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Mawlid celebration

Shortened Question:

If Ibn Hajar Asqalani (among others) approved off the mawlid celebration, how can anyone in later times say it is impermissible? Was Ibn Hajar simply wrong?

Question:

Your position of impermissibility of the mawlid celebration is clear, so I am not asking if it is permissible or not, rather my question is one of methodology.

The question is:

If Ibn Hajar Asqalani (among others) approved off the mawlid celebration, how can anyone in later times say it is impermissible? Was Ibn Hajar simply wrong?

I have seen many mawlid celebrations in Syria and Jordan which have in them nothing reprehensible at all. No excess, no khilaf al-awla, no women to be seen, absolutely nothing except a few nasheeds and not much else.

If these are not permissible in your view, why are they not permissible, in light of the fact that earlier scholars like Ibn Hajar said that they were indeed permissible?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Your question is on the methodology of our answer. You state that if Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani has permitted mawlid, how can people of later times say that it is not permissible. If we go by the same methodology, then it may be questioned that if Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) himself, the Sahabah (radiyallahu anhum), the Tabi`een, the great Muhaditheen, Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim, Imam Abu Dawood, Imam Tirmizi, the great fuqaha, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam Shafi`I, Imam Ahmad (rahimahumullah), all did not celebrate the birthday of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) and they did not sanction mawlid, how could Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani permit it who only came in the ninth century.

Furthermore, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani himself states that the origin of mawlid is a bidah. However he present further explanation to mawlid, consider the following:

Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (rahimahullah) says:

أصل عمل المولد بدعة لم تنقل عن أحد من السلف الصالح من القرون الثلاثة، ولكنها مع ذلك قد اشتملت على محاسن وضدها،  (حسن المقصد في عمل المولد، ص63، دار الكتب العلمية)

“Commemorating the birth of the prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) is an innovation, which was not transmitted from any pious predecessor from the first three centuries. Nevertheless, it comprises of virtuous and unvirtuous acts”[1].

The celebration of mawlid started by Irbil, six centuries after the demise of the prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). No mention can be found before this by any of the scholars regarding mawlid.

Imam Suyuti (rahimahullah) states:

وأول من أحدث فعل ذلك صاحب اربل الملك المظفر أبو سعيد كوكبرى بن زين الدين علي بن بكتكين أحد الملوك الأمجاد والكبراء الأجواد (حسن المقصد في عمل المولد، ص42، دار الكتب العلمية)

The first to celebrate the birth of the prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) was Irbil, Sultan Muzaffar whose full name is Abu Said Kokibri Ibn Zain al-Din Ali Ibn Baktagin, who is counted among the Sultans and generous leaders”.

Allama Anwar Sha Kashmiri (rahimahullah) says:

وأحدثه صوفي في عهد سلطان إربل سنة (600) ، ولم يكن له أصل من الشريعة الغراء

العرف الشذي شرح سنن الترمذي (2/ 38)

“A sufi innovated it in the era of Sultan Irbil around the year 600 A.H, and it does not have any basis in our pure Shariah.”

There are two aspects to mawlid. One is discussing the various aspects of the life of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) and the other is to specify a day. As ardent lovers of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam), we ought to live the sunnah of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) in every aspect of our lives. The personality of Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) ought to be the focal centre point of every moment of our lives.

The second issue is specifying a month for example, Rabiul Awwal to highlight different aspects of the life of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). In this era of retrogression, the Ummah is far away from the sunnah and ignorant of the life of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). The month of Rabiul Awwal is used to remind and highlight the different aspects of the life of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) to inculcate in the people the value of the sunnah.

If these education programmes are conducted purely as an opportunity to highlight the seerah and sunnah of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) as people generally frequent the masjid in Rabiul Awwal with the anticipation of learning the seerah of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam), then it is regarded as capitalising on an opportunity.  Such programs could be used to remove misconceptions around mawlid on condition there is nothing unislamic in these programs for example intermingling of sexes, photography, singing and music, etc

If one regards the mawlid on a particular day as compulsory or there are any unislamic activities in the mawlid then it will be impermissible.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Hafizurrahman Fatehmahomed

Student Darul Iftaa
Netherlands

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

[1]

( الرد القوي علي الرفاعي و المجهول و ابن علوي و بيان في المولد النبوي، ص93، رسائل في حكم الاحتفال بالمولد النبوي، دار العاصمة)

إن ابن حجر العسقلاني قد صرح في أول كلامه الذي نقله السيوطي عنه أن أصل عمل المولد بدعة لم تنقل عن أحد من السلف الصالح من القرون الثلاثة، وهذه الجملة من كلام ابن الحجر كافية في ذم المولد، إذ لو كان خيرا لسبق إليه الصحابة و التابعين و أئمة العلم و الهدي من بعدهم

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