Mawlid al-Rasul or the Prophet's Birthday
Compiled by brother superfaa of Sweden
Edited by Ibn Anwar
Some hadith and the words of our ‘ulama concerning the issue of mawlid, and bid’a in general.
Is mawlid a bid’a? The answer is yes. According to a great Muhaddith, Shams ad-Din Muhammad as-Sakhawi (d.902 A.H.), the assembling for Meelad in Muslim history began in the 3rd Century A.H. But the real question is: “Is mawlid a bad or good bid’a?” The answer is: Yes, it’s good bid’a. Remember that the prophet(alayhi salat wa salam) said:
“He who inaugurates a good sunna in Islam earns the reward of it and of all who perform it after him without diminishing their own rewards in the slightest. And he who introduces a bad sunna is guilty of the sin of it and of all who perform it after him without diminishing their own sins in the slightest.” (Sahih Muslim).
The Prophet(alayhi salat wa salam) praised his own birth in the following way:
`Irbad ibn Sariya and Abu Umama – Allah be well-pleased with both of them – said that the Prophet(may Allahs blessings and peace be upon him) said:
“I am the supplication of my father Ibrahim, and the good tidings of my brother `Isa. The NIGHT I WAS DELIVERED my mother saw a light that lit the castles of Damascus so that she could see them.”
It is narrated by al-Hakim (2:616-617), Ahmad in his Musnad, and al-Bayhaqi in Dala`il al-Nubuwwa (1:110, 2:8). Ibn al-Jawzi cites it in al-Wafa` (p. 91, ch. 21 of Bidayat Nabiyyina (may Allahs blessings and peace be upon him), and Ibn Kathir in his Mawlid Rasul Allah (may Allahs blessings and peace be upon him) and in his Tafsir (4:360). Al-Haythami (8:221) said al-Tabarani and Ahmad narrated it, the latter with a fair (hasan) chain. Also narrated by Ibn Hisham in Sirat Rasul Allah (Dar al-wifaq ed. 1/2:166) and al-Tabari in his History.
Concerning this light the sahabi al-`Abbas ibn `Abd al-Muttalib said in a poem:
“And then, WHEN YOU WERE BORN, a light rose over the earth until it illuminated the horizon with its radiance. We are in that illumination and that original light and those paths of guidance and thanks to them we pierce through.”
Ibn Sayyid al-Nas narrated it with his isnad through al-Tabarani and al-Bazzar in Minah al-Madh (p. 192-193), also Ibn Kathir in al-Sira al-Nabawiyya (ed. Mustafa `Abd al-Wahid 4:51), and `Ali al-Qari in his Sharh al-Shifa` (1:364) says it is narrated by Abu Bakr al-Shafi`i and al-Tabarani, and cited by Ibn `Abd al-Barr in al-Isti`ab and Ibn al-Qayyim in Zad al-Ma`ad. See also: Suyuti’s Husn al-maqasid p. 5 and in Ibn Kathir’s Mawlid p. 30 as well as Ibn Hajar’s Fath al-Bari, where the sahabi says: “When you were born, the earth was shining, and the firmament barely contained your light, and we can pierce through, thanks to that radiance and light and path of guidance.”
Abu Qatada al-Ansari narrates in Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-siyam, that the Prophet(may Allahs blessings and peace be upon him) was asked about the fast of Monday, and he answered: “That is the day that I was born and that is the day I received the prophecy.”
Mutawalli Sha`rawi said: “Many extraordinary events occurred on his birthday as evidenced in hadith and history, and the night of his birth is not like the night of any other human being’s birth.” These events and the hadiths pertaining thereto, such as the shaking of Chosroes’ court, the extinction of the 1,000-year old fire in Persia, etc. are related in Ibn Kathir’s work al-Bidaya, Vol. 2, pages 265-268.
Expressing happiness and celebrating the Prophet on his birthday causes even unbelievers, by Allah ’s favor and mercy, to gain some benefit. This is mentioned in sahih Bukhari. Bukhari said in his hadith that every Monday, Abu Lahab in his grave is released from punishment because he freed his handmaid Thuwayba when she brought him the news of the Prophet’s birth:
“when Abu Lahab died, someone from his household saw him in a dream, they asked him what happened in the grave he said ‘I am being punished severely, but on Mondays, I get water from my finger with which I am freed Thuwayba.’” (Sahih 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.)
Ibn Kathir writes that Abu Lahab freed Thuwayba on the day that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was born. (Ibn Kathir in his Sirat al-Nabee).
The hafiz Shamsuddin Muhammad ibn Nasiruddin al-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”?”
And even Ibn Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab writes:
“Thuwaiba, who was the freed slave of Abu Lahab fed Rasolallah Sallalalhu ‘alaihi wa sallam milk. Abu Lahab freed Suwaiba at the time when she informed him that a son has been born at your brother’s house. After the death of Abu Lahab he was seen in a dream, in which he said ‘I am in severe punishment but this is lessened on Mondays,’ he showed his forefinger, and said that he would suck from it. This is so because it was with this finger that I freed Suwaiba when she informed of the birth of the Prophet, and she also fed the Prophet Sallalalhu ‘alaihi wa sallam milk”. Ibn Jawzi states “Abu Lahab is that kaafir who has been specially referred to, in the Qur’an. If such a person can be rewarded for celebrating the Milaad of the Prophet Sallalalhu ‘alaihi wa Sallam, then imagine how great the reward would be for a Muslim when he celebrates it.” (Mukhtassar Sirat-ur-rasool, “Milaad-un-Nabi ”).
Now Let us take a look at what our great ‘ulama have said about the issue of bid’a and mawlid.
We should mention that there is ikhtilaf among the ‘ulama concerning the issue of mawlid and the understanding of bid’a. Some scholars said/say that mawlid is haram, and some did not accept the classification of bid’a into the good and the bad. But bellow is an account of those among the ‘ulama who allowed and/or encouraged the celebration of mawlid and agreed on the classification of bid’a into the good and the bad:
Harmala ibn Yahya said: “I heard ash-Shafi’i saying:
al-bid`atu bid`atan: bid`a mahmuda wa bid`a madhmuma, fa ma wafaqa al-sunna fa huwa mahmud, wa ma khalafa al-sunna fa huwa madhmum.
Innovation is of two kinds: the praiseworthy innovation and the blameworthy innovation. Whatever conforms to the Sunna is praiseworthy, and whatever contravenes the Sunna is blameworthy.
(al-hafiz Abu Nu`aym al-Asbahani cites it in Hilyat al-awliya (9:113); al-hafiz Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani also in Fath al-Bari (13:253); al-hafiz Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali also in Jami` al-`uloom wa al-hikam (p. 291); al-hafiz Abu Shama in al-Ba`ith `ala inkar al-bida` wa al- hawadith, ed. Mashhur Hasan Salman (Riyadh: Dar al- Raya, 1990/1410) p. 93; Cairo edition, p. 12. al-hafiz al-Turtushi al-Maliki, Kitab al-hawadith wa al- bida` (p. 158-159); He himself divided the bid`a into muharrama (forbidden), makruha (disliked), and wajiba (obligatory): p. 15. al-hafiz al-Suyuti alludes to it in the introduction to his fatwa on Mawlid entitled Husn al-maqsid fi `amal al-mawlid in al-Hawi li al-fatawi; al-hafiz Ibn Taymiyya, Dar’ ta`arud al-`aql wa al-naql, ed. Muhammad al-Sayyid Julaynid (Cairo: Mu’assasat al- ahram, 1409/1988) p. 171: “Bayhaqi narrated it in al- Madkhal with a sound chain”).
Al-Rabī` said, “Al-Shāfi`ī said to us:
al-muhdathatu min al-umuri darbani ahaduhuma ma uhditha yukhalifu kitaban aw sunnatan aw atharan aw ijma`an fa hadhihi al-bid`atu al-dalalat wa al-thaniyatu ma uhditha min al-khayri la khilafa fihi li wahidin min hadhihi wa hadhihi muhdathatun ghayru madhmuma.
Innovated matters are one of two kinds: one is an innovation which contravenes something in the Qur’an or the Sunna or a report from a Companion or the consensus of he scholars: this is the innovation of misguidance (bid`a dalala); the other kind is whatever good has been innovated which contravenes none of the above, and this is an innovation that is not blameworthy (muhdathatun ghayru madhmuma).
(Narrated from al-Rabī’ by al-Bayhaqī in his Madkhal and Manāqib al-Shāfi’ī (1:469) with a sound chain as stated by Ibn Taymiyya in his Dār’ Ta’ārud al-’Aql wa al-Naql (p. 171) and through al-Bayhaqī by Ibn ‘Asākir in Tabyīn Kadhib al-Muftarī (Kawtharī ed. p. 97). Cited by al-Dhahabī in the Siyar (8:408), Ibn Rajab in Jāmi’ al-’Ulūm wal-Hikam (p. 267 Zuhaylī ed. 2:52-53 Arna’ūt. ed. 2:131 sahīh), and Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bārī (1959 ed. 13:253).
Al-Hafiz Al-Nawawi said Concerning the hadith:
“Beware of matters newly begun, for every(“kull”) matter newly begun is innovation and every innovation is misguidance.”
What the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) meant when he said “EVERY” or “ALL” innovations, is that it is general but restricted, i.e. that most innovations are “EVIL” but not “ALL”. In “Tahdhib Al-Asma wal Lughat” Bid’ah is explained as follows:
“Bid’ah in Shari’ah is the invention of that which was not there in the period of the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), and it is divided into two categories HASANAH (or good) and QABIHAH (or evil)”.
Imam al-nawawi: Vol.6, p.21 in his “Commentary on Sahih Al-Bukhari”.
Imam Abu Shama (Imam Nawawi’s shaykh) in his book Al ba’ith ala Inkar Al bida` wal hawadith (pg.23) said:
“One of the best innovations in our time is what is being done every year on the Prophets birthday, such as giving charity, doing good deeds, displaying ornaments, and expressing joy, for that expresses the feelings of love and veneration for him in the hearts of those who are celebrating, and also, shows thankfulness to Allah for His bounty by sending His Messenger, the one who has been sent as a Mercy to the worlds.”
Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani who explained Sahih Al-Bukhari said:
“Every action which was not in practice at the Prophet’s (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) time is called or known as Innovation, however, there are those which are classified as ‘Good’ and there are those which are contrary to that”.
And: “Anything that did not exist during the Prophet’s time is called innovation, but some are good while others are not.”
al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani in his commentary of `Umar’s saying related by Bukhari about Salat al-Tarawih: “What a fine innovation this is” (ni`mat al-bid`a hadhih):
The root meaning of innovation is what is produced without precedent. It is applied in the law in opposition to the Sunna and is therefore blameworthy. Strictly speaking, if it is part of what is classified as commendable by the law then it is a good innovation (hasana), while if it is part of what is classified as blameworthy by the law then it is blameworthy (mustaqbaha), otherwise it falls in the category of what is permitted indifferently (mubah). It can be divided into the known five categories.”
And concerning mawlid he said:
Al Suyuti said[in his Alhawi lil-Fatawi]: “Someone asked Ibn Hajar about commemorating the Mawlid.
Ibn Hajar answered:
As for the origin of the practice of commemorating the Prophet’s birth(may Allahs blessings be upon him), it is an innovation ( bida’a ) that has not been conveyed to us from any of the pious early muslims of the first three centuries, despite which it has included both features that are praisweorthy and features that are not. If one takes care to include in such a commemoration only things that are praiseworthy and avoids those that are otherwise, it is a praiseworthy innovation, while if ones occured to me, namely the rigourously authenticated ( sahih ) hadith in the collections of Bukhari and Muslim that ‘ the Prophet(may Allahs blessings be upon him) came to Medina and found the Jews fasting on the tenth of Muharram ( ‘Ashura ‘ ), so he asked them about it and they replied ‘It is the day on which Allah drowned Pharaoh and rescued Moses, so we fast in it to thanks to Allah Most high’,which indicates the validity of giving thanks to Allah for the blessings He has bestowed on a particular day in providing a benefit, or averting an affliction, repeating one’s thanks on the anniversary of that day every year, giving thanks to Allah taking any various forms of worship such as prostration, fasting, giving charity or reciting the Koran.”
Al Suyuti then further writes, “Then what blessing is greater than the birth of the Prophet(may Allahs blessings be upon him) , the Prophet of Mercy, on this day?”
al Hawi li al fatawi al fiqh was ulum al tafsir was al hadith wa al usul wa al nahw wa al i wa sa’ir al funun. 2 vols. 1352/1933 – 34 Reprint Beirut : Dar al Kutub al Ilmiyya, 1403/1983. Quoted in The Reliance of the Traveller (Ahmad ibn Naqib al Misri) page w58.0 –> w59.0.
Imam Suyuti in his book Husn al-maqsid fi `amal al-mawlid, p. 54 and 62, says:
“The reason for gathering for tarawih prayers is Sunna and qurba (to seek nearness to Allah )… and similarly we say that the reason for gathering to celebrate mawlid is mandub (recommended) and qurba (an act of drawing near).. and the intention to celebrate mawlid is mustahsana (excellent) without a doubt.”……”I have derived the permissibility of Mawlid from another source of the Sunna [besides Ibn Hajar's deduction from the hadith of `Ashura'], namely, the hadith found in Bayhaqi, narrated by Anas, that “The Prophet slaughtered an `aqiqa [sacrifice for newborns] for himself after he received the prophecy,” although it has been mentioned that his grandfather `Abd al-Muttalib did that on the seventh day after he was born, and the `aqiqa cannot be repeated. Thus the reason for the Prophet’s action is to give thanks to Allah for sending him as a mercy to the worlds, and to give honor to his Umma, in the same way that he used to pray on himself. It is recommended for us, therefore, that we also show thanks for his birth by meeting with our brothers, by feeding people, and other such good works and rejoicing.” (Husn al-maqsid fi `amal al-mawlid 64-65).
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(may Allahs blessings and peace be upon him) 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 Quran, narrating stories about the Prophet’s birth(may Allahs blessings and peace be upon him) and 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(may Allahs blessings and peace be upon him) and expressing joy for his honorable birth.”
Imam Ibn Kathir has said in “Al-Bi’dayah” Vol.13, p. 136 :
“Sultan Muzaffar used to arrange the celebration of the Meelad Shareef with honour, glory, dignity and grandeur. In this connection he used to organise a magnificent festival”. Then ibn kathir said in praise of that man: “He was a pure-hearted, brave and wise Aalim (Scholar) and a just ruler, may Allah shower His Mercy upon him and grant him an exalted status.”
Imam Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani, in his book al-Durar al-kamina fi `ayn al-Mi’at al-thamina, mentions that Ibn Kathir “in the last days of his life wrote a book entitled Mawlid Rasul Allah which was spread far and wide. That book mentioned the permissibility and recommendability of celebrating the Mawlid.”
Ibn Kathir also said: “The Night of the Prophet’s birth is a magnificient, noble, blessed and holy night, a night of bliss for the believers, pure, radiant with lights, and of immeasurable price.” (Ibn Kathir, Mawlid Rasul Allah , ed. Salah al-Din Munajjad (Beirut: dar al-kitab al-jadid, 1961)).
Hafiz al-Dhahabi writes in his Siyar a`lam al-nubala’:
“He [Muzaffar] loved charity (sadaqa)… and built four hospices for the poor and sick… and one house for women, one for orphans, one for the homeless, and he himself used to visit the sick… He built a madrasa for the Shafi`is and the Hanafis… He would forbid any reprehensible matter entry into his country… As for his celebration of the Noble Mawlid al-Nabawi, words are too poor to describe it. The people used to come all the way from Iraq and Algeria to attend it. Two wooden dais would be erected and decorated for him and his wife… the celebration would last several days, and a huge quantity of cows and camels would be brought out to be sacrificed and cooked in different ways… Preachers would roam the field exhorting the people. Great sums were spent (as charity). Ibn Dihya compiled a “Book of Mawlid” for him for which he received 1,000 dinars. He [Muzaffar] was modest, a lover of good, and a true Sunni who loved scholars of jurisprudence and scholars of hadith, and was generous even to poets. He was killed in battle according to what is reported.”
(al-Dhahabi, Siyar a`lam al-nubala’, ed. Shu`ayb Arna’ut (Beirut: Mu’assasat al-Risalah, 1981) 22:335-336.)
Al `Izz bin Abdussalam said, at the end of his book Al Qawa’id :
“Innovation is divided into obligatory, forbidden, recommended, disagreeable and permissible, and the way to know which is which is to match it against the religious law.”
“Bid’a in terms of the Law is everything innovated in contravention of the Lawgiver’s command and the latter’s specific and general proof.” (Al-Haytamī, al-Tabyīn fī Sharh al-Arba’īn (p. 32).
Imam Shawkani in his book al-Badr at-tali`, said:
“It is permissible to celebrate the Prophet’s birthday.” He mentioned that Mullah `Ali Qari held the same opinion in a book entitled al-Mawrid ar-Rawi fi al-Mawlid al-Nabawi, written specifically to support the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday.”
He also said: “The Mawlid was begun three centuries after the Prophet(may Allahs blessings and peace be upon him), and all Muslim nations celebrated it, and all `ulama accepted it, by worshipping Allah alone, by giving donations and by reading the Prophet’s Sira.”
Al-Shawkānī concluded in Nayl al-Awtār that the foundational division of innovations into “good” and “bad” is the soundest and most correct position. ( Al-Shawkānī, Nayl al-Awtār (4:60).
Ibn al-Jawzi wrote a booklet of poems and sira to be read at mawlid celebrations. It is entitled Mawlid al-`arus and begins with the words:
al-hamdu lillah al-ladhi abraza min ghurrati `arusi al-hadrati subhan mustanira (“Praise be to Allah Who has manifested from the radiance of the bridegroom of His presence a lightgiving daybreak..”).
Imam Subki said:
“When we were celebrating the Prophet’s birthday, a great uns (familiarity) comes to our hearts, and we feel something special.”
Husn al-maqsid fi amal al-mawlid(“Excellence of purpose in celebrating mawlid”) is one of his books.
Imam Qadi abu bakr Ibn al-’Arabi:
“Only the bid’a that contradicts the Sunna is blameworthy.” (Ibn al-`Arabī, ‘Āridat al-Ahwadhī (10:147).
He said in his discussion of bid’ah:
Know – May Allāh grant you knowledge! – that innovated matters are two kinds ( al-muhdathātu darbān).
1.) An innovated matter that has no basis other than lust and arbitrary practice. Such is categorically invalid. And
2.) An innovated matter understood to correspond to something [established].
Such is the Sunna of the Caliphs and that of the eminent Imāms. Innovated matters and innovations are not blameworthy merely for being called muhdath and bid’a nor because of their meaning! Allāh Most High has said, ( Never comes there unto them a new ( muhdath) reminder from their Lord ) [21:2] and ‘Umar said: “What a fine bid’ah this is!” Rather, only the bid’a that contradicts the Sunna is blameworthy and only the innovated matters that invite to misguidance are blameworthy.” (Ibn al-`Arabī, ‘Āridat al-Ahwadhī (10:146-147).
Imam Ibn al Jawzi
Ibn al-Jawzī speaks in similar terms in the beginning of his Talbīs Iblīs:
“Certain innovated matters ( muhdathāt) have taken place which do not oppose the Sacred Law nor contradict it, so they [the Salaf] saw no harm in practicing them, such as the convening of the people by ‘Umar for the night prayer in Ramadān, after which he saw them and said: ‘What a fine bid’ah this is!’”
Imam Ibn al Jawzi also said about Mawlid: “It is security throughout the year, and glad tidings that all wishes and desires will be fulfilled.”
Ibn Hazm al-Zāhirī said:
Bid’a in the Religion is everything that did not come to us in the Qur’ān nor from the Messenger of Allāh(may Allahs blessing and peace be upon him), except that one is rewarded for some of it and those who do this are excused if they have good intentions. Of it is the rewardable and excellent ( hasan), namely, what is originally permitted ( mā kāna asluhu al-ibāha) as was narrated from ‘Umar : “What a fine bid’ah this is!” Such refers to all good deeds which the texts stipulated in general terms of desirability even if its practice was not fixed in the text. And of it is the blameworthy for which there is no excuse such as what has proofs against its invalidity. (Ibn Hazm, al-Ihkām fī Usūl al-Ahkām (1:47).
Ibn Taymiyya’s opinion about Mawlid from: “the Collected Fatwas,” (“Majma’ Fatawi Ibn Taymiyya,”) Vol. 23, p. 163:
”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(may Allahs blessings be upon him) 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(may Allahs blessings be upon him).”
Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyyah, the best and most reknowned student of Ibn Taymiyya, writes, on page 498 of “Madarij as-Salikin,”
”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).”
Hujjat al-Islām al-Ghazzālī said in his discussion of the adding of dots to the Qur’anic script:
The fact that this is innovated ( muhdath) forms no impediment to this. How many innovated matters are excellent! As it was said concerning the establishing of congregations in Tarāwīh. That it was among the innovations of `Umar and that it was an excellent innovation ( bid’a hasana). The blameworthy bid’a is only what opposes the ancient Sunna or might lead to changing it. (Al-Ghazzālī, Ihyā’ ‘Ulūm al-Dīn (1:276).
Imam Mohammed bin Abu Bakr Abdullah al Qaisi al Dimashqi
He wrote Jami` al athar fi mawlid, Al nabiy al mukhtar, Al lafz al ra’iq fi mawlid khayr al khala’iq, and Mawlid al sa`ada fi mawlid al hadi.
Imam Al `Iraqi
He wrote Al Mawlid al heni fi al mawlid al sani.
Mulla `Ali Al Qari
He wrote Al mawlid al rawi fil mawlid al nabawi.
Imam Ibn Dahiya
He wrote Al Tanweer fi mawlid al basheer al nadheer.
Imam Shamsu Din bin Nasir al Dimashqi
He wrote Mawlid al sa`ada fi mawlid al hadi. He is the one who said about the Prophet’s(alayhi salat wa salam) estranged uncle, Abu Lahab, “This unbeliever who has been disparaged, ‘perish his hands’, will stay in Hell forever. Yet, every Monday his torment is being reduced because of his joy at the birth of the Prophet r. How much mercy can a servant expect who spends all his life joyous about the Prophet (alayhi salat wa salam) and dies believing in the Oneness of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala)?”
Imam Shamsu Din Ibn Al Jazri
He wrote Al nashr fil qira’at al `ashr, `urf al ta’reef bil mawlid al shareef.
Imam Abu Shama
Imam Abu Shama (Imam Nawawi’s shaykh) in his book al ba’ith ala Inkar al bida` wal hawadith (pg.23) said,
“One of the best innovations in our time is what is being done every year on the Prophet’s(alayhi salat wa salam) birthday, such as giving charity, doing good deeds, displaying ornaments, and expressing joy, for that expresses the feelings of love and veneration for him in the hearts of those who are celebrating, and also, shows thankfulness to Allah (swt) for His bounty by sending His Messenger(alayhi salat wa salam), the one who has been sent as a Mercy to the worlds.”
Imam al Shihab al Qastalani
Al Qastalani (al Bukhari’s commentator) in his book Al mawahib al ladunniya (1-148) said,
“May Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) have mercy on the one who turns the nights of the month of the Prophet’s (s) birth into festivities in order to decrease the suffering of those whose hearts are filled with disease and sickness.”
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?”
Other scholars from the madhahib on the division in Bid’ah and permissibility of celebrating mawlid and their works
Among the Hanafīs on the fivefold Classification, those who accepted this division: al-Kirmānī, Ibn ‘ābidīn, al-Turkmānī, al-’Aynī, and al-Tahānawī. ( Al-Kirmānī, al-Kawākib al-Darārī Sharh Sahīh al-Bukhārī (9:54), Ibn ‘Ābidīn, Hāshiya (1:376, 1:560); al-Turkmānī, al-Luma’ fīl-Hawādith wal-Bida’ (Stuttgart, 1986, 1:37); al-Tahānawī, Kashshāf Istilāhat al-Funūn (Beirut, 1966, 1:133-135); al-`Aynī, ‘Umdat al-Qārī in al-Himyarī, al-bid’aht al-Hasana (p. 152-153).
Imam Qutb al-Din al-Hanafi, al-I`lam bi a`lam bayt Allah al-haram
Imam Muhammad ibn Jar Allah ibn Zahira, al-Jami` al-latif
`Abd al-Haqq Muhaddith Dihlawi, Ma thabata min al-sunna
Shah `Abd al-Rahim Dihlawi, al-Durr al-thamin
Shah Wali Allah Dihlawi, Fuyud al-haramayn
Mufti `Inayat Allah Kakurawi, Tarikh Habib Allah
Mufti Muhammad Mazhar Allah Dihlawi, Fatawa mazhari
Mulla `Ali al-Qari, al-Mawrid al-rawi fi Mawlid al-Nabi .
Haji Imdad Allah Muhajir Makki, Shama’im imdadiyya
Muhaddith `Abd al-Hayy al-Lucknawi, Fatawa `Abd al-Hayy
Among the Hanafīs on the fivefold Classification, those who accepted this division: al-Turtūshī, Ibn al-Hājj, al-Qarāfī, and al-Zurqānī, while al-Shātibī attempts a refutation and claims that the fivefold classification is “an invented matter without proof in the Law”. ( Al-Turtūshī, Kitāb al-Hawādith wa al-Bida’ (p. 15, p. 158-159); Ibn al-Hajj, Madkhal al-Shar’ al-Sharīf (Cairo, 1336/1918 2:115); al-Qarāfī, al-Furūq (4:219) cf. al-Shātibī, al-I’tisām (1:188-191); al-Zurqānī, Sharh al-Muwatta’ (1:238). Al-Shātibī’s I’tisām was recirculated by two Wahhābīs: Rashīd Ridā then Salīm Hilālī. A third Wahhābī, Muhammad ‘Abd al-Salām Khadir al-Shuqayrī – Ridā’s student – authored al-Sunan wal-Mubtada’āt al-Muta’alliqa bil-Adhkār wal-Salawāt which he filled with unverifiable tales which he proceeds to denounce with much ado).
Hafiz Ibn Dihya al-Kalbi, al-Tanwir fi mawlid al-bashir al-nadhir
Imam al-Turtushi, Kitab al-hawadith wa al-bida` (indirectly)
Imam al-Faqih Abu al-Tayyib Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Sabti (d. 695), as quoted by al-Adfawi in Suyuti’s Husn al-maqsid Abu `Abd Allah Sayyidi Muhammad ibn `Abbad al-Nafzi, al-Rasa’il al-kubra
Shaykh Jalal al-Din al-Kattani, Rawdat al-Jannat fi Mawlid khatim al-risalat, also quoted in Sakhawi’s Subul al-huda
Shaykh Nasir al-Din ibn al-Tabbakh, quoted in Sakhawi’s Subul al-huda
Shaykh Muhammad ibn `Alawi al-Makki, al-Ihtifal bi dhikra al-mawlid
Among the Hanafīs on the fivefold Classification: Consensus among the Shāfi’īs. ( Abū Shāma, al-Bā’ith ‘alā Inkār al-Bida’ wa al-Hawādith (Riyad: Dār al-Raya, 1990 p. 93, Cairo ed. p. 12-13) as well as those already mentioned. Note: “consensus” ( ijmā’) is more inclusive than “agreement” ( ittifāq), and binding.)
Hafiz Abu Shama, al-Ba`ith `ala inkar al-bida` wa al-hawadith
Hafiz Shams al-Din al-Jazari, `Urf al-ta`rif bi al-mawlid ash-Sharif.
Hafiz Shams al-Din ibn Nasir al-Din al-Dimashqi, al-Mawrid al-sadi fi mawlid al-hadi; Jami` al-athar fi mawlid al-Nabi al-mukhtar; al-lafz al-ra’iq fi mawlid khayr al-khala’iq
Hafiz Zayn al-Din al-`Iraqi, al-Mawrid al-hani fi al-mawlid al-sani
Hafiz al-Dhahabi, Siyar a`lam al-nubala’ (indirectly)
Hafiz Ibn Kathir, Kitab Mawlid an-Nabi , and al-Bidaya p. 272-273.
Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani, as quoted by Suyuti in al-Hawi.
Qastallani, al-Mawahib al-laduniyya
Hafiz al-Sakhawi, Subul al-huda, also quoted in Qari, al-Mawrid al-rawi
Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, Fatawa hadithiyya; al-Ni`mat al-kubra `ala al-`alam fi mawlid sayyid waladi Adam; Tahrir al-kalam fi al-qiyam `inda dhikr mawlid sayyid al-anam; Tuhfat al-akhyar fi mawlid al-mukhtar
Hafiz Wajih al-Din `Abd al-Rahman al-Zabidi al-Dayba` (d. 944), Kitab al-mawlid.
Zahir al-Din Ja`far al-Misri, quoted in Sakhawi’s Subul al-huda
Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Salihi ash-Shami, quoted in Sakhawi’s Subul al-huda
Kamal al-Din al-Adfawi, al-Tali` al-sa`id
Hafiz al-Suyuti, Husn al-Maqsid fi `amal al-Mawlid in his al-Hawi li al-fatawi al-Zarqani, Sharh al-mawahib
Abu Zur`a al-`Iraqi, as quoted in Muhammad ibn Siddiq al-Ghumari’s Tashnif al-adhan.
Among the hanbalis on the fivefold Classification: Reluctant acceptance among later Hanbalīs, who altered Al-Shāfi’ī and Ibn ‘Abd al-Salām’s terminology to read “lexical innovation” ( bid’a lughawiyya) and “legal innovation” ( bid’a shar’iyya), respectively – although inaccurately – matching al-Shāfi`ī’s “approved” and “abominable. ( Ibn Rajab, al-Jāmi’ fīl-’Ulūm wal-Hikam (2:50-53), and Ibn Taymiyya’s section on bid’ah in his Iqtidā’ al-Sirāt al-Mustaqīm Mukhālafat Ashāb al-Jahīm. This is also the position of Ibn Kathīr: see his commentary of the verse: ( The Originator of the heavens and the earth! ) [2:117] in his Tafsīr. He followed in this his teacher Ibn Taymiyya).
The history of mawlid in brief
In his book Akhbar Makka, Vol. 2, p. 160, the 3rd-century historian of Mecca, al-Azraqi, mentions as one of the many places in Mecca in which the performance of sala is desirable (mustahabb), the house where the Prophet was born (Mawlid al-Nabi ). According to him, the house had previously been turned into a mosque by the mother of the caliphs Musa al-Hadi and Harun ar-Rashid.
The Qur’anic scholar al-Naqqash (266-351) mentions the birthplace of the Prophet as a place where du`a by noon on Mondays is answered. He is quoted in al-Fasi’s Shifa’ al-gharam Vol. 1, p. 199, and others.
Some early mentions of the celebration of mawlid:
The oldest source that mentions a public commemoration of the Mawlid is in Ibn Jubayr’s (540-614) Rihal (“Travels”), p. 114-115:
“This blessed place [the house of the Prophet] is opened, and all men enter it to derive blessing from it (mutabarrikin bihi), on every Monday of the month of Rabi` al-Awwal; for on that day and in that month was born the Prophet.”
From the 7th-century
The 7th-century historians Abul `Abbas al-`Azafi and his son Abul Qasim al-`Azafi wrote in their unpublished Kitab ad-durr al-munazzam:
“Pious pilgrims and prominent travellers 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.”
From the 7th-century, the account of ibn Battuta
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.
From the 10th- century
The following description consolidates eyewitness accounts by three 10th-century authorities: the historian Ibn huhayra from his al-Jami` al-latif fi fasl Makka wa ahliha, p. 326; the hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Haytami from his Kitab al-Mawlid ash-Sharif al-Mu`azzam, and the historian al-Nahrawali from al-I`lam bi-a`lam Bayt Allah al-haram, p. 205.
Each year on the 12th of Rabi` al-Awwal, after the salat al-Maghrib, the four qadis of Mecca (representing the Four Schools) and large groups of people including the fuqaha’ (scholars) and fudala’ (notables) of Mecca, shaykhs, zawiya teachers and their students, ru’asa’ (magistrates), and muta`ammamin (scholars) leave the mosque and set out collectively for a visit to the birthplace of the Prophet, shouting out dhikr and tahlil (LA ILAHA ILLALLAH). The houses on the route are illuminated with numerous lanterns and large candles, and a great many people are out and about. They all wear special clothes and they take their children with them. Having reachethe birthplace, inside a special sermon for the occasion of the birthday of the Prophet is delivered, mentioning the miracles (karamat) that took place on that occasion. Hereafter the du`a’ for the Sultan (i.e. the Caliph), the Emir of Mecca, and the Shafi`i qadi is performed and all pray humbly. Shortly before the salat al-`Isha’, the whole party returns from the birthplace of the Prophet to the Great Mosque, which is almost overcrowded, and all sit down in rows at the foot of the Maqam Ibrahim. In the mosque, a preacher first mentions the tahmid (AL HAMDULILLAH) and the tahlil, and once again the du`a’ for the Sultan, the Emir, and the Shafi`i qadi is performed. After this the call for the Salat al-`Isha’ is made. After the salat, the crowd breaks up. A similar description is given by al-Diyarbakri (d. 960) in his Ta’rikh al-Khamis.
Peace and blessing of Allah be upon the best of creation Muhammad. Peace and blessings be upon the ahl bait and the sahabah. Peace and blessings be upon the awliya’. Peace and blessings be upon the scholars of haq.