celebrating the mawlid

Mawlid al-Barzanji and Celebrating the Mawlid – Shaykh Muhammad Ba-Dhib

Shaykh Muhammad Ba-Dhib continues the discussion about Imam al-Barzanji, his famous work, the Mawlid al-Barzanji, and whether celebrating the Mawlid is a valid tradition.

Continuing from Shaykh Faraz’s Rabbani’s earlier discussion about the Mawlid al-Barzanji, Shaykh Ba-Dhib continues speaking about this great work.

He begins by speaking about the author, Imam Ja’far al-Barzanji, and his family background. The Imam came from a family of scholars, who had settled in the Kurdish city of Barzanja, hence giving them the name Barzanji. The family was descended from the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, through Imam Hussein.

The scholars of the family came to be very great authorities in their field, and would migrate to Medina to teach there, and sometimes became the Imans of the holy mosque.

The forefather to do so, was Imam Muhamad ibn al-Rasool al-Barzanji, who reportedly wrote and published over a hundred books. This shows us how much Imam Ja’far’s family  served the Ummah. They were not contented simply by beig descendants of the Prophet, but they exemplified his teachings by putting in effort to serve the Ummah.

The Mawlid of Imam al-Barzanji reached such a height of fame that it was read on the pulpit of the Prophet, peace be upon him, after sunrise on the 12th of Rabi al-Awwal.

The Fame of the Mawlid

The mawlid is a regular tradition, done out of love for the Prophet. It is an expression of love, which does not diverge from Islamic teachings. We believe that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, but how do we uphold that covenant and firmly root it into our hearts?

This is the purpose of the mawlid tradition. Hearing the name of our Prophet lovingly and with reverence allows faith to be established in our hearts. These focused gatherings were a widespread tradition among the Muslims through the ages.

It’s easy for someone who has not experienced it before, to criticise the tradition, or to say, “The Prophet and his companions did not gather in this manner.” However, someone who takes issue with the mawlid, would have to take issue with various other Islamic sciences such as Arabic grammer, Fiqh (jurisprudence), and Aqidah (creed), sciences which have been developed to help us understand our religion. These sciences were not taught by the Prophet, because the Companions already had the background knowledge needed to understand their faith. Their love of Allah was very strong, but today we are at a much weaker state.

Proofs for the Validity of the Mawlid

There are many proofs for this, but a particularly profound one is the story of Prophet Isa, peace be upon him, mentioned in the Qur’an. Not only did Allah reveal the story of his birth, but also that of his mother, the Lady Maryam. The Qur’an mentions these two events in great detail, beginning from when her mother prayed to Allah, saying that she would dedicate her daughter to His service, all the way to the birth of Prophet Isa.  All these holy verses speak about pregnancy, labour and delivery, childhood, family, miracles, and other facts relating to their story. Similarly, the mawlid poetry speak about these events that led up to the birth of the Prophet Muhammad.

As Islam spread, many people entered into Islam, who were previously raised in other religions. They did not know many details about the Prophet, and so the scholars put together things like mawlids to educate people and help them understand. They did this following the format of the above example.

The purpose of the mawlid has always been to educate, and to grow love of the Prophet and his teachings in our hearts.