Monday, 9 March 2009

A day celebrating Mawlid or a lifetime of following the Sunnah...?

Assalamu Alaikum WaRahmatullah

It's the Islamic month of Rabi'ul Awwal, the month in which the Best of mankind Muhammad peace be upon him was born.
Some people believe this is a day of celebration and go to great lengths making this day into a celebration..
However, does it really make sense if you religiously attend a 'mawlid gathering' yet regularly miss jummah salah with congregation, hesistate in keeping a beard or donning the hijab,hesitating on following the sunnah in daily life? Does it make sense to march out, to sway to songs deemed Islamic, to express fervour and love for the Prophet Muhammad when in daily life there is no willingness to follow even the sunnah of washing one's hands before sitting down to eat?

Quoting from Mufti Ebrahim Desai 1. The life of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم is an integral path of our Deen. Love for Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم is a means of the perfection of our Deen. Therefore to discuss the life of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم and educate ourselves on that can never be bidah.

However, if one regards celebrating the birth of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم or regard discussing the different aspects of the life of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم on particular days of a year to be compulsory, that is indeed bidah.

2. Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم also used to keep Nafl fast on Thursdays as well and on the 13th, 14th and 15th of the lunar month, irrespective of which days of the week that was. Fasting on Thursday and other days of the week were certainly not due to him celebrating his birthday. Monday was also the day Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم passed away. Should we celebrate the birth of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم each Monday and also mourn his death each Monday?

F
urthermore,
Q.) I was brought up in a Barelwi tradition. Since I have begun seeking knowledge from the wider Muslim (i.e. not just Barelwis, but excluding Shia’s and similar groups, though including Wahhabis and Salafis) community, I can say that I have gained much. I now understand more and more of what the common ground is between groups and focus less on the disagreements. I think this kind of tolerance comes with knowledge. Just as your article, "Humility in Knowledge and Arrogance in Ignorance" would say.

I can say that I have changed certain beliefs that I had before my "quest for knowledge." I have benefited enormously from Deoband educated imams here - as a very famous Middle Eastern Sheikh said "Deobandis know their fiqh."

There is one issue though that remains an anomaly and that really leaves me wondering. That is concerning the Maulid (or as they would say in the Indian subcontinent, Milad). Granted, there are some things that Barelwis may do which are curious, but from all that I have seen around the world the Maulid seems to be an accepted practice among Sunni Muslims. Scholars like Jalaluddin Suyuti, Ibn Hajar Asqalani and even Ibn Taimiya described it as a praiseworthy innovation.

From the Ottoman Turks, to the pre-Salafi Arabs, the Malay Archipelago, the Persian and Indo-Pak region, the Maulid was not controversial or questionable in any way. The Sudanese uprising against the colonial forces was fueled by the emotion of the Maulid (verhandelingen). This is why the colonial forces tried to quell the celebration of Maulid in order to subdue the masses.

Today the Turks (Hanafi) still celebrate it with fervor, the Malay (Shafi’i), the Bosnians (Hanafi), some (non-Salafi) Arabs, the Barelwis, the Sudanese. In fact, the only people who don’t celebrate it seem to be the Salafis, Deobandis and the Tabligh Jamaat (the Shariah base of which is of course the books and texts of the Deobandi school).

This is curious. If imams like as-Suyuti have permitted it (if it is free of blameworthiness), was he in error? Was Asqalani in error? The establishment of a day to celebrate the Maulid is completely regarded as bid'ah by Mufti Usmani, praiseworthy or blameworthy acts aside.

A.) As I explained in my article on celebration of Eid-e-Milaad-un-Nabi, holding a meeting to discuss different aspects of the life of the Holy Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam is a very meritorious act for which the Muslims should strive to the best of their ability. But confining this discussion to the events of the birth of the Holy Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam and restricting it to a particular date and holding attendance at such meetings as necessary or obligatory for every Muslim renders this practice as bid'ah or innovation. Mostly the meetings of Maulid today are of this type. Therefore, contemporary Ulema of Deoband have declared it a bid'ah.

If the life of the Holy Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam is made subject of a meeting, and the meeting is free of the above mentioned defects, nobody can call it a bid'ah. It is in this context that some scholars of the past have allowed the practice.

Answer by: Justice Mufti Taqi Usmani

A Discussion of Milad and Bid'ah

[Note: Although the question does not address the issue of Milad from a fiqh point of view, but only from a historical point of view, yet it is also important to examine the issue in that context. For the most important question for a Muslim has to be whether or not a particular act is permissible according to the Shariah, which is derived from Qur'an, Sunnah, and the practice of the Sahabah, as they understood the Sunnah. The following provides that perspective.]

The establishment of ceremonial gatherings under the banner of "Eid-Milad-un-Nabee" and attaching religious significance to them is purely bid'ah and an innovation in Deen, because neither did Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam himself indulge in it, nor did the illustrious Khulafaa-e-Raashideen, Radi-Allahu anhum, organize such functions. Similarly, neither did any of the other Sahaaba-e-Kiraam, Radi-Allahu anhum, participate in such gatherings, nor is there any incident on record during the blessed era of the taabi’een or tab’e taabi’een (Rahmat-u-Allahi alayhim) that can, in any way, substantiate this innovation. These people were best acquainted with the Sunnah of Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam and had total love for him. They were staunch followers of the Shariah.

Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam has in no unclear terms, said: "Whoever introduces anything that is not part of Deen, into this Deen of ours, it shall be rejected." (Bukhari/Muslim)

In another Hadith he says: "Hold fast onto my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly-guided Khulafa, after me. Hold fast onto it firmly, and beware of newly-introduced practices, for every new practice is an innovation and every innovation leads one astray." (Abu Dawood/Tirmizi)

Severe warnings have been sounded in the above-mentioned Ahadith with regard to introducing and implementing innovations in Deen. The holy Qur’an enjoins: "And whatsoever the messenger giveth you, take it. And whatsoever he forbiddeth, abstain (from it). And keep your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is stern in reprisal." [Al-Hashr 59:7]

"Verily in the messenger of Allah, ye have a good example for him who looks unto Allah and the last day, and remembers Allah much." [Al-Ahzab 33:21]

"This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed my favor unto you, and have chosen for you a religion, al-Islam." [Al-Maidah 5:3]

There are numerous other Ayat and Ahadith that can be quoted. But from no Ayat or Ahadith can the current form of "Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabee Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam" be proved.

Will such innovations grant proximity to Allah Taala? On the contrary, these innovations should be a cause of great concern and alarm for the Ummat-e-Muslimah!

It is a known fact that Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam is the most superior of all the Ambiyaa alaihimus-salaam and also that he is the seal of all the prophets alayhimus-salaam. He left no stone unturned in conveying Deen to us and rendering precious advice to us. If the "Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabee Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam" was a divinely inspired act, then surely Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam would have commanded the Muslims to it, or at least, either he or his beloved Sahabah, Radi-Allahu anhum, would have practiced it.

That is why, in the light of these unambiguous proofs, the Ulama-e-Haqq have always refuted and rejected the customary form of "Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabee Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam" and Mahfeel-e-Milad and have also always discouraged people from participating in such gatherings.

Some Wrongs of the Contemporary Milad Gatherings

The contemporary form of Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabee Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam apart from being a manifestation of Bid’ah, also encompasses other evils such as the intermingling of sexes, usage of musical instruments and many other such evils. The most abhorring and shocking evils in these functions are the acts of shirk that take place. With hollow claims of "Hubbe-Rasul Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam" (love for Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam) entreaties and supplications are made to beings other than Allah, namely to Ambiyaa alaihimus-salaam and Auliaa-e-Kiraam Rahmat-u-Allahi-alaaihim.

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 of Yawmul-Qiyaamah, or the Day of Judgement.

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.

The Importance of Durood and Salaam

Instead of squandering our money and time on futile acts of Bid'ah let us rather utilize our precious time, as much as possible in the recitation of Durood and salaam upon our beloved Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam which is indeed, a highly meritorious and virtuous act. The Qur’an enjoins: - "Lo! Allah and his Angels shower blessings on the Nabee 'O' ye who believe ask for the descent of blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation." [Al-Ahzab 33:56]

Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam has said: "Whosoever sends one Durood upon me, Allah Taala will shower ten mercies upon him." (Muslim). Particularly on Jumuah, one should increase the recitation of Durood and salaam.

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

'celebrating' the Prophet's (peace be upon him) is a clear bid'ah. (AskImam.com)

May Allah save us from committing Bid'ah Ameen.

Wa'alaikum salam WaRahmatullah

2 comments:

historyofandalus said...

As salaamu 'aleykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu

Forgive me for a comment not related to the post. There is an excellent new blog dedicated to a book called: *An Incomplete History: The Muslims of Spain Post 1492 in a Global Context and its Relevance to Muslims Today*

http://historyofandalus.wordpress.com/

The situation of the Muslims living in the West today poses a striking similarity to the situation of the Muslims in Al- Andalus post 1492 (when the last Muslim ruler surrendered the last Muslim stronghold of Granada to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella). This marked the official end to Islamic rule in Al- Andalus. However, this did not mean all the Muslims left Al Andalus in one go.

Muslims lived in Andalus for at least two hundred years after the fall (1492). Their lives were not easy. In many cases they were forced to give up their identities, could not practice Islam in public, they were not allowed to speak Arabic (and therefore could not pray in congregation) or even give their children Muslim names! So what began as tolerance for the practice of Islam in Al- Andalus and allowing for their affairs to be judged under Shari’ah courts (Capitulations of Granada) slowly but surely led to the persecution of the Muslims of Al-Andalus until no trace of Muslims in Andalus were to be found.

Muslima20 said...

wa'alaikum as salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu

no problem. i am actually very interested in the history of Al-Andalus, and will be adding the blog link to my links to my links inshallah if that is ok.

jazakallah khairan for the link!

w/s