Transcibed By: Sadaf Azhar
Across the Muslim world, especially in the subcontinent and countries such as Egypt, the third month of the Islamic calendar, Rabi-ul-Awwal, is celebrated as the month of the Prophet’s birth. Unfortunately, the masses remain largely ignorant that this is also the month of the Prophet saws’s death.
Rabi’i means the spring season, and so this was marked as the first month of spring. Contrary to popular belief nowadays, the Prophet saws has not specified any act of worship for this month. We are recommended to perform the same rituals we are encouraged throughout the year- the night prayers, the fasting on the ‘white’ days. Unlike Muharram, Ramadan and Dhul Hijjah this month was assigned no special significance by neither the Prophet saws nor his Companions nor the generations of the Pious Successors,
This was the month in which the Prophet saws was born. Biographers cite his date of birth as either the 9th, 12th or 20th of Rabi-ul-Awwal, but no one can vouch for any date with surety. Why? This is because none knew he would be a Prophet so no one marked the date as significant. The only Prophet about whom people knew since infanthood was Isa AS who claimed to be a Prophet in the cradle and even then no one kept a record of his date of birth. In contrast, his date of death is clearly remembered by his wives and Companions as the most traumatic event of their associations with him. His last khutbah at Hajj was witnessed by over a hundred thousand Muslims, and so his date of death is carefully corroborated and recorded.
However, we must realize that the Islamic culture is not based on dates, but on actions. The Quran has recorded no dates of birth, death or even important events- it only records the actions that we are to emulate. If the Prophet saws was to celebrate any particular date, he could have made the Victory of Badr or the conquest of Makkah the dates to be commemorated. Instead, we learn for the Seerah that Allah asked us to conduct ourselves with humility and seek repentance. This is because Islam does not encourage us to inflate our egos and nafs through glorifying personal achievements.
The Prophet saws Instructions about His Grave
In a Sahih Hadith collected by Abu Dawud, the Prophet saws forbade us from making his grave a place of festivity. He has also prohibited the lighting of lamps at graves in a hadith recorded by Ahmed. This is to ensure that the veneration of graves does not lead to the veneration of saints and subsequently, shirk.
Allah has protected the grave of the Prophet saws from becoming a place of mistaken celebration, drunken ‘dhamal’ and noise simply because He has placed caretakers who are firm on the Sunnah. The area surrounding his grave is instead a highly protected place of serenity and calm.
Innovation: Reprehensible in Our Perfect Deen
As long as we follow the Quran and Sunnah, our shariah and rituals remain unadulterated and unchanged. For example, the rituals of hajj mirror the Prophet saws last Hajj. Likewise, the nisab for Zakaat remains unchanged.
Once we ignore or forget the Sunnah, we start adding rituals that harm our dunya and aakhirah. Bida’ah (innovation in religious rituals) knows no bounds and changes over time. Erroneously we now associate this month as one of ‘celebration’ and have even designated it as an Eid. This is a dangerous assumption, for Allah has only designated two Eids for us at the end of periods of rigourous worship- at the end of Ramadan and after Hajj.
The words commonly used in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent in relation to this month are ‘jashn’, ‘chiraghan’, and ‘urs’ which are Persian words and not rooted in Sunnah. This in itself is an indication that we have strayed from our sources of religion.
Since the Prophet saws grave cannot be venerated or even accessed, people have chosen to ‘celebrate’ the month of his birth, forgetting that the date they choose to express their erroneous joy is the day of his death. In the Sunnah, the Prophet saws has not mentioned any celebration the day of birth nor are we allowed to mourn after three days of death.
How, then, can we claim to love him when we do the opposite of what he exhorted us? If celebrating birthdays was a commendable act, the Prophet saws would have told us. By practicing this innovation, we allege that our Deen remained imperfect.
Christmas and Milad: A Downward Spiral of Innovation
Until 3 centuries after his ascension to Heaven, no one celebrated Isa AS’s birth. The celebration of Christmas began under Roman influence and its roots lie in pagan rituals. The idea of a white Christmas with decorated fir trees and baubles is an even more recent invention, the dubious credit of which can be given to the popularity of Charles Dickens’s novel, ‘The Christmas Carol’. With music and alcohol adding colour to this ‘holiday’, it has become a time of wild abandon, with the maximum alcohol being consumed during this period and the highest rate of accidents occurring within the period of Christmas and New Year.
No Muslim in the first three generations of Islam ever celebrated birth of the Prophet saws. The first report of such a festivity occurred six centuries after the death of the Rasool saws in Mosul. Jalaluddin Suyuti records that it was initiated by a king call Arbal (also known as Ibn Muzaffer and his companion Omar bin Mohammad). Since the masees follow the deen of their leaders, his subjects copied him. Initially the gatherings would mention Sunnah actions, incidences from the Seerah and hadith. But, as we are witnessing, the rituals and traditions have evolved into far more complex and wasteful actions that often reek of shirk.
Giving sadqah specifically on this date or preparing ‘niaz’ is also a bidaah, as is participating or helping to prepare for rallies or milads. Rallies are contrary to the Sunnah of the Prophet saws who disliked those who made noise in the market places and blocked roads or passageways. People miss their congregational salaah and suffer traffic jams because of these rallies. Flags, posters and replicas are wasteful and unnecessary and even mirror idolatory. Electricity is wasted due to extra illumination since the beginning of this month. For every resource that we waste, we will be held to account for on the Day of Judgement.
What should we do?
In an authentic hadith about bida’ah, the Prophet saws said that whoever did what the Prophet saws did not ask him to do is rejected (mardood). So how can mawlood/ milad be commended?
Therefore, to arrange and participate in gatherings celebrating his birth is unacceptable, especially since we have forgotten that 12th Rabi-ul-Awwal is recorded as the day of his demise. Therefore, teach others that this is an innovation that earns us the wrath of Allah and the displeasure of his Messenger. Media plays an ugly role in glorifying these innovations. We assume that those Ulema who are visible on the media are scholarly and learned. They are not however, more reliable than the Sunnah and Sahabah RA and so we cannot accept their faulty validation of such actions. Since shrines and saint veneration is such a highly lucrative business, it has become an economic necessity for many so called Ulema to justify the milad. Islam is for eternity and since the Quran declares its completion and perfection, we cannot innovate.
Stem the flow of bidaah through the use of your tongue, your pen and your actions using hadith and the Quran to support your abstinence- consider it your personal jihad.
- Don’t make excuses to avoid such milads. Instead, firmly and politely state why you cannot participate in the light of Hadith.
- Don’t lend credence to such gatherings by your presence or acceptance.
- Avoid eating food that is prepared specially to celebrate the mawlid.
- To prepare speeches, replicas or to participate in rallies on this day should be completely stopped.
- Do not appreciate replicas, costumes or illumination by visiting them or sharing or liking them on social media.
- Avoid responding to congratulatory messages about this month.
Remember, the majority is often misguided- 1.6 billion people consider Isa AS as the son of god so does that make it the Truth? Become mindful of Allah, not conscious of the people. Did the Prophet saws ask us to recite elegies or did he ask us to enforce the Shariah? The Makkans already appreciated him as ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Ameen’, they simply refused to follow him as Prophet and change their lifestyle. The Prophet saws has warned us that whoever supports an innovator, has helped in the downfall of the Deen. May Allah protect us from becoming such an individual.
Link to the original talk: https://youtu.be/jqiAodMIlqs