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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.celebrating the mawlid

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.


 

Can A Sinner Love the Prophet? – Ustadh Salman Younas

Allah has commanded all believers to love the Prophet. However, can a sinner claim to have love for him? What about someone who justifies their bad deeds in the name of love?

 

Love of the Prophet & Disobedience

The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, said, “None of you believe until I am more beloved to him than his parent, child, and all people.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Love of the Prophet is a fundamental requirement in Islam that no Muslim is devoid of in some measure. Every individual who has truly acknowledged the Prophet as the final messenger sent by God to humankind, seldom fails to discover some element of this love in himself at particular moments. The degree and intensity of this love varies between people due to various factors. The tradition mentioned above has been commonly understood as a reference to the perfection of one’s faith and belief. In other words, no one has perfected their belief until the Prophet is more beloved to him than all of creation.

What is Love?

Love is a terribly difficult reality to describe. Imam al-Qushayri stated that it cannot be “defined by any clear and understandable description or definition” due to its complex nature. (al-Risala) Generally, love is identified as a feeling of the heart that draws an individual to some object of affection that is found to be pleasing and agreeable. Being a matter of the heart, it is easy for a person to believe that he possesses love and lay claim to it. Indeed, all people lay claim to love, but as the poet said:

Each person claims to have united with Layla

But Layla does not acknowledge this for any of them.

In the same vein, Imam al-Ghazali warns that it is necessary for a person to avoid being deluded by the Devil and the self (nafs) when it comes to claiming love of God and His Prophet. Rather, love is akin to a good tree whose roots are firmly in the ground, its branches in the sky, and its fruits manifest on the heart, tongue, and limbs. In other words, any claim to love must be tested in light of specific signs and proofs to see if it is true. (al-Ghazali, Ihya’ ʿUlum al-Din)

Signs of True Love: Following the Prophet (blessings upon him)

Qadi Iyad mentions the signs that manifest in an individual whose love for the Prophet (blessings upon him) is true as opposed to a mere claim. These include:

  1. Following the Prophet in his words and actions, submitting to his commands and steering clear from what he prohibited, and letting oneself be guided by his moral example.
  2. Giving preference to the shariʿa brought by him over one’s own passions and desires.
  3. One’s anger against others being only for the sake of God’s pleasure.
  4. Mentioning and remembering him often.
  5. Yearning to meet him. 
  6. Exalting the Prophet (blessings upon him) when he is mentioned and displaying humility upon hearing his noble name.
  7. Loving those whom the Prophet (blessings upon him) loved and hating those who display enmity towards them. Avoiding those who undermine his sunna and innovate in the religion.
  8. Having love for the Qur’an.
  9. Having compassion for the community of the Prophet, giving them sincere counsel, and striving for their best interests. (al-Shifa’)

From the aforementioned signs, it is obedience to the Prophet and following his sunna that constitute the core of love and the clearest sign that it is true. Abu ʿAli al-Rudhabari said, “Love means compliance,” while Sahl al-Tustari said, “Love means to embrace obedience and parts ways with disobedience.” (al-Qushayri, al-Risala)

Qadi Iyad mentiones that one of the signs of love for the Prophet is letting oneself be guided his moral example. Similarly, Imam al-Junayd stated that love is “the substitution of the attributes of the lover for those of the beloved.” (Ibid) In other words, the true lover is one whose heart burns so passionately for his beloved that he divests himself of his own attributes. He wishes to be like his beloved in his inward and outward state.

The evidence for this is found in the Qur’an, where love is associated with obedience and submission. In one well-known verse, the Prophet  says, “If you love God, follow me.” (3:31) This verse was said to have been revealed in response to a people who claimed that they loved God. The Prophet was commanded by God to tell these people that if their claim was to be beleived, they would submit to God and His command to love and follow the Prophet. 

Similarly, it is related that one of the companions approached the Prophet (blessings upon him) and stated, “You are more beloved to me than my child, family, wealth, and even my own self.” He then wept and when asked by the Prophet (blessings upon him) what caused this sadness, he replied, “I remembered that you will pass away and so will we, then you will be raised with the prophets, and if we enter Paradise, we will be lower than you.”

God then revealed the following verse, “Whoever obeys God and the Messenger will be among those He has blessed: the messengers, the truthful, those who bear witness to the truth, and the righteous- what excellent companions these are.” (4:69) In this Qur’anic verse, it is not simply a feeling of love alone that unites a believer with the Prophet (blessings upon him) in the next life but actual obedience to him.

Sinners May Be Lovers but Sin Never Arises from Love

Love is a powerful emotion, and it is also one required of all believers in their relationship with God and His Prophet. The combination of these two elements makes love a potent tool in the hands of the Devil. Disbelievers  may be driven to commit sinful actions out of an actual hatred for God and His Prophet. However, a Muslim may be driven to such behavior because it is cloaked in the guise of prophetic love. The very real passion and attachment the believer possesses for the Prophet is, therefore, a means by which he may be exploited. Indeed, the self and the Devil often trap the religious through religion itself by justifying sin as being an expression of faith. This is nothing but deception and delusion.

The Islamic tradition has a word for this: hawa, or caprice. If love is an inclination towards the truth, caprice is often used to refer to an inclination towards falsehood: “Do not follow capricious desire (hawa) for it will lead you astray from the path of God.” (38:26) Sin is a result of caprice, not love, even if the former may feel like the latter. The signs of love are clear. They are submitting to the Prophet, while every act that contravenes his noble way is from capricious desire. “None of you truly believes until his desires are subservient to what I have brought.” (al-Nawawi, al-Arbaʿin)

For a person to couch sin in the language of love is falling into the trap of the Devil. It minimises the gravity of sin and asserts a connection with the Prophet that does not exist. Indeed, anyone professing love for someone is forwarding an enormous claim as Imam al-Ghazali states. Thus, Fudayl ibn ʿIyad is reported to have said:

If you are asked, “Do you love God?” then remain silent. For if you reply in the negative, you have disbelieved. And if you reply in the affirmative, the attributes of true lovers are not found in you. So avoid being the object of detestation. (al-Ghazali, Ihya’ ʿUlum al-Din)

Similarly, it is related that some people were discussing love in the presence of Dhu’l Nun al-Misri. He exclaimed, “Refrain from this matter. If your selves fail to understand it properly, they might lay claims to it.” (al-Qushayri, al-Risala) The early Muslims were quite conscious of what it meant to declare someone the object of their love. This was especially in a religious context, where the weight of one’s claims would hang heavily in the next life. The true lovers of the Prophet (blessings upon him) were those who gave themselves completely to their beloved. Despite this recognised that all they could offer was an imperfect love. As al-Harith al-Muhasibi said:

Love means you are inclined toward someone in your entirety, then you give preference to this someone over yourself and your possessions, then you comply with his wishes openly and secretly, whereupon you acquire awareness of your love’s imperfection. (al-Qushayri, al-Risala)

A Mistaken Sense of Love

Imagine  those who appeal to this love in order to explain or justify sinful actions that they or others might be engaged in. Instead of framing the issue in a false light, individuals need to be made to realise that love for the Prophet (blessings upon him) can never manifest as sin. In this way, they can recognise the true nature of their actions, repent, and make sincere emends. Indeed, people who engage in anathematising other Muslims, murder, the destruction of property, spreading corruption in the land, and other enormities, as a result of of what they view as ‘defending’ the Prophet (blessings upon him) and his honor, are in reality involved in actions that are heinous to God and His Prophet

While the actions of such people can be described as the result of a mistaken or misguided sense of love for the Prophet in an attempt to better understand their state of mind and ameliorate it, their sinful actions can never be identified as an expression of true love for the Prophet itself. To present such actions in this light is to delude oneself and others.

Those who commit sins, however, are not necessarily deemed to be completely devoid of love for the Prophet. A sinner can still be characterised as possessing love for the Prophet in a general sense despite his sins and slips. This is evidenced in the tradition of the companion who repeatedly got intoxicated. He was punished, but his love for God and the Prophet was still affirmed. (Bukhari)

There is a difference, though, between  negating love entirely from a Muslim who may commit sins and between identifying love as underpinning a specific act of sin. In the former, al-Ghazali indicates that the basic feeling of love that all Muslims are said to be characterised with as believers in God and the Prophet. But the moment one is engaged in sin, such love has been corrupted and discarded in favor of one’s own desires. In such situations, the obligation of sincere counsel (nasiha) requires that a person be told in no uncertain terms that his actions contravene the way of the Prophet, and the more egregious the sin, the more resolutely this needs to be pointed out.

 


Born and raised in New York, Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman.  There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.

His teachers include: Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Shaykh Salah Abu’l Hajj, Shaykh Ashraf Muneeb, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Shaykh Hamza Karamali, Shaykh Ahmad Snobar, Shaykh Ali Hani, Shaykh Hamza Bakri, Ustadh Rajab Harun and others.

Ustadh Salman’s personal interests include research into the fields of law/legal methodology, hadith, theology, as well as political theory, government,  media, and ethics. He is also an avid traveller and book collector. He currently resides in Amman with his wife.


 

Welcoming the Month of Rabi al-Awwal – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz provides a welcome and introduction to Rabiʿ al-Awwal, the month of the birth of Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and give him peace, who is our means to every good.

Rabi al-Awwal, the eternal spring, is a month of renewal. It is the month of the birth of the blessed Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and it is a chance for us to review our connection to him and his message. He is Allah’s gift to us, and so we praise him out of faith. We praise him out of gratitude to Allah for this gift, and out of gratitude to him for what he did for us, and what he represents.

The Prophet Muhammad did not come merely as an ambassador who came, spoke a message to deliver, and then left. Rather, Allah sent him to us as an example, who went through trial and tribulation, and the hardships and upheaval of this wordly life. He navigated the trials of this life in the most beautiful of ways, and he bore hardship and pain so that we could have this gift of Islam.

This is a month for us to reflect and ask ourselves:  How is my relationship to him? How is my relationship to the message, and to the Lord of the message? How much do I know about him? How much do I know about his life? his character? his teachings? How much do I seek to embody him in my life?rabi al-awwal

In this month, we should renew out commitment to sending blessings upon him. When we do this, it is a covenant to Allah, asking him to put his heart at rest in regards to us.


 

 

Nasheed Hub: Qasida Burda Part 1–On Lyrical Loveyearning

The Nasheed Hub, an initiative of SeekersHub Global, aims to showcase the traditional Islamic art of nasheed, or Islamic devotional songs.Qasida Burda

Qasida Burda

The Qasida Burda (Poem of the Cloak) is one of the most famous poems of Islamic history. The writer, Imam al-Busiri was inspired to write it after he became paralysed. When he went to sleep, he saw the Prophet, Allah bless him and in a dream, laying his cloak over him. When he woke up, he was completely healed.

The first chapter of this poem speaks of the writer’s love and longing. Rather than directly mentioning the object of his love, he hints at it in true poetic fashion, mentioning Dhi-salam, Kadhima, and Iram, the cities surrounding the Prophet’s city. He further mentions that excessive crying has caused marks on his face, which causes him to admit his love towards the end of the chapter.Qasida Burda

Click on the image below to scroll.

[pdf-embedder url=”http://seekershub.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Chapter-1.pdf” title=”Chapter 1″]

About Nasheed Hub

Throughout the decades and civilisations of Islam, the vocal tradition, sometimes known as nasheed or devotional songs, were penned as a way of celebrating and giving thanks to Allah for the message of Islam, as well as for the Messenger himself.
These nasheeds were a way for people to turn towards their Lord in joyful celebration, rather than stringent routine. They were also tools to spread the message of Islam in a non-confrontational way. These nasheeds were able to reach out to those who were alienated or indifferent to the religion and the Muslim community, as well as to teach children who were too young for academic study.
These nasheeds originating from all corners of the Muslim world – from West Africa to Malaysia, from Turkey to Great Britian – mirror their own culture but all carry a common thread: love of Allah and His Messenger.
This series will explore the different nasheeds, penned by some of the great historical Muslim figures, poets, and scholars.


With gratitude to The Winterspring Mawlid and Dr. Asim Yusuf.


Resources for Seekers

Nasheed Hub: Talama Ashku Gharami

The Nasheed Hub, an initiative of SeekersHub Global, aims to showcase the traditional Islamic art of nasheed, or Islamic devotional songs.

Talama Ashku Gharami

Talama Ashku Gharami, or “How Long Will My Heart Ache,” is a heartfelt Nasheed that may can relate to. One of the less-appreciated poems, it speaks directly to the soul.

The author is experiencing heartache. However, it is not a wordly or romantic pain. Rather than wishing for a loved one, he is longing for the ultimate goal; to attain unto Allah, and see the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace.

He asks when his pain will stop, saying, “How long will my heart ache for my Beloved?” He addresses the Prophet as the one from Tiham (an area that includes the cities of Mecca and Medina). He goes on, speaking about his utmost desire to attain the vision, and see the door of Paradise. He concludes by asking Allah, to grant goodness with goodness.
[pdf-embedder url=”http://seekershub.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/talama.pdf”]

About Nasheed Hub

Throughout the decades and civilizations of Islam, the vocal tradition, sometimes known as nasheed or devotional songs, were penned as a way of celebrating and giving thanks to Allah for the message of Islam, as well as for the Messenger himself.
These nasheeds were a way for people to turn towards their Lord in joyful celebration, rather than stringent routine. They were also tools to spread the message of Islam in a non-confrontational way. These nasheeds were able to reach out to those who were alienated or indifferent to the religion and the Muslim community, as well as to teach children who were too young for academic study.
These nasheeds originating from all corners of the Muslim world – from West Africa to Malaysia, from Turkey to Great Britian – mirror their own culture but all carry a common thread: love of Allah and His Messenger.
This series will explore the different nasheeds, penned by some of the great historical Muslim figures, poets, and scholars.


Resources for Seekers

 

Nasheed Hub: Qasidah Muhammadiya

The Nasheed Hub, an initiative of SeekersHub Global, aims to showcase the traditional Islamic art of nasheed, or Islamic devotional songs.

Qasidah Muhammadiya

Qasida Muhammadiya (The Muhammadan Ode) is a wonderful example of both linguistic eloquence and heartfelt love. It was written by Imam Busiri, the same poet who wrote the famous “Qasida Burda,” or the Poem of the Cloak. This poem is written in a very formal verse style that does not take away from the sincerity of the meaning.

Each verse praised the Prophet in a different way, in a very standardized way. Each verse begins with the name “Muhammad” and continues praising his various virtues. The word after the name, begins with the first letter of the Arabic letter. In the same way, the rest of the poem continues, first beginning with the blessed name of the Prophet, and then the next letter of the Arabic alphabet.Prophet Muhammad

Click the image below to scroll

[pdf-embedder url=”http://seekershub.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/qasidah-muhamadiya.pdf” title=”qasidah muhamadiya”]

 

About Nasheed Hub

Throughout the decades and civilizations of Islam, the vocal tradition, sometimes known as nasheed or devotional songs, were penned as a way of celebrating and giving thanks to Allah for the message of Islam, as well as for the Messenger himself.
These nasheeds were a way for people to turn towards their Lord in joyful celebration, rather than stringent routine. They were also tools to spread the message of Islam in a non-confrontational way. These nasheeds were able to reach out to those who were alienated or indifferent to the religion and the Muslim community, as well as to teach children who were too young for academic study.
These nasheeds originating from all corners of the Muslim world – from West Africa to Malaysia, from Turkey to Great Britian – mirror their own culture but all carry a common thread: love of Allah and His Messenger.
This series will explore the different nasheeds, penned by some of the great historical Muslim figures, poets, and scholars.

Resources for Seekers

Nasheed Hub: Tala‘al Badru Alayna

The Nasheed Hub, an initiative of SeekersHub Global, aims to showcase the traditional Islamic art of nasheed, or Islamic devotional songs.

Tala’al Badru Alayna

Tala’al Badru Alayna (The Full Moon Rose Over Us) is the oldest nasheed recorded in the Islamic tradition. It is a beautiful expression of love and yearning for the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. Tala'al Badru Alayna

Picture this scene: for days, the people of Medina have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Prophet. Every day, they have gone to the outskirts of the city to watch and wait.

One day, they set out and wait all morning, then retire in the blazing midday heat. Before long, they hear a man on his rooftop calling out, telling them that he sees two men on the horizon.

The people come running, and they burst out into this song:

Click on the image below to scroll

[pdf-embedder url=”http://seekershub.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Tala-al-badru.pdf” title=”Tala al badru”]

About Nasheed Hub

Throughout the decades and civilizations of Islam, the vocal tradition, sometimes known as nasheed or devotional songs, were penned as a way of celebrating and giving thanks to Allah for the message of Islam, as well as for the Messenger himself.
These nasheeds were a way for people to turn towards their Lord in joyful celebration, rather than stringent routine. They were also tools to spread the message of Islam in a non-confrontational way. These nasheeds were able to reach out to those who were alienated or indifferent to the religion and the Muslim community, as well as to teach children who were too young for academic study.
These nasheeds originating from all corners of the Muslim world – from West Africa to Malaysia, from Turkey to Great Britian – mirror their own culture but all carry a common thread: love of Allah and His Messenger.
This series will explore the different nasheeds, penned by some of the great historical Muslim figures, poets, and scholars.


Resources for Seekers

 

 

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari on Amazing Muslim Women: Sumayyah

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, in partnership with Muslimah Media, speaks in a 5-part series about the amazing Muslim women who paved the way for others after them.

Sumayyah bint Khayyat was a truly inspiring woman who sacrificed so much for her faith. She was a slave, and a socially outcast woman. Unlike some of the other Companions, she had absolutely no wealth or social standing to protect her.

In other words, she went in knowing that she would have to sacrifice everything. She was one among a small handful of people to openly declare their faith during the early days of Islam.amazing Muslim women

Her Sheer Courage

She and her husband Yasir were both slaves. After they had their son Ammar, it is said that they may have been freed. Regardless, the family was still treated as outcasts of society. Not only that, but the family boldly announced their faith, which made the Meccans decide to make others an example of them.

They dragged the three of them out to the desert, and tortured them under the heat. Her body was encased in iron armor which, under the sun’s rays, began to burn her body.

First Martyr of Islam

Sumayyah’s faith was so strong that even as she was being beaten, she would defy her capturers by smiling and saying the name of Allah. This exasperated the Meccans, because no matter what they tried to do, she still stayed strong.

Eventually, Abu Jahl lost his temper and drove a spear into her abdomen, ending her life. Thus, Sumayyah bint Khayyat became the first martyr, male or female, to die in the way of Islam.

Sumayyah is an example for us as Muslims. She was proud of her faith and found peace and liberation in it, even though it came at a great cost. She remained patient through great hardship. And because of her faith and dedication, she was promised paradise.


Resources for Seekers

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.

[cwa id=’cta’]

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.

[cwa id=’cta’]
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: