be bid`a dalala (innovation of miguidance). Their position in this is shadhdh (anomalous and deviating from the norm) as the following evidence shows:

  1. Harmala ibn Yahya said: “I heard ash-Shafi’i saying:al-bid`atu bid`atan: bid`a mahmuda wa bid`a madhmuma, fa ma wafaqa al-sunna fa huwa mahmud, wa ma khalafa al-sunna fa huwa madhmum.

    Innovation is of two kinds: the praiseworthy innovation and the blameworthy innovation. Whatever conforms to the Sunna is praiseworthy, and whatever contravenes the Sunna is blameworthy.

    Sources: al-hafiz Abu Nu`aym al-Asbahani cites it in Hilyat al-awliya (9:113);

    al-hafiz Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani also in Fath al-Bari (13:253);

    al-hafiz Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali also in Jami` al-`uloom wa al-hikam (p. 291);

    al-hafiz Abu Shama in al-Ba`ith `ala inkar al-bida` wa al- hawadith, ed. Mashhur Hasan Salman (Riyadh: Dar al- Raya, 1990/1410) p. 93; Cairo edition, p. 12.

    al-hafiz al-Turtushi al-Maliki, Kitab al-hawadith wa al- bida` (p. 158-159); He himself divided the bid`a into muharrama (forbidden), makruha (disliked), and wajiba (obligatory): p. 15.

    al-hafiz al-Suyuti alludes to it in the introduction to his fatwa on Mawlid entitled Husn al-maqsid fi `amal al-mawlid in al-Hawi li al-fatawi;

    al-hafiz Ibn Taymiyya, Dar’ ta`arud al-`aql wa al-naql, ed. Muhammad al-Sayyid Julaynid (Cairo: Mu’assasat al- ahram, 1409/1988) p. 171: “Bayhaqi narrated it in al- Madkhal with a sound chain”;

    al-hafiz al-Bayhaqi, Manaqib ash-Shafi’i (1:469) in these words:

    al-muhdathatu min al-umuri darbani ahaduhuma ma uhditha yukhalifu kitaban aw sunnatan aw atharan aw ijma`an fa hadhihi al-bid`atu al-dalalat wa al-thaniyatu ma uhditha min al-khayri la khilafa fihi li wahidin min hadhihi wa hadhihi muhdathatun ghayru madhmuma.

    Innovated matters are one of two kinds: one is an innovation which contravenes something in the Qur’an or the Sunna or a report from a Companion or the consensus of he scholars: this is the innovation of misguidance (bid`a dalala); the other kind is whatever good has been innovated which contravenes none of the above, and this is an innovation that is not blameworthy (muhdathatun ghayru madhmuma).

  2. al-Hafiz al-`Izz Ibn `Abd al-Salam said:There are five types of bid`a: – Haram (forbidden) – Makhruh (disliked) – Mubah (permitted) – Mandub (praiseworthy) – Wajib (obligatory).”

    Sources:

    al-hafiz ash-Shatibi, Kitab al-i`tisam (Beirut ed.) 1:188;

    al-hafiz al-Imam al-Nawawi, Kitab al-Adhkar (Beirut: al- Thaqafiyya) p. 237; and Tahdhib al-asma’ wa al-lughat ([Cairo] : Idarat al-Tibaah al-Muniriyah, [1927]?) 3: 22;

    al-hafiz Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-muhtar (Kuitah, Pakistan ed.?) 1:376;

    al-hafiz al-Suyuti mentions it in the introduction to his fatwa on Mawlid entitled Husn al-maqsid fi `amal al- mawlid in al-Hawi li al-fatawi.

  3. Others who admitted the possibility of praiseworthy bid`a are:Abu Shama; he divided it into bid`a mustahsana / hasana on the one hand, and bid`a mustaqbaha on the other, itself subdivided into muharram and makruh. In al-Ba`ith `ala inkar al-bida` wa al-hawadith Cairo ed. (p. 13);

    al-Turkumani al-Hanafi; he divided it into either bid`a mustahsana (approved), such as mubaha yuthab `alayha (permitted innovation which merits reward), or bid`a mustaqbaha (disapproved), such as makruha or muharrama. In Kitab al-luma` fi al-hawadith wa al-bida` (Stuttgart, 1986) 1:37;

    Ibn al-Hajj al-`Abdari al-Maliki, who followed al-Izz Ibn `Abd al-Salam’s classification. Madkhal ash-Shar` ash-Sharif (Cairo, 1336 H) 2:115;

    al-Tahanawi al-Hanafi, who also followed Ibn `Abd al- Salam. Kashshaf istilahat al-funun (Beirut, 1966) 1:133- 135;

    al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani in his commentary of `Umar’s saying related by Bukhari about Salat al-Tarawih: “What a fine innovation this is” (ni`mat al-bid`a hadhih):

    The root meaning of innovation is what is produced without precedent. It is applied in the law in opposition to the Sunna and is therefore blameworthy. Strictly speaking, if it is part of what is classified as commendable by the law then it is a good innovation (hasana), while if it is part of what is classified as blameworthy by the law then it is blameworthy (mustaqbaha), otherwise it falls in the category of what is permitted indifferently (mubah). It can be divided into the known five categories.”(8)

  4. Certain people still object: “What about the hadith: kullu bida’tin dalala: “Every innovation is a misguidance”? Doesn’t the term “every” include all innovations?”Such an objection stems from the misinterpretation of the term kullu (“every”) in the hadith to be all-encompassing without exception, whereas in Arabic it may mean “nearly all” or “the vast majority.” This is how ash-Shafi`i understood it or else he would have never allowed for any innovation whatsoever to be considered good, and he is considered a hujja or “proof,” that is, a reference without peer for questions regarding the Arabic language. Imam Bayhaqi narrated in his Manaqib ash-Shafi`i (2:42-46):

    al-Hasan ibn Habib related from Mahmud al-Misri — and he was one of those gifted with eloquence — that Mahmud said: I saw ash-Shafi`i when I was little, and I heard Ibn Hisham — and I never set eyes on one from whom I took wisdom such as Ibn Hisham — say: “I was ash-Shafi`i’s sitting-companion for a long time, and I never heard him use a word except that if that word were carefully considered, one would not find (in its context) a better word than it in the entire Arabic language.” Mahmud also said: I also heard Ibn Hisham say: “ash-Shafi`i’s discourse, in relation to language, is a proof in itself.”

    It is also related from al-Hasan ibn Muhammad al- Za`farani: A group of the people of pure Arabic (qawmun min ahl al-`arabiyya) used to frequent ash-Shafi`i’s gathering with us and sit in a corner. One day I asked their leader: “You are not interested in scholarship; why do you keep coming here with us?” They said: “We come to hear ash-Shafi`i’s language.”The stylistic figure of meaning the part by the whole, or synecdoche in English, is in Arabic: `abbara `an al-kathrati bi al- kulliyya. This is illustrated by the use of kull in verse 46:25 of the Qur’an in a selective or partial sense not a universal sense:

    Destroying all things by commandment of its Lord. And morning found them so that naught could be seen save their dwellings.

    Thus the dwellings were not destroyed although “all” things had been destroyed. “All” here means specifically the lives of the unbelievers of `Ad and their properties, except their houses. The same applies with the hoopoe-bird’s expression when he says that Balkis has been given in abundance from “everything” in Sura al- Naml (27:23), whereas she was not given any power over Sulayman nor any share of his kingdom. Similarly when Allah says: “Every soul (kullu nafsin) shall taste death” (3:185), it is understood though not mentioned that Allah Himself is excluded from the meaning.

    In conclusion, the position of the majority of the scholars is clear: “To invent” (ahdatha) a “new practice” (bid’at) may refer either to the matter that is new linguistically speaking (lafzan), e.g. stone masjids, all the Islamic sciences, writing books about religion, etc. or the matter that is new legally speaking (shar`an), e.g. a sixth daily prayer. Since bid`a usually applies to innovations in religion in the legal sense, the former kind of “new matter” does not qualify as a bid`a and therefore is not prohibited.

    The above is the ruling of all the major scholars on the definition of bid`a. Whoever denies this definition is either ignorant, or actually giving a new definition which is not from the majority of scholars but from one’s own whim. Their claim that they are “sticking to the Sunna” is an empty claim which does not fool anybody but themselves and those they sadly misguide. When asked to substantiate it with the criteria of scholarship in the light of the evidence against them, they just instead keep repeating the claim, like parrots, ignoring or affecting to ignore the difference between the claim and the reality of the claim. Their purported “avoidance of bid`a” is similarly based on their own whimsical conviction that they alone are right although they stray from the larger group. May Allah guide them to the truth.

    Brief answers to certain questions pertaining to Mawlid

    Q. Since the purpose of Mawlid is to promote love and obedience of the Prophet, then why did the first generations of Muslims not celebrate it? Undoubtedly, love and obedience of the Prophet were not lacking at that time.

    A. The answer is given in the question itself. If the people of today could practice love and obedience of the Prophet the way the Salaf did, then they would have no need of the voluntary celebration of Mawlid to remind them.

    The same applies to knowledge and belief. In the first generations, knowledge and belief were pure and safe from the dangers of forgetfulness and innovation; when these evils appeared, the Imams of fiqh stepped forth and did their great work to protect the Umma from error. The Companions themselves had no need of formal schools of Law.

    The same applies to morals. Zuhd (“Doing-without”) was a characteristic of all the Companions and the natural state of the Prophet. When it became a rare thing, the imams of tasawwuf came and codified zuhd, encouraging people to return to the excellent manners and simplicity of earlier times. All of these: `ulum al-fiqh, `ulum al-tasawwuf, and Mawlid, did not exist formally in the first centuries because there was no need for them. The love for the Prophet and his imitation were certainly greater then.

    Beware of those who say that Mawlid is wrong simply because it did not exist in the first three centuries. To claim that something goes against the Sunna because it was not present in the first three centuries, indicates that one is fostering the wrong understanding of “following the Sunna” and this is rejected. In fact, it is impermissible to claim that the Prophet did not celebrate his birthday, since it is established in sound hadith that he commemorated his birthday by fasting on Mondays.

    Q. There was no such thing as Mawlid before the Fatimi regime in Egypt started it. Aren’t they denounced by Ahl as-Sunna as deviants?

    A. The Fatimis ruled in Egypt from about 360 to 560. But the historian of Mecca al-Azraqi (3rd century) mentioned the mawlid in the sense of the house where the Prophet was born, and he said that salat in that house was declared by the scholars as desirable (mustahabb) for the reason of seeking special blessing (tabarruk). See Akhbar Mekka (2:160). Also, the mufassir al-Naqqash (266- 351) said in his Shifa’ al-gharam (1:199) that the birthplace of the Prophet (mawlid al-nabi) is a place where du`a on mondays is answered. Ibn Jubayr (540-640) in his Kitab ar-Rihal (p. 114-115) mentions the Mawlid as a public commemoration taking place in Mecca in the House of the Prophet “every Monday of the month of Rabi` al-awwal.” And the father-and-son 7th-century historians Abul `Abbas and Abul Qasim al-`Azafi said in Kitab al-durr al- munazzam that “On the day of the Mawlid in Mecca, no activities are undertaken, the Ka`ba is opened and visited, etc.”

    Furthermore, the fact that the Fatimis did a particular action does not automatically mean that such action is not good. Regarding Mawlid in particular, we refer you to the Maliki faqih of Alexandria, Egypt under the Fatimis: Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn al- Walid al-Turtushi (d. 520). He wrote a comprehensive book on the innovations of his time under the Fatimi regime, entitled Kitab al- hawadith wa al-bida`. This book has received two editions, one in Tunis (M. Talbim 1959), and one in Beirut (A.M. Turki, 1990). Al- Turtushi’s book constitutes one of the early comprehensive treatises on innovations in Religion. It had immeasurable influence on the style and structure of later books on the same subject, both in and outside his school, such as Ibn Rushd, Abu Shama, Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn al-Hajj, ash-Shatibi, Ahmad Zarruq, and al-Suyuti.

    Turtushi is extremely thorough and severe in his listing of innovations in religion under the Fatimis, whether great or small. He lists, among other innovations:

    – Tatrib or qira’a bi al-alhan of Qur’an: reciting with melody.
    – Numbering the Suras and punctuating the Qur’an.
    – Building mihrabs in mosques; embellishing mosques.
    – Placing a collection-box in the mosques; eating and drinking there.
    – Selling goods in the mosques.
    – He defends Tarawih as not being an innovation (because the Shi`is attacked it as such).
    – The alfiyya prayer of mid-Sha`ban and the Ragha’ib of Rajab.
    – Stopping work on the day of Jum`a.
    – Tathwib (pronouncing as-salatu khayrun min al-nawm in the adhan of Fajr). [al-Wansharisi, a later Maliki who died in 914, finally accepts it as a bid`a mustahsana: see his al-Mustahsan min al-bida` (The innovations that are considered good).]
    – Raising the hands and voice during du`a.
    – Wearing the turban without passing the longest extremity under the chin.
    – Dragging one’s clothes behind oneself on the ground.
    – Mixing of the sexes in the mosques on the nights of Tarawih.
    – Renting the services of a person to perform the pilgrimage by proxy. Etc.

    Yet al-Turtushi never mentions nor condemns the Mawlid, although he undoubtedly must have witnessed it since it was a regular public celebration during his life in Egypt, and although it involved more people than many of the innovations he does mention! This is a glaring omission in view of the fact that he was especially intent on censoring the innovations that he deemed were connected to the Fatimi regime. al-Turtushi’s omission is an indication that although he opposed the Fatimis, he considered Mawlid under the Fatimis to be neither an innovation, nor blameworthy, and it constitutes tacit approval of Mawlid on his part. And Allah knows best.

    Q. What are the opinions on Mawlid of those whom the “Salafis” consider their authorities?

    A. We have already touched upon the subject above. Following are some additional remarks with reference to Hafiz al-Dhahabi and Imam Ibn Kathir.

    Dhahabi’s and Ibn Kathir’s favorable views on Mawlid can be ascertained by their remarks on Muzaffar the King of Irbil, who was famous for his sumptuous celebration of the Prophet’s birthday. Dhahabi writes in his Siyar a`lam al-nubala’:

    He [Muzaffar] loved charity (sadaqa)… and built four hospices for the poor and sick… and one house for women, one for orphans, one for the homeless, and he himself used to visit the sick… He built a madrasa for the Shafi`is and the Hanafis… He would forbid any reprehensible matter entry into his country… As for his celebration of the Noble Mawlid al-Nabawi, words are too poor to describe it. The people used to come all the way from Iraq and Algeria to attend it. Two wooden dais would be erected and decorated for him and his wife… the celebration would last several days, and a huge quantity of cows and camels would be brought out to be sacrificed and cooked in different ways… Preachers would roam the field exhorting the people. Great sums were spent (as charity). Ibn Dihya compiled a “Book of Mawlid” for him for which he received 1,000 dinars. He [Muzaffar] was modest, a lover of good, and a true Sunni who loved scholars of jurisprudence and scholars of hadith, and was generous even to poets. He was killed in battle according to what is reported.

    Source: al-Dhahabi, Siyar a`lam al-nubala’, ed. Shu`ayb Arna’ut (Beirut: Mu’assasat al-Risalah, 1981) 22:335-336.

    Ibn Kathir said in al-Bidaya wa al-nihaya:

    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 Allah 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 and 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.

    Source: Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya wa al-nihaya (Beirut and Riyad: Maktabat al-ma`arif & Maktabat al-Nasr, 1966) 13:136-137.

    More importantly, Ibn Kathir himself composed a text on Mawlid, made of hadiths, invocations of blessings on the Prophet, and poetry in praise of him. It is entitled Mawlid Rasulillah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, and was edited and published by Salah al-Din al-Munajjad (Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-Jadid, 1961).

    Note: Among other similar works of Mawlid by the authorities is that by Ibn Hajar al-Haytami entitled Mawlid al-Nabi (Damascus: `Ala dhimmat Muhammad Hashim al-Kutubi, [1900?]), and that by the Hanbali hafiz Abu al-Faraj Ibn al-Jawzi entitled Mawlid al-`Arus (Cairo: al-Matba`a al-Bahiyya al- Misriyya, [1850?]). The latter received a commentary entitled Fath al-samad al-`alim `ala Mawlid ash-Shaykh ibn al-Qasim also known as al-Bulugh al-fawzi li-bayan alfaz Mawlid Ibn al-Jawzi by Muhammad Nawawi ibn `Umar ibn `Arabi (Cairo: Tubi`a bi nafaqat Fada Muhammad al-Kashmiri al-Kutubi, 1328/1910).

    Q. Who are the scholars of Ahl al-Sunna that accept the celebration of Mawlid al-Nabi as permissible or recommended?

    A. They are the overwhelming majority of Ahl as-Sunna. Among them are found the following, together with the title of the works where their position is stated:

    Hanafis:

    Imam Qutb al-Din al-Hanafi, al-I`lam bi a`lam bayt Allah al-haram
    Imam Muhammad ibn Jar Allah ibn Zahira, al-Jami` al-latif
    `Abd al-Haqq Muhaddith Dihlawi, Ma thabata min al-sunna
    Shah `Abd al-Rahim Dihlawi, al-Durr al-thamin
    Shah Wali Allah Dihlawi, Fuyud al-haramayn
    Mufti `Inayat Allah Kakurawi, Tarikh Habib Allah
    Mufti Muhammad Mazhar Allah Dihlawi, Fatawa mazhari
    Mulla `Ali al-Qari, al-Mawrid al-rawi fi Mawlid al-nabi.
    Haji Imdad Allah Muhajir Makki, Shama’im imdadiyya
    Muhaddith `Abd al-Hayy al-Lucknawi, Fatawa `Abd al-Hayy

    Malikis:

    Hafiz Ibn Dihya al-Kalbi, al-Tanwir fi mawlid al-bashir al-nadhir
    Imam al-Turtushi, Kitab al-hawadith wa al-bida` (indirectly)
    Imam al-Faqih Abu al-Tayyib Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Sabti (d. 695), as quoted by al-Adfawi in Suyuti’s Husn al-maqsid Abu `Abd Allah Sayyidi Muhammad ibn `Abbad al-Nafzi, al-Rasa’il al-kubra
    Shaykh Jalal al-Din al-Kattani, Rawdat al-Jannat fi Mawlid khatim al-risalat, also quoted in Sakhawi’s Subul al-huda
    Shaykh Nasir al-Din ibn al-Tabbakh, quoted in Sakhawi’s Subul al-huda
    Shaykh Muhammad ibn `Alawi al-Makki, al-Ihtifal bi dhikra al-mawlid

    Shafi`is:

    Hafiz Abu Shama, al-Ba`ith `ala inkar al-bida` wa al-hawadith
    Hafiz Shams al-Din al-Jazari, `Urf al-ta`rif bi al-mawlid ash-Sharif.
    Hafiz Shams al-Din ibn Nasir al-Din al-Dimashqi, al-Mawrid al-sadi fi mawlid al-hadi; Jami` al-athar fi mawlid al-nabi al-mukhtar; al-lafz al-ra’iq fi mawlid khayr al-khala’iq
    Hafiz Zayn al-Din al-`Iraqi, al-Mawrid al-hani fi al-mawlid al-sani
    Hafiz al-Dhahabi, Siyar a`lam al-nubala’ (indirectly)
    Hafiz Ibn Kathir, Kitab Mawlid an-Nabi, and al-Bidaya p. 272-273.
    Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani, as quoted by Suyuti in al-Hawi.
    Qastallani, al-Mawahib al-laduniyya
    Hafiz al-Sakhawi, Subul al-huda, also quoted in Qari, al-Mawrid al-rawi
    Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, Fatawa hadithiyya; al-Ni`mat al-kubra `ala al-`alam fi mawlid sayyid waladi Adam; Tahrir al-kalam fi al-qiyam `inda dhikr mawlid sayyid al-anam; Tuhfat al-akhyar fi mawlid al-mukhtar
    Hafiz Wajih al-Din `Abd al-Rahman al-Zabidi al-Dayba` (d. 944), Kitab al-mawlid.
    Zahir al-Din Ja`far al-Misri, quoted in Sakhawi’s Subul al-huda
    Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Salihi ash-Shami, quoted in Sakhawi’s Subul al-huda
    Kamal al-Din al-Adfawi, al-Tali` al-sa`id
    Hafiz al-Suyuti, Husn al-Maqsid fi `amal al-Mawlid in his al-Hawi li al-fatawi al-Zarqani, Sharh al-mawahib
    Abu Zur`a al-`Iraqi, as quoted in Muhammad ibn Siddiq al-Ghumari’s Tashnif al-adhan

    Hanbalis:

    Hafiz Ibn Taymiyya, Iqtida’ al-sirat al-mustaqim (in some cases)

    Q. During Mawlid the reading of the life of the Prophet and the recitation of poems in his honor take place. Is there a precedent in the Sunna for them?

    A. We have shown conclusively that the recitation of poetry in honor of the Prophet is a Sunna which he himself and the Companions practiced. See further below, in the section on Na`t, the list of over a hundred Companions who composed and recited such poetry. As for reading about his life, it falls within the obligation upon every Muslim to know their Prophet and to love him.

    Narrated Ibn `Umar: The Prophet used to deliver his sermons while standing beside the trunk of a datepalm. When he had the pulpit made, he used it instead. The trunk started crying and the Prophet went to it, rubbing his hand over it (to stop its crying). [Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 4, Book 56, Number 783]

    If a dead tree could cry with sorrow when distanced from the Prophet, what about a human being? And how distant from the Prophet are we in comparison to those who lived in his blessed time? If some people accuse Ahl al-Sunna of innovation when they want to remember the Prophet on his birthday and on any other day by reciting his Sira, making salawat in groups, singing qasidas of praise, and longing for him: then let them accuse the tree trunk of bid’ah and stop it from its sorrow. As for us, we are rejoicing for his advent to this worldly life and yet lamenting his passing, on the same day as his birth, for our hearts are missing him and seek the day of meeting with him. May Allah perfume his blessed grave and endow it with ever more lights and peace.

    It is from the Sunna to long for the Prophet after his passing from this life. This is documented in an authentic hadith in which Abu Hurayra narrated that the Prophet said: “A time will come when any of you will long to see me more than to have his family and property doubled.” (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 4, Book 56, Number 787)

Concerning the standing of the people at the conclusion of Mawlid, while sending Darud or Salawat (blessings and salutations) on the Holy Prophet (s.a.s.)

Another objection of some consists in criticizing the standing of the people at the conclusion of Mawlid, in which the people address salutations and blessings to the Prophet. It is beyond reason how anyone can object to an act of obedience and worship which has been specifically enjoined by Allah in His Book when He said: “O Believers, send blessings and utmost salutations on him!” (33:56) and He also spoke in praise of “Those who remember Allah standing, and sitting, and on their sides” (3:191). Since remembering Allah and sending blessings on His Prophet are acts of worship, no attention is given to those who object to standing for the sake of fulfilling one of Allah’s orders and greeting the Prophet according to Allah’s order.

Furthermore, it is known that anyone who visits the Prophet in Madina is obliged to stand in front of him with utmost respect at the time he gives him greetings and salutations, and there is no difference in the greeting of Salam being given to the Prophet in front of him in Madina and the one given to him from thousands of miles away, according to many sound hadiths of which several are mentioned above in the section on Ziyarat or Visitation of the Prophet, among them the following:

“Whoever invokes blessings on me at my grave, I hear him, and whoever invokes blessings on me from afar, I am informed about it.”(9)

“No one greets me except Allah has returned my soul to me so that I can return his Salam”.(10)

Suyuti in Anba’ al-adhkiya’ bi hayat al-ambiya’ said that radda means `ala al-dawam, i.e. permanently, and not temporarily: in other words, Allah does not return the soul and take it back, then return it again and then take it back again, but He has returned it to the Prophet permanently, and the Prophet is alive permanently, not intermittently as some ignorant people have suggested. To those who would differ with Imam Suyuti we say: his proof is irrefutable, since there are always people at prayer in the world during the entire twenty-four hour cycle, and sending salawat on the Prophet is part of salat. It follows that people are constantly invoking blessings and greetings on the Prophet without stop in the world, and that he is constantly returning it. This shows that the hadith of the Prophet on the return of his soul takes into consideration the continuity of prayer concomitant with the revolving five times of prayer around the world, and that indeed he is alive in permanence, since Allah has entitled him to return every single Salam that is made to him.

Nor is the appropriate time for standing while making salawat only at the time of Mawlid, but at any time, such as after salat, after Jum`a prayer, individually or in congregation. It is a voluntary act of worship that no one can forbid others from performing for the sake of obeying Allah.

Ibn Qunfudh al-Qusantini al-Maliki (d. 810) wrote in his book Wasilat al-islam bi al-nabi:

The Community is unanimous concerning the obligation to magnify and exalt the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions. It was the practice of the Pious Predecessors and the Imams of the past that whenever the Prophet was mentioned in their presence they were overwhelmed by reverence, humbleness, stillness, and dignity. Ja`far ibn Muhammad ibn `Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn `Ali ibn Abi Talib (Ja`far al-Sadiq) would turn pale whenever he heard the Prophet mentioned. Imam Malik would not mention a hadith except in a state of ritual purity. `Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr al-Siddiq would turn red and stammer whenever he heard the Prophet mentioned. As for `Amir ibn `Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr ibn al-`Awamm al-Asadi (one of the early sufis), he would weep until his eyes had no tears left in them. When any hadiths were mentioned in their presence they would lower their voices. Malik said: “His sacredness (hurmat) is in death is as his sacredness was in life.”(11)

Another reason why it is desirable and recommended to be seen standing at the time of greeting the Prophet is that he himself ordered the Companions to stand up when Sa`d ibn Mu`adh came to him, as related by Bukhari in his Sahih: Qumu li sayyidikum or “Stand up for your master.” What better master to stand for than the Prophet? Imam Nawawi demonstrated at length that standing out of respect for scholars was not only permissible but desirable in his book al-Tarkhis fi al-ikram bi al-qiyam, the full title of which reads: “The Permissibility of Honoring, By Standing Up, Those Who Possess Excellence and Distinction Among the People of Islam: In the Spirit of Piousness, Reverence, and Respect, Not in the Spirit of Display and Aggrandizement.” The following discussion on the subject of standing out of respect is taken from Nawawi’s Tarkhis, as well as his Sharh Sahih Muslim, Ibn Hajar’s sections of Fath al-Bari following up on Nawawi’s Tarkhis, and Sakhawi’s own biography of Ibn Hajar entitled al-Jawahir wa al-durar:

  1. From `Amr ibn Shu`ayb from his father from his grandfather: The Prophet said: “He is not of us who did not show mercy to our young ones and ignored the honor of our elders.” Tirmidhi (Birr wa silat 4:322 #28) said: hasan sahih (fair and sound). Ahmad (2:185) narrates it but the second part is: “and ignored the right of our elders.” Nawawi said: we related (by a chain) from Bukhari that he said: “I saw Ahmad ibn Hanbal and `Ali ibn al-Madani and Ishaq ibn Rahawayh cite the hadith of `Amr ibn Shu`ayb from his father from his grandfather as a proof — and who are those who came after them!” Another version from Ibn `Abbas has: “…and does not treat our elders with reverence…” Tirmidhi (4:322 #28), but with a weaker chain.
  2. From Maymun ibn Abi Shabib: A beggar passed by `A’isha and she gave him a chunk of bread. Another time a handsomely dressed man passed by her and she invited him to sit and eat. She was asked about it and she said: The Prophet said: anzilu al-nasa manazilahum: “Treat people according to their station.” Abu Dawud related it with an interrupted (munqati`) chain; Muslim mentions it without chain in the introduction to his Sahih. Sakhawi says in his introduction (p. 5) to al-Jawahir wa al-durar (The diamonds and the pearls), his biography of his teacher Ibn Hajar al- `Asqalani: “This is a fair (hasan) hadith… Nawawi reports Ibn al- Salah’s opinion that it is not definitely established as sound [although it satisfies Muslim’s criterion], however, al-Hakim definitely establishes it as sound in the part that deals with the 16th kind of sound narration of his book Ma`rifat `ulum al-hadith (Knowledge of the Sciences of Hadith) where he also says: “Ibn Khuzayma declared it sound… al-Bazzar extracted it in his Musnad… so did Abu Dawud in his Sunan… al-`Askari in his Kitab al-amthal… Abu Ya`la in his Musnad… Bayhaqi in al- Adab… Abu Nu`aym in the Hilya…”
  3. Abu Sa`id al-Khudri said: The people of Qurayza submitted to Sa`d ibn Mu`adh’s arbitration, so the Prophet sent for Sa`d who came riding on his donkey. When he approached the mosque, Allah’s Messenger said to the Ansar: “Stand up for your chieftain — or: for the best among you –” then he said: “These people have submitted to your decision…” Muslim narrated it in his Sahih (Bk. 32 Jihad – Ch. 22 #1728).NAWAWI’S COMMENTARY: There is in this hadith the proof for honoring persons of merit by standing up for them upon receiving them while they are coming towards us. Thus have the overwhelming majority of the scholars used this as a proof for the desirability of standing up. Qadi `Iyad said: “This is not the kind of standing that is forbidden. The latter is only when one sits and the others remain standing all through his sitting.” I say: Standing up for the person of merit who is approaching is desirable; many ahadith have been related supporting it, while there is not one sound explicit prohibition against it.
  4. Anas said that none was dearer to them than Allah’s Messenger, and they would not stand up when they saw him due to their knowledge that he disliked it. Tirmidhi (Adab – 5:90 # 44) said it is hasan sahih (fair and sound).NAWAWI’S COMMENTARY: This is the hadith most readily cited as a proof against standing up. There are two answers:

    (1) The Prophet feared confusion for them and for their successors in their exaggeration in magnifying him, as he said in another hadith: “Do not praise me in the fashion that the Christians praised `Isa ibn Maryam” (Bukhari 6:478 Bk. 60 Anbiya’ #48 and Ahmad 1:23,24). He disliked their standing for him for that reason. However, he did not dislike their standing for each other, and he even stood for some of them, and also they stood for others in his presence without his prohibiting it. Rather he approved it, and he ordered it in the hadith of standing up for Sa`d ibn Mu`adh… This is a clear answer in which none will see doubt except an ignorant person or a stubborn one.

    (2) There was between the Prophet and his Companions a perfect state of love and purity which does not suffer addition through honoring by standing up, since there was no purpose being achieved by standing up, as opposed to standing up for someone else. One’s companion who is near this state has no need of standing up.

    IBN AL-HAJJ’S OBJECTIONS: (1) This answer is not complete except if it is first conceded that the Companions rose up for no one. If they got up for him then, it would be exaggeration. However, Nawawi affirms that they did this for other than him; how then does he deem it permissible for them to do with other than the Prophet what leaves no protection against exaggeration, while they do not do it with him? For if they do this to honor someone, then the Prophet is worthier of such honor, as we know from the source-texts which order us to honor him above everyone else. It seems that their rising for other than him was therefore only for a necessity caused by their arrival, or to congratulate them, and so forth, not for the reason that is being questioned [i.e. not due to respect].

    (2) Nawawi’s explanation can be reversed and it can be said that the Companion whose devotion to the Prophet has not been ascertained and who has not yet realized the stature of the Prophet is excused for not standing up, as opposed to him whose devotion is ascertained and whose station is greater in relation to the Prophet and his worth is known: he would apply himself (to respect him), because he would be certain that he deserves more piety and honor and reverence than any other. But Nawawi’s saying makes it necessary that whoever is likelier to show respect to the Prophet and is closer in station to him, should show him less reverence than he who is far from him, due to intimacy and complete affection. The reality is other than that according to the authentic reports, as occurred in the story of the Prophet’s oversight, whereas while Abu Bakr and `Umar were present among the people, they were too afraid to speak to him, Dhu al-Yadayn (“He of the Long Hands”– perhaps al-Khirbaq al-Sulami) spoke to him despite his remoteness from the Prophet in station in comparison to Abu Bakr and `Umar. [A reference to the hadith in Bukhari (English 1:278-279) and Muslim whereby the Prophet prayed `Asr and gave salam after two rak`ats; this Companion said to him: “O Messenger of Allah, has the prayer been shortened or did you forget?” The Prophet replied that neither applied, then he prayed the remaining two rak`ats.

    `ASQALANI’S REFUTATION OF IBN AL-HAJJ: (1) This objection of Ibn al-Hajj does not stand, because Imam Nawawi never said that the Companions’ rising for the Prophet is considered exaggeration in order for Ibn al-Hajj to say: “This answer is not complete except if it is first conceded that the Companions rose up for no one. If they got up for him then, it would be exaggeration.” What Imam Nawawi said is that the Prophet feared lest their rising should lead to exaggeration. That is why he forbade it to them, fearing exaggeration, lest they should fall into excess and confusion. Yes, he is worthier of being honored than any other, except that he feared that their showing him this particular mark of honor might lead to exaggeration and that is why he forbade it to them.

    (2) With the second objection Ibn al-Hajj has contravened the universal custom of people in their companionship and their love. It is definitely known that the stronger the companionship and love between two people, the more superfluous certain formalities become between them. This is clear and needs no exposition. On the contrary, if companionship is weak and mutual acquaintance limited, a human being in that case needs to win his companion’s love and affection with all kinds of honorific acts. This is because obtaining a person’s love and affection is upheld by the transmitted reports dealing with giving honor. Now when love reaches the level where it is no longer increased by honorific acts, the latter are no longer necessary.

    As for Ibn al-Hajj’s objection that “Nawawi’s saying makes it necessary that whoever is likelier to show respect to the Prophet and is closer in station to him, should show him less reverence than he who is far from him, due to intimacy and complete affection”: it is an invalid necessity. That some formalities become superfluous between friends and loved ones does not mean that mutual reverence and respect become superfluous. This is clear and needs no exposition. Rather, the contrary is true: because the lover is of all people the most aware of the attributes of his beloved, and when the latter is graced with praiseworthy, high attributes, and people flock to give him proper respect and reverence, the lover is the most intense of all in respect and reverence due to his added knowledge of the attributes of the beloved.

    As for Ibn al-Hajj’s inference from the hadith of the Prophet’s oversight, it does not impose itself due to the possibility that Abu Bakr and `Umar’s silence may be for a reason other than fear, such as their knowledge that he disliked questioning, or their knowledge that he does not setlle on a mistake except Allah certainly informs him of it, or for another reason. Moreover, Ibn al- Hajj’s inference contradicts what has been related concerning his attributes, namely that those who were far from him feared him, and that those who grew near him, frequented him, and saw his humbleness and the nobility of his manners, immediately were at ease with him and loved him. Here are some proofs:

    Ibn Majah narrated (2:1101 Bk. 29 – at`ima Ch. 30) from Ibn Mas`ud that a man came to speak to the Prophet and he began to shake with fear. The Prophet said to him: “Put yourself at ease, for I am not a king, I am the son of a woman who ate sun-dried meat.” Tirmidhi narrated (5:599 – Bk. 50 manaqib ch. 8) from `Ali at the end of his description: “Whoever saw him from afar was awed by him, and whoever mixed with him and grew to know him, loved him.” The reason for this is the presence in the Prophet of the attributes of majesty and sanctity despite great humbleness before all who saw him.

  5. Abu Mijlaz said: Mu`awiya went out to meet Ibn al-Zubayr and Ibn `Amir. The latter stood up while the former remained seated. Mu`awiya said to Ibn `Amir: “Sit, for I heard the Prophet say: “Whoever likes for men to stand up for him let him take his place in the fire.” Tirmidhi’s version mentions Ibn al-Zubayr and Safwan, and both get up. Abu Dawud narrated it (Adab 4:385), also Tirmidhi (Adab 5:90 #44) who said: hasan (fair) and Ahmad (4:94, 100).NAWAWI’S COMMENTARY: Most people in disfavor of standing are fond of quoting this hadith. It is answered in many ways, (1) the soundest and best — nay, the one answer which makes all others superfluous is that there is no proof against standing up in this hadith. Its plain, outward meaning is the explicit condemnation and harsh threat against any man who likes people to get up for him. There is neither prohibition nor other than prohibition concerning standing itself, and there is agreement about this… The gravity of the condemnation is in what takes place inside the mind of the person who likes people to stand for him. If there is no such thing in his mind there is no blame on him — all this whether they get up or not… The prohibition revolves around the love of adulation not the act of standing. Therefore there is no proof in this hadith against the permissibility of standing.

    (2) Another answer is that the hadith is mudtarib (disordered — many incompatible narrations) according to the two imams of hadith Abu Bakr ibn Abi `Asim and Abu Musa al- Asbahani, and this is a necessary cause for the weakness of the hadith. However, this answer is open to question since both Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud have graded the hadith fair (hasan) and have spoken concerning it. Moreover, the disparity does not result in a disorder of the kind that makes it necessarily weak, and Allah knows best.

    (3) The sayings of the imams and luminaries concerning whose eminence there is unanimity among the people of intellect and discernment: Abu Nasr Bishr ibn al-Harith al-Hafi al-Zahid, Abu Sulayman Hamd ibn Muhammad ibn Sulayman al-Khattabi, Abu Muhammad al-Husayn ibn Mas`ud al-Baghawi, and Abu Musa Muhammad ibn `Umar al-Asbahani the hafiz, may Allah be well pleased with all of them: [after quoting the isnad] Ahmad ibn al-Mughlis said: Abu Nasr ibn al-Harith said, after I mentioned this hadith in front of him: “He only disliked the standing from the perspective of arrogance, but from the perspective of sincere love, he did not, since he himself stood up for `Ikrima ibn Abu Jahl… and he said: “Stand for your chief,” and he said: “He who likes people to stand for him…” indicating that whoever likes people to stand for him, you must not stand for him.” As for Baghawi and Khattabi as we mentioned with our isnad they spoke to the effect that the hadith concerns only those who order others from the perspective of pride and arrogance. Abu Musa said: “The meaning of the hadith is those who make men stand around them like courtiers stand around kings.”

  6. From Abu Amama: The Prophet came out leaning on a stick and we rose up for him. He said: “Do not get up in the manner of the foreigners who aggrandize each other.” Abu Dawud narrated it (Adab – 4:358). Ibn Majah’s version (Du`a #34, 2:1261): “Do not do as the Persians do with their great ones.”NAWAWI’S COMMENTARY: The answer is in two beautiful ways: (1) The two Imams Abu Bakr ibn Abi `Asim and Abu Musa al-Asbahani said that this is a weak hadith which cannot be used as a proof. Abu Bakr said: “This hadith cannot be established and its sub-narrators are unknown.” I say: to this is added the fact that it is “mudtarib” (disordered — see above), and it would suffice that only one of these two factors were present to grade it as weak, let alone two.

    (2) The hadith in itself is crystal-clear as to its intent as opposed to that of the rest: namely, it purports to condemn those who stand for the purpose of aggrandizement. That is why he said: “Do not get up in the manner of the foreigners who aggrandize each other.” There is no doubt as to what is being condemned. And Allah knows best.

  7. From (Nafi`) Abu Bakra: The Prophet said: “Let no man stand from his seat for another.” Abu Musa al-Asbahani narrated it with his chain. Al-hafiz Abu al-Qasim Ibn `Asakir said in his book al- Atraf that Abu Dawud narrated in the book of Adab (4:258). The chain has Abu `Abd Allah Mawla Al Abi Burda, who is unknown. See al-Taqrib #8215.NAWAWI’S COMMENTARY: The answer to this is the same two answers as the preceding section… There is possibly a third way to answer it reasonably. The meaning would be: “Do not get up from the place of prayer, of listening to a sermon and to remembrance and knowledge et cetera, for it is disliked that one should give up one’s seat in such cases, or leave it and take another farther away from the imam.

    The same is true of all gestures that are similar to these, and we consider this to muster the general agreement of scholars, as opposed to giving up one’s food and drink and other things related to one’s personal lot: to give those up is a most desirable thing, one of the marks of the righteous and among the manners of saints and knowers, concerning which this verse was revealed: “They prefer others above themselves though poverty become their lot” (59:9).

    The difference between the two types of sacrifice is that the right, in the person’s nearness, belongs to Allah the Exalted, and to transfer it is not permissible, as opposed to food and the like where the right belongs to the person, although in some cases it belongs to Allah even then…

  8. Nawawi also said:
    ash-Shaykh Abu Muhammad told us:
    Abu Taher al-Khashaw`i told us:
    Abu Muhammad al-Akfani told us:
    Al-hafiz Abu Bakr al-Khatib al-Baghdadi told us by permission not hearing:
    Al-Husayn ibn `Ali al-Jawhari told us:
    `Amr ibn al-`Abbas al-Khazzaz related to us:
    Abu Bakr al-Sawli told us:
    Ishaq ibn Ibrahim al-Qazzaz told us:
    Ishaq ash-Shahidi related to us:
    I would see Yahya al-Qattan — may Allah the Exalted have mercy on him — pray the midafternoon prayer, then sit with his back against the base of the minaret of his mosque. Then `Ali ibn al-Madini, ash-Shadhakuni, `Amr ibn `Ali, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Yahya ibn Ma`in, and others would stand before him and ask him questions about hadith standing on their feet until it was time for the sunset prayer. He would not say to a single one of them: “Sit” nor would they sit, out of awe and reverence.
  9. It is related that when Abu Hanifa visited Sufyan after the death of the latter’s brother Sufyan stood up, went to greet him, embraced him, and bade him sit in his place, saying to those who questioned this act: “This man holds a high rank in knowledge, and if I did not stand up for his science I would stand up for his age, and if not for his age then for his godwariness (wara`), and if not for his godwariness then for his jurisprudence (fiqh).” It is narrated by Suyuti in Tabyid al-sahifa (p. 32) and al-Tahanawi in his book Inja’ al-watan (1:19-22).
  10. al-Hakim narrates in Ma`rifat `ulum al-hadith (p. 104) that when al-Dhuhli went to see Imam Ahmad the latter stood up for him and the people were astounded. Then he told his son and his companions: “Go to Abu `Abd Allah [al-Dhuhli] and write his narrations.”
  11. Nawawi also said: the hafiz Abu Musa al-Asbahani (d. 581) recited:
    qiyami wa al-`azizi ilayka haqqunI swear by the All-Powerful that my standing for you (O Prophet) is right and true

    wa tarku al-haqqi ma la yastaqimu ( and to leave truth and right is to embrace error ) fa hal ahadun lahu `aqlun wa lubbun wa ma`rifa yaraka fa la yaqumu? ( I ask: can anyone possessed of a mind and a heart and knowledge, upon seeing you, not stand up? )(12)

    We hold, as Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani, Nawawi and Abu Musa al-Asbahani, that no one possessed of a heart and mind can object to standing for the sake of the Prophet, and that this is desirable and recommended not only in the time of the Prophet but until the end of time. Observe that the hafiz Abu Musa died in 581, more than five centuries after the time of the Prophet, and yet stands for him in the present tense and mentions “seeing him”: this seeing of the Prophet by the pious believers both in a sleeping and a wakeful state is an attested fact in the Shari`a which has been mentioned by the scholars, among them al-Haytami in his Fatawa hadithiyya:

    He was asked: “Is it possible to meet the Prophet while awake in our time?”

    He replied: “Yes, it is possible. It has been asserted as part of the miracles of saints (karamat al-awliya’) by Ghazali, al-Barizi, al-Taj al-Subki, and al-Yafi`i among the Shafi`is, and by al-Qurtubi and Ibn Abi Jamra among the Malikis. It has been narrated that one of the awliya’ was sitting in the assembly of a jurist (faqih) while the latter related a hadith, whereupon the wali said: “This hadith is false.” The jurist said: “How do you know that?” The wali replied: “There is the Prophet standing right next to you, and he is saying: “I never said this.” When he said this the sight of the faqih was unveiled and he could see the Prophet.”(13)

    The above kind of testimony constitutes evidence that the Prophet hears and sees us, as has been stated by the hadiths to the effect that he sees our actions and hears our greetings and blessings, and that he intercedes for us as we mention below, in the section on Ziyara. Following we present further sound evidence that the Prophet is alive in his grave and we conclude by asking: If it is meritorious to stand as a mark of respect for others in religion, and if the Prophet is alive and hears us, and if he himself ordered the Companions to stand for their sayyid, then what better sayyid to stand for than the Prophet himself, and what other act of standing can possibly compete with this one in merit and excellence?

    “Allah has defended the earth from consuming the bodies of Prophets”.

    A sound (sahih) tradition related on the authority of Aws ibn Aws al- Thaqafi by: Ahmad in his Musnad, Ibn Abi Shayba in the Musannaf, Abu Dawud in the Sunan, Nisa’i in his Sunan, Ibn Majah in his Sunan, Darimi in his Musnad, Ibn Khuzayma in his Sahih, ibn Hibban in his Sahih, Hakim in the Mustadrak, Tabarani in his Kabir, Bayhaqi in Hayat al-anbiya’, Suyuti in Anba’ al-adkhiya, Dhahabi who confirmed Hakim’s grading, and Nawawi in the Adhkar. Another version in Ibn Majah has this addition: “And the Prophet of Allah is alive and provided for (fa nabiyyullahi hayyun yurzaq).” Bayhaqi mentions it also in the Sunan al-kubra.

    “The Prophets are alive in their graves, praying to their Lord”.

    A sound (sahih) tradition related on the authority of Anas ibn Malik by: al-Bazzar in his Musnad, Abu Ya`la in his Musnad, Ibn `Adi in al- Kamil fi al-du`afa’, Tammam al-Razi in al-Fawa’id, al-Bayhaqi in Hayat al-anbiya’ fi quburihim, Abu Nu`aym in Akhbar Asbahan, Ibn `Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq, al-Haythami in Majma` al-zawa’id (8:211), Suyuti in Anba’ al-adhkiya’ bi-hayat al-anbiya’ (#5), and al-Albani, in Silsilat al-ahadith al-sahiha (#621). Suyuti adds: “The life of the Prophet in his grave, and [also] that of the rest of the prophets is known to us as definitive knowledge (`ilman qat`iyyan).”

    “(The night I was enraptured to my Lord) I saw Musa standing in prayer in his grave”.

    A sound (sahih) tradition related on the authority of Anas and others by Muslim, Nasa’i, Bayhaqi in the Dala’il al-nubuwwa and the Hayat al- anbiya’, and others. Some mention the beginning (in parentheses), while others omit it. Nawawi said in his explanation of this hadith: “The work of the next world is all dhikr and du`a” (Sharh Sahih Muslim 1/73/267).

    “No one greets me except Allah has returned my soul to me so that I can return his salam”.

    Abu Hurayra in Abu Dawud (Manasik #2039) with a sound chain; Ibn `Asakir, Mukhtasar Tarikh Dimashq 2:407; Ahmad, Musnad 2:527; Abu Nu`aym, Akhbar Asbahan 2:353; Ibn al-Najjar, Akhbar al-Madina p. 145; Bayhaqi, Shu`ab al-iman #4161; Haythami, Majma` al-zawa’id 10:162; Ibn Kathir, Tafsir 6:464; al-Mundhiri, al-Targhib wa al-tarhib 2:499; Talkhis al-habir 2:267.

    This hadith has been adduced by the scholars as the legal proof for the validity and modality of visiting and greeting the Prophet, although the hadith does not mention the necessity of physically visiting the Prophet in Madina.

    A note about the translation of “has returned”: Suyuti in Anba’ al-adhkiya’ bi hayat al-anbiya’ and Haytami in al-Jawhar al-munazzam said that radda means `ala al-dawam, i.e. permanently, and not temporarily: in other words, Allah does not return the soul and take it back, then return it again and then take it back again, but He returned it to the Prophet permanently, and the Prophet is alive permanently.

    Sakhawi, Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani’s student, said: “As for us (Muslims of Ahl al-Sunna) we believe and we confirm that he is alive and provided for in his grave” (al-Qawl al-badi` p. 161). Ibn al-Qayyim said in Kitab al-ruh p. 58: “It is obligatory knowledge to know that his body is in the earth tender and humid (i.e. as in life), and when the Companions asked him: “How is our greeting presented to you after you have turned to dust” he replied: “Allah has defended the earth from consuming the flesh of Prophets,” and if his body was not in his grave he would not have given this answer.” Ibn Hajar al-Haythami wrote in al-Jawhar al-munazzam:

    The proofs and the transmitted texts have been established as authentic in the highest degree that the Prophet is alive and tender… that he fasts and performs pilgrimage every year, and that he purifies himself with water which rains on him.

    “Whoever invokes blessings on me at my grave, I hear him, and whoever invokes blessings on me from afar, I am informed about it.”

    Abu ash-Shaykh cites it in Kitab al-Salat `ala al-nabi (“Jala’ al-afham” p. 22), and Ibn Hajar says in Fath al-Bari (6:379): “Abu ash-Shaykh cites it with a good chain (sanad jayyid).” Bayhaqi mentions it in Hayat al- anbiya and Shu`ab al-iman (2:218 #1583) with ublightuhu in the end. “Whoever visits my grave, my intercession becomes guaranteed for him.” Narrated by al-Daraqutni, al-Dulabi, al-Bayhaqi, Khatib al-Baghdadi, al-`Uqayli, Ibn `Adi, Tabarani, and Ibn Khuzayma in his Sahih, all through various chains going back to Musa ibn Hilal al-`Abdi from `Ubayd Allah Ibn `Umar, both from Nafi`, From Ibn `Umar. Dhahabi declared this chain hasan (fair) as narrated, in Mizan al-i`tidal, vol. 4, p. 226 and he said: “Huwa salih al-hadith” which means: “He — Musa ibn Hilal — is good in his narrations.” This is also Imam Ahmad’s opinion as related by Shawkani in Nayl al-awtar 5:95. Imam Sakhawi confirmed Dhahabi’s grading in the Maqasid al-hasana, and al-Lucknawi also declared it hasan in his commentary on Jurjani entitled Zafr al-amani p. 422 (3rd ed.) while al-Subki declared it sahih as stated by Samhudi in Sa`adat al-darayn 1:77, and Shawkani said: “Ibn al-Sakan, `Abd al-Haqq (ibn al-Kharrat al-Ishbili), and Taqi al-Din al-Subki have declared this hadith sound (sahih).” Ibn `Adi said in al-Kamil fi al-Du`afa (6:2350): “He [Musa ibn Hilal] is most likely acceptable; other people have called him “unknown” [i.e. Abu Hatim al-Razi and al-`Uqayli] and this is not true… He is one of the shuyukhs of Imam Ahmad and most of them are trustworthy.” Even the “Salafi” Albani declared him thabit al- riwaya (of established reliability) in his Irwa’ (4:338). About `Ubayd Allah ibn `Umar al-`Umari:

    – Dhahabi calls him saduq hasan al-hadith [truthful, of fair narrations] in al-Mughni 1:348;
    – Sakhawi says of him salih al-hadith [of sound narrations] in al-Tuhfa al-latifa 3:366;
    – Ibn Ma`in said to Darimi about him: salih thiqa [sound and reliable] in al-Kamil 4:1459.

    This is one of the proof-texts adduced by the ulama of Islam to derive the obligation or recommendation of visiting the Prophet’s grave and seeking him as a wasila (intermediary / means), as we have cited in the present book from the chapters on visiting the Prophet’s grave in Nawawi’s book al-Adhkar and al-Idah and in Qadi Iyad’s book ash-Shifa. Sakhawi said in al-Qawl al-badi` (p. 160):

    The emphasis and encouragement on visiting his noble grave is mentioned in numerous hadiths, and it would suffice to show this if there was only the hadith whereby the truthful and God-confirmed Prophet promises that his intercession among other things becomes obligatory for whoever visits him, and the Imams are in complete agreement from the time directly after his passing until our own time that this is among the best acts of drawing near to Allah.

Does standing while invoking Salawat upon the Prophet signify that he is present in person

Some of those who forbid standing for the Prophet, do so because of what they imagine people to believe when standing and invoking blessings on him: namely, that the Prophet is actually present in person at that time. However, this is not the reason why the people stand and no one claims this except those who actually object to standing. Rather, those who stand are only expressing happiness and love, and they are overflowing with respect and dedication at the Prophet’s mention in the august assembly of those who remember him. They stand to attention because of their awe before the light that dawns upon creation for the one whose fame Allah has exalted high. They stand as a sign of thankfulness for the immense mercy bestowed on creation in the person of the Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace upon him.At the same time it is impermissible to object to the freedom of the soul in barzakh to travel wherever it pleases by Allah’s permission, according to the sayings reported by Ibn al- Qayyim in his book Kitab al-ruh (p. 144) whereby Salman al- Farisi said: “The souls of the believers are in an isthmus of land from where they go wherever they wish,” and Imam Malik said: “I have heard (balaghani) that the soul is set free and goes wherever it wishes.”

Standing or dancing out of joy for the Prophet, or for what is connected to him or proceeds from him, has clear proofs in the Sunna. Among them:

The Ethiopians put on a dancing display with spears out of joy (farahan) when he came to Madina. Abu Dawud narrated it with a good chain in the book of Adab in his Sunan from Anas.

They played again in the Prophet’s Mosque on the day of `Eid al-Fitr, whereupon they danced while the Prophet and his wife looked on, and the Prophet encouraged them with the words dunakum ya bani arfada, “Jump to it, O sons of Arfada!” thus indicating that what they were doing was harmless and permissible. Muslim narrated it in the book of Salat al-`idayn in his Sahih from `A’isha.

Similarly, they would bang the drum, sing, and play in front of him on the day of `Eid. Ahmad and Ibn Majah narrated it from Qays ibn Sa`d ibn `Ubada.

All this was not for any other reason than joy at being around the Prophet, as confirmed by the act of the women of the Banu Najjar when the Prophet came to Madina:

Anas narrates that when the prophet first came to Madina the Ansar came out, men and women, and they were all saying: “With us, O messenger of Allah!” [i.e. come stay with us.] The Prophet said: “Let the camel choose, for she has her orders.” The camel alighted at the door of Abu Ayyub. Anas continued: (After he went in) the women of Banu al-Najjar came out banging their drums and singing:

Nahnu jawar min bani al-najjar ya habbadha muhammadin min jar
We are the girls of the Sons of Najjar O delight of Muhammad for a neighbor!The Prophet came out and said: “Do you love me?” (atuhibbuni?) They replied:

Ey wallah Ya Rasulallah (Yea, by Allah, O Messenger of Allah!)At this he said:

Wa ana uhibbukum
Wa ana uhibbukum
Wa ana uhibbukum
And I love you.And in another version he said:

Allahu ya`lamu anna qalbi yuhibbukunna

or

Allahu ya`lamu anni la uhibbukunna

i.e.

Allah knows that my heart loves you that in truth I love you.It is narrated by Bayhaqi with two chains in Dala’il al-nubuwwa (2:508), Ibn Kathir in al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya (3:199-200), and Suyuti in al-Khasa’is al-kubra (1:190). Shaykh Muhammad ibn `Alawi al-Maliki in al-Bayan wa al-ta`ri fi dhikra al-mawlid al- sharif (p. 24-25) said that al-Hakim documents it, Abu Sa`d al- Nisaburi mentions it in his Sharaf al-mustafa, and Ibn Majah narrates it in his Sunan, book of Nikah (#1889).

Several female Companions came up to the Prophet after he came back from his campaigns and said that they had vowed to bang the drum before him if he came back safe and sound, and the Prophet allowed them. This is narrated by Tirmidhi from Burayda and he said: hasan sahih gharib, also Abu Dawud, and elsewhere.

`Ali said: I visited the Prophet with Ja`far (ibn Abi Talib) and Zayd (ibn Haritha). The Prophet said to Zayd: “You are my freedman” (anta mawlay), whereupon Zayd began to hop on one leg around the prophet (hajala). The Prophet then said to Ja`far: “You resemble me in my creation and my manners” (anta ashbahta khalqi wa khuluqi), whereupon Ja`far began to hop behind Zayd. The Prophet then said to me: “You are part of me and I am part of you” (anta minni wa ana minka) whereupon I began to hop behind Ja`far. Imam Ahmad related it in his Musnad (1:108) and Ahmad Muhammad Shakir declared it sound (sahih) in his Riyadh, 1949 edition; it is related also by `Uqayli, Abu Nu`aym from Jabir, and Ibn Sa`d in his Tabaqat with a sound chain to Muhammad al-Baqir.

There is no doubt that such singing, dancing, reciting of poetry, and banging the drum was for joy at being with the Prophet, nor did he condemn or frown upon such displays in any way whatsoever. These are common displays of happiness and lawful merriment, and similarly to stand up at the mention of the Prophet’s birth is an ordinary act that shows love and gladness symbolizing the joy of creation: it does not constitute worship, nor law, nor Sunna! That is why the savant al-Barzanji said in his famous poem of Mawlid:

wa qad sanna ahl al-`ilmi wa al-fadli wa al-tuqa qiyaman `ala al-aqdami ma`a husni im`ani
bi tashkhisi dhati al-mustafa wa huwa hadirun bi ay maqamin fihi yudhkaru bal dani

It is the usage of the excellent people of knowledge and piety
To stand on their feet in the best demeanor
Acting as if the Prophet were actually present
Every time they mention him, and visualizing him coming to them.

Observe that he spoke well when he said: acting as if he were present and visualizing him, that is: strongly calling to mind his gracious form and qualities so as to increase and perfect the motions of their hearts and bodies towards respecting and loving him, as the narrations show. This is a delicate matter from which are shut out those in whose hearts Allah did not place mercy. And Allah knows best.

Concerning the objections of some to using the phrase AS-SALAMU `ALAYKA YA RASULALLAH (“PEACE UPON YOU, O MESSENGER OF ALLAH”), although Allahu Ta’ala says in Al-Qur’an: “O BELIEVERS, SEND BLESSINGS AND GREETINGS UPON HIM,” and their claim that one cannot hail the Nabi with the term YA (“O”)

Our answer is, al-hamdu lillah, that it is permissible, excellent, praiseworthy, and highly meritorious to invoke blessings upon the Prophet with the phrases:

Ya Rasulallah (O Messenger of Allah)
Ya Habib Allah (O Beloved Lover of Allah)
Ya Nabi Allah (O Prophet of Allah)
Ya Safi Allah (O Intimate Friend of Allah)
Ya Khalil Allah (O Intimate Friend of Allah)
Ya Naji Allah (O Intimate Friend of Allah)and any such phrases at all times and places, but most especially in gatherings of dhikr where such phrases increase the love of the Prophet in the heart in untold amounts, and we are obliged to love him more than our children, parents, and life itself. The scholars of Manasik (rites of Pilgrimage) recommend these phrases, moreover, when visiting the Prophet in Madina. It is established that `Abdullah ibn `Umar would say: as-salamu `alayka Ya Rasulallah upon each of his visits to the Prophet, and a similar phrase with Abu Bakr and with his father. Those who object to using “YA” with the Prophet are injuring themselves and others by falling into various traps of inconsistency and innovation due to the following reasons:

  1. Apparently they don’t make salat, or they don’t say tashahhud in salat and this renders their salat invalid if this is the case. For in every salat, at least ten times a day, we say, in tashahhud:as-salamu `alayka ayyuha al-nabi wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

    and the phrase ayyuha al-nabi is the same as ya nabi.

  2. Allah orders us not to call upon the Prophet in the same way as we call upon each other:la taj`alu du`a’a al-rasuli baynakum ka du`a’i ba`dikum ba`dan

    “Make not the calling of the Messenger among you as your calling one of another” (24:63)

    This is a proof that He did not prohibit us from calling upon him, for an absolute prohibition needs not be qualified further. Allah Himself shows us the etiquette of addressing the Prophet by calling him Himself “Ya ayyuha al-nabi” — O Prophet — and referring to him as “The Messenger” in the Qur’an, whereas He calls other Prophets by name: Ya Ibrahim, Ya Yahya, Ya Musa, Ya `Isa, etc. The `ulama have explained that Allah established by this an honorific difference between the Seal of Prophets and those that preceded him, blessings and peace of Allah upon him and upon all of them.(14) They have also said that it is the reason why we should prefer to say: Ya Rasulallah over saying Ya Muhammad.

  3. As mentioned in the section on Tawassul, the Prophet taught a blind man to make a du`a in which he has to say: “Ya Muhammad”. This is a well-known authentic hadith and no one can refute it except those who have no knowledge of the Religion. This is the invocation:“O Allah, I am asking you and turning to you by means of your Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy; O Muhammad, I am turning with you to my Lord regarding my present need so that He will fulfill it; O Allah, allow him to intercede (with You) for me!”(15)

    The words “O Muhammad” are missing from the version in Tirmidhi.(16) It is a grammatically faulty omission because without the vocative “O Muhammad,” the sense of the direct address continues to be “O Allah,” which makes no sense since in the latter part he is saying: “I am turning with you to my Lord,” which clearly does not mean “O Allah, I am turning with You to my Lord.”

    The Wahhabis’ tampering of the Muwajaha Ash-Sharifa (Gate to the Nabi’s Noble Grave)

    In this connection Muslims should take note of the following heinous act on the issue of “Ya Muhammad,” because it is established without doubt as one of the great Wahhabi tamperings of our time. If one looks at an old picture of the golden gate at the entrance of the Prophet’s grave, one will see, at the top of each door, intertwined, the invocations in Arabic calligraphy:

    YA ALLAH
    YA MUHAMMADIf one looks now at the top of each door, one will notice that the Arabic letter Y (Ar. ya’) in the initial position in the word YA in “Ya Muhammad” has been lopped off, but the A (Ar. alif) as well as the bottom two dots of the Y have been left in place, so that now one will read:

    YA ALLAH
    A MUHAMMADWe have published a picture of the old gate, before the Wahhabis defaced it, on the front cover of our book Islamic Beliefs and Doctrine According to Ahl al-Sunna: A Repudiation of “Salafi” Innovations, Vol. I. It is a high-quality, clear color picture which we hope can be seen and understood by all Muslims.

  4. The above invocation was also used after the Prophet’s lifetime, as is proven by the sound (sahih) hadith authenticated by Bayhaqi, Abu Nu`aym in the Ma`rifa, Mundhiri (Targhib 1:473-474), Haythami, and Tabarani in the Kabir (9:17-18) and the Saghir (1:184/201-202) on the authority of `Uthman ibn Hunayf’s nephew Abu Imama ibn Sahl ibn Hunayf: A man would come to `Uthman ibn `Affan for a certain need, but the latter would not pay him any attention nor look into his need, upon which he complained of his condition to `Uthman ibn Hunayf who told him:”Go and make ablution, then go to the mosque and pray two rak`at, then say (this du`a),” and he mentioned the invocation of the blind man, “then go (to `Uthman again).”

    The man went, did as he was told, then came to `Uthman’s door, upon which the door-attendant came, took him by the hand, and brought him to `Uthman who sat him with him on top of the carpet, and said: “Tell me what your need is.” After this the man went out, met `Uthman ibn Hunayf again, and said to him: “May Allah reward you! Previously he would not look into my need nor pay any attention to me, until you spoke to him.” He replied: “I did not speak to him, but I saw the Prophet when a blind man came to him complaining of his failing eyesight,” and he mentioned to him the substance of the previous narration.

  5. Finally, “Ya Muhammad” is the speech of Sayyidina `Isa to the Prophet after `Isa’s descent, according to an authentic hadith on the authority of Abu Hurayra:I heard the Prophet say: “By the one in Whose hand is Abu al- Qasim’s soul, `Isa ibn Maryam shall descend as a just and wise ruler. He shall destroy the cross, slay the swine, eradicate discord and grudges, and money shall be offered to him but he will not accept it. Then he shall stand at my grave side and say: Ya Muhammad! and I will answer him.”

    Abu Ya`la relates it with a sound (sahih) chain in his Musnad (Dar al-Ma’mun ed. 1407/1987) 11:462; Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani cites it in al-Matalib al-`aliya (Kuwait, 1393/1973) 4:23, chapter entitled: “Concerning the Prophet’s life in his grave” and #4574. Haythami says in Majma` al-zawa’id (8:5), Chapter entitled: “`Isa ibn Maryam’s Descent”: “Its sub-narrators are the men of sound (sahih) hadith.”

  6. It is not necessary for the person greeting the Prophet to be standing at the Prophet’s graveside, since the Prophet also said:“Whoever invokes blessings on me at my grave, I hear him, and whoever invokes blessings on me from afar, I am informed about it.”

    Abu ash-Shaykh cites it in Kitab al-Salat `ala an-Nabi (Jala’ al- afham p. 22), and Ibn Hajar says in Fath al-Bari (6:379): “Abu al- Shaykh cites it with a good chain (sanad jayyid).” Bayhaqi mentions it in Hayat al-anbiya and Shu`ab al-iman (2:218 #1583) with ublightuhu in the end.

  7. Thus the following report of Ibn Abi Fudayk, one of the early scholars of Madina and one of Shafi`i’s shaykhs, applies not only to the Prophet’s visitor in Madina, but to every person who invokes blessings on the Prophet from afar with the words Ya Muhammad as if he were standing in front of the Prophet: “I heard one of the authorities whom I have met say: “It has reached us that whoever stands at the Prophet’s grave and recites: “Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet…” (33:56) and then says: “May Allah bless you, O Muhammad” (sallallahu `alayka ya Muhammad) seventy times, an angel will call him saying: May Allah bless you, O So-and-so; none of your needs will be left unfulfilled.”” Ibn Jama`a related it in Hidayat al-salik 3:1382-1383, Ibn al-Jawzi in Muthir al-gharam p. 487, Qadi `Iyad in ash-Shifa’, and Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-iman (#4169).
  8. Bukhari in his Adab al-mufrad, Nawawi in his Adhkar, and Shawkani in Tuhfat al-dhakirin all relate the narrations of Ibn `Umar and Ibn `Abbas whereby they would call out Ya Muhammad whenever they had a cramp in their leg (Chapters entitled: “What one says if he feels a cramp in his leg”). Regardless of the grade of authenticity of these narrations, it is significant that Bukhari, Nawawi, and Shawkani never raised such a disturbing notion as to say that calling out “O Muhammad” amounted to shirk.(17)In conclusion, we advise the beloved brothers and sisters who meet objections to saying “Ya Rasulallah” to stand firm in the knowledge that their act is grounded in the Shari`a and that it is the objectors who are in the wrong. If the objectors show enmity, such as using labels of “shirk” and so forth in the manner of “Salafis” and Wahhabis, at that time steer clear of them because Allah has sealed their hearts and they will even reject the evidence of Qur’an and hadith through pride in their hearts. It is better to emigrate from them and protect one’s religion until they repent, rather than to accommodate their disease and lose even one iota of a meritorious act, and Allah knows best.

    CONCLUSION: ONE MAY NOT OBJECT TO MAWLID

    O People of Islam, O Nation of the Prophet, celebrate your Prophet with pride and joy, and do not go into dispute about matters that create fitna and confusion. Do not prevent others from celebrating, leave everyone to their heart, and let us unify ourselves by keeping Allah’s order in the Holy Qur’an to “Hold fast together to the rope of Allah and do not separate.” And let us pray for heavenly support against the enemies of Islam in the world. That is better than going into disputes and arguments.

    We encourage every Muslim who has questions about this topic not to be intimidated by assertions such as: “Mawlid is like Christmas” but to inform themselves of the views of the authorities in the Four Schools and to know that even Ibn Taymiyya, who wrote against the Mawlid, admitted that it may be good to celebrate Mawlid and gave as his precedent for this concession the fact that Imam Ahmad accepted that a certain man spent a large sum of money decorating a copy of the Qur’an, although Ahmad considered it an innovation.

    In Shari`a, nothing is declared haram except if the scholars are unanimous that the Qur’an and Sunna declare it so, whether explicitly or allusively. In the case of Mawlid, not only does such a unanimity not exist, but there is a majority declaring that it is an excellent action which merits reward, and even a supporter of the opposite view admitting that it can be praiseworthy! It is fair to say that someone who persists in rejecting the permissibility of Mawlid after all the above evidence, which is based on Qur’an, Sunna, and the derivations of ahkam (rulings) from the relevant dala’il (proof- texts), can only be a blind-follower of his own ignorant and stubborn opinion. “They will pass through the religion the way the arrow passes clean through its quarry” (Bukhari and Muslim). Allah knows best, and Allah guides whomever He will.


    Notes:

    (1) Ibn Hisham’s notes to his Sirat Rasul Allah, trans. A. Guillaume, 9th printing (Karachi: Oxford U. Press, 1990)p. 797.

    (2) Narrated from Shaddad ibn Aws by al-Bazzar, Abu Ya`la, and Tabarani. Haythami said in Majma` al-zawa’id (1:47): “Its narrators are the men of the sound collections.” Ibn Hajar mentioned this hadith in his Fath al-Bari (7:199) without saying anything against it.

    (3) Ibn Taymiyya, Majmu`at fatawa Ibn Taymiyya 22:523.

    (4) Ibn Kathir, Mawlid Rasul Allah, ed. Salah al-Din Munajjad (Beirut: dar al-kitab al-jadid, 1961).

    (5) Suyuti, al-Hawi li al-fatawi as cited in al-Misri’s The Reliance of the Traveller, trans. Noah Ha Mim Keller, section w58.0.

    (6) Ibn al-Jawzi, Mawlid al-`arus, Damascus: maktabat al-hadara 1955.

    (7) The hadith is in Bayhaqi’s Sunan, Vol. 9 p. 300, and in Haythami’s Majma` al-Zawa’id, Vol. 4, p. 59, who says that al-Bazzar and Tabarani relate it, the latter with a sound chain of transmission.

    (8) Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari (Cairo: al-Halabi, 1378 /1959) 5:156-157; (Beirut: Dar al-kutub al-`ilmiyya, 1410/1989) 4:318.

    (9) Abu ash-Shaykh cites it in Kitab al-Salat `ala al-nabi (Jala’ al-afham p. 22), and Ibn Hajar says in Fath al-Bari (6:379): “Abu ash-Shaykh cites it with a good chain (sanad jayyid).” Bayhaqi mentions it in Hayat al-anbiya and Shu`ab al-iman (2:218 #1583) with ublightuhu instead of bullightuhu in the end.

    (10) Abu Hurayra in Abu Dawud (Manasik #2039) with a sound chain; Ibn `Asakir, Mukhtasar Tarikh Dimashq 2:407; Ahmad, Musnad 2:527; Abu Nu`aym, Akhbar Asbahan 2:353; Ibn al-Najjar, Akhbar al-Madina p. 145; Bayhaqi, Shu`ab al-iman #4161; Haythami, Majma` al-zawa’id 10:162; Ibn Kathir, Tafsir 6:464; al-Mundhiri, al-Targhib wa al-tarhib 2:499; Talkhis al-habir 2:267.

    (11) Abu al-`Abbas Ahmad ibn al-Khatib, known as Ibn Qunfudh al-Qusantini al-Maliki, Wasilat al-islam bi al-nabi `alayhi as-salat wa al-salam (The means to Islam with the Prophet, peace be upon him) (Beirut: Dar al-gharb al-islami, 1404/1984) p. 145-146.

    (12) See the following sources:
    – Nawawi’s al-Tarkhis fi al-ikram bi al-qiyam li dhawi al-fadl wa al- maziyya min ahl al-islam `ala jihat al-birr wa al-tawqir wa al-ihtiram la `ala jihat al-riya’ wa al-i`zam (The permissibility of honoring, by standing up, those who possess excellence and distinction among the people of islam: in the spirit of piousness, reverence, and respect, not in the spirit of display and aggrandizement) ed. Kilani Muhammad Khalifa (Beirut: Dar al-Basha’ir al-islamiyya, 1409/1988);
    – Nawawi’s Sharh Sahih Muslim;
    – Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani’s Fath al-Bari sharh sahih al-Bukhari (The victory of the Creator: commentary on Bukhari’s collection of sound hadiths);
    – Shams al-Din al-Sakhawi’s al-Jawahir wa al-durar fi tarjamat shaykh al-islam Ibn Hajar (The diamonds and the pearls: biography of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar).

    (13) Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, Fatawa hadithiyya (Cairo: Halabi, 1390/1970) p. 297.

    (14) See Qadi `Iyad, ash-Shifa’; Bayhaqi, Shu`ab al-iman; Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Wafa’; Qastallani, al-Mawahib al-laduniyya; Suyuti, al-Khasa’is al-kubra; and others, chapters concerning Allah’s bestowal of precedence and preference to His Prophet.

    (15) Related by Ahmad (4:138 #17246), Tirmidhi (Da`awat Ch. 119), Ibn Majah (Iqamat al-salat wa al-sunnat, Ch. on Salat al-hajat), Nasa’i (`Amal al-yawm wa al-laylat p. 417-418), al-Hakim (1:313), and rigorously authenticated as sound (sahih) by nearly fifteen hadith masters including Ibn Hajar, Dhahabi, Shawkani, and Ibn Taymiyya.

    (16) Cf. Tuhfat al-ahwadhi (13:81) with al-hafiz Abu Bakr ibn al-`Arabi’s commentary.

    (17) See:

    Nawawi’s Adhkar:
    1970 Riyadh edition: p. 271
    1988 Ta’if edition: p. 383
    1992 Mecca edition: p. 370

    Bukhari’s Adab al-mufrad:
    1990 `Abd al-Baqi Beirut edition: p. 286
    1994 Albani edition entitled Da`if al-adab al-mufrad: p. 87 The latter gives as a reference: Takhrij al-kalim al-tayyib (235)”
    date? Beirut: `Alam al-kitab: p. 324
    date? Beirut: Dar al-kutub al-`ilmiyya: p.142.
    Shawkani’s Tuhfat al-dhakirin: 1970 Beirut: Dar al-kutub al-`ilmiyya: p. 206-207.