Volume 2, Number 4
Rabi` al-Awwal, 1418/August, 1997

Permissibility of Mawlid According to Ahl as-Sunnah wal Jama'at

Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani

[Excerpted in part from Islamic Beliefs and Doctrine According to Ahl al-Sunna: A Repudiation of "Salafi" Innovations, Vol. II, soon to be available from As-Sunna Foundation of America Publications.]

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

One of the saliheen, Shaykh Abu Musa al-Zarhuniy reported: I saw the Prophet, (s) in a dream. I told him what the Islamic scholars [fuqaha] say regarding having festivities ['amal al wala'im] in Mawlid so he (s) said:"Who is happy with us, we are happy with them" [man fariha bina, farihna bihi]

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 Dhikra Mawlid Rasul-Allah (s) in almost all Arab countries.

The opinion of the scholars of Ahl as-Sunna wal Jama'at on the permissibilityand praiseworthiness of Mawlid is well known. The proofs of Ahl as-Sunna wal Jama'at scholars on the acceptibility of the Mawlid 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."

Our intention in this short article 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 fatawa (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.

Ibn Taymiyya's Opinion on the Celebration of the Mawlid

This is Imam Ibn Taymiyya's opinion about Mawlid:

"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)."1

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

Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyyah, the best and most renowned student of Ibn Taymiyya, writes:

"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)."2

Ibn Kathir Praises the Night of Mawlid

One of the most renowned scholars is Ibn Kathir. Ibn Kathir was a muhaddith from the followers of Ibn Taymiyya. 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. In it Ibn Kathir says:

"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."3

Ibn Taymiyya: "Laylat al-'Israa' wal-Mi'raj is Greater than Laylat al-Qadr"

"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.'"4 This is Ibn Taymiyya's Salafi opinion, but we say, as Ibn Marzuq, the reknowned student of Imam Nawawi said: "Laylat al-Mawlid is better than Laylat al-Qadr."

Nasir al-Din al-Dimasqhi Proves the Acceptability of Mawlid

Shaykh Nasir al-Din al-Dimashqi (777-842), the hafiz of Syria, was a supporter of Ibn Taymiyya. He wrote not one, but several books on the praiseworthiness of Mawlid, among them Jami‘ al-athar fi mawlid al-nabi al-mukhtar (The Compendium of Reports Concerning the Birth of the Chosen Prophet), al-Lafz al-ra’iq fi mawlid khayr al-khala’iq (The Shining Expressions for the Birth of the Best of Creation) and Mawrid al-sadi bi mawlid al-nabi al-hadi (The Continuous Spring: the Birth of the Guiding Prophet)

It is related in Bukhari that Abu Lahab freed his slave Thuwayba on the day the Prophet was born. His punishment in the grave is diminished every Monday as a consequence.

Nasir al-Din al-Dimashqi wrote on this the following verses: "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 [the birth of] Ahmad: what then do you think of the servant who, all his life, was happy with [the existence of] Ahmad, and died saying, 'One'?"5 Here he cites this hadith as clear and evident proof that to perform a praiseworthy act (the freeing of a slave) out of joy at the birth of the Prophet (s) is an act which is rewardable, even to Abu Lahab.

The hafiz Shams al-Din al-Jazari wrote similarly in his book ‘Urf al-ta‘rif bi al-mawlid al-sharif (The Beneficient Communication of the Noble Birth of the Prophet). Thus we see that the majority of even the "Salafi" school were supporting and accepting the practice of recalling the birth of the Prophet (s) and celebrating it as a special event.

Shaykh Hisham Kabbani talks with Shaykh Ma`sum Naqshbandi at his home in Dallas. They are both main speakers at the Naqshbandi-
Milad an-Nabi Conference, Chicago, July 26th, 1997.

1Iqtida’ al-sirat al-mustaqim, p. 294-295
2Madarij as-Salikin, p. 498.
3p. 19 Dhikr Mawlid RasulAllah (s)
4quoted by Ibn Qayyim in the latter's book, al-Badaa'i, Vol. 3, page 162.
5Mawrid as-sadi fi Mawlid al-Hadi

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