Celebrating Mawlid

The ones prejudiced against celebrating the Prophet’s birthday have paved the way for their falsehood by deceiving the less-learned among the Muslims. The prejudiced ones claim that Ibn Kathir writes in his Al Bidaya wal Nihaya (11-172) that the Fatimide-Obaidite state, which descends from the Jew, Obaidillah Bin Maimoon Al Kaddah, ruler of Egypt from 357-567 A.H., innovated the celebration of a number of days, among them, the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday. This treacherous lie is a grave insult to the scholarship of Ibn Kathir and the scholarship of all Islam. For in truth, Ibn Kathir writes about the Prophet’s birthday in Al bidaya wal nihaya [13-136] “The victorious king Abu Sa’id Kawkaburi, was one of the generous, distinguished masters, and the glorious kings; he left good impressions and used to observe the honorable Mawlid by having a great celebration. Moreover, he was chivalrous, brave, wise, a scholar, and just.” Ibn Kathir continues, “And he used to spend three hundred thousand Dinars on the Mawlid.” In support, Imam Al Dhahabi writes of Abu Sa’id Kawkaburi, in Siyar A’laam al nubala’ [22-336] “He was humble, righteous, and loved religious learned men and scholars of Prophetic saying.”

Following are some sayings of the rightly guided Imams regarding the Mawlid.

Imam Al Suyuti, from Alhawi lil fatawi, wrote a special chapter entitled “The Good Intention in Commemorating the Mawlid,” at the beginning of which he said, “There is a question being asked about commemorating the Mawlid of the Prophet in the month of Rabi’ Al Awal: what is the religious legal ruling in this regard, is it good or bad? Does the one who celebrates get rewarded or not?” The answer according to me is as follows: To commemorate the Mawlid, which is basically gathering people together, reciting parts of the Qu’ran, narrating stories about the Prophet’s birth and the signs that accompanied it, then serving food, and afterwards, departing, is one of the good innovations; and the one who practices it gets rewarded, because it involves venerating the status of the Prophet and expressing joy for his honorable birth.

Ibn Taymiyya said in his book Iqtida’ Al Sirat Al Mustaqeem (pg. 266) “Likewise, what some people have innovated, in competition with the Christians in celebrating the birth of Jesus, or out of love and veneration of the Prophet⦣128;榱uot; and he continues “⦣128;洨at the predecessors didn’t do, even though there is a reason for it, and there is nothing against it.” This is a saying of someone who set fanaticism aside and sought to please Allah and his Prophet. As far as we are concerned, we commemorate the Mawlid for no other reason but what Ibn Taymiya said, “Out of love and veneration of the Prophet.” May Allah reward us according to this love and effort, and may Allah bless the one who said, “Let alone what the Christians claim about their Prophet, and you may praise Muhammad in any way you want and attribute to his essence all honors and to his status all greatness, for his merit has no limits that any expression by any speaker might reach.”

In the same source previously mentioned, Al Suyuti said, “Someone asked Ibn Hajar about commemorating the Mawlid. Ibn Hajar answered, “Basically, commemorating the Mawlid is an innovation that has not been transmitted by the righteous Muslims of the first three centuries. However, it involves good things and their opposites, therefore, whoever looks for the good and avoids the opposites then it is a good innovation.’ It occurred to me (Al Suyuti) to trace it to its established origin, which has been confirmed in the two authentic books: Al Sahihain. When the Prophet arrived in Medina he found that the Jews fast the day of Aashura; when he inquired about it they said, “This is the day when Allah drowned the Pharaoh and saved Moses, therefore we fast it to show our gratitude to Allah.’ From this we can conclude that thanks are being given to Allah on a specific day for sending bounty or preventing indignity or harm.” Al Suyuti then commented, “What bounty is greater than the bounty of the coming of this Prophet, the Prophet of Mercy, on that day?”

“This is regarding the basis of Mawlid. As for the activities, there should be only the things that express thankfulness to Allah, such as what has been previously mentioned: reciting Qu’ran, eating food, giving charity, reciting poetry praising the Prophet or on piety which moves hearts and drives them to do good and work for the Hereafter.”

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