Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) & His Students’ Opinion on the Celebration of the Mawlid

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

This is Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah’s (r.a.) opinion about Mawlid from Majma’ Fatawi ibn Taymiyyah: “To celebrate and to honour the birth of the Prophet (s.a.w.), and to take it as an honoured season, as some of the people are doing, is good and in it there is a great reward, because of their good intentions in honouring the Prophet (s.a.w.).”

Imam ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (r.a.), the most renowned student of Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.), wrote, in Madarij as-Salikin, “Listening to a good voice celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (s.a.w.) or celebrating any of the holy days in our history gives peace to the heart, and gives the listener light from the Prophet (s.a.w.) to his heart, and he will drink more from the Muhammadan spring.”

One of the more renowned scholars is Hafizh ibn Katsir (r.a.).  Hafizh ibn Katsir (r.a.) was a muhaddits from the followers of Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.).  Hafizh ibn Katsir (r.a.), in the last days of his life, wrote a book entitled Mawlid Rasulullah, which was spread far and wide.  That book mentioned the permissibility and commendability of celebrating the Mawlid.  Hafizh ibn Katsir (r.a.) wrote, “The night of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) birth is a magnificent, noble, blessed and holy night, a night of bliss for the believers, pure, radiant with lights and of immeasurable price.”

Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) was quoted by Imam ibn Qayyim (r.a.), in al-Bada’i, that Laylat al-‘Isra’ wa al-Mi’raj is greater than Laylat al-Qadr.  He was asked whether Laylat al-Qadr or Laylat al-‘Isra’ was better and he answered, “With respect to the Prophet (s.a.w.), Laylat al-‘Isra’ is better than Laylat al-Qadr.”

Now we ask that if Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) accepted that Laylat al-‘Isra’ may be considered better than Laylat al-Qadr, why not consider that Laylat al-Mawlid is better than Laylat al-‘Isra’, since the night of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) birth is the night in which was born the one who went to al-‘Isra’ wa al-Mi’raj?  Therefore, we say as Imam ibn Marzuq (r.a.), the student of Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.), said, “Laylat al-Mawlid is better than Laylat al-Qadr.”

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.), Shaykh al-Waqidi (r.a.), and others.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) was happy with good poetry.  It is reported in Imam al-Bukhari’s (r.a.), al-Adab al-Mufrad, that he said, “There is wisdom in poetry.”

Hafizh ibn Katsir (r.a.) wrote, in his Mawlid, “The Prophet’s (s.a.w.) uncle, ‘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.”

Hafizh ibn Katsir (r.a.) mentioned the fact 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 swahabah and frighten their enemies.  That day he said:

“I am the Prophet!
This is no lie.
I am the son of ‘Abd al-Muththalib!”

Imam ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (r.a.) wrote, in Madarij as- Salikin, “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 swahabah praising him and reciting poems while digging before the famous Battle of Khandaq as they said, “We are the ones who gave bay’ah to Muhammad for jihad as long as we live.”  Imam ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (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 (r.a.), another poet, 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 Zubayr (r.a.), for his poem of praise, with a robe.  Imam ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (r.a.) continued, “‘Aishah (r.a.) always recited poems praising him and he was happy with her.”  Imam ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (r.a.) said in the same book, “Allah Gave Permission to His Prophet (s.a.w.) to recite the Qur`an in a melodious way.” 

Imam ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (r.a.) wrote that 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 al-Jawziyyah (r.a.) commented on this: “To take pleasure in a good voice is acceptable, as is taking pleasure from 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.”

Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) was asked about the permissibility of people gathering in a masjid, making dzikr and reading Qur’an, praying to Allah (s.w.t.) and taking their turbans off their heads, leaving their heads bare, and crying, while their intention is not pride nor showing off but seeking to draw closer to Allah (s.w.t.).  He replied that not only is it acceptable but it is good and recommended.


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