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On The Permissibility of Mawlid, With Conditions, by Shaykh Salek Bin Siddina

Shaykh Salek Bin Siddina recites a poem of Muhammad bin Hasan al Khadim on why celebrating the birth of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is permissible but with conditions.

The video is in two parts, with live English translation. Our thanks to the Blessed Tree for these recordings.

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Resources for seekers:

‘Tis The Season…For Mawlid Wars? – Ustadh Salman Younas

The month of Rabi` al-Awwal is here, which can only mean that some of us will witness renewed debates on the practice of celebrating the birth of the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him), writes Ustadh Salman Younas.

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To make things easier for everyone, I’ve mentioned a handful of leading classical scholars who permitted the mawlid in its institutionalized form and those who deemed it impermissible. What is this meant to teach us? That this is a *valid* difference of opinion. While we can cordially discuss the merits of each view, no one should be condemned, mocked, or looked down upon for engaging or not engaging in such a practice, since leading scholars throughout the past few centuries have differed on this issue.

Don’t Let Your Nafs Distract You

Instead of using this time to debate and argue, let’s use it to draw closer to the greatest of creation in a manner that we individually deem sound and acceptable. If that means gathering to sing poems in his praise and celebrating his birth, then wonderful. If it means you sit alone in your house to send some salawat upon him, then wonderful. The point is not to let your nafs and the devil distract us from doing good and puff us up with arrogance/anger by occupying us with argumentation on an issue scholars have differed upon for centuries.

Some of Those who Permitted the Mawlid

  • Imam Abu’l Khattab ibn Dahiya [al-Hawi li’l fatawa (ed. Ilmiyya, pp. 189)]
  • Ibn al-Jazari [al-Arf al-ta`rif [ed. al-Kattaniya, pp. 13-43)]
  • Imam Abu Shama [al-Ba’ith fi inkar al-bid`a wa’l hawadith (ed. Dar al-Raya, pp. 95-96)]
  • Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani [al-Ajwiba al-murdiya (ed. Dar al-Raya, pp. 1117-1118)]
  • Imam al-Sakhawi [Ibid., pp. 1116-1120)]
  • Imam Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti [al-Hawi, (pp. 189-193)]

Some of Those Who Did Not Permit the Mawlid

  • Imam Taj al-Din al-Fakihani [al-Mawrid fi amal al-mawlid (ed. Maktaba al-Ma`arif, pp, 19-27)]
  • Shaykh Ibn Taymiyya [Majmu` al-Fatawa (ed. al-Najdi, 25:298)]
  • Imam al-Haffar [al-Mi`yar (ed. al-Awqaf, 7:99-100)]
  • Imam Abu Amr ibn al-Ala’ [al-Hawi, (pp. 192)]
  • Imam Abu Ishaq al-Shatibi [al-I`tisam (ed. Maktaba al-Tawhid, 1:46)]

Methodological Differences Underlying These Positions

When it comes to the issue of innovation, we can identify two broad approaches:
(a) The dominant approach adopted by many jurists of the Shafi`i school that allowed for a general principle or text to be applied in practice in a particularized manner despite there being no specific precedent for said practice. An early example of this is the position of Imam al-Shafi`i that it is recommended to recite blessings upon the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) after uttering the tasmiya while slaughtering an animal. This is deduced from the general command in Surat al-Ahzab (33:43) of sending blessings on the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him). In other words, Imam al-Shafi`i used a general command to legislate a particular practice despite there being no explicit precedent for this practice. Since such a practice could be validly subsumed under a general principle, it would not be an innovation to put into practice in an unprecedented form.
(b) Another view, which was held by a number of Maliki scholars, argued that there must be specific evidence in order to permit persistence (iltizam) on a particularized form of a general command. This is termed by al-Shatibi as takhsis al-umum bi-la dalil (specifying a general text without evidence). Those scholars agreeing with al-Shatibi would not allow reciting blessings on the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) after saying the tasmiya while slaughtering because no specific evidence exists to establish such a practice. As for the general command to send such blessings, it is alone insufficient to evidence permissibility in this case.
Therefore, the first view lends itself to being utilized to institutionalize or invent specific forms of devotional practice so long as they do not oppose the broad principles of the law.
The second view is not “open-looking” in this manner as it restricts itself to the existence of past precedent without which a devotional act cannot be invented or institutionalized. The only exception is when a devotional act is is done spontaneously or due to free-time without it being institutionalized.

Both views have support in the actions of the early Muslims:

(i) The first view is supported by the narration of Abu Hurarya who stated that Khubayb ibn Adi initiated the practice of performing two cycles of prayer before being executed. Here, Khubayb had no specific precedent but took a general recommendation of performing prayer and applied it in a particular manner to a specific time and situation. [Sahih al-Bukhari]
(ii) The second view is supported by the actions of some Companions who opposed practices that could reasonably be subsumed under general principles/text. One example is Ibn Mas’ud’s opposition to those who were engaging in group dhikr in the mosque despite the general command in the Qur’an to, “remember God.” (3:191)
Both these approaches return to ijtihadi differences and preferences. Consequently, the choice scholars make to argue for or against certain practices should be respected as an exercise of valid ijtihad based on sound methodological divergences.
And God knows best.

Resources on sending blessings on Prophet Muhammad for seekers:

Can I Go to My Non-Muslim Sister’s Birthday?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalam alaykum,

My non-Muslim blood sister has invited me to her birthday. Is it allowed for me to go?

Answer: Walaikum assalam,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.

Birthdays are social—not specifically religious—customs. As such, it is permitted to participate in them, if they are free of fundamentally impermissible activities.

Given that it is your sister, you should also be intended upholding family ties (silat al-rahim), which is one of the great virtues a believer has been commanded to uphold, by Allah and the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him).

Please see also: Fasting on One’s Birthday and: Innovation (Bid`a) and Celebrating the Prophet’s Birthday (Mawlid) and: Should Converts Break Ties With Non-Muslim Family Members? and: A Reader on Anger Management and Good Character

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.

wassalam,

Faraz Rabbani

Innovation (Bid`a) and Celebrating the Prophet’s Birthday (Mawlid)

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: What is the concept of a “praiseworthy innovation” (bid`a hasana). How can an innovation be praiseworthy? Is the mawlid (celebration of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad) from this?

Answer: Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.

The concept of “praiseworthy innovation” (bid`a hasana) is basically a specific form of applying a general sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), in a manner not contrary to the principles of Prophetic guidance.

Thus, for example, having an annual conference or religious event on specific dates (for reasons of practicality, without deeming this specification religiously-expected) is a specific way of applying the general sunna of spreading religious guidance.

The same applies to approved-of forms of group dhikr (which is considered permitted or praiseworthy by a large body of mainstream scholarship): the general sunna of group dhikr (understood from a large number of Prophetic hadiths) is being applied in a specific way.

And so on.

However, the scholars look carefully at the soundness of the basis for such actions; the component parts; and the implications of the action, direct and indirect.

Celebrating the Birth of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)

In terms of the celebrating the Prophet’s birth, the basis of this is of two types:

[1] specific, from the sunna itself: the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) celebrated the day of the week in which he was born by fasting on Mondays–so why would celebrating the date of his birth, in permitted & sound ways, be wrong?

[2] general, from the call in the Qur’an and Sunna to express thankfulness and rejoicing in the blessing and gift from Allah that is our Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk).

Again, if we follow the recourse that Allah Most High has given us: returning matters we’re not clear of to the people of knowledge, then we see that the mawlid, for example, has been carefully considered and generally approved of right across the four schools of mainstream Islamic law.

If someone doesn’t feel comfortable with that, it is fine, but condemning a mainstream action approved by mainstream Islamic scholarship is the basis of division, and contrary to established principles. “There is no condemnation in matters of genuine difference.” (la inkara fi masa’il al-khilaf)

Related Answers:

The Concept of Bid’a in the Islamic Shari’a

Sunna and Bid`a – Talk & Article by Shaykh Nuh Keller

Excessive Praise of the Prophet? Understanding the Meaning of Praise

Joy at the Birth of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace): The Narration Concerning Abu

Exaggerated Praise of the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him)

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani