Celebrating The Birthday “Maulud” Of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): A Rejoinder By Muhammad Kabir
I wish to inform you Muhammad malumfashi that your write up on celebrating the Maulud of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was a must read, particularly when the topic was on the best of mankind (s.a.w), I must confess I love your analyses because they were laced with some hadiths and Quran verses.
However, I must also let you know that I regrettably find it less exciting because you concentrated only on one reason why we celebrate maulud. I am very sure you have heard other reasons why we celebrate maulud but, the reason why you ignored those other proofs are still unknown to me.
At this point I would begin to pick you up on the specific aspects of your write up. You quoted some hadiths in order to prove your point that all bidah (innovations) are misguidance, but sayiduna Umar RA who knows the deen more than we do, he understands the hadith by thirmdhi and nana Aisha more than we do, disagrees with you, the proof of this is his statement about the congregational supererogatory night prayers in the month of Ramadan “What a fine innovation this is” Ibn H.ajar in Fath. alBârî (1959 ed. 13:253). From the statement we learnt the hadith is not general but rather specific as classical scholars have explained, such terminology is used in Shariah many times, for example Quran states: Kullu man alaiha faan,wa yabka wajhu rabbika… if we translate the verse literally it means everything will perish except Allah’s “face”, what about yadullahi “Allah’s hands” will they also perish? Naudhobillah. Most great scholars of Islam share this same view of Umar Ra and they include: Imam Al shafi’I, ibn Hajar in Fath. al-Bârî (1959 ed. 5:156-157=1989 ed. 4:318), An-nawawi in Tahdhîb al-Asmâ’ wal-Lughât (3:20-22)Al bayhaqi in Manâqib al-Shâfi`î (1:469) Al-Shawkânî, Nayl al-Awt.âr (4:60).
On the issue of something not practiced by Sahaba and Tabiyeen, most scholars agree that anything that does not contradict the principles of Shariah has always been allowed, for example the knowledge of Jirah wa Tadil in hadith, the knowledge of Asma ul Rijaal etc. The point is that their Asal (concept/origin) is found in Shariah. I challenge you to give me proofs from Quran and sunnah on tafrisul Ramadan (how we do it is the way the sahabas did theirs), musabaqah, writing of books of hadith, because the prophet said laa taktubu anni… (Don’t write my words…), the practice in Ramadan in the two holy mosques, whereby the imam leads in supplication in the last raka’ah and the congregation answers amin, were all this done by the prophet and sahabas the way we do it now?
I am glad in your write up you acknowledged the fact that all Muslims should be happy on the day of maulud, so I need not present hadiths on why we should be happy, but on the issue of doing something special on that day I have these hadiths for you:
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 punishment due to freeing Thawaiba by pointing with his finger, so Imagine the situation of a beliver who rejoices on Maulud.
As-Suyuti said, “… another primary text has occurred to me by whom the legitimacy of the Maulud can be derived, namely what is reported by al-Bayhaqi from ‘Anas that ‘The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam performed aqiqah for himself after his Prophet Hood.’ And it occurs that his grandfather ‘Abdul-Muttalib performed the aqiqah for him when he was a child of seven years, and the aqiqah is not repeated a second time. So therefore this is to be taken to mean that what the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did was to openly manifest gratitude for Allah making him the mercy for the universe and to legislate this for his ‘Ummah, just as he used to do by his sending salam upon himself. Therefore it is recommended for us that we openly manifest gratitude for his birth.” [Husn ul-Maqsad of as-Suyuti contained in his Hawilil-Fatawa].
A lot of Islamic scholars are of the view that celebration of maulud is permissible in islam and they include: Imam Shahab-ud-din Abul Abbas al-Qastallani, Imam Jalal ud din Suyuti, Sheikh ul Islam and hadith Master of his age, Ibn Hajr Asqalani, Sheikh ul Islam Imam Ibn Hajr al Haytami e.t.c The scholars that object to the permissibility of celebrating maulud are few, and even their leader Sheikh Ibn Taymiyyah has a different opinion from theirs because he wrote In his book “Necessity of the Right Path” ( iqtida”u sirratil mustaqim..), p. 266, 5th line from the bottom of that page, published by Dar AlHadith, the following: “As for what people do during the Maulud, either as a rival celebration to that which the Christian do during the time of Christ’s birthday or as an expression of their love and admiration and a sign of praise for the Noble Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), Allah will surely reward them for such Ij’tiha”. He then said: “Although Maulud was not practiced by (Salaf), they should have done so since there was no objection against it from the Shari’ah point of view”
Lastly I agree with you that our maulud celebrations are not devoid of evil practices, but even the annual Hajj we go to in Saudi Arabia is not devoid of evils, therefore I believe it’s better we advocate for maulud celebrations devoid of evil activities than advocating for not celebrating the maulud. I have a final question for you mallam Muhammad if we stop calling it maulud and maybe call it “lecture” and the program of events include reading the sira of the prophet, reciting his madh, felicitating with each other and giving out alms to the needy on that special day, is it still an innovation? Because I know we all engage in a lot of Islamic lectures which neither the prophet nor the sahabas engaged in.
MUHAMMAD ISAH KABIR. I can be reached on twitter @ibn_kabeer