Presence of the Prophet at Mawlid

Shaykh Gibril Fouad Haddad

Wa alaykum as-salam, these are some further remarks on what was conveyed by Brother MF Khan from the following source:

[Mufti Ebrahim Desai FATWA DEPT. Jamiat Ulema Islam. South Africa] on the subject of the presence of the Prophet – Sallallahu `alayhi wa Sallam – at Mawlid gatherings:

The Belief that the Prophet Comes to the Milad Meeting  Some people also believe that Rasulullah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, comes to this function and due to this belief, they stand up in respect and veneration. This is absolutely untrue. Rasulullah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, does not arrive at any “Eid-e-Milad-un Nabee, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam” function. He is in his Rawdha-e-Mubarak (grave) at Madinah Munawwarah and will emerge from it at the onset ofYawmul-Qiyaamah, or the Day of Judgement.

Does Mufti Ibrahim Desai have `ilm al-ghayb and the gift of ubiquity? For he positively affirms that the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – (1) is not present at a given Mawlid function and (2) is not possibly present at any place other than in Madina.

Yet testimonies from the great Awliya’ and Salihin of this Umma have flown uninterruptedly for a thousand years to the effect that the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – was and continues to be seen by countless pure eyes in countless different locations. No need to ask “how”. Read the fatwa to that effect in Shaykh al-Islam al-Haytami’s Fatawa Hadithiyya (p. 297), entitled: “Question: Can the Prophet be seen in a wakeful state?” The answer is yes, and if he is seen, then he is present.

Yes, we know with positive knowledge that he is in Madina al-Munawwara – but in the state of BARZAKH. And that state, by the decree of Allah, is governed by laws other than phenomenal laws. Read about it in Sayyid Muhammad `Alawi al-Maliki’s Manhaj al-Salaf if you wish. I translated the relevant parts in my volume entitled “The Prophets in Barzakh,” available at As-Sunna Foundation of America Publications. Or, read about it in Kitab al-Ruh by Ibn al-Qayyim. Or in al-Tadhkira by al-Qurtubi.

There is a rule (qa`ida) that says: “Al-Ithbaat Muqaddamun `ala al-Nafy” meaning: “Affirmation takes precedence over denial” and another one that states: “Laysa man la ya`lam kaman ya`lam” meaning: “The one who does not know is not like the one who knows.” Even in the matter of a simple hadith narration there are things we know and things we do not know, as Mufti Ibrahim is well-placed to know.

I will now quote from Sayyid Muhammad ibn `Alawi al-Maliki’s commentary on this very issue from his book on Mawlid titled Hawl al-Ihtifal bi Dhikra al-Mawlid al-Nabawi al-Sharif (“Regarding the Celebration of the Prophet ‘s Birthday”) which was translated and cited in Shaykh Hisham Kabbani’s Encyclopedia of Islamic Doctrine (3:45-48), and I recommend that Mufti Ibrahim take a look at the original text of al-Maliki before pursuing this matter any further:

“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 – Allah bless and greet him – 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.”

[So the Shaykh acknowledges that although the Noble Presence is not the reason why people stand up, yet there is no impediment to its possibility anyway.]

“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.”

[Here he lists a long list of the well-known authentic nusus to that effect. Then he concludes:]

“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 (s) 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.”

[End of al-Maliki’s text as translated and paraphrased in the Encyclopedia of Islamic Doctrine (3:45-48).]

At a future point insha Allah I intend to post the text of Shaykh al-Islam Taqi al-Din al-Subki standing up in uncontained emotion in the midst of a Mawlid recitation in Damascus, at the mention of the passage in which Sayyida Amina bint Wahb gave birth to Rahmatun li al-`Alamin Sallallahu `alayhi wa Sallam.

At any rate, the presence of the Noble Ruhaniyya of the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – is a ghaybi matter which should not be declared positively impossible. As for the verses quoted in the rest of the post they are quite irrelevant to the specific matter of seeing the Prophet Sallallahu `alayhi wa Sallam or of his presence in the gatherings of the Salihin in dunya or and Akhira. To tell the truth I find the reasoning behind the quotation of some of this evidence and in the concluding paragraph of Mufti Ebrahim, disturbing.  Was-Salam.

Hajj Gibril

Dr. G.F. Haddad

The following Ayat and Hadith testify to this fact: The Qur’an, addressing

Rasulullah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, announces explicitly: –“Lo! Thou wilt die, and Lo! They will die. Then Lo! On the day of resurrection, before your sustainer, you will dispute.” [Az-Zumar 39:30-31]  At another place, Rasulullah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is addressed together with the rest of mankind: – “Then Lo! After that you surely die, then Lo! On the day of resurrection you are raised (again)” [Al-Muminun 23:16]  Rasulullah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, himself has said in a Hadith: – “My grave will be the first to be opened on the day of Qiyamah and I shall be the first person to intercede and the first person whose intercession shall be accepted.”  These Ayat and Hadith as well (and there are others) prove that all of mankind will be raised from their graves on the day of Qiyamah, with Rasulullah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, being no exception. On this, there is consensus of the entire Ummah.

[End of quote of Mufti Ebrahim Desai FATWA DEPT. Jamiat Ulema Islam. South Africa]