The Obligation to Increase in Love of the Prophet (s.a.w.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is compiled from various sources by Ustadz Fakhruddin Owaisi at-Tijani.

Is there evidence for the celebration of Mawlid, the Prophet's (s.a.w.) birthday, in the Qur'an and the sunnah?  What do the a’immah and scholars of the Four Schools say, and what about the contemporary Salafi “scholars” who forbade it on the grounds that it is an innovation, such as al-Albani, ibn Baz, al-Jaza’iri, Mashhur Salman and ibn al-‘Utsaymin?  What about those who celebrate Mawlid, but forbid people from standing at the conclusion of Mawlid for sending swalawat, blessings and salutations, on the Prophet (s.a.w.)?  And what about the objections of some to using the phrase, “as-Salamu’Alayka Ya Rasulullah,” “Peace upon you, O Messenger of Allah,” and their claim that one cannot call the Prophet (s.a.w.), with the term, ‘ya,’ or ‘O’?

In Islam, there are two days of celebration, ‘Iydayn; ‘Iyd al-Adhha and ‘Iyd al-Fithr.  Other celebrations, such as Mawlid, are neither obligatory nor forbidden.  However, we have come to a time in which we hear complains about the remembrance of the Prophet's (s.a.w.) birthday by Muslims of little understanding.  Therefore, it is important to prepare a defense of the believers from the attacks of these Muslims, who have nothing to do  except to find fault with the beliefs of other Muslims.  They take great pains to find anything that their scholars might consider doubtful as an excuse to deride and denigrate the faith of Muslims, calling them “mushrik”, “kafir” and “mubtadi’”.  And they have nothing better to do than to change what Muslim scholars have accepted as correct for 1,400 years, and label it bid`ah, shirk, and kufr.

To celebrate the Prophet's (s.a.w.) birthday is to celebrate Islam, because the Prophet (s.a.w.) is the symbol of Islam.  Imam Mutawalli ash-Sha’rawi (q.s.) said, in his Ma’idat al-Fikr al-Islamiyyah, “If living beings were happy for his coming 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?”

Therefore, and in order to defend the believers, it is necessary to know the actual position of Islam on this, which is permissibility based on khilaf, divergence of opinions among the scholars, and no one changes it to prohibition except the ignorant and the innovators.  Presented are the facts and proofs relating to the celebration of Mawlid according to Qur’an and sunnah and the scholars of Islam.  Before going in-depth into depth, we present three statements: We say that celebrating the Mawlid of the Prophet (s.a.w.) is acceptable, that to make gatherings for the hearing of his sirah and listening to madh, praise, that has been written for him is acceptable, and that giving food to people and bringing happiness to the ummah on that occasion is acceptable.  We say that the celebration of the Prophet's (s.a.w.) Mawlid must not only be on the 12th of Rabi` al-Awwal, but can and should be on every day of every month in every mosque, in order for people to feel the light of Islam and the light of shari`ah in their hearts.  We say that Mawlid gatherings are an effective and efficient means for the purpose of calling people to Islam and educate children; and that these meetings give a golden opportunity that must not be lost, for every scholar and da`i to teach and remind the ummah of his good character, his way of worshipping, and his way of treating people.  This is a way to make children love and remember their Prophet (s.a.w.), by giving them food and juice and gifts to make them happy.  Here, are provided ten proofs from the Qur’an and sunnah that celebrating the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) birthday is accepted in shari’ah.

The first point is that Allah (s.w.t.) Commands the Prophet (s.a.w.) to remind his ummah that it is essential for those who claim to love Allah (s.w.t.), to love His Prophet (s.a.w.):

Say: “If ye do love Allah, follow me: Allah will Love you and Forgive you your sins ...” (Surah Ali ‘Imran:31)

The celebration of the Prophet's (s.a.w.) birth is motivated by this obligation to love the Prophet (s.a.w.), to obey him, to remember him, to follow his example, and to be proud of him as Allah (s.w.t.) is Proud of him, since Allah (s.w.t.) has Boasted about him in His Holy Book by Saying:

And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character. (Surah al-Qalam:4)

Love of the Prophet (s.a.w.) is what differentiates the believers in the perfection of their iman.  In an authentic hadits related, in Swahih al-Bukhari and Swahih Muslim, the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “None of you believes until he loves me more than he loves his children, his parents, and all people.”  In another hadits, in Swahih al-Bukhari, he said, “None of you believes until he loves me more than he loves himself,” and ‘Umar (r.a.) replied, “O Prophet, I love you more than myself.”

Perfection of faith is dependent on love of the Prophet (s.a.w.) because Allah (s.w.t.) and His angels are constantly Raising his honour, as is meant by the verse:

Allah, and His angels, Send blessings on the Prophet: O ye that believe!  Send ye blessings on him and salute him, with all respect. (Surah al-Ahzab:56)

Allah (s.w.t.), and His angels, are Sending Swalawat on the Prophet (s.a.w.).  The Divine Order that immediately follows in the verse, orders us to do the same.  This makes it clear that the quality of being a believer is dependent on and manifested by swalawat on the Prophet (s.a.w.).

The second point is that the Prophet (s.a.w.) emphasised Monday as the day he was born.  Abu Qatadah al-Answari (r.a.) narrated, in Swahih Muslim, Kitab asw-Swiyam, that the Prophet (s.a.w.) 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.”

Imam Mutawalli ash-Sha’rawi (r.a.) said, “Many extraordinary events occurred on his birthday as evidenced in ahadits and history, and the night of his birth is not like the night of any other human being's birth.”  These events and the ahadits pertaining thereto, such as the shaking of Chosroes’ court, the extinction of the 1,000-year old fire in Persia, and so forth, are related in Hafizh ibn Katsir’s (r.a.) al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah.

In Kitab al-Madkhal, Shaykh ibn al-Hajj (r.a.) wrote, “It is an obligation that on every Monday of Rabi’ al-Awwal, we increase our worship to thank Allah for what He Gave us as a Great Favour - the Favour of sending us His Beloved Prophet to direct us to Islam and to peace.”  He continued, “The Prophet, when answering someone questioning him about fasting on Mondays, mentioned, ‘On that day I was born.  Therefore, that day gives honour to that month, because that is the day of the Prophet,’ and he said, ‘I am the master of the children of Adam and I say that without pride,’ and he said, ‘Adam and whoever is descended from him are under my flag on the Fay of Judgment.’  These ahadits were transmitted by the Shaykhayn.  And Muslim quotes, in his Swahih, that the Prophet said, ‘On that day, Monday, I was born and on that day the first message was sent to me.’”

The Prophet (s.a.w.) emphasised the day of his birth and thanked Allah (s.w.t.) for the Great Favour of Bringing him to life by fasting on that day as is mentioned in the hadits of Abu Qatadah (r.a.).  The Prophet (s.a.w.) was expressing his happiness for that day by fasting, which is a kind of worship.  Since the Prophet (s.a.w.) emphasised that day by fasting, worship in any form to emphasise that day is also acceptable.  Even if we change the form, the essence is kept.  Therefore, fasting, giving food to the poor, coming together to praise the Prophet (s.a.w.), or coming together to remember his good manners and good behaviour, all of this is considered a way of emphasising that day.

The third point is that Allah (s.w.t.) Ordered us to rejoice in the Prophet (s.a.w.).  To express happiness for the Prophet (s.a.w.) coming to us is an obligation given by Allah (s.w.t.) through Qur’an, as Allah (s.w.t.) Said:

Say: “In the Bounty of Allah and in His Mercy ― in that let them rejoice ...” (Surah Yunus:58)

This Order Came because joy makes the heart grateful for the Mercy of Allah (s.w.t.).  And what greater Mercy did Allah (s.w.t.) Give than the Prophet (s.a.w.) himself?  Of him, Allah (s.w.t.) Says:

We Sent thee not, but as a mercy for all creatures. (Surah al-Anbiya’:107)

The Prophet (s.a.w.) was Sent as a mercy to all mankind.  It is incumbent not only upon Muslims, but upon all humanity to rejoice in his person.  Unfortunately, today it is some Muslims who are foremost in rejecting Allah’s (s.w.t.) Order to rejoice in His Prophet (s.a.w.).

The fourth point is that the Prophet (s.a.w.) celebrated great historical events.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) always made the connection between religious events and historical events, so that when the time returned for a significant event, he reminded his swahabah to celebrate that day and to emphasise it, even if it had happened in the distant past.  This principle can be found in the following hadits of Swahih al-Bukhari and others: “When the Prophet (s.a.w.) reached Madina, he saw the Jews fasting on the day of ‘Ashura’.  He asked about that day and they told him that on that day, Allah Saved their prophet, Musa (a.s.) and drowned their enemy.  Therefore, they fast on that day to thank Allah for that Favour.”

At that, the Prophet (s.a.w.) responded, “We have more right to Musa than you,” and he used to fast that day and the day preceding it.

The fifth point is that the remembrance of the birth of the Prophet (s.a.w.) encourages us to send swalawat upon the Prophet (s.a.w.) and to praise him, which is an obligation on us through Allah's (s.w.t.) Order in the verse:

Allah, and His angels, Send blessings on the Prophet: O ye that believe!  Send ye blessings on him and salute him, with all respect. (Surah al-Ahzab:56)

Coming together and remembering the Prophet (s.a.w.) causes us to send swalawat upon him and to praise him.  Who has the right to deny the obligation which Allah (s.w.t.) has Ordered us to fulfill through the Holy Qur’an?  The benefit brought by obeying an Order of Allah (s.w.t.), and the light that it brings to our heart, cannot be measured.  That obligation, furthermore, is mentioned in the plural, in a gathering.  It is entirely incorrect, therefore, to say that sending swalawat upon and praising the Prophet (s.a.w.) must be done alone.

The sixth point is that expressing happiness and celebrating the Prophet (s.a.w.) on his birthday causes even non-believers, by Allah’s (s.w.t.) Favour and Mercy, to gain some benefit.  This is mentioned in Swahih al-Bukhari. Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.) recorded the hadits that every Monday, Abu Lahab in his grave is released from punishment because he freed his handmaid Tsuwaybah (r.a.) when she brought him the news of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) birth.  This hadits is mentioned in Swahih al-Bukhari in the book of Nikah, and Hafizh ibn Katsir (r.a.) mentioned it in his books Sirah an-Nabi, Mawlid an-Nabi and al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah.  The hafizh, Imam Shams ad-Din Muhammad ibn Naswir ad-Din ad-Dimashqi (r.a.) wrote on this the following verses in his book Mawrid asw-Swadi fi Mawlid al-Hadi:

“If this is a kafir whose Damnation has been Proclaimed,
With, ‘Perish the hands,’ in the Hellfire for eternity;
It has been transmitted to us that on Mondays always,
His Punishment is Made lighter for his joy with Ahmad.
What does one think, then, of the servant whose whole life,
Is made joyful by Ahmad and he dies as a monotheist?”

The seventh point is that we are asked to know about our Prophet (s.a.w.): about his life, about his miracles, about his birth, about his manners, about his faith, about his signs, ayat wa dala'il, about his seclusions, about his worship.  This knowledge is an obligation for every Muslim.  What is better than celebrating and remembering his birth, which represents the essence of his life, in order to acquire knowledge of his life?  To remember his birth is to remind us of everything else about him.  This will make Allah (s.w.t.) Pleased with us because then we will be able to know the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) sirah better, and we will be better able to take the Prophet (s.a.w.) as an example for ourselves, to correct ourselves, and to imitate him.  That is why the celebration of his birthday is a Great Favour Sent to us.

The eighth point is that in the time of the Prophet (s.a.w.), it is well-known that poets came to him with all kinds of works praising him, writing about his campaigns and battles and about the swahabah.  This is proved by the numerous poems quoted in the biographies of Shaykh ibn Hisham (r.a.), Imam al-Waqidi (r.a.) and others.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) was happy with good poetry since it is reported in Imam al-Bukhari’s (r.a.) al-Adab al-Mufrad and elsewhere that he said, “There is wisdom in poetry.”  Thus, the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) uncle, al-‘Abbas (r.a.) composed poetry praising the birth of the Prophet (s.a.w.), in which are found the following lines:

“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.”

This text is found in Imam as-Suyuthi's (r.a.) Husn al-Maqswad and in Hafizh ibn Katsir’s (r.a.) Mawlid an-Nabi, as well as Imam ibn Hajr’s (r.a.) Fath al-Bari.  Hafizh ibn Katsir (r.a.) mentioned that according to the swahabah, the Prophet (s.a.w.) praised his own name and recited poetry about himself in the middle of the battle of Hunayn in order to encourage the companions and scare the enemies.  That day he said, “I am the Prophet!  This is no lie. I am the son of ‘Abd al-Muththalib!”  The Prophet (s.a.w.) was, therefore, happy with those who praised him because it is Allah’s (s.w.t.) Order, and he gave them from what Allah (s.w.t.) Provided him.  If we get together and do something in order to approach the Prophet (s.a.w.), we are doing something to approach Allah (s.w.t.), and approaching the Prophet (s.a.w.) will make Allah (s.w.t.) Pleased with us.  It is established that the Prophet (s.a.w.) instructed ‘Aishah (r.a.) to allow two ladies to sing on the day of ‘Iyd.  He said to Abu Bakr (r.a.), “Let them sing, because for every nation there is a holiday, and this is our holiday.”

Imam ibn Qayyim (r.a.), in Madarij as-Salikin, commented that the Prophet (s.a.w.) also gave permission to sing in wedding celebrations, and allowed poetry to be recited to him.  He heard Anas (r.a.) and the companions praising him and reciting poems while digging before the famous battle of the Trench, as they said, “We are the ones who gave bay’ah to Muhammad for jihad as long as we live.”

Imam ibn Qayyim (r.a.) also mentioned ‘Abdullah ibn Rawahah’s (r.a.) long poem praising the Prophet (s.a.w.) as the latter entered Makkah, after which, the Prophet (s.a.w.) prayed for him.  He prayed that Allah (s.w.t.) support Hasan ibn Tsabit (r.a.), with the holy spirit as long as he would support the Prophet (s.a.w.) with his poetry.  Similarly, the Prophet (s.a.w.) rewarded Ka’b ibn Zuhayr’s (r.a.) poem of praise with a robe.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) asked Aswad ibn Sari’ (r.a.) to compose poems praising Allah (s.w.t.), and he asked someone else to recite the poem of praise of a hundred verses which Umayyah ibn Abi asw-Swalt (r.a.) had composed.  Imam ibn Qayyim (r.a.) continued, “‘Aishah always recited poems praising him and he was happy with her.”  This Umayyah ibn Abi asw-Swalt (r.a.) was a poet of Jahiliyyah who died in Damascus before Islam.  He was a pious man who had relinquished the use of wine and the worship of idols, as related by Imam adz-Dzahabi (r.a.) in Siyar A‘alam an-Nubala’.

Part of the funeral eulogy Hasan ibn Tsabit (r.a.) recited for the Prophet (s.a.w.) stated:

“I say, and none can find fault with me
But one lost to all sense:
I shall never cease to praise him.
It may be for so doing I shall be forever in Paradise
With the Chosen One for whose support in that I hope.
And to attain to that day I devote all my efforts.”

As Imam ibn al-Qayyim (r.a.) said, in his book, “Allah Gave Permission to His Prophet (s.a.w.) to recite the Qur'an in a melodious way.  Abu Musa al-Ash`ari (r.a.) was reciting the Qur’an one time in a melodious voice and the Prophet (s.a.w.) was listening to him.  After he finished, the Prophet (s.a.w.) congratulated him on reciting in a melodious way and said, ‘You have a good voice.’  And he said about Abu Musa al-Ash`ari (r.a.) that Allah (s.w.t.) had Given him a mizmar, a flute, from Dawud’s (a.s.) mizamir.

Then Abu Musa (r.a.) said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, if I had known that you were listening to me, I would have recited it in a much more melodious and beautiful voice such as you have never heard before.’”

Imam ibn Qayyim (r.a.) continued, “The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, ‘Decorate the Qur’an with your voices,’ and ‘Who does not sing the Qur'an is not from us.’”  Imam ibn Qayyim (r.a.) commented, “To take pleasure in a good voice is acceptable, as is taking pleasure in a nice scenery, such as mountains or nature, or from a nice smell, or from good food, as long as it is conforming to shari’ah.  If listening to a good voice is haram, then taking pleasure in all these other things is also haram.”

The Prophet (s.a.w.) allowed drum-playing for a good intention.  Imam ibn ‘Abbad (r.a.), the muhaddits, gave the following fatwa in his Letters.  He started with the hadits, “One lady came to the Prophet (s.a.w.) when he was returning from one of his battles and she said, ‘Ya Rasulullah, I have made an oath that if Allah Sends you back safe, I would play this drum near you.’

The Prophet (s.a.w.) replied, ‘Fulfill your oath.’”  The hadits is found in Sunan Abu Dawud, Jami’ at-Tirmidzi, and Musnad Ahmad.

Imam ibn ‘Abbad (r.a.) continued, “There is no doubt that the playing of a drum is a kind of entertainment, even though the Prophet (s.a.w.) ordered her to fulfill her oath.  He did that because her intention was to honour him for returning safely, and her intention was a good intention, not with the intention of a sin or of wasting time.  Therefore, if anyone celebrates the time of the birth of the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a good way, with a good intention, by reading sirah and praising him, it is accepted.”

The ninth point is that the Prophet (s.a.w.) emphasised, in his hadits, both the day and the place of birth of previous prophets.  Speaking of the greatness of the day of juma’ah, the Prophet (s.a.w.) said in his hadits, “On that day, Allah Created Adam.”  This means that the day of Friday is emphasised because Allah (s.w.t.) Created Adam (a.s.) on that day.  That day is emphasised 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 (s.a.w.) said, “Truly Allah Made me the Seal of prophets while Adam was between water and clay.”  This hadits is related by Imam Ahmad (r.a.) in his Musnad, Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.) in Dala’il an-Nubuwwah and others, and is sound and established as authentic.

Imam al-Qasthalani (r.a.) said, in his commentary on Swahih al-Bukhari, “In his book on Jana’iz, Imam al-Bukhari named an entire chapter ‘Dying on Monday.’”  In it there is the hadits of `Aishah (r.a.) relating her father, Abu Bakr asw-Swiddiq’s (r.a.), 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.”  Abu Bakr (r.a.) asked for his death to be on Monday so that his death would coincide with the day of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) passing, in order to receive the barakah of that day.

A hadits authenticated by the hafizh, Imam al-Haytsami (r.a.), in Majma’ az-Zawa’id, states that on the night of al-Isra’ wa al-Mi’raj, the Prophet (s.a.w.) was ordered by Jibril (r.a.) to pray two rak’ah in Bayt Lahm, and Jibril (r.a.) asked him, “Do you know where you prayed?”  When the Prophet (s.a.w.) asked him where, he told him, “You prayed where ‘Isa was born.”

And finally, the tenth point is that remembering the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) birthday is an act that all ‘ulama of the Muslim world accept and still accept.  This means that Allah (s.w.t.) Accepts it, according to the saying of ibn Mas’ud (r.a.) related in Imam Ahmad’s (r.a.) Musnad with a sound chain, “Whatever the majority of Muslims see as right, then this is good to Allah, and whatever is seen by the majority of Muslims as wrong, it is wrong to Allah.”

In conclusion, there is no valid reason to reject the Mawlid.  The ummah is to celebrate our Prophet (s.a.w.) with pride and joy, and not go into dispute about matters that create fitnah and confusion.  We cannot prevent others from celebrating, leave everyone to their heart, and let us unify ourselves by keeping Allah's (s.w.t.) Command:

And hold fast, all together by the Rope which Allah (Stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah’s Favour on you; for ye were enemies and He Joined your hearts in love so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of fire, and He Saved you from it.  Thus doth Allah Make His Signs Clear to you: that ye may be Guided. (Surah Ali ‘Imran:103)

And let us pray for heavenly support against the enemies of Islam in the world.  That is better than going into disputes and arguments.  In shari`ah, nothing is declared haram except if the scholars are unanimous that the Qur’an and sunnah declare it so, whether explicitly or allusively.  In the case of Mawlid, not only does such an unanimity not exist, but there is a majority declaring that it is an excellent action which merits reward, and even a supporter of the opposite view admitting that it can be praiseworthy.  It is fair to say that someone who persists in rejecting the permissibility of Mawlid after all the above evidence, which is based on Qur’an, sunnah, and the derivations of ahkam from the relevant dala'il, can only be a blind-follower of his own ignorant and stubborn opinion.  As for them, the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “They will pass through the religion the way the arrow passes clean through its quarry.”  This is recorded in both Swahih al-Bukhari and Swahih Muslim.  Allah (s.w.t.) Knows best and Allah (s.w.t.) Guides Whomever He Wills.


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