This is in response to the Khutba that Brother Abdul hadi (Imam Masjid- Ebrahim, Delaware,US ) gave on November-11/2011. While speaking about Bidat, he said so many things. Most of his talk were positive and were part of advice what we all should do as part of human community and part of Muslim community. But while concluding he started pointing out some of our practices which we should not do. I was still in agreement with lot of things which he said but one point, which he clearly mentioned as a Bidat was celebrating the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). I am not sure what made him to conclude like this since when I read about him in IAD website, he is quoted as highly learned and educated Islamic scholar. Then how can he make such a remark.
What can be his response to the following justifications about Milad. (Celebrating Prophet Muhammad’s birthday) would actually guide my way as an individual. To start my viewpoints, I want to outline following stand very clearly.
Everything which can be categorized wrongful morally, lawfully or religiously is wrong no matter if it is part of Mildaunnabi or if it is EID Ul Azha or Eid Ul Fitr or if it is Muharram ul haram. And what is not wrong should definitely be discussed how good it is and what can be the best time to practice it.
1. What is Milad
Jashne-zikre-Miladunnabi is to express happiness for the Prophet coming to us. It 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" (Yunus 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" (Al-Anbiya' 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.
Meaning of Milad ( Or Jashne-zikre-milad un nabi) is to feel, share and celebrate the happiness of the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It never demands to wait for the establishment of a Muslim society and then only we will start. It also, never demands to show how much charity one can do on this day. But it is to feel a satisfaction and jubilation from our inside and we being thankful to Allah for the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) sending as us blessings.
2. Milad –From Quran and Hadith
ذَلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ
That is the bounty of Allah; which He giveth unto whom He will. Allah is of Infinite Bounty (وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ )
Hadrat Abdullah Ibn Abbas (Radhi Allah) explains “Allah is of infinite bounty” as:
(Allah is of infinite bounty) by bestowing Islam and prophet hood upon Muhammad (PBUH); by sending the Messenger and Scripture to His created beings. [Tanwir al Miqbas Min Tafsir Ibn Abbas]
Qur'an states(Maryam:15) regarding Yahya (a.s):
وَسَلَامٌ عَلَيْهِ يَوْمَ وُلِدَ وَيَوْمَ يَمُوتُ وَيَوْمَ يُبْعَثُ حَيًّا
So Peace on him the day he was born, the day that he dies, and the day that he will be raised up to life (again)!
So the days when Anbiya are born are days of "Tranquility" in sight of Allah.
3. Sahih Muslim (Book 006, Number 2606 )
Abu Qatada Ansari (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah's Messenger (PBUH) was asked about fasting on Monday, whereupon he said: It is (the day) when I was born and revelation was sent down to me.
This Hadith is also reported in by Imam al-Bahayqi in his “Sunnan ul Kubra” (Vol. 4, pg. 300 Hadith no 8182, 8259), in the “Sunan” of Imam Nisai and the “Musnad” of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal.
It is clear from this Hadith that the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) was very happy about the day of his birth and so fasted out of gratitude. Fasting is a form of worship, so one can celebrate this day by any form of ibada. One can fast or hold gatherings or provide food to the poor, all being acts of worship.
4. Sahih Bukhari (Volume 7, Book 62, Number 38: )
Narrated 'Ursa; Thuwaiba was the freed slave girl of Abu Lahb whom he had manumitted, and then she suckled the Prophet. When Abu Lahb died, one of his relatives saw him in a dream in a very bad state and asked him, "What have you encountered?" Abu Lahb said, "I have not found any rest since I left you, except that I have been given water to drink in this (the space between his thumb and other fingers) and that is because of my manumitting Thuwaiba."
Abu Lahab freed Thuwaiba on joy at birth of Prophet (salallaho alaihi wasalam), even the worst of Kufaar and greatest of enemies is given relaxation in his Adhaab due to freeing Thawaiba by pointing with his finger, so Imagine the situation of a momin who rejoices on Mawlid, detailed explanation of this hadith shall be given in the last section of Verdicts from classical scholars.
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" [surat 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"?"
5. Sahih Muslim, Dar ul Kutab al ILmiyyah (Volume 2, Page No. 147, Hadith No. 1130 )
Ibn Abbas (RA) reported: The Prophet “Allah’s blessing and peace be upon him” came to Madina and saw the Jews fasting on the tenth day of Muharram. They were asked about that. They replied: “This is the day, on which Allah made Moses and the children of Israel emerge victorious over Pharoah. So, we fast on it “OUT OF GLORIFICATION TO IT”. The Prophet “Allah’s blessing and peace be upin him” said: “We have more claim over Moses than you.” So, he ordered Muslims to fast on it
6. Sunnan an Nasai’i (Volume 1, Page No. 241, Hadith No. 448 )
Hadrat Anas bin Malik (ra) narrates that Prophet (saw) while mentioning his journey of Miraaj said: Jibril (a.s) asked me to get off from Buraak at Bethlehem and told me to say the prayer there, after which he said: Do you know where you have prayed (O Messenger of Allah)? You prayed at Bethlehem where Isa (a.s) "was born".
The Prophet Emphasized the Birthday/Birth place of Prophets
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`ah (Friday), the Prophet said in his hadith: "On that day [i.e. Jum`ah], 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.
7. Why Imam 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 as-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?"
8. Taareekh (Historians and Ulema)
There are people who claim that the Milad is a new thing let us see what the history is.
A) The 7th-century historians Abul `Abbas al-`Azafi and his son Abul Qasim al-`Azafi wrote in their Kitab ad-durr al-munazzam:
"Pious pilgrims and prominent travelers 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."
B.) 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 salah, 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.
C) Ibn Taymiyya's Opinion on the Celebration of Mawlid
This is Ibn Taymiyya's opinion about Mawlid from 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.
D) 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'."
So we have seen with the evidences from Quran, Hadis and from Ulema about our faith, need and duty about Milad. Last point which I want to make here is about sending Salam to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in standing position.
One hadis from Tirmidhi which is hasan and sahih ( fair and sound)(Birr wa silat 4:322 #28) and in Imam Ahmad’s book (2:185)
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.
So giving honors to our elders is a must for us as muslim and then when the time comes to honor Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), should our legs feel pain?
9. Let us now think intelligently
Quran ( Al-Imran:31)
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).
Quran ( Al –Qalam:4)
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 exalted (Standard) character" (Al-Qalam 4).
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?"
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. “Allah sends His Salat (Graces, Honors, Blessings, Mercy) on the Prophet (Muhammad PBUH), and also His angels (ask Allah to bless and forgive him). O you who believe! Send your Salat on (ask Allah to bless) him (Muhammad PBUH), and (you should) greet (salute) him with Islamic way of greeting.”
Qur'an states( Yunus, 58):
قُلْ بِفَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَبِرَحْمَتِهِ فَبِذَلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَحُوا هُوَ خَيْرٌ مِمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ
Say: "In the bounty of God. And in His Mercy, in that "LET THEM REJOICE" : that is better than the (wealth) they hoard.
Some might think in their wildest of imaginations that birth and arrival of Prophet (PBUH) is not a mercy, some even falsely limit the Mercies of Allah by saying that mercy mentioned here does not refer to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) thus we should not rejoice, so in reply to such people the best answer is found in Tafsir of Qur'an through Qur'an itself.
Qur'an states at another place ( Al- Ambiya,107)
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِلْعَالَمِينَ
We have not sent you but as a “Mercy to the worlds”
Hence without any shadow of doubt arrival of Prophet (Peace & Blessings be upon him) is a mercy not only upon us but all worlds and creations of Allah azza Wajjal, thus we should rejoice as ordered in Qur'an
Sahih Bikhari and Sahih Muslim quotes
Love of the Prophet is what differentiates the believers in the perfection of their iman. In an authentic hadith related in 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 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."
10. The legal and religious status of celebrating the birth of Holy Prophet (Peace & Blessings be upon him) in light of the Qur’an and Sunnah:
-And Indeed everyone rejoices except for Shaytan and his counterparts, because:
أن إبليس رن أربع رنات حين لعن وحين أهبط وحين ولد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وحين أنزلت الفاتحة
Translation: Iblis cried loudly four times, first when Allah declared him as cursed, second when he was thrown out, Third When Prophet (salallaho alaihi wasalam) was born and fourth when Surah Fatiha was revealed [Ibn Kathir in Al Bidayah wal Nihayah, Volume No. 2, Page No. 166]
So now the conclusive question arises that if we celebrate the arrival of Adam(PBUH) in terms of Jumah prayer, if we celebrate the arrival of our children in the terms of Aquiqua, if we celebrate their completion of their The Quran in terms of Aamin, if we celebrate the arrival of new member in our family in terms of walima (reception) if we celebrate our childern’s birthday (no matter how) , their graduation, their marriage we are expressing our happiness and we are inherently thanking Almighty Allah for granting us this happy moment. Is’nt the same thing we do when we go for Eid prayers after month of fasting or in haj? And also, all these events do not go unnoticed. For each of the above we select a particular day to commemorate and celebrate to make sure that people around us feel our happiness and gratitude. Then why we must not thank Allah (JJ) on the 12th of Rabi-awwal?
Let us think it other way, what would be our answer to Allah (JJ) if in case he asks us a question that who was more beloved to us our children or spouse or friends OR Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) . He is Allah he may not ask any questions and can find uncountable reasons to forgive us but in case he asks, then what would be our answer? If we say yes we loved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), then if He asks another question have we ever discussed/rejoiced with our family, friends, relatives, neighbors, countrymen about the arrival of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who is the slave of Allah as are we and who is the last messenger of Allah? Then what would be our answers.