الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي أنعم على هذه الأمة بإرسال حبيبه الحنيف، وألهم أمته بالاحتفال بمولده الشريف، نحمده تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلن تجد له وليا مرشدا، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك و له الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير،  ونشهد أن سيدنا و مولانا محمداً عبده ورسوله، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدٌى الأمانة ونصح الأمة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحق، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.           أما بعد! فيا عباد الله اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر. قال الله تعالى في كتابه الكريم قُلْ بِفَضْلِ ٱللَّهِ وَبِرَحْمَتِهِ فَبِذَلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَحُواْ

 

Allah says in His Noble Book, the translation of which is: “Say: ‘It is the favour of Allah and His mercy that should be the cause of their rejoicing.” And He says,

 

وَأَمَّا بِنِعْمِةِ رَبِّكَ فَحَدِّث

 

the translation of which is, “As for the blessings of your Lord, speak out!” In other words, publicise the blessings you have been given, announce them to the world, make a big deal out of them. Celebrate them. rejoice in them, give thanks for them. For that is who we are – a community who seizes on every moment and every opportunity to rejoice and show our gratitude to the One to whom we owe everything. It is only when we give thanks that we can truly be considered to be worshipping our Lord.

وَاشْكُرُوا لِلَّهِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ

 

the translation of which is, “Show thanks to Allah if it is Him you worship.” This gratitude lies at the heart of what it means to be a slave, and no opportunity should be mixed to express it, and no opportunity should be missed to remind ourselves of the need for it. In other words, anything we put into place that helps remind us of a great blessing is praiseworthy. This is the example shown to us by the Messenger of Allah. We celebrate all blessings and acts of kindness and mercy showed to us, whether they be in the present or in the past, and whether they be blessings that are for us as individuals or for us as an umma.When they are in the present we celebrate them in the moment, and when they are in the past, we celebrate them after a specific amount of time has passed, such as having the aqiqa for a child after seven days. And this is not limited to the recent past, for there are some blessings that resonate throughout the ages and whose effects remain undiluted by the passage of time. One such blessing is celebrated by the day of Ashura. In the Sahihayn, it is reported that when the Prophet arrived in Madina, he found the Jews fasting on the day of Ashura so he asked them about that and they said, “It is the day Allah drowned Firawn and saved Musa, so we fast it out of gratitude to Allah.” Whereupon the Prophet said,

 

نَحْنُ أَوْلَى بِمُوسَى مِنكُمْ

 

“We have more right to Musa than you,” and he ordered the Muslims to also mark the day with fasting. This was not a current blessing that they were commemorating, but one that had happened in the distant past. And the reason for its commemoration is clear – out of shukr to Allah for a great blessing to the believers.

Another such blessing is commemorated by the night of the Laylat al-Qadr. We commemorate it out of gratitude for the Book of Allah, our Lord’s guidance to this umma. Allah says,

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ

 

the translation of which is, “Truly We send it down on the Laylat al-Qadr.” Both these occasions mark great blessings in the past, but there is an even greater blessing that our Lord has given this umma, a blessing unparalleled in the history of this world. And that is the Messenger of Allah. Without him, the Book of Allah would never have reached us and we would have remained lost and in the dark, without hope of salvation. Qadi Iyad said in his great book, the Shifa,

“What ihsan/ goodness could be worthier or of greater importance than his goodness to all the believers! What favour could be more universally beneficial and of greater use than his blessing to all the Muslims, since he is their means to guidance, the one who rescues them from blind error, and the one who summons them to success and honour? He is their means to their Lord and their intercessor. He speaks up on their behalf, bears witness for them and makes eternal life and everlasting bliss obligatory for them.”

So how could we not celebrate his coming, how could we not set aside a day to remind ourselves of him and the blessing he represents. Imam as-Suyuti said, “What blessing could be greater than the blessing of this Prophet, the Prophet of mercy, emerging into this world on that day. And on that basis, and when taking into account the story of Musa on the day of Ashura, it befits us to single out that day, i.e. the day of his birth, in particular.”

Those who object by saying, “If that is the case, then why did the Sahaba not celebrate his birth?” have misunderstood. In their rush to declare a practice of their fellow Muslims objectionable, they have missed the salient point. The Companions did celebrate the birth of the Messenger of Allah, but they did it on a daily basis as they were contemporaries of that blessing. Their connection to him was so strong that they did not need any particular day to remind them. There were signs of him everywhere they looked. They did what we do on the mawlid every day. Every day was set aside to honour him. They kept the events of his life alive in the same way as they kept the Book of Allah alive. And we well know the level of their ‘inaya for the Quran. Sa‘ad ibn abi Waqqas said,

 

كنا نروي أبناءنا مغازي رسول الله ﷺ كما نحفِّظهم السورة من القرآن

 

“We used to teach our children about the battles of the Messenger of Allah in the same way that we used to get them to memorise suras of the Quran.” “So why are there no indications from Allah or His Prophet that we should mark the day of his birth?” these same people ask. The truth is that there are plenty for those who open their eyes and stop looking at everything in the light of finding fault with their fellow believers. For when the Messenger of Allah was asked why he fasted on Mondays, he said,

فيه وُلدتُ وفيه أُنزل عليَّ

 

“On that day, I was born and on that day I received revelation.” In other words, he himself commemorated his own birthday. And it is narrated by Hafidh Shamsudeen ibn al-Jawzi that Abu Lahab appeared to one of the Salaf (reported to be his brother al-Abbas in other sources) in a dream and when he was asked about his fate said that he was in the Fire and the only time he received any relief was on Mondays because of the joy he had felt on the birth of the Prophet which had prompted him to free his slavegirl Thuwayba on the spot. In other words, the birth of the Prophet is even commemorated in the Unseen, and even by unbelievers.

While the day of the birth is known, Monday, the exact date is a matter of some disagreement. And this has led to another of the criticisms of those who hate the celebration of the mawlid. But the truth of the matter is that that is immaterial. The important thing is that we have a day upon which we celebrate this great event, as with the day of Ashura for Musa. The exact date of most events that took place millenia ago is disagreed upon, even the timing of the laylat al-Qadar is not known for certain, and yet the vast majority of us look for it on the 27th night of Ramadan.

Of all the days that have been proposed for his birth, the majority of the people of knowledge have opted for the 12th of Rabi al-Awwal, including the great alim and mufassir of the Sahaba, Ibn Abbas, who said,

 

ولد رسول الله ﷺ عام الفيل يوم الاثنين الثاني عشر من شهر ربيع الأول

 

“The Messenger of Allah was born in the year of the Elephant on Monday the 12th of Rabi al-Awwal.” This day is truly an Eid for us, so mark it as an Eid and do not let objections that have no merit keep you away. Come to the mosque on Wednesday night after Maghrib and join us in remembering the Messenger and singing his praises. You will not be disappointed.

 

أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيم.

 

الحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.

أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته.

 

The other most common criticism we hear of the celebration of the Mawlid is that it is a bid’a, an innovation, something that did not take place in the lifetime of the Prophet, and on that basis it is reprehensible and misguided.

كل بدعة ضلالة وكل ضلالة في النار

 

“Every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in the Fire.” These are words, I am sure every Muslim has heard. And when we hear these words, it definitely gives us pause. That is, until we hear what the great ulama of this great umma have said concerning this matter. For this hadith, like many others, is open to misinterpretation, and that is why we take our deen from our teachers and not directly from books, that is why we leave interpretation of the Book of Allah and the statements of the Prophet to those who have the tools and knowledge to understand them. The great scholar and contemporary of Malik, Sufyan ibn Uyaynah, said,

“Hadith are a source of misguidance except for the fuqaha.”

A literal reading of this hadith, كل بدعة ضلالة, would seem to suggest that any new practice whatsoever done after the death of the Prophet takes a person to the Fire, but that is not its meaning according to the ulama. Rather, this is an example of elision of what is understood by the listeners. The audience knew what type of innovation the Prophet was talking about and so he did not have to explain it in full. kullu bid’atin means:

 

كل بدعة مخالفة لكتاب الله وسنة رسوله

 

“Every bida’ that goes against the teachings of Book of Allah and the Sunna of His Messenger.” If an innovation does not go against them, then it is fine. Imam ash-Shafi’i said,

 

ما أحدث وخالف كتاباً أو سنة أو إجماعاً أو أثراً فهو البدعة الضالة، وما أحدث من الخير ولم يخالف شيئاً من ذلك فهو المحمود

 

“Whatever is innovated and goes against the Book or Sunna or consensus or traditions of the Companions is misguided innovation. But as for what is innovated and is good, not contradicting any of the things we have mentioned, that form of innovation is praiseworthy.” And the famous Andalusi mufassir, al-Qurtubi, said,

“Any innovation brought forth by a created being must either have some basis in the Law or none. If it has some basis, then it automatically falls under the category of what is liked by Allah and encouraged by His Messenger, making it praiseworthy, while if it goes against what Allah and His Messenger have commanded, then it is blameworthy and repugnant.”

If we were to understand bid’a as those who constantly remind us about it would have us do, then we would be obliged to pray tarawih at home, not do adhans from minarets, not read from mushafs and fight with only swords, spears and bows and arrows even when our enemies attack us with rockets and guns.  For all of those practices were innovations not done in the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah. And that would clearly be absurd. For the Messenger of Allah was a human being and lived on this planet for a human lifetime in a particular age. He did not do every thing under the sun nor say every word nor make use of every tool – many of them did not even exist in the time and place in which he lived. So does that make all such things impermissible? Of course not. All new things that come into being or new deeds that are done or words that are said are measured against what he commanded or prohibited. If they conform, they are praiseworthy, if they conflict they are blameworthy, and if they are not mentioned or indicated at all, then they are mubah/permissible. Nothing may be outright rejected or declared unlawful without proof.

And there is certainly no proof against celebrating the mawlid. Indeed, from the moment the practice was first established in the fourth century hijri until the ninth century, not one voice was raised in criticism of it. On the contrary, nearly all of the great luminaries of this umma spoke out in favour including adh-Dhahabi, as-Suyuti, Ibn Kathir, as-Sakhawi, al-Qastalani and many others. Indeed Imam an-Nawawi, the renewer of the Shafi’i madhhab, called it, من أحسن ما ابتُدِع, one of the best things to have been innovated. And as the Prophet said,

 

ما رآه المسلمون حسناً فهو عند الله حسن وما رآه المسلمون قبيحاً فهو عند الله قبيح

 

“What the Muslims view as good is good in the eyes of Allah, and what the Muslims view as ugly is ugly in the eyes of Allah.” So hurry to what is good in the eyes of your Lord. Set aside your reservations and embrace this great day. Use it to strengthen and renew your connection to your guide and intercessor, and through him your connection to all his followers. Use it to increase your love for him and your love for his people, and your knowledge of his character and teachings, thereby enabling you to bring them to life in the here and now.

We ask Allah to fill our hearts with love of His Messenger and make him more dear to us than our families, our possessions and ourselves. And we ask Him to make this coming mawlid a time of great joy and togetherness for the Muslim umma, a time when we remember what links and connects us and forget our differences.

 

إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ، يَا أَيُهَا الذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً.

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ  أَجْمَعِينَ. وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيٍّ، وعن أم المومنين عائشة التي أمرنا الله في سورة النور أن ندافع عنها، وَعَنْ سَائِرِ الصَّحَابَةِ أَجْمَعِينَ، خُصُوصاً اِلأَنْصَارَ مِنْهُمْ وَالمُهَاجِرِينَ، وَعَنِ التَّابِعِينَ وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ وَمَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.

اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ وُلَاةَ أُمُورِ المُسْلِمِينَ لِمَا يُرْضِيكَ وَلِاتِّبَاعِ سُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ المُسْتَقِيمِ، وَأَصْلِحْهُمْ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى شَيْخِنَا، وَعَلَى أَمِيرِنَا، وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ أُمَرَاءِ وَزُعَمَاءِ المُسْلِمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى المُسْلِمِينَ فِي هَذِهِ المَدِينَةِ، وَوَفِّقْهُمْ لِمَا تُحِبُّهُ وَتَرْضَاهُ يَا أَكْرَمَ الأَكْرَمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ أَعِزَّ الإِسْلَامَ وَالمُسِْلمِينَ، وَاخْذُلِ الْكُفْرَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ، وَانْصُرِ المُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ. وَاجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وَكَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلَى.

رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقَِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.

إِنَّ اللهَ يَامُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَّكَّرُونَ، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ. وَقُومُواْ إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللهُ