Mawlid: A reality check

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After some reflection, I have finally decided to throw my toppee (white skullcap) into the argument of Mawlid. This is frequently discussed and argued point between many brothers. One side defending its practice and the other side refuting this practice. This is a distracting point for many of the religious people because it is not an obligation (fard or wajib) in the religion. It is a practice that was not known until later, in historical terms.

The companions did not celebrate Mawlid!

Just because the companions did not do it does not mean that we should not, because there are many things that we do that the companions did not. You read a Quran that is printed by a machine and not written by hand. Should you now not read the Quran because the companions never read from printed editions?

The companions never studied tajweed, is it innovation for you to study it? If you do not study tajweed you won’t be able to read the Quran.

The companions never used the internet to attain knowledge or listen to lectures, so should you stop using the internet because they did not?

Do you take a plane to reach Saudi to perform Hajj? The companions never used a plane! They went by horse, donkey or by foot. So are you ready to walk all the way to Saudi? I do not think so! So what is the point I am making? The point I am making is that we do a lot of things that the companions did not do.

If you are really committed to not doing anything the companions did not do. Then send me your cars, iphones and homes etc. Let’s see if you are actually committed to this premise!
Did the companions love the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him)? 

Of course, that goes without saying! This love is the essence of the Mawlid because it is about reconnecting the heart with the cause of going our salvation which is the being of the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him). So when you attend a Mawlid you are doing what the companions did by reattaching your heart towards him (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him). Mawlid is a means to attain to love just like that plane is a means to Hajj, the printed Quran is means for you to read it and so on. Therefore, this is following in the footsteps of the companions.

Look how the companions fought for the splashes of his (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) wudu water, for a strand of his (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) blessed hair did they compete, one companion explained how he (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was the beloved person to him. All the companions thought they were special.

Loving the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) is an integral part of this religion and without it the Muslim can become an empty shell. It goes without saying that love of Allah (the Exalted) has to be present. If you still deny Mawlid because you think it is a new action then fine but you must be happy that the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was born, because if he was not sent then the world would be not be what it is.

The early generation of the Salaf did not do it

There was enough exemplars of the early generation in the field of loving of Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) for them not to need Mawlid. But later generations were not as strong, so the Mawlid is a cure for this illness.

Just like the vowelling was not present in the Quranic script until the time of Imam Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) (Tajweed Quran printed in Syria by Dar Al-Marifah p.2) around year forty of the Islamic year. The dots were not present until early in the caliphate of Abdulmalik Ibn Marwan in 685, so thats over fifty years after the passing of the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings be upon him).

Most of the companions read the Quran without dots or vowelling, can you do that? I do not think so! Some of you cannot read it in Arabic (reading in Urdu-bic instead) never-mind read it without dots or vowels! You are doing something the companions did not do! This argument does not hold any water because we would all be lost without the vowelling and dots!

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Words

The word Mawlid means birth and the word often used by the Indo-Pak community is Milad. There is a slight difference of meaning here. The original word means to bear child or bring forth (Hans wehr p.1285). The word Mawlid مولد means birth, birthday and so on (ibid p.1286).

ميلاد means birth, time of birth nativity (ibid). It is strange that the same source states Mawlid as the word used for the birthday of the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) and Milad referring to the birth of Jesus (upon him peace).

There is a difference between the Mawlid and Christmas. The most important is that we know that the birth of the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was 12th Rabi Al-Awwal and this is the dominate opinion. We are not celebrating a birthday rather his (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) birth and his (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) blessed being. So these are essential differences to Christmas because we are not aware of the exact date of the birth of Jesus (upon him peace). Christmas has too many practices of the religions of other than Christianity for it to be about Jesus (upon him peace). Mary gave birth to him in spring because the Quran states that she was given dates Rutab which are only available in that period. Therefore, these are two different matters and not the same. At the same time Muslims should not celebrate a festival of another religion that could cause them to be considered to be part of another religion.

Jaloos

The Arabic word Jaloos means to sit for a long time. It might mean procession in Urdu at a guess. This is the name for the procession of Mawlid in Indo-Pak regions. The Jaloos (sitting) happens after the march, when the food comes out and no one can move for a few hours! What used to happen in the Indo -pak world was poor non-Muslims would attend the meal. So this was a positive way of feeding the poor in an indirect manner but that does not apply in the UK. You can now see how important it was in that region to spreading Islam. Just like nasheed concerts were open and in public places, so anyone could attend. Non-Muslims would become infused by the songs and eventually become Muslim. Again this does not have the same affect that it once had.

It does seem strange that some elders force youngsters to attend. Love is not forced and nor can it be taught by force.

I find the name amusing but there are ways in which it can be a good thing. When it is organised in a professional manner, sweets are given out, leaflets explain the purpose of the procession and so forth. If it is done in this manner then it can be seen as indirect dawah/calling to Islam. If not then it, looks like the Pakistanis have invaded and it’s time to call the police! It might be better for women not to attend the march because some ‘uncles’ might say something unpleasant to them.

I used to think that this type of procession was limited to the Indo pak communities but it is famous across many Muslims lands like Egypt, Medinah, Yemen and other places.

Disco lights

It is strange that we see Mawlid celebrated by lights. What kind a love has ever been displayed by flashing lights? The Mawlid is not like Christmas lights and because the lights are in the names of Allah, the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) and his sandal.

There might be goodness in their intention (for the lights) but it is a grey area. If you do not turn your streets into discos does not mean that you are not a true Sunni!

Generally, Muslims should make an effort for ‘Id/Eid celebrations and not allow their kids to be infused with other celebrations!

As for the mixing of men and women then this is not allowed. This is clear and well known, so if this happens then it is the fault of individuals not the group.

Not Kufr/shirk

For it to be Kufr/Disbelief or shirk/polytheism then there has to be a clear statement articulated. It (the Mawlid) may not be an action that is explicitly laid down in the sacred law but there are roots to it. There is Quranic recitation, Nasheed/Naat, lecture and food. These are all permissible in the sacred law. For that reason it is called a praiseworthy innovation/Bidah Hassanah. It is not Bidah Maharamah/blameworthy innovation, like saying there are six obligatory prayers a day.

It cannot be an act of disbelief or polytheism because we do not claim divinity for anyone other than Allah (the Exalted). As for asking the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) – Tawasal – then this allowed by the majority of scholars of the four schools. This supplication is invoking Allah by using the most beloved creation to him. There are hadiths upon this subject so seek them out. Only the Wahabis/Selefis disagree whose main source is Ibn Tamiyyah. All the scholars before him allowed it, including those of the first three centuries, who are you referring to? The Salaf that’s who!

Kufr/Shirk has to be clear and there cannot be doubt. The Wahabis use incorrect analogies to claim this. Kufr/Shirk cannot be claimed based upon analogies. Calling to other than Allah (the Exalted) is only disbelief when it is attached to worship of something other than Allah. This does not happen in the Mawlid. Only Allah is divine and no other. So the accusation of shirk/kufr is not only baseless and false it is also slander of a Muslim. These accusations are grave sins indeed. If Wahabis claim that calling to other than Allah (the Exalted) is disbelief then they must not use their mobile phones!

Passing and birth on the same day?
There is a silly argument, from some, that the Mawlid is on the same day of his (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) passing, namely 12th Rabi Al-Awwal. They claim we celebrate his birth on the same day as his death!

Most of the books that I have checked stated this (12th) date. Only two books state the 13th Rabi Al-Awwal which are Nur Al-Yaqin by Sheikh Al-Khadrami (p. 264) and Nasab Al-Labib by Umar Al-Muhadar Al’Awali (p.16). Some have said Monday or Tuesday as the day of passing.

Imam Al-Suyhali said in Rawada Al-Unf (3/270), “Most of them have the opinion that it was the 12th Rabi Al-Awwal; it is not authentic that he (upon him peace and blessings) passed on Monday on the 13th, 14th, or 15th; the Muslims agree that the day of Arafat was Friday and it was the ninth of Dhu Al-Hijjah then this would be Wednesday of Dhu Al-Hijjah…” “If it was Saturday then it would be the first or second of Rabi Al-Awwal…” “It cannot be the 12th Rabi Al-Awwal Tuesday or Thursday.” Al-Khawarmazi said it was the first of Rabi Al-Awwal (Al-Ishara ila Sirah Sayyiduna Muhammad by ‘Alla Al-Din Al-Bakjari  p.252.)

Imam Al-Suyhali wrote a commentary on the classical Sirah of Ibn Hisham, so for this reason I will go with his opinion that was the first or second of Rabi Al-Awwal. 12th, 13th, 14th Rabi Al-Awwal are not a definite according to Imam Al-Suyhali (may Allah show him mercy).

So even if the day is the same it does not matter because is a celebration of his life. There is a symmetry to his (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) birth and passing being on the same day. Like a circle, beginning and ending on the same day. Those people say (you are celebrating his birth and death on the same time) this, should be careful not to insult the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) because this can cause disbelief.

A few proofs to consider

From Imam Qastalani’s work on the Mawlid are some of the strongest proofs:

‘Aisha said, “There was a Jewish merchant in Mecca on the night that the Prophet (s) was born. He inquired, ‘Oh, people of Quraysh, was there any newborn among you?’ They replied, ‘We don’t know.’ He said, ‘Tonight, the Prophet of this last nation was born. Between his shoulders there is a mark containing a few hairs on it like a horse’s mane.’ They accompanied the Jew and went to the Prophet’s mother, and asked her if they could see her son. She brought him to them and they uncovered his back and saw the birthmark, whereupon the Jew fell unconscious. When he regained consciousness, they asked him, ‘Woe to you. What is the matter with you?’ He answered, ‘By Allah, Prophethood has gone away from the children of Israel.’” (Al-Bayhaqi)

Al-Hakim narrated that the Prophet (s) was born in Mecca in the house of Muhammad bin Yusuf. He was breast fed by Thuwaiba, the freed female slave of Abu Lahab. He freed her upon her bringing him the good news of the Prophet’s birth. After his death, Abu Lahab was seen in a dream, when he was asked, “How are you faring?” He answered, “I am in the fire. However, I get a break every Monday, when I am able to suck water from this spot between my fingers,” and he gestured with two of his finger tips. “This miracle is due to my freeing Thuwaiba when she brought me the good news of the birth of the Prophet.”

Ibn Al-Jazri said, “If Abu Lahab, the infidel, who is dispraised in Qur’anic revelation, was nevertheless rewarded because of his rejoicing at the birth of the Prophet, how about Muslims from among his nation who rejoices in his birth and do the best they can out of love for him? By my life, their reward from Allah, the Generous, will be entry into the paradises of bliss with Allah’s abundant bounties.” (http://www.sunnah.org/ibadaat/three_frameset.htm)

Abu Jahl’s punishment is lessened because he was happy that the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was born. So you should be happy that he was born because he (The Prophet) is the bearer of the Islam that you boast of. This is not about being a believer or disbeliever rather this is about being happy about his birth. As Islam was not declared at that point so Abu Jahl’s disbelief is not considered in the report. But if you want to consider it then know it helped one of the worst enemies of the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) gain relief, what about you? A believer of him and Allah. What will you receive? If you are not happy about his (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) birth that then you need to look at yourself.

From a Wahabi/Selefi website (http://sunnah.com/nasai/49/48) reported by Al-Nisa’i graded sahih (authentic) with their translation:

أَخْبَرَنَا سَوَّارُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا مَرْحُومُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الْعَزِيزِ، عَنْ أَبِي نَعَامَةَ، عَنْ أَبِي عُثْمَانَ النَّهْدِيِّ، عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ، قَالَ قَالَ مُعَاوِيَةُ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ إِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم خَرَجَ عَلَى حَلْقَةٍ – يَعْنِي مِنْ أَصْحَابِهِ – فَقَالَ ‏”‏ مَا أَجْلَسَكُمْ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالُوا جَلَسْنَا نَدْعُو اللَّهَ وَنَحْمَدُهُ عَلَى مَا هَدَانَا لِدِينِهِ وَمَنَّ عَلَيْنَا بِكَ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ آللَّهِ مَا أَجْلَسَكُمْ إِلاَّ ذَلِكَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالُوا آللَّهِ مَا أَجْلَسَنَا إِلاَّ ذَلِكَ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ أَمَا إِنِّي لَمْ أَسْتَحْلِفْكُمْ تُهَمَةً لَكُمْ وَإِنَّمَا أَتَانِي جِبْرِيلُ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ فَأَخْبَرَنِي أَنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يُبَاهِي بِكُمُ الْمَلاَئِكَةَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

It was narrated that Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudari said: “Mu’awiyah, (may Allah be pleased with him,) said: ‘The Messenger of Allah [SAW] went out to a circle – meaning, of his Companions – and said: ‘What are you doing?’ They said: ‘We have come together to pray to Allah and praise Him for guiding us to His religion, and blessing us with you.’ He said: ‘I ask you, by Allah, is that the only reason?’ They said: ‘By Allah, we have not come together for any other reason.’ He said: ‘I am not asking you to swear to an oath because of any suspicion; rather Jibril came to me and told me that Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, is boasting of you to the angels.'”

(Sunan an-Nasa’i 5426, in-book reference : Book 49, Hadith 48, English translation: Vol. 6, Book 49, Hadith 5428)

This is perhaps the strongest proof for Mawlid. The companions gathered to thank Allah (the Exalted) for sending the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him). This is one of strongest elements of the Mawlid. This was a Mawlid without a name and the only difference is now this has a name. The companions did perform a type of Mawlid. Note that the Wahabis themselves rated this hadith as Sahih/authentic and therefore they cannot deny it. If they deny it then they are denying a sahih hadith!

As for the point about it being only an annual celebration. The hadith does not stipulate time so saying that is can only be done annually is adding their own speech to hadith. It can be done whenever and there is no stipulation of time.

Same time next year

We have written this in the knowledge that it can be used every year! Why is it that all these scholars, who do nothing all year, suddenly come out for Mawlid? They appear like Mumra from Thundercats! Then we do not hear from them until next year. When they will appear again accompanied with a title that is as long as their speech!

All they do is say that Mawlid is not Bidah/Innovation (blameworthy) without explaining it to those who oppose it. It is better to destroy the argument in an intellectual manner rather than an irrational and insulting manner.

 

Not convinced

Well it is up to you if you celebrate Mawlid or not and there should be no force. If you want to go then you will feel the love for the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him). It is not an obligation in sacred law but it is an obligation for the lovers. The Mawlid should contain some teachings of the Sirah.

So you can either say the event of Mawlid is bidah and the love is Sunnah. Or you can say that’s Bidah hassanah which means there is praiseworthy part to it. Or you can say its the Sunnah Mustab/desired act of the companions. What you cannot do is deny it and say it has no basis in Islam. It has the hadith and the proof of the love of the companions. Like so many things, in that early period, it had a reality without a name.

However, what you should not do is curse those who go or call them disbelievers or muskriks, this is not correct at all. As the companions did a type of Mawlid even though others deny it. But please avoid debate about this because it is not good to see beards at war!

Nor should we look down at those do not go. Some do not go because they do not understand it, so give people room to understand these issues. Some might not go because of the manner in which it is practiced, even though they agree with it.

We hope this has enlightened some of you and in sha Allah let us continue to seek guidance from Allah (the Exalted).

source

Some links

 

Imam Al-Suyuti writes in HUSN AL MAQSID FI `AMAL AL-MAWLID

 

http://www.sunnah.org/publication/mawlid01.html

http://www.sunnah.org/arabic/mawldhouse/history_of_the_mawlid_house.htm

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