12th Rabiul Awwal is the day when „Meeladun Nabi‟ is celebrated. Nowadays it is regarded as being a sign of the people of the Ahle Sunnat. Regarding this, also, I wish to present a few points:
(1). The Thikr (remembrance) of our Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) is a meritorious Ibaadat; in fact it is the soul of our Imaan. Every single anecdote from the life of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) is beaming and overflowing with lesson and insight. Our Nabi‟s (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) birth, infancy, youth, revelation, propagation, Jihad, sacrifices, worries and concerns, Ibaadat and Salaat, character and noble traits, physical attributes and life-story, abstinence and piety, knowledge, humility, standing and sitting, walking and strolling, sleeping and wakefulness, peace treaties and wars, kindness and anger, mercy and benevolence, smiling and joy, etc., etc. – in short, every facet of his life is representative of his perfect example and a beam of guidance. His learning and teaching, his mentioning and conveying his message are binding upon this Ummat.
Similarly, it is an Ibaadat to speak well about those who had an affinity and companionship with him and those things which were connected with him, like his beloved ones and his companions, his wives and children, his workers and slaves, his clothes, weapons, horses, mules, and every minute thing connected with him. The reason being that in actual fact, the mentioning of any thing connected to him is actually speaking about him (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam).
(2). The pure and blessed life of our Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) is divided into two parts. The first being the period from his birth until just before his Nubuwwat. The second part being from revelation until his demise. There are numerous narrations and Ahaadith regarding parts of Nabi‟s (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) first portion of life. [These narrations are taken from different stages of his life, and are not in complete detail.] But, as far as the latter part of Nabi‟s (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) life, which the Qur`aan Majeed describes as the Uswa-e-Hasana (perfect example), there exists a complete recording which is preserved in the Ahaadith. When one studies these narrations, then it appears such that we can almost see and hear Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) with us (i.e. the record of his life is so thorough). Without exaggeration, this is one great and outstanding feature of this Ummat and a source of great fortune, that this Ummat has a complete record of the life of their beloved Rasulullaa h (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). They can take every narration and be able to ascertain how correct it is. There is not a single nation on earth today, that can claim they have such a complete and authentic record of the life of their saviour. This point requires a detailed discussion, but here we will suffice just upon this brief indication.
(3). There are two ways of explaining the life of our Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). The first is that one takes every single aspect of Nabi‟s (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) life and implement it, internally and externally, in such a way that the features, character, mannerisms, etc, of every Ummati of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) is seen in them. The onlooker can immediately discern that these are the servants of Muhammed (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam).
The second way is that wherever one gets the opportunity, one speaks well and glowingly of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). One extols on the virtues, habits, features, character, manner, etc. of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam).
The Salf-e-Saaliheen, Sahaabah-e-Kiraam, Taabieen and Aimmah-e-Huda, used to implement both these aspects of Nabi‟s (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) life. They would implement each and every Sunnat from the life of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) into theirs and at every juncture they would extol his virtues and praises. You must most probably have heard this incident in the life of Hadhrat Umar (radhiAllaahu anhu) that when he was on his deathbed, a young person came into his presence whose trousers were below his ankles. Hadhrat Umar (radhiAllaahu anhu) told him to raise his trousers to above his ankles – since this was contrary to the Sunnah of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). Hadhrat Abdullaah Bin Umar (radhiAllaahu anhu) had such fervour for following the Sunnah of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) that when he embarked on the journey for Hajj, he would stop at every place where Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) had stopped when he (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) went for Hajj. Whichever tree Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) rested under he would do, likewise.
Wherever Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) stopped to relieve himself, he (Hadhrat Abdullaah Bin Umar – radhiAllaahu anhu) would also stop, even though he did not have the urge to relieve himself. He would even imitate the mode of Nabi‟s (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) sitting. These were the true and genuine lovers of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam), who not only restricted the example of Nabi‟s (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) life to Kitaabs; they were practical examples of his life. They illuminated and scented the world with the beautiful way of life of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). The Sahaabah-e-Kiraam (radhiAllaahu anhum) and the Taabieen (rahmatullahi alaihim) reached many places where they did not know the native tongue neither were they familiar with the vocabulary of the people. But merely by looking at their example, their character, habits, dealings, etc. many a tribe accepted this way of life and in this way the Noor of Imaan spread, and they became servants of the beautiful way of Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). This is the lustre of the life of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) which every believer needs to spread by way of example.
(4). None of the Salf-e-Saaliheen ever attended a gathering of the Seerat of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). Nor did any of them ever grace the gathering of Meelad. The reason being that for them each day was a day of Eid and every night Shab-e-Baraat. It is clear and obvious that when their entire lives were drenched in the Seerat of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam), when their every gathering and function was filled with the lustre of Nabi‟s (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) name, when their every word and action was a portrayal of Seerat-e-Nabawi, then what was the reason or need for them to hold gatherings specifically named such. But, as the eras started moving further and further away from that of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam), the actions of people were turned into mere speech and empty slogans, their actions were replaced by words. Alhamdulillah, this Ummat will never be barren. With the Fadhl of Allaah Ta`ala there are still people today who keep the life of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) in front of them as a mirror and lead their lives accordingly. And for such people every Sunnat of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) is more valuable than the dominion of Hadhrat Suleiman (alaihi salaam), and the treasures of Qaaroon. However, I need to shamefully concede that such people are very few. Most people are like me, a useless and hopeless creature, who, once or twice in a year call out slogans of Seerat -e-Nabawi and we understand that we have fulfilled the obligation that is binding upon us and we feel that we deserve the intercession of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). However, throughout the year there is not even a glimmer of the blessed life of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) in ours. Such people have effaced the Sunnats of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). Not daily, but every minute of every day, they are desecrating and destroying the Sunnats of our beloved Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) without even having a shred of shame or guilt that they are causing untold harm. They are under this false notion that by listening to one two Qawalis and poetry praising Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam), their duty is done.
(5). The Ummat remained free of gatherings of Meelad for six centuries. And as has been mentioned previously, the Muslims never held any specific gathering in the name of Meeladun or Seerat-e-Nabi. The initiators of the gatherings of Meelad was Sultan Abu Saeed Muzaffar and Abul Khitaab Ibn Wahya in the year 602 A.H. Three things were kept in special consideration (at these gatherings):
1. The specification of the 12th Rabiul Awwal
2. The gathering of Ulama and pious people
3. At the end of the gathering, Isaal-e-Thawaab was made to Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) by means of distributing food.
There is a difference of opinion regarding what type of people these two (initiators of Meelad) were. Some historians have classified them as Faasiq (Shar`i transgressors) and liars. Whilst others have said them to be just and reliable. Allaah Knows best.
When this innovation began, then there were discussions between the Ulama with regard to its permissibility or impermissibility. Allaamah Faakihani (rahmatullahi alaih) and his companions excused them selves from attending these gathering due to the conditions and specifications that were at tached to them and they also branded these gatherings a Bid`ah-e-Sayyi`a. Other Ulama sided with the Sultan and they did not regard the conditions placed on the gathering as being objectionable and they gave the ruling of permissibility and participated therein. When this custom started it did not remain restricted to only Ulama and pious persons, in fact, laypeople also started attending and all other sorts of „extras‟ were introduced. We now have to take stock of the present day Meelad celebrations that take place (Allaah Ta`ala knows best how many new and different introductions have been added).
(6). One of the main points to consider is the fact that an act which was non-existent during the era of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam), his Sahaabah and Taabieen, in fact Islaam remained free of it for six centuries, and now it has gained the status of being a „characteristic‟ and „feature‟ of Islaam. Those who keep this „Characteristic of Islaam‟ alive are regarded as Aashiqaan-e-Rasool (lovers of the Rasool). Whilst those who remain aloof from this innovation and newly invented „characteristic‟ of Islaam are regarded as enemies of Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). Inna Lillaahi Wa Inna Ilaihi Raji`oon.
If only these people would consider and reflect regarding those who in the initial six centuries of Islaam who were „deprived‟ of their newly invented „characteristic‟ of Islaam — what would they consider them to be? Are they all – Nauthubillaah – enemies of Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam)?
Will they also not consider that the announcement for the completion of Deen was made on the occasion of Hajjatul Widaa on the Day of Arafat. Which prophet came thereafter to introduce this new „characteristic‟ of Islaam which the Ummat in the first six centuries of Islaam were unaware of? Is Islaam to be treated like it is mine or anybody else‟s house, that they can remove what they wish therefrom and add to it what they desire?
(7). Actually it was a distinguishing trait of the nations prior to Islaam that they used to celebrate death anniversaries. Just like how the Christians celebrate the day of the birth of Hadhrat Isaa (alaihi salaam). On the other hand, it was Islaam that eradicated all such customs. There are two basic underlying reasons and wisdoms behind this prohibition. Firstly, whatever occurs at these birthday celebrations, have no truck with the true sprit of Islaam. Islaam does not subscribe to decorations, pomp, show and slogan singing. True Islaamic teachings and invitation begins from the heart and not outward noises and entertainment. The aim and object of Islaamic teachings is focussed on character, true beliefs and virtuous actions. All this outward pomp and splendour has absolutely no value in Islaam.
The second wisdom is that Islaam does not make a hue and cry over any specific season. In fact, it is like a pure upright tree, whose shade and fruit are continuous and everlasting. It is as though the words of the Qur`aan Majeed “Its fruits are ever-lasting and its shade (also)” indicate that the invitation and message of Islaam is not specific to any particular day or occasion, in fact, it encompasses the horizons and all times.
Also, other nations celebrate one or two special occasions, like birthday anniversaries (of their pious) and they suffice upon this. Contrary to this, Islaam has in its lap, hundreds of thousands, nay, millions such venerable personalities whose stages and ranks deserve noting – Islaam accepts all the prophets, i.e. approximately 25 000 Ambiyaa, who were the heroes of mankind, and the presence of each one of them far surpassed the value of the entire universe, and the after the Ambiyaa, we have the Sahaabah-e-Kiraam (radhiAllaahu anhum). Was there total less than 25 000 of them?!
And then after them, we have all the thousands of Auliyaa of every era, who were lamps of guidance for the masses. Now, if Islaam has to open the doors of birthday celebrations for each one of all these personalities, will the Muslims have anything else to do in their lives besides celebrating?
Since all such vain acts are the anti-theses of the spirit and teachings of Islaam, hence, it was not acceptable or practiced in the initial six centuries of Islaam, after Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam), the Sahaabah and Tabieen. If you have studied the history of Islaam, you will note that the sixth century was around the time when the Christians raised the banner of trinity and there were many battles between them and the Muslims. The Christians sullied and putrefied the earth with their filth. On the one hand the spirit of Islaam was being weakened due to the many Fitnahs and innovations that had entered the people, and on the other hand the Christians were gaining victory over the Muslims. Due to this weakness of the Muslims, they were easily influenced by the cultures and customs of their victors. Hence, the Muslims also started celebrating the birthday of our Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam), in imitation of the kuffaar ways. However, collective spirit of the Ummat did not accept this innovation.
In fact, from around the beginning of the sixth century, until today, the Ulama of the Ummat have branded it a Bid`ah. They included it in the category of being a means of deviation.
(8). Even though the custom of Meelad began in the sixth century, and people have added many „extras‟ to it, no one ever had the courage to call it “Eid”. Because our Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) clearly stated “Do not make my grave an „Eid‟”. I have quoted above the text from Hadhrat Qaadhi Thanaaullaah Paani Pati (rahmatullahi alaih) stating the reasons as to why there exists a prohibition in making it an “Eid”. However, recently, this occasion has been granted the status and honour of being called “Eid Meeladun Nabi”.
Which Muslim is there in the world over who is unaware that Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) has specified two Eids for this Ummat? – Eidul Fitr and Eidul Adha. If the birthday of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) was also to have been called an “Eid” and if it had any connection to the teachings of Islaam, then Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) would have stated so himself. If Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) deemed this to be a noteworthy action, the he would have introduced in himself, but this was not the case. This leaves us with two conclusions, either we are grossly mistaken by calling it an “Eid”, or – Nauthubillaah – we are more happier at the birth of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) than the Sahaabah-e-Kiraam (radhiAllaahu anhum) were and they also did not have as much affection and love for Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) than we have!!
Another moot point here is that there is a difference of opinion as to the exact date of Nabi‟s (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) birth. Some say that it was the 9th Rabiul Awwal, others say 8th Rabiul Awwal and the majority say 12th. But, there is no difference in opinion with regards the demise of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam), which was the 12th Rabiul Awwal. It appears that we have chosen the day of the demise of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) to celebrate the „festival of Eid‟. If someone has to ask us whether we are celebrating the day of the birth of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) or are we rejoicing at his demise (Nauthubillaah)? It will be difficult for us to give a reply.
Nevertheless, I do not regard the calling of this occasion an “Eid” as a light matter, in fact, I regard it as being a serious and clear alteration in the Deen. In Shar`i terminology, to use one‟s own opinion in unsuitable and unjustified places is regarded as changing and altering the Deen.
(9). Another point is that this “Eid” which is celebrated in the name of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) is also a matter of shame and disgrace. Beardless boys sing erroneous poems, fabricated and false stories which have no substantiation in the Hadith or history are narrated, noise, rejoicing and merrymaking take place, Salaat is neglected and a whole lot of other things occur whereof we are unaware. If only they had taken cognisance and respected the honour of the Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) at this Bid`ah which takes place in his name (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam).
A very disturbing belief which stirs anger is that these people believe that Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) presents himself in person at these gatherings. Oh what a misfortune and calamity to Islaam!
(10). Now I would like to make a notable final point regarding “Eid Meeladun Nabi”. Of recent, here in Karachi at these Meelad celebrations models of the Roza-e-At`har (blessed grave of Nabi – sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) and the Kaabah are made. These are placed at large squares, and people come there and gain „barkat‟ from them. They also make Tawaaf of the Kaabah models. And all this carries on at the hands of Muslims and under the supervision of the Ulama! How sad!
Leaving aside all the other things of the festival of Meelad and consider just this one point. How many evils are combined in just this one act.
Firstly, the thousands of rupees that are spent here is nothing other than waste and squander. You have passed the quotation of Mullah Hadhrat Ali Qaari (rahmatullahi alaih) wherein the Hadith of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) is mentioned regarding the prohibition of placing lamps etc at the gravesides due to it being a vain act of waste. The wealth granted by Allaah Ta`ala is being wasted freely. Consider – if Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) regarded the placing of one lamp at the graveside as being a vain act of waste, and he cursed such a perpetrator, what would he say regarding the thousands which are spent in these festivities? Also consider the irony that this wastage is perpetrated by those people who languish in abject poverty, where they are even at times prepared to sell their Imaan in exchange for food, clothes and shelter. If only these people can give this same money in cash to the poor in the name of Isaal-e-Thawaab for Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam), how much of great merit would it not warrant and how meritorious and rewarding it would be. Would not this be a better and more rewarding act?
Also, all this festivities and waste carries on in whose name? That personality who tied stones on his belly due to excessive hunger. If we carry out all such vain acts, then what example will we be to those who are non-believers? The Qur`aan Majeed describes the wasters as being the “brothers of shaitaan” and we regard it as being an meritorious and rewarding act.
Secondly, these actions are following in the examples of the Shiahs and Rawaafidh. You must be aware that every year the Shiahs „celebrate‟ the death anniversary of Hadhrat Hussein (radhiAllaahu anhu). On this occasion they enact all sorts of evil acts. Whatever evil they have innovated in the name of Hadhrat Hussein (radhiAllaahu anhu) and the family of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam), we have now introduced in the name of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam), himself. Consider carefully, if the placing of models of the Rhoda-e-At`har and Kaabatullah at every street corner and people carrying out such actions at these models as they would at the actual Kaabah and blessed grave of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam), then what criticisms can we level at the ta`ziyah, daldal, etc. of the Shiahs? It is a sad thing that all the evil innovations the Rawaafidh have perpetrated, we are now following them and have placed the seal of authenticity to it.
Thirdly, the models of the Rhoda-e-At`har and Kaabah that are made up are similar to the ta`ziyah of the Shiahs in that they are temporary and counterfeit. Today they are constructed and tomorrow broken up. The question here is that does any blessing or effect from the actual grave of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) or the Kaabah get transferred to these models or not? If no effect does pass on to these models, then there is absolutely no doubt that these are vain and useless acts. If any effect and blessing is actually passed on to these models, then what is the Shar`i justification to prove this? Also, to believe that there are blessings of the actual Kaabah and grave of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) on the models, then is this a sign of Islaam or ignorance? And is not the act of making these fake models the one day and broken the next an act of dishonour and debasement? It is a well -known fact that a statuette of a king is never the real king. It bears absolutely no qualities of the real king. Also, if one breaks and defaces the statuette of a king it would imply and denote disrespect and contempt for the king. It also denotes rebelliousness to the king. But, nowadays, those who deface and break up the models of the Rhoda-e- At`har and Kaabatullaah, have no shame and regret at their act of showing disregard at a symbol of Islaam.
Fourthly, just as the Shiahs make offerings and take vows at the ta`ziyah of Hadhrat Hussein (radhiAllaahu anhu), this same evil and despicable Bid`ah is slowly seeping into our people. Durood and salaam are recited at this model of Nabi‟s (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) grave. Actual Tawaaf is made around the models of the Kaabatullaah. It i s as though these people have no need to go to the real Kaabah for Hajj and Umrah, or to visit the actual grave of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). My pen does not have the strength and capability to sufficiently condemn, censure and rebuke these evil and accursed acts. These acts are extremely serious and vile according to the Aimmah of the Ahle Sunnah Wal Jamaat. To gauge the seriousness according to our Ulama, we will suffice on just one example. There was a stage when people innovated the act of gathering outside their town on open plains on the day of Arafat just as the Haajis do on the occasion of Hajj. Imitating the act of the Haajis, they would also spend the entire day in dua and Ibaadat. This custom was called “Ta`reef” (i.e. celebrating the occasion of Arafat).
On the face of it, there appeared no harm in this act. In fact, it could be deemed an good act in that at least once a year people would get the opportunity to make proper dua and Astaghfaar. But, our Ulama of Ahle Sunnat (may Allaah Ta`ala reward them) branded this act a Bid`ah and condemned it in the strongest terms. They stated: “Ta`reef is nothing (i.e. it is worthless and has no value in the Shariah).”
Sheikh Ibn Nujaim, author of Bahrur Raa`iq states;
“Since the stationing on the plains of Arafat is such an Ibaadat which is specifically for that place, hence this act, in any other place is not permissible. Just like Tawaaf, etc. is not permissible, as you realise that to make Tawaaf as one would of the Kaabah at any other place is not permissible.” [Page 176, vol.2]
Hadhrat Shah Waliullaah Muhaddith Dehlwi (rahmatullahi alaihi) states:
“The fact that Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) said: „Do not make my grave an „Eid‟‟ indicates to this fact that the doors to changing the Deen have been closed, because the Jews and Christians used to do this at the graves of their prophets.” [Hujjatullaahil Baalighah]
Mullah Hadhrat Ali (radhiAllaahu anhu) Qaari (rahmatullahi alaih) mentions in commenting on the rituals of Hajj that Tawaaf is a speciality of the Kaabah. Therefore it is Haraam to make Tawaaf of the graves of the Ambiyaa and Auliyaa. There is no consideration in the actions of the ignorant people, even if they assume the form of Mashaaikh and Ulama. [Al-Jannatu Li Ahlis Sunnati, page 7]
It is stated in Bahrur Raa`iq, Kifaayah Sharh Hidaaya and Mi`raajud Diraaya:
“That person who makes Tawaaf of any other Masjid besides the Kaabah, there is a fear of kufr for him.” [Ibid.]
From the above explanations, one can ascertain the status and validity of the act of regarding the models of the Kaabah and Rhoda as being the real thing and carrying out the same actions as one would at these places.
In conclusion, we note that the festival of Meelad with all its attached evils and those which are added on every year, is diametrically opposed to the teachings and the true spirit of Islaam. I am pained at the reaction our beloved Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) goes through when all these disgraceful acts are presented to him. And since the Sahaabah-e-Kiraam (radhiAllaahu anhum) were the connection between us and Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam), what must their condition be if they see such things?
Nevertheless, I do not regard these acts as merely Bid`ah, I consider it as being alteration in Deen. I will conclude this discussion on a statement of Imaam Rabbaani Mujaddid Alfe Thaani (rahmatullahi), who said regarding this mas`alah about his Sheikh Khwajah Baaqiullaah (rahmatullahi alaih):
“Look at this impartially. Let us assume that our Hadhrat has to come into this world at this time, and he has to attend these gatherings. Will he be pleased with them or not? This humble servant is quite certain that he will never approve thereof. It is the aim of this humble writer to express and convey the truth. Whether you accept it or reject, is of no consequence (to me). There is also no scope for argument on this matter.” [Maktoob 273, part one]