Researcher of Political Science & Classical Islam. Initiated by the Khwajagan i-Naqshband.
“The rank of the night of Jum’ah is even higher than Laylatul Qadr. The reason for this is that it was on this night that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) appeared in the womb of his mother…Monday is superior to Jum’ah because
it was the day on which Rasulullah was born“-Ash’atul Lama’at, Muhaddith Shah ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Dahlawi
Q. Is celebrating the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), also known as Mawlid an-Nabi, allowed and can you prove this through Qur’an and Sunnah? And is it permissible to call Mawlid an-Nabi “Eid”, as is the practice in some parts of the Muslim world, including North Africa and the Indo-Pak subcontinent?
A. In the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful. All praise is due to Allah, the Majestic, who sent His Beloved Prophet; the Blazing Lamp, and the Mercy to the Worlds, with His religion and the Truth, even though the polytheists dislike it. Peace and salutations be upon the Choicest of Choices, the Light of Creation; Habibina Sayyidina wa Mawlana Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abd al-Mutallib ibn Hashim, al-Qurayshi, al-‘Arabi, al-Makki, al-Madani (sallallahu alaihi wa ‘ala aalihi wa sallam).
Our answer is that celebrating the birth of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa ‘ala aalihi wa sallam) is valid according to the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah and proven through the Qur’an and Sunnah. To call this holy celebration ‘Eid’ Mawlid an-Nabi is valid and absolutely correct. To celebrate the birth of the Prophet is to celebrate the realization of the Covenant of Abraham for which Muslim males are circumcised, it is to celebrate the beginning of the manifest transfer of the Divine Favor of Prophethood (Nabuwah) to the Arabs and the Quraysh (descendents of Ishmael ie. Banu Hashim) and also to celebrate the birth of Islam. All of these enlightening things and more, manifested themselves to the world only upon the noble birth of Allah’s Prophet, may peace and blessings be upon him and his family perpetually and abundantly, and as such to praise him, and give thanks to Allah for his Prophethood and birth is praiseworthy and of tremendous merit. Based upon what has reached us, the only groups who refused to rejoice on that auspicious day were the Shayateen (Devils), because they were barred from the Heavens from then onwards, and the unbelievers from amongst the Bani Israel (Children of Israel), because they lost Divine Favor (of manifest guidance, revelation and prophethood) to the Bani Ishmael (Children of Ishmael) from that holy day onwards.
That being said, from the writings of the Ulema of Ahlus Sunnah, including the Al Azhar Fatwa on Mawlid, we learn that to openly celebrate Mawlid is not only valid but rather praiseworthy. As such, all Believers are obliged to celebrate it and give thanks.
Regarding the Auspiciousness of Jum’ah and Every Jum’ah as Eid
In reference to the second part of your question regarding the permissibility of referring to Mawlid an-Nabi as an ‘Eid’, here are our proofs. Some people object to Ahlus Sunnah using the word ‘Eid’ for the auspicious Mawlid an-Nabi, claiming it is innovation to consider any other day ‘Eid’ , other than al-Fitr and al-Adha. It is our understanding that such a statement is a fallacy and a sign of a lack of understanding. To prove this, I would like to draw your attention to jum’ah, or Friday. Jum’ah is also an ‘Eid’, and it is other than al-Fitr and al-Adha. The word “Eid” was used for jum’ah by the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) himself.
Ibn Majah reports in his collection, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “O Muslims! Allah has made this day (jum’ah) a day of Eid. So have a bath on this day, whoever has perfume should apply it, and use the miswak.” (Ibn Majah)
The importance for jum’ah is established by the fact that an entire Surah titled al-Jum’ah was revealed in the Holy Qur’an, thereby establishing its relevance and significance in the sight of Allah Almighty. In fact, according to the following hadith which appears in the collection of Ibn Majah, the virtues for jum’ah even exceed the virtues of the two other Eids. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Friday is the “mother” of all days and the most virtuous in the sight of Allah . In the sight of Allah it has more greatness than Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Ad’ha.” (Ibn Majah)
Also, amongst the virtues of jum’ah, we find the following hadith in Abu Dawud: “Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Of all the days, Friday is the most virtuous…Send abundant blessings upon me on Fridays because they are presented to me on that day.” The Sahabah (radiallahu anhum) asked: “O Rasulullah! How will they be presented to you when even your bones will not be present after your death?” Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) replied: “Allah has made the earth haram upon the Prophets forever.” (Abu Dawud)
Furthermore, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is reported to have said regarding the virtues of jum’ah: “The Muslim who passes away on the night or during the day of Friday, Allah saves him from the punishment of the grave.” (Tirmidhi)
Once Ibn Abbas (radiallahu anhu) recited the following verse: “This day, I have completed your Religion for you.” A Jew was sitting near him. On hearing this verse being recited he remarked: “If this verse was revealed to us, we would have celebrated that day as a day of Eid .” Ibn Abbas (radiallahu anhu) replied: “This verse was revealed on two Eids” , i.e. on the day of jum’ah and the day of arafah, referring here to jum’ah as Eid.
Imam al-Ghazzali wrote in his Ihya ul-Uloom, “Every afternoon, the heat is increased in Hell. However, through the blessings of jum’ah, this will not be done on Fridays. (Ihya ul-Uloom)
Ibn Majah records that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “O Muslims! Allah has made this day (jum’ah) a day of Eid . So have a bath on this day, whoever has perfume should apply it, and use the miswaak .” (Ibn Majah)
Jum’ah in the Qur’an and its Relation to the Honor of Rasulullah (S)
The ahadith of the Apostle of Allah cited above make evident the auspiciousness of jum’ah, in addition to the fact already mentioned, that an entire Surah is devoted to it in the Holy Qur’an (Surah 62: al-Jum’ah). In addition to being mentioned in Surah 62 itself, a tradition found in Tirmidhi highlights that Friday, or jum’ah, is also mentioned in the following verses of Surah 85: Buruj:
“By the heaven, holding mansions of the stars, And by the Promised Day. And by the Witness (Shaahid) and that whereunto he beareth testimony” (Surah 85:1-3)
According to some of the mufasirin, the word ‘Shaahid’ (the Witness) in the context of this verse is a direct reference to the day of jum’ah, Friday. This opinion is based upon a narration mentioned by Imam Tirmidhi, wherein Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is reported to have said: “The word “Shaahid” refers to Friday. There is no day more virtuous than Friday. There is such an hour in this day that no Muslim will make dua in it except that his dua will be accepted. And he does not seek protection from anything except that Allah will grant him protection.” (Tirmidhi)
However, upon contemplating on this verse even further, we find that where’Shaahid’ in the context of the verse which appears in Surah 85 does in fact refer to jum’ah, it is also the title of the Apostle of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam). The verse wherein he is referred to as ‘the Witness’, or ‘Shaahid’ is, “O Prophet! Truly We have sent thee as a Witness (Shaahid), a Bearer of Glad Tidings, and Warner, And as one who invites to Allah by His leave, and as a Blazing Lamp spreading light. (Surah 33:45-46)
We believe both meanings for the word ‘Shaahid’ which appears in Surah 85 are correct, one is a reference to a day, Friday, or jum’ah, which is a day of a witnessing, while the other is a direct reference to Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam), who is ‘the Witness’, ‘Shaahid'(sallallahu alaihi wa sallam).
Excellence of Jum’ah Directly Related to the Honor of the Prophet (S)
The following passage appears in Ash’atul Lama’at by the Muhaddith, Shah ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Dahlawi, son of Hadrat Shah Wali Allah Muhaddith al-Dahlawi, the Naqshbandi, as cited by the author of Bahishti Zewar, it serves as the ideal explanation of the above argued direct relationship of the importance of jum’ah, a day of unprecedented merit and virtue, to the honor of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam):
Shah ‘Abd al-‘Aziz wrote in the Lama’at, “It is related from Imam Ahmad (rahmatullahi alaih) that he said the rank of the night of jum’ah is even higher than Laylatul Qadr . The reason for this is that it was on this night that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) appeared in the womb of his mother. Rasulullah’s (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) appearance in this world was the cause of countless virtues and blessings both in this world and in the hereafter, all of which cannot be enumerated.” (Ash’atul Lama’at, Muhaddith Shah ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Dahlawi)
The following tradition was also cited by the author of Bahishti Zewar, who wrote of the Virtues of Jum’ah in Section 25 of his book: the chapter of Jum’ah and Eid Salah, “the rank of the night of jum’ah is even higher than Laylatul Qadr . The reason for this is that it was on this night that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) appeared in the womb of his mother.” (Bahishti Zewar, English translation, Section 25: ‘The Virtues of Jum’ah’, by Ashraf ‘Ali Thanwi). The author then states further, “Monday is superior to Jum’ah because it was the day on which Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) was born” (Bahishti Zewar, English translation); meaning the day of the Mawlid an-Nabi exceeds in virtue Jum’ah, which is more excellent then the two Eids which we are ordained to celebrate, and and Laylatul Qadr the night wherein we are ordained to worship excessively, only because it is the day of the Mawlid, therefore enabling us to conclude that the Eid of Mawlid an-Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is in reality the most important Eid in Islam.
Eid Mawlid an-Nabi is Superior in Significance to the Two Eids and Laylatul Qadr and Commemorating it is Sanctionned by the Qur’an
At this point, we can conclude the following;
a. It is permissible to call a day other than the two Eids, an “Eid”, as to do so is from the teachings of the Apostle of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and is the way of his Family and Companions.
b. Jum’ah is an Eid for the Believers, on which they should bathe, apply perfume, use miswak, and send blessings (salawat) upon the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) in in great abundance on it.
c. Jum’ah is the ‘mother of days’, in that its excellence is extolled in the Holy Qur’an, and its virtue exceeds even the two Eids, and the Night of Power (Laylatul Qadr), about which the Holy Qur’an says, “We have indeed revealed this in the Night of Power: And what will explain to thee what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.” (Surah 97:1-3). It is also the day on which the people of Paradise will see the Manifestation of Allah.
d. That in reality, the relevance and virtue for jum’ah is directly related to the honor of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam), both of whom are referred to in the Holy Qur’an as ‘Shaahid’ (a Witnessing and the Witness).
e. The principle reason then, behind the Islamic relevance of jum’ah, a day which more important than Layatul Qadr, and a day ordained as an “Eid” by Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) himself, wherein we are instructed to recite salawat on him excessively as he becomes aware of our salawat even now, is actually solely owing to the fact that it was on this day that the Messenger of Allah was transferred to the womb of his pure mother, Amina bint Wahb (alai ha salam), meaning, jum’ah is auspicious only because of its direct relation to the Mawlid of the Mercy to the Universe(sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) in that it is the day of the conception of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) by his mother .
f. Monday is superior to Jum’ah, because it is the day of the Mawlid, and as such allowing us to conclude that the Eid of Mawlid an-Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is in reality the most important Eid in Islam, with pre-eminence over Laylat al-Qadr and the Eidain as explained throughout this response.
Hence, after reviewing the Al Azhar Fatwa on Mawlid, as referenced above, and contemplating over the excellence of jum’ah and its relation to the honor of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa aalihi wa sallam), and the pre-eminence of Monday over Friday due to it being the day of the auspicious Mawlid, we can conclude that commemoration of Mawlid an-Nabi, and referring to it as “Eid”, preparing for it, and praising Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) on it, is not only valid and permissible, but rather in reality an implied order from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala Himself, as extolled in the virtues of jum’ah; the day Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) was transferred to the pure womb of his exalted mother; and the day he (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) was conceived, thereby resulting in his physical appearance in the world of matter on the day of his auspicious Mawlid (sallallahu alaihi wa ‘ala aalihi wa sallam).
“O Allah, send blessings and Peace upon our Master and Patron Muhammad, The Owner of the Crown and the Ascent and the Buraq and the Standard, The Repeller of Affliction and Disease and Drought and Illness and Pain. His name is written on high, served and engraved in the Tablet and the Pen, The Leader of All, Arabs and non-Arabs, Whose body is sanctified, fragrant, and pure, Illumined in the House and the Haram, The Sun of Brightness, the Full Moon in Darkness, The Foremost One in the Highest Fields, the Light of Guidance, The Cave of Refuge for Mortals, the Lamp That Dispels the Night, The Best-Natured One, The Intercessor of Nations, The Owner of Munificence and Generosity. Allah is his Protector, Gabriel is his servant. The Buraq is his mount, the Ascent is his voyage, The Lote-Tree of the Furthermost Boundary is his station, Two Bow-Lengths or Nearer is his desire, His desire is his goal, and he has found his goal, The Master of the Messengers, the Seal of the Prophets, The Intercessor of sinners, the Friend of strangers, The Mercy for the Worlds, The Comfort of those who burn with love, the goal of those who yearn, The Sun of Knowers, the Llamp of travelers, The Light of Those Brought Near, The Friend of the poor and destitute, The Master of Humans and Jinn, The Prophet of the Two Sanctuaries, The Imam of the Two Qiblas, Our Means in the Two Abodes, The Owner of Qaba Qawsayn, The Beloved of the Lord of the Two Easts and the Two Wests, The grandfather of al-Hasan and al-Husayn, Our patron and the patron of Humans and Jinn: Abu al-Qasim Muhammad Son of `Abd Allah, A Light from the Light of Allah. O you who yearn for the light of his beauty, send blessings and utmost greetings of peace upon him and upon his Family.”
Wa minallahi tawfiq,
Sayyid Ahmed Amiruddin
12th of Rabi al-Awwal Sherif, 1429
March 20th, 2008