Q. Mufti Waseem has recently released an article on “islamic awakening”.. the following is an email sent out by a brother with his comments upon him receiving the email. I am sending the email to you, please comment and enlighten us.
The email is as follows
I am deeply disappointed that a scholar such as Mufti Waseem Khan would produce such a piece that goes against hundreds of years of scholarship of the traditional ahlus sunnah.
Again….he emphasizes that this practice is from a minority, specially from the sub-continent. NOTHING CAN BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.
IT IS PRACTICED WORLDWIDE BY ULEMA!
Shaykh Muhammad al Yaqoubi (SYRIA) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAmxkOKvGK4&feature=related
Shaykh Muhammad Yahya al Ninowy (U.S. originally from Aleppo, Syria) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0Y9UoD0L_k&feature=related
Shaykh Yahya Rhodus (U.S) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6r_PZRGwcQ&feature=related
Dr. Abdal Hakim Murad (U.K) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqhrSY5jPkI
Habib Ali Jifri (Yemen) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=io7DZll2rIQ&feature=related
Shaykh Muhammad Maliki al Alawi (Mecca) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cx0oWcDpDU&playnext=1&list=PL8D4C655B9818C9F8
Dr. Said Ramadhan al Buti (Damascus) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLSUeV3SnWc
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf (U.S) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzXVHP7t3kk
Shaykh Zaid Shakir (U.S) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DubNuFuej8&feature=related
Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah (Africa) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTxgBAbUAPE
Shaykh Norudeen Dookie (U.S) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjBN080DQTo&feature=related
Habib Umar bin hafiz (Yemen)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bhUg_QVTD8&feature=related
and I didnt even reach the sub-continent as yet……
even the MUFTI of MADINA…Shaykh Muhammad al Barzanji (d.1109AH) http://marifah.net/articles/barzanji-abuhasan.pdf)…wrote MAWLID Barzanji…..a beautiful book….which can be purchased here http://www.manaqib.com/v2/index.html
please keep this in mind…oh and by the way 5 of the scholars mentioned above are sayyids (direct descendants of the prophet alaihis salam).
keep an open mind and look closely to whom you take your knowledge from ……..”.
A. Jazaakallah for sending the email to us, and we note the feelings expressed.
First of all, one’s disappointment is not strange to us. Our main concern is whether Allah is disappointed or not. In fact, there is hardly any scholar (from the past and present) who has not been criticized by others. A scholar becomes accustomed to this. Even until today, some Muslims condemn the Sahabahs and the great scholars of the past. In fact, we see that some Muslims have started a campaign in inciting hatred and enmity against the four great Imams of Fiqh.
So, a person being disappointed with the other, is not the criterion for truth and falsehood. Emotions and feelings are not the ‘yard sticks’ to measure the truth and the falsehood.
As long as the world exists, there will always be condemnation and criticism, these would not stop. What matters most is for one to adhere to the blessed teachings of the Prophet (SA). Once he sticks to the unadulterated teachings of the great Rasool (SA) of Allah, then he has nothing to be bothered about, even if the whole world is disappointed with him.
With respect to what the brother wrote, it seems that he did not take the time to go through the article properly. Had he done so, he would have seen that the article was written as a response to clarify misleading statements and quotations of another article which was circulated among the Muslims. So, it was not a piece I produced, instead, it is a clarification on a piece that was produced by others. If the brother studied the article with fairness in his heart and mind, he will agree that there were many valid points that were presented in my article, and he will accept the fact that the information was misrepresented in the ‘Islamic Awakening’
With all the names that the brother has referred to, he will not be able to quote the name of a single Sahabi (Companion) who celebrated the Prophet’s birthday. In the same manner, he will not be to produce a name of a single Tabi’ee or Tab’ut Tabiee (scholar or non scholar) who celebrated the Prophet’s birthday. If he searches, he will not find a single name of anyone belonging to the early centuries of Islam (for about 600 years) who celebrated the birthday of the Prophet (SA). So here, we have the most pious generations of Muslims, including all the Imams of Hadith, Tafseer, Fiqh, Qirat, Seerah etc. etc., which amounts to hundreds of thousands of Muslims, who were the most knowledgeable of the whole Ummah, yet, there is none from among them who celebrated the birthday of the Prophet (SA). The brother also wrote that my article ‘goes against hundreds of years of scholarship of the traditional Ahlus Sunnah’.
On this point, I will like to say to the brother that while in his opinion ‘hundreds of years of scholarship have gone in this practice’, he must know that one thousand, four hundred years (and more) of scholarship of the greatest scholars including the Sahabahs, Tabi’een and Tab’ut Tabieen have proven that one should not celebrate the birthday of the Prophet (SA).
I will also like to tell the brother that ‘Traditional Ahlus Sunnah’ means ‘the teachings of Ahlus Sunnah’ which have been transmitted from the Prophet (SA), to the Sahabahs and then to every other succeeding generation afterwards. When our brother believes in following the teachings of ‘Traditional Ahlus Sunnah’ then he would definitely agree that ‘Miladun Nabi’ did not come from the (Prophet (SA)), it did not come from the Sahabah (companion of the Prophet (SA) ), it also did not come from the Tab’ut Tabieen and the pious generations of Muslims afterwards. This is what has been transmitted, and this is what is ‘traditional’. So, it means that ‘traditional Ahlus Sunnah’ teachings is that one should not celebrate the birthday of the Prophet (SA).
Further, the brother said that ‘it is practiced worldwide by Ulema’. I do not know what is his definition of ‘Worldwide’. If he means that this practice is done in different parts of the world, then the word ‘worldwide’ is correctly used, since in the whole world you will find people who subscribe to certain ideologies, even if they are in small groups and organizations. It is in this context, the Shia can say that ‘Shiaism is worldwide’ and the Qadianis can say that ‘Qadianism is worldwide’. However, if ‘world wide’ (as used by the brother) conveys the meaning that the Ulamah of the whole world celebrate the birthday of the Prophet (SA), then this statement is nothing but sheer falsehood, and a misrepresentation of the truth.
If the brother did his research properly, he would agree with the fact that there are thousands of reliable scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah in each of the different countries he quoted, who do not celebrate the birthday of the Prophet (SA), and they discourage the people from doing it, (they do not encourage it). In fact, they refer to it as Bidah (an innovation which is not acceptable in Islam).
The brother quoted a scholar of Makka and one from Madina. It is rather strange to know that the brother overlooked those who are known to be the great scholars of these blessed cities, and did not mention their name. For example Shaikh Abdullah bin Baz, who was the grand Mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was not quoted. Similarly, Shaikh Ibn Uthaimi, Shaikh Jibreen and many other reputed scholars of these blessed cities- their names were not quoted.
The brother also quoted one name from U.K. however, personalities such as the great Mufti and Shaikhul Hadith, Mufti Ismail Bikha, Mufti Yusuf Sacha, Mufti Shabbir, Mufti Muhammad bin Adam, Shaikh ul Hadith Yusuf Motala, Allama Khalid Mahmood, Shaikh Riazul Haqq, Dr. Akram Nadwi, Dr. Riyaz Housin and many others have been left out. These are some of the greatest scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah who are well knowned and respected as the most reliable and reputed scholars from the U.K. The brother, however, did not see it fit to indicate their stance on this issue for the simple reason that they do not celebrate the birthday of the Prophet (SA).
The brother also quoted a name from Africa, however, he forgot some of the most reputed names from among the great and reliable scholars. Names such as Shakhul Hadith Mufti Ridha ul Haqq, Shaikhul Hadith Shaikh Fazlur Rahman Azimi, Shaikhul Hadith Mufti Ibrahim Desai (the expert in Fiqh as can be seen on ‘Ask the Imam’ site), Shaikh Husain Adam, Shaikh Hashim Kathurada, Shaikh Muhammad Al Wadi, Shaikh Shabbir, the Jamiatul Ulama (Council of Ulama), the Majlisul Ulama, Mufti Zubair Bayah and the list goes on. All these names have been left out. Again, the reason for not being included is the fact that these scholars do not celebrate the birthday of the Prophet (SA) and they regard it as an innovation.
The brother also quoted a few names from the USA, however, it should be known that there are many scholars who are known to be from among the most reliable ones in the USA who do not support the celebration of the Prophet’s (SA) birthday. Just to name a few:- Shaikh Roshan, Mufti Mustafeezur Rahman, Shaikh Misri, Shaikh Abdul Qadir, Shaikh Shabbir ul Haqq, Shaikh Haroon, Shaikh Zubair, Shaikh Shafayat, Shaikh Ibraheem, Shaikh Ismail and the list goes on and on. Even in Syria, Yemen and the Middle East, there are thousands of scholars who are known to be the great Muftis and Shaikhs of their respective territories and in their country, all of whom do not support this practice of Meeladun Nabi. It is dishonesty on the part of the brother, to leave aside thousands of Scholars who do not support the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday and quote only the very few who are in favour of it.
If we turn our direction to India and Pakistan (where these practices are present), we will see that thousands of the greatest scholars of these lands (and of the Islamic world) have discouraged this practice.
In Pakistan, we see that the first grand Mufti (appointed by the state) whose name is Mufti Muhammad Shafi (died 1395 AH) has discouraged this practice, and has referred to it as a reprehensible innovation in his Compendium of Fatawas known as Imdadul Muftiyeen. After him, the other grand Mufti of Pakistan, Shakhul Hadith Mufti Wali Hasan, gave the same fatawa. Afterwards, the other grand Muftis who occupied similar positions gave the same fatawa. Some of these grand scholars of Pakistan are:-
Mufti Nizammudeen Shamzi (AR)
Shaikh Dr. Habibullah Mukhtar (AR)
Shaikhul Hadith Mufti Abdul Haqq
Shaikhul Hadith Mufti Sami’ul Haqq
Shaikhul Hadith Shaikh Saleemullah Khan
Shaikhul Hadith Shaikh Subhan Mahmood
Shaikhul Hadith Mufti Rafi Usmani (presently the grand Mufti of Pakistan)
Mufti Taqi Usmani (who is regarded as one of the greatest scholars living today in the world).
Mufti Zainul Abideeen.
Mufti Abdus Salaam, and many others.
These are only a few of the most renowned scholars of Pakistan who are known to be the expert scholars through the length and breath of Pakistan. Along with them, there have been thousands of such scholars in the past and are much more at present (in Pakistan) who strongly disapproved of celebrating the birthday of the beloved Prophet (SA). Their official fatawa on this is that it is a reprehensible innovation which must not be practiced.
If we turn our attention to India, we will find more than a thousand of the most reliable scholars of the past and present who have strongly disapproved of this practice (that is, Eid Milaadun Nabi). Those who occupied the position (in different eras) of being the grand Muftis of India have all given the official Fatawa that this practice is disapproved in the Shariah. From among them were,
Mufti Kifayatullah (RA)
Mufti Mahmood Hasan (RA)
Mufti Azizur Rahman (RA)
Mufti Syed Ahmad Lajpuri (RA)
Qari Mujahidul Islam (RA)
Mufti Ibraheem Bemat (RA), and many others.
These are only a few of the most celebrated scholars and jurist (in India) of the past. Along with them, there have been thousands through the length and breadth of India. Even today, the most notable of the scholars who are looked upon as grand Muftis and expert scholars have given the same fatawa as their respected predecessors. Some of them are:-
Mufti Syed Ahmad Khanpuri (RA) (who is presently considered as the grand Mufti of India).
Mufti Marghoobur Rahman (RA)
Qazi Khalid Saifullah (RA)
Mufti Habeebur Rahman (RA)
Mufti Afzal Husain (RA)
Mufti Azeezur Rahman (RA)
The list goes on and on, and includes thousands of the most senior and educated scholars of India.
So, when we look at statistics, we would immediately realize that even though there may be certain scholars who may approve of celebrating the Prophet (SA)’s birthday, the majority of them do not share this view, and this is the reality, even though the brother may not wish to accept this.
For example let’s take a look at some of our own Caribbean Islands. At present there are approximately 98 Scholars in Trinidad. This includes only local Trinidad scholars, not foreign scholars (this is based on a survey done throughout Trinidad in 2010). For the most, only about ten (10) from among them, practice the Eid Miladun Nabi. This means that the majority do not approve of celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (SA).
Similarly in Barbados there are approximately 50 scholars, and not a single one from among them approve of the Eid Miladun Nabi. This means that in this Island, 100 % of the scholars disapprove of it.
Another Caribbean Island where there are some scholars is Guyana. Here, there are approximately 26 scholars, and from among them only about 5 of them approve of Eid Miladun Nabi. Hence, it means that the majority do not approve of it.
This is the same trend throughout the world. In each country, you may find a few scholars in favor of this practice, but the majority of them are not in favor, since it is not in conformity to the teachings of the Prophet (SA).
It is therefore a misrepresentation of the truth for the brother to say that ‘this celebration ‘IS PRACTICED WORLDWIDE BY ULEMA’, giving a possible impression that the majority of scholars in the whole world have supported this practice.
The same is the case with Muslims who do not do this practice (and are not scholars). It is clear as daylight, to those who have travelled to different countries (especially Muslim countries and other ones, with a large Muslim population) that those who practice ‘the Eid Milaadun Nabi’ and endorse it, are an inconsiderable amount and are in the minority. The overwhelming majority of Muslims of the past and present have always shun this practice.
Muslims should not be deceived, thinking that a large crowed of people coming together for a function, represents the majority. For example, if an amount of 1000 Muslims attended a function, to which the entire Muslim public was invited, this figure will certainly bring happiness to the organizers and hosts of this function. This massive crowd will definitely make them think that almost all the Muslims are in favour of what they are doing. However, when this figure of 1000 is compared to a figure of about 10,000 Muslims who did not attend, it becomes small, and hence, it will be stated that the majority did not attend.
Similarly, if a non-Muslim looks at the practices of Shias in Iran (on International news), where he sees thousands of people doing the same thing like having the procession on the 10th Muharram etc., he will be inclined to think that probably, all Muslims in the world do the same, seeing that he has seen a massive crowd doing the action. But all Muslims know that he will be wrong if he thinks in this way, since the majority of the Muslims in the world are not Shias. So, it would be told to him that a massive crowd gathering for a certain purpose at one place, does not give an indication that it is the practice of all Muslims or the practice of the majority.
This reality is witnessed by the people especially, at the time of elections in a country, where each party attracts a massive crowd while campaigning. However, notwithstanding these great crowds that is visible at the political meetings of opposing parties, only one is able to win an election by gaining the majority.
The gist of what I am saying is that probably the brother has seen great crowds at functions of ‘Eid Miladun Nabi’, and with this, he may think that it is the majority, but I say to him that this is a wrong way of ascertaining a majority. He should measure this crowd against the population of Muslims in the city or the country (and in the Muslim world also) to see whether it is the majority or not.
The brother has gladly quoted the names of a scholar from Madina, but can he tell us if the majority of scholars and common Muslims of Madina celebrate Eid Miladun Nabi? The truth is that he knows very well that almost 100% (if not all) of the scholars and the Muslims of Madina do not propagate this celebration. The same is the case with Makka and the other cities of Saudi Arabia, as well as Middle East counties. Even in India, Pakistan and surrounding territories, the overwhelming majority of Muslims do not practice or propagate Eid Miladun Nabi. Similar is the case where other Muslims live (in great numbers) like USA, Europe, West Indies and all other such places.
The brother has quoted some names of scholars on his email, implying that they support and encourage the Eid Miladun Nabi. However, this is not true of these scholars I have looked at the sites which he has given, and heard the lectures of the scholars he has mentioned. What they have said is the same as what other scholars have stated, and that is the opinion which we accept.
The gist of what all these scholars have explained, is that expressing happiness and joy, and speaking about the life of the Prophet (SA) on the date of his birth is accepted and approved in the Shariah. Obviously, there is no prohibition in this, since one can use the occasion to speak about the life of the Prophet (SA). However, no one from among these scholars has highlighted this as ‘celebrating the Prophet (SA)’s birthday’, since they all agree that this must not be done. The brother should know that speaking about the life of the Prophet (SA), and being happy at his birth is totally different from establishing an ‘Eid’ which is known as ‘Eid Meeladun Nabi’, and celebrating it with great festivity as one will do for the other Eids.
So, to take these statements of the great scholars and use it for something which they did not encourage, is certainly an unjust act. These scholars have not regarded this celebration as an Eid. Since it is clearly established in the authentic traditions that the Prophet (SA) said that Allah Has given us two celebrations which we must celebrate they are Eidul Fitr and Eidul Adha. The scholars have not used a Shariah ruling like ‘Mustahab’ for this practice, and have not given any allowance for one to believe that the Prophet (SA) attends all these gatherings. They have not given any allowance for the open intermingling of men and women and for them to collectively sing together (as the case of places in the West) in these gatherings. Yet, although these scholars have not done any of the above, their names are being used conveniently as a support to all the innovated practices which some Muslims do.
There is no doubt that the votaries of Miladun Nabi has made it into an official Eid (a celebration), something which the above mentioned scholars did not allow.
Practices have been brought about which their elders (themselves) did not do, and beliefs have been concocted which have no source in the Holy Quran and teachings of the Prophet (SA).
Take for example, in Karachi, the Miladun Nabi celebrations comprise of making models of the blessed grave of the Prophet (SA). A model of the Kaaba is also made. These are placed at large squares, and people visit them in order to get blessings. They also make Tawaaf of the Kaabah models.
Can you see to what extent Muslims have gone into innovations under the disguise of ‘love for the Prophet (SA)’?
In one such function in our country, an empty chair was placed at the head table, and the people were told that when the Prophet (SA) comes, he will sit on that chair. Another person once told others that when you go on the mimbar to deliver the khutbah, you must not stand on the third step, because the Prophet (SA) comes and stands on that step.
Can you see the level of deviated beliefs these people are inventing in Islam.
While being pleased to quote the names of the scholars, as a support, did the brother tell these scholars what takes place in their ‘Miladun Nabi’? Do these scholars know what others do? The brother should be honest enough, to inform these scholars as to what exactly takes place at their ‘celebrations’ and then wait for a response.
Simply using the statements of these scholars as a support for individual actions, that is opposing the teachings of Islam amounts to playing with the Deen (religion) of Allah.
At the end of the email, the brother wrote, ‘by the way 5 of the scholars mentioned above are Sayyids (direct descendants of the Prophet (SA).
The first thing the brother should know, is that being a Sayyid is indeed a great honour from Allah and there is no doubt about this. However, it should also be clearly understood that simply being a relative or family member to a prophet is not the criteria of being rightly guided. The Quran tells us that although Ibraheem (SA) was one of the greatest prophets of Allah, yet, his own father was an unbeliever. Similarly, Nuh (SA) was a very great prophet, yet his son was deprived of true guidance. Even in the case of the Prophet (SA), his own blood related uncle, Abu Talib was deprived of true guidance. Abu Lahab was also a blood related uncle to the Prophet (SA). But he was an unbeliever who was one of the worst enemies of the Prophet (SA). So, being a relative, family member or a descendant of a prophet does not say much.
If the purpose of writing this (by the brother) was to show that being a Sayyid (descendant of the Prophet (SA) ) gives a person an ‘edge’ in being ‘right’, then we say that Hasan and Husain (RA) (the both grandsons of the Prophet (SA) ) were Sayyids, but they did not do Eid Miladun Nabi’. The nine sons and six daughters of Hasan (RA) were all Sayyids but they did not do Eid Miladun Nabi. The son of Husain, Ali bin Husain and their children were also Sayyids and descendants of the Prophet(SA), but they did not do Eid Miladun Nabi, and in this manner, those who came after them and were descendants of the Prophet (SA) continued to follow the direct teachings of the Prophet (SA) without fail.
From among our scholars of this era, there are many who are descendants of the Prophet (SA). Their lives are in accordance to the prophet (SA) and their love for him is extremely great. Yet, they have not approved of ‘Eid Miladun Nabi’, because this is not from the teachings of the Prophet (SA). Some of these scholars who are known to be Sayyids (descendants of the Prophet (SA)) are:-
Allama Syed Yusuf Al Binori (RA)
Mufti Syed Abdur Raheem Lajpuri (RA)
Allama Syed Abu Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (RA)
Shaikh Muhammad Al Binori (RA)
Shaikh Suliman Al Binori
Allama Syed Suliman Nadwi (RA)
And the list goes on, and on.
So, with respect to such scholars who are Sayyids, there are a great number (of them) who do not approve ‘Eid Miladun Nabi’.
At the very end of the email, the brother gives a beautiful advice which we have received from our respected teachers. He wrote (telling others) ‘keep an open mind and look closely to whom you take your knowledge from’..
This is a very good advice that our Muslims need to take, since there are many people who profess to be scholars and they are not. There are others who claim to possess true knowledge of the Quran and the Sunnah, but their actions are opposing to the Sunnah. As such, our Muslims must look for genuine, authentic and reliable scholars who truly follow the creed of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah. A sign of these true scholars is that they strongly uphold the Sunnah of the beloved Prophet (SA) in his teachings and practices, and they hold on to the way of the Sahabahs (RA). We always have to be careful of what we hear and take from others. The Prophet (SA) himself told us that, ‘people will relate to you what you and your predecessors have not heard. Beware of these people’.
In order to protect us from deviation, the Prophet (SA) left for us, a permanent prescription. He said, ‘I leave behind two things. You will never go astray as long as you hold fast to these. They are the book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Prophet’. (Mishkaat)
The above tells us clearly that we will continue to be rightly guided, as long as we hold on to the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (SA). This means that whatever is preached or propagated by a person, it must always be measured in light of the Holy Quran, and the Sunnah of the Prophet (SA). If it conforms to these, then it shall be accepted. However, if it does not conform to these, it will not be accepted.
The Prophet (SA) also gave us another advice when we see that there are differences among the Muslims. In this regard he said, ‘For certainly those of you who live after me shall see many differences. So it is essential upon you to hold fast to my Sunnah and the way of my rightly guided Caliphs. Hold firm to this and bite it with your molars. And beware of newly invented matters, for every new matter is an innovation, and every innovation is misguidance’. (Mishkaat)
So, with these explainations on this issue, I hope I have made my position clear. Those who wish to learn the truth on this matter, should read the entire article with a clean heart and on open mind. The article ‘A Review of the Islamic Awakening’ has only been written as a response, to make clear that which was unclear, and to state the correct position of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah on this issue.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan