Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mawlid Anabawi (The Birthday of the Prophet SAW)

Friday was the birthday of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW), there were many celebrations and gatherings in Muslim communites all around the world. The Islamic center here in Los Angeles had a special spiritual night, with anasheeds about the Prophet SAW, and speakers talking about the Seerah of the Prophet SAW. Now, I know that we are not supposed to celebrate, light candles, dance on our Prophet's SAW birthday, but unfortunately I had a little doubt. I figured just listening to speakers talk about his life will be okay, and singing anasheeds about our Prophet (SAW) is okay. I actually feel really guilty now about having taken part in this, Astaghfirullah! So I decided to do some research on these celebrations how they started and where they came from, and if it is acceptable.

One hadith that pretty much sums all this up is : The Prophet SAW said "Do not exaggerate in me, as the Christians exagerated about the son of Maryam. I am only a slave so say 'the slave of Allah and the Messenger of Allah'" (Saheeh al Bukhari 4/142 3445).

Allah also forbade the Christians from worshipping Isa (AS): "
O people of the Book! commit no excesses in your religion: nor say of Allah aught but truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an Messenger of Allah and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a Spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His Messengers." (S. 4, V. 171)

I also started thinking about the Sahaba, and realized that they never celebrated the Prophet's SAW birthday, nor did the Prophet (SAW). They were the Ummah that was closest to our beloved Prophet SAW, many died for him and loved him very dearly. If it was truly a commandement to celebrate the Prophet's (SAW) birthday, they would not have missed out on it! So why do we do it? Are we better than the Sahaba? Can we really understand the love they had for the Prophet SAW, and does our love for him compare? Once I began thinking about all of this and reading I realized celebrating our Prophet's SAW birthday is bid'ah.

Now, I also wanted to see find out how all these traditions originated. I was watching a program on Huda TV, "Ask Huda" and this question came up. The sheikh (Muhammad Salah) said that it was the Fatimites (which is the worst sect of the Shi'as) that began this tradition of celebrating the Prophet's SAW birthday. This was a sect from Egpyt.
They also celebrated the birthday of Ali (the Prophet’s cousin), Fatimah (his daughter). The Prophet’s SAW birthday celebration was introduced in Egypt by Al-Malik Muzaffar Ad-Din Kukburi in 604 AH/1207 CE. Kukburi was brother of Salahuddin al-Ayyubi (Saladin). These were the days of Crusade where almost 200 years waves after waves of crusaders from Europe came to the heart of the Muslim world in the Middle East to fight Muslims in their own countries. During the crusade, both Islamic and Christian culture exchanged views on many things and each tried to put its influence on the other. Christians brought along their cultural and religious celebrations, and Muslims imitated some festivals and feasts of the Christians who lived among them. One of these feasts is the tradition to celebrate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h as Christians celebrated the birthday of Jesus Christ, known as Christmas.
From Egypt the tradition of Mawlid was spread to Mecca and the land of Hejaz in Arabia. From the Holy City where Muslim peoples of different nationals assembled during the hajj season each year, the tradition was spread to North Africa, Morocco and Andalusia (Spain). To the north it was spread to Syria, Irak, Turkey and Balkan peninsula, and to the south, to Yemen and Hadramaut, and to the east, to Southeast Asia and Indonesia.
Since then it has become such a present aspect of so-called Muslim Culture. This was a reminder to me to not get caught up in cultural celebrations that are so far from Islam.

Allah's Messenger said: "Stick to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of my rightly guided Caliphs, cling to it firmly with your molar teeth. Beware of newly invented matters, for a every new matter is an innovation, and every innovation is misleading" {Musnad Ahmad (4/126) and at-Tirmidhee (2676)}


MuslimFirst said...

Ma'sha'allah, great post Sr. Zarga. This is still a big issue today. It's obvious we must use what time we have in our busy lives throughout the year to learn about the Prophet (via Seerah, lectures, etc), so in fact we should 'celebrate' him by learning and practicing the Sunnah, as you have stated.

To be honest, one thing I really hate - yes, hate - is the culture that is overshadowing Islam in the important issues (culture brings a lot of good too - food language, etc) and I know it's a trend in the many cultures that we see in Islam, but being a member of the Indo-Pak community, it seems to me (yeah, its a biased view) to be especially strong in our section of the Ummah.

Anyways, again, great post Sis!

-MF bhaya

Tauqeer said...

Subhan Allah, great post!