Permissibility of Mawlid An-Nabi
The Effect of Observing Mawlid on Unbelievers
SIXTH: Expressing happiness and celebrating the Prophet ﷺ on his birthday causes even unbelievers, by Allah’s favor and mercy, to gain some benefit. This is mentioned in sahih Bukhari. Bukhari said in his hadith that every Monday, Abu Lahab in his grave is released from punishment because he freed his handmaid Thuwayba when she brought him the news of the Prophet’s ﷺ birth.
This hadith is mentioned in Bukhari in the book of Nikah, and Ibn Kathir mentions it in his books Sirat al-Nabi Vol.1, p. 124, Mawlid al-Nabi p. 21, and al-Bidaya p. 272-273. The hafiz Shamsuddin Muhammad ibn Nasiruddin ad-Dimashqi wrote on this the following verses in his book Mawrid as-sadi fi Mawlid al-Hadi: “If this, a kafir who was condemned to hell eternally with “Perish his hands” [surat 111], is said to enjoy a respite every Monday because he rejoiced in Ahmad: what then do you think of the servant who, all his life, was happy with Ahmad, and died saying, “One”?”
The Obligation to Know Sira and Imitate Its Central Character
SEVENTH: We are asked to know about our Prophet ﷺ, 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, and is not this knowledge 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 begins to remind us of everything else about him. This will make Allah happy with us because then we will be able to know the Prophet’s ﷺ sira better, and be readier to take him as an example for ourselves, to correct ourselves, and to imitate him. That is why the celebration of his ﷺ birthday is a great favor sent to us.
The Prophet ﷺ Accepted Poetry in His Honor
EIGHTH: In the time of the Prophet ﷺ, 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 sahaba. This is proved by the numerous poems quoted in the Siras of Ibn Hisham, al-Waqidi, and others. The Prophet ﷺ was happy with good poetry since it is reported in Bukhari’s al-Adab al-mufrad and elsewhere that he said: “There is wisdom in poetry.” Thus the Prophet’s uncle al-`Abbas composed poetry praising the birth of the Prophet ﷺ, 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 Suyuti’s Husn al-maqsid p. 5 and in Ibn Kathir’s Mawlid p. 30 as well as Ibn Hajar’s Fath al-Bari.
Ibn Kathir mentions the fact that according to the Sahaba, the Prophet ﷺ 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-Muttalib!”
The Prophet ﷺ was therefore happy with those who praised him ﷺ because it is Allah’s order, and he gave them from what Allah was providing him. If we get together and do something in order to approach the Prophet ﷺ, we are doing something to approach Allah, and approaching the Prophet ﷺ will make Allah happy with us.
Singing and Recitation of Poetry
It is established that the Prophet ﷺ instructed `A’isha to let two ladies sing on the day of `Eid. He said to Abu Bakr: “Let them sing, because for every nation there is a holiday, and this is our holiday” [Agreed upon]. Ibn Qayyim in Madarij al-salikin comments that the Prophet ﷺ also gave permission to sing in wedding celebrations, and allowed poetry to be recited to him. He heard Anas and the Companions praising him and reciting poems while digging before the famous battle of the Trench (Khandaq), as they said: “We are the ones who gave bay`a to Muhammad for jihad as long as we are living.”
Ibn Qayyim also mentions `Abdullah ibn Rawaha’s long poem praising the Prophet ﷺ as the latter entered Mecca, after which, the Prophet ﷺ prayed for him. He prayed that Allah support Hassan ibn Thabit, with the holy spirit as long as he would support the Prophet ﷺ with his poetry. Similarly the Prophet ﷺ rewarded Ka`b ibn Zuhayr’s poem of praise with a robe. The Prophet ﷺ asked Aswad bin Sarih to make poems praising Allah, and he asked someone else to recite the poem of praise of 100 verses which Umayya ibn Abi halh had composed. Ibn Qayyim continues, “`A’isha always recited poems praising him and he was happy with her.”
Part of the funeral eulogy Hassan ibn Thabit (RA) for the Prophet ﷺ states:
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 for ever in Paradise
With the Chosen One for whose support in that I hope.
And to attain to that day I devote all my efforts.
Singing and Recitation of Qur’an
As Ibn al-Qayyim says in his book, “Allah gave permission to his Prophet ﷺ to recite the Qur’an in a melodious way. Abu Musa al-Ash`ari one time was reciting the Qur’an in a melodious voice and the Prophet ﷺ was listening to him. After he finished, the Prophet ﷺ congratulated him on reciting in a melodious way and said, “You have a good voice.” And he said about Abu Musa al-Ash`ari that Allah gave him a “mizmar” (flute or horn) from Dawud’s mizmars. Then Abu Musa 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.”
Ibn Qayyim continues, “The Prophet ﷺ said, “Decorate the Qur’an with your voices,” and “Who does not sing the Qur’an is not from us.” Ibn Qayyim comments: “To take pleasure in a good voice is acceptable, as is taking pleasure from 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`a. If listening to a good voice is haram, then taking pleasure in all these other things is also haram.”
The Prophet ﷺ Allowed Drum-Playing For A Good Intention
Ibn `Abbad the Muhaddith gave the following fatwa in his “Letters.” He starts with the hadith, “One lady came to the Prophet when he was returning from one of his battles and she said, “Ya Rasulallah, I have made an oath that if Allah sends you back safe, I would play this drum near you.” The Prophet ﷺ said, “Fulfill your oath.” The hadith is found in Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, and the Imam Ahmad.
Ibn `Abbad continues, “There is no doubt that the playing of a drum is a kind of entertainment, even though the Prophet ﷺ ordered her to fulfill her oath. He did that because her intention was to honor 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 ﷺ in a good way, with a good intention, by reading Sira and praising him, it is accepted.”
The Prophet Emphasized the Birthday of Prophets
NINTH: The Prophet ﷺ emphasized in his hadith both the day and the place of birth of previous prophets. Speaking of the greatness of the day of Jum`ah (Friday), the Prophet said in his hadith: “On that day [i.e. Jum`ah], Allah created Adam.” This means that the day of Friday is emphasized because Allah created Adam on that day. That day is emphasized 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 ﷺ said: “Truly Allah made me the Seal of prophets while Adam was between water and clay.” This hadith is related by Ahmad in the Musnad, Bayhaqi in Dala’il al-Nubuwwa and others, and is sound and established as authentic.
Why Bukhari Emphasized Dying On Monday
Imam Qastallani said in his commentary on Bukhari: “In his book on Jana’iz (Funerals), Bukhari named an entire chapter “Dying on Monday.” In it there is the hadith of `A’isha relating her father’s (Abu Bakr as-siddiq) 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.”
Imam Qastallani continues, “Why did Abu Bakr ask for his death to be on Monday? So that his death would coincide with the day of the Prophet’s passing, in order to receive the baraka of that day… Does anyone object to Abu Bakr’s asking to pass away on that day for the sake of baraka? Now, why are people objecting to celebrating or emphasizing the day of the Prophet ‘s birth in order to get baraka?”
The Prophet ﷺ Emphasized the Birthplace of Prophets
A hadith authentified by the hafiz al-Haythami in Majma` al-zawa’id states that on the night of Isra’ and Mi`raj, the Prophet ﷺ was ordered by Jibril to pray two rak`ats in Bayt Lahm (Bethlehem), and Jibril asked him: “Do you know where you prayed? When the Prophet ﷺ asked him where, he told him: “You prayed where `Isa was born.”
The Ijma` of `Ulama on the Permissibility of Mawlid
TENTH: Remembering the Prophet’s ﷺ birthday is an act that all `ulama of the Muslim world accept and still accept. This means that Allah accepts it, according to the saying of Ibn Mas`ud related in Imam Ahmad’s 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.”