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 عز وجل في كتابه العزيز: وَذَكِّرْهُمْ بِأَيَّامِ اللهِ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِكُلِّ صَبَّارٍ شَكُورٍ

 

Allah says in His Noble Book, the translation of which is, “Remind them of the Days of Allah. In that, there are Signs for every one who is patient and thankful.” Ayyamu-llaah literally means ‘days of Allah’, but the mufassirun, including Ibn Abbas and Mujahid, have said that another possible meaning of the word in this context is ni‘am/blessings. So the ayat is an instruction to remind people of the blessings of Allah, or to combine the two meanings, to remind them of the days upon which great blessings were bestowed upon mankind. One such day is fast approaching, for today is the 1st of Rabi‘ al-Awwal, and our noble Messenger was born on the 12th of this month, the night of which corresponds to Monday the 12th December. If we are to remind of the blessings of Allah, if we are to rejoice and celebrate in our Lord’s generosity, and show our thankfulness for His guidance, then there is no opportunity like this, for this world has never witnessed a greater blessing than the day upon which the mercy to all the worlds was born. Than the day upon which the light of guidance entered this plane of existence and illuminated the path for the millions upon millions of people who were alive and were yet to come. Not one of us would be sat here today if it were not for him. Qadi Iyad says in his Shifa,

 

فأي إحسان أجلُّ قدرا، وأعظمُ خطرا من إحسانه إلى جميع المؤمنين؟ وأي إفضال أعمُّ منفعة، وأكثرُ فائدة من إنعامه على كافة المسلمين، إذ كان ذريعتَهم إلى الهداية، ومُنقذَهم من العماية، وداعيَهم إلى الفلاح، والكرامة، ووسيلتَهم إلى ربهم، وشفيعَهم، والمتكلمَ عنهم، والشاهدَ لهم، والموجبَ لهم البقاء الدائم، والنعيم السرمد.

 

“What favour could be worthier or of greater importance than his favour to all the believers! What service 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.”

In the moment that he was born, the whole of creation rejoiced, even the trees, rocks and animals, and the earth itself, for it shook and quaked, causing the balconies of the arcades of Chosroes to come tumbling down, the flame of Persia that had been kept alight continuously for 1000 years to go out, and the waters of lake Tiberias to recede. All of this has been transmitted in al-Bayhaqi. And the stars shone brighter in their joy than they had ever done and came as close as they had ever done, enabling those in Makka to see the palaces of Caesar by their light. Al-Busayri says in his Hamziyya,

 

وتدلت زُهر النجومِ إليها                            فأضاءَت بضوئها الأرجاء

وتراءت قصورُ قيصرَ بالرو                     م يراها مَن داره البطحاء

 

“The radiant stars dropped low in the sky,  And shone their bright light in all directions

enabling the palaces of the Caesar in Byzantium, To be seen by those whose homes lay within the valley of Makka.”

And not even the unbelievers were immune to this tremendous outpouring of joy, for it is narrated in al-Bukhari that Abu Lahab, one of the most implacable enemies of the Prophet, a man who is mentioned in the Quran in surat tabbat yadaah as being accursed and in the Fire, even one such as he felt such joy upon hearing of the birth of the Prophet, that he freed  on the spot the one who brought him the news, his slavegirl, Thuwaybah. This one act of celebration at the birth of the best of creation is the one and only thing in his entire life that brought him everlasting benefit, for because of it, he receives a partial reprieve and lessening of his punishment in Jahannam every Monday, the day of the week upon which the Prophet was born.

This is the Mawlid, THE birth, and the anniversary of it has been commemorated and celebrated by thankful Muslims the world over. But there are some who do not, greeting the day with disapproval rather than joy, claiming that its celebration has nothing to do with the deen, but is in fact a bid’a, a practice not found among the early generations of the Muslims And moreover, they add, even were it permissible to celebrate his birth, no particular day of the year should be singled out for it or made an Eid.

As for their first objection – that it is a bid‘a – this is true. Despite their unparalleled love of the Messenger of Allah, the first generations of Muslims did not celebrate the Mawlid. But that is not because they did not rejoice in his birth, it is because they did not need a day in the year to remind them of the blessing. They celebrated his life and birth every single day of their lives – every day was like an anniversary, so strong was their link to him. In the same way that their direct and unbroken connection to the sunna spared them the need of codifying a system of fiqh or a tariqa of tasawwuf, so too did their enormous love of and devotion to the Prophet spare them the need of having an official celebration of his birthday. But that did not stop the later generations from needing all those things. The fact that something was not done in the time of the Prophet does not, in itself, make it unlawful, for no one objected to the establishment of the tarawih prayer in the mosque by Umar ibn al-Khattab, nor the convening of a second adhan for the Jumua prayer by Uthman, nor the official masahif he commanded be copied out and sent to the regions. No, bid’a is not the monolith that some suppose. An innovation is only haram when it contradicts the Quran or Sunna. Imam ash-Shafi’i said,

 

ما أُحدِث وخالف كتاباً أو سنة أو إجماعاً أو أثراً فهو البدعة الضالة، وما أُحدِث 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.”

There is no doubt that meeting to study the seera of the Prophet and shower him with blessings, meeting to compose and recite poems in his honour and speak publicly of his many good qualities, are all practices that are good and recommended in the deen. Indeed, Allah says,

وَكُلّاً نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ مِنْ أَنْبَاءِ الرُّسُلِ مَا نُثَبِّتُ بِهِ فُؤَادَكَ

 

the translation of which is, “We have given you all these accounts of the Messengers so We can make your heart firm by means of it.” The stories of the Messengers, especially those of our own Messenger, are the means by which our Lord gives us certainty in our deen, so any occasion that encourages us to recount them can never be blameworthy, only praiseworthy. The Prophet said,

 

من سنَّ فِي الإِسلامِ سُنَّةً حسنةً فلـه أجرُها وأجرُ مَن عمِلَ بها بعدَه مِن غيرِ أن ينقُصَ مِن أجورِهم شيءٌ، ومَن سنَّ في الإسلامِ سنةً سيئةً كان عليه وزرُها ووزرُ مَن عمِلَ بها مِن بعدِه مِن غيرِ أن ينقُصَ مِن أوزارِهم شيءٌ.

 

“Anyone who introduces a good sunna into the deen of Islam will receive the reward for doing that sunna and the reward of everyone else after him who puts that sunna into practice without lessening from their reward in any way. And anyone who introduces a bad sunna into the deen of Islam will bear the wrong action for doing it and the wrong action of everyone who puts that sunna into practice after him without lessening from their wrong action in any way.”

According to the sources, this practice of celebrating the Mawlid in a public way was first initiated in the seventh century hijri by the king of Erbil in Iraq, Abu Sa‘eed al-Muzaffar bin Baktakeen Kawkabriyy, a man whose nobility, knowledge, sense of justice and deep-seated love of the Prophet has been praised by Ibn Kathir and adh-Dhahabi among others. He would invite the scholars and men of Allah of his day to come to his court to remember the life of the Prophet and sing his praises, and this practice swiftly gained acceptance throughout the Muslim world, being adopted by scholars and commoners alike until it came to be practiced in almost every land where Muslims could be found. This fact alone is, in itself, one of the strongest proofs of its praiseworthy nature, for Ibn Mas’ud is narrated as having 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 reprehensible is reprehensible in the eyes of Allah.” Thus, the rush of the Muslims to adopt the practice of mawlid is a proof that it is good in the eyes of Allah, a position confirmed by the great scholar of Islam, as-Suyuti, who said:

 

هو من البدع الحسنة التي يثاب عليها صاحبها لما فيها من تعظيم قدر النبي ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ وإظهار الفرح والاستبشار بمولده الشريف

 

“This festival of celebrating the mawlid of the Noble Prophet is a bid’a hasana (good innovation) and those who take part in it will be rewarded, since in it people honour the greatness and status of the Prophet and give expression to their joy and happiness at his birth.”

 

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 second objection to the Mawlid rests on the claim that only two Eids have been legislated by Allah in the course of the year for this umma, the Eid al-Adha and the Eid al-Fitr, and singling out another day as an Eid is tantamount to adding and legislating things to the deen which are not part of it, an action that is forbidden and reprehensible.

Firstly it must be said that the Muslims in no way limit the celebration of the life and birth of the Prophet to this one day. On the contrary, gatherings which celebrate the Prophet’s birth take place throughout the year, such as during the moussem of our shaykhs or even during weekly circles of dhikr and halaqaat. Indeed, you will find that not a day goes by except that the birth of the Messenger of Allah is being celebrated and commemorated by Muslims somewhere in the world.

Secondly, no one is saying that commemorating the day of the birth of the Prophet is obligatory or even sunna. Rather, the celebration is convened in accordance with the Islamic usuli principle of masaalih mursala (preserving matters that are intended by the deen), for it is in the general public interest to remind ourselves of the great merit of our noble Messenger and the events that took place in the course of his life lest we all too quickly forget them and start to neglect his sunna. And without a day to concentrate our minds on doing just that, that is exactly what would happen.

Thirdly, contrary to their assertions, there is no limit in the deen of Allah to the number of eids that can be celebrated. Indeed, in His Book, Allah uses the word ‘eid’ to refer to the day when the food-laden maa’ida – table – was sent down to the people of Isa, saying,

 

قَالَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّنَا أَنْزِلْ عَلَيْنَا مَائِدَةً مِنَ السَّمَاءِ تَكُونُ لَنَا عِيدًا

 

the translation of which is, “‘Isa son of Maryam said, ‘Allah, our Lord, send down a table to us out of heaven to be an eid for us,” That day was called an eid on account of the blessing that was sent down during it. Eids are days set aside for the celebration of blessings, so the day our Prophet was sent has even more right to be termed an eid. And anyway, the Prophet himself used to use the word eid to refer to other days of the year. For example, he said,

إن يوم الجمعة عيدكم فلا تصوموه، إلا أن تصوموا قبله أو بعده

 

“The day of Jumua is your eid, so do not fast it except when you also fast the day before it or after it.” And in the tafsir of Ibn Kathir, in a report about Umar, we find that one of the Jews came to him and said, “Leader of the Believers! There is an ayat in your Book which you recite, which if it been revealed to us, we would have taken the day (upon which it was revealed) as an eid.” “Which  ayat is that?” Umar asked him. The Jew replied,

 

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِى

 

the translation of which is, “Today I have perfected your deen for you and completed My blessing upon you.” so ‘Umar said, “By Allah! I know when and where this ayat was revealed to the Messenger of Allah. It was the evening of the Day of `Arafah on a Friday, both of which are eids for us.” He named Arafah an Eid and Friday an Eid, So, there is no basis whatsoever for saying that the deen of Allah only allows the celebration of two eids. On the contrary, any day on which something joyous happens may be taken as an eid, and what event can there be more worthy of joy than the birth of the Prophet?

Their objections have no merit and indeed go against the views and practice of the overwhelming majority of the Muslim umma – scholars and commoners alike. For acceptance of the celebration of the mawlid has almost reached the degree of ijma – consensus, and as we know, it is impossible for the umma to unite behind a practice that is misguided.

For example, it is reported that all the major fuqaha, including the four chief jurists of Makka, would gather in the Haram every year on the night of the 12th of Rabi al-Awwal after Maghrib to celebrate the Mawlid.

And just as they let their actions do the talking, so did they let their words, with many great scholars throughout the ages speaking out in favour of gathering to celebrate the mawlid in Rabi al-Awwal, scholars including such luminaries as Ibn al-Hajj, Ibn Batuta, Imam as-Suyuti, Imam as-Sakhafi, al-hafidh Ibn Hajr and many others, scholars hailing from all four corners of the globe and from all four madhhabs. Indeed, many of these scholars saw this night as being the greatest night of the year, greater even than the laylat al-Qadr. For everything we have in this world, every blessing, is because of him,

 

لولاه لم تخرج الدنيا من العدم

 

Imam al-Busayri expresses this wonderfully in the burda, “If it had not been for him, this world would never have emerged from non-existence.”

So, let us take advantage of this wonderful night, of this great opportunity, to remind ourselves of our noble Prophet and his noble qualities, and give thanks to our Lord for bestowing him upon us and making us part of his umma. Let us gather here in the mosque at Maghrib on Monday the 12th to rejoice in the greatest blessing that our Lord has given us, to celebrate his mawlid. Let us fill this mosque to overflowing  and let it reverberate with the sound of salawat on the Prophet.

We ask Allah to increase us in love of His noble Prophet and gives us a true appreciation of his station. And we ask Him to make this coming mawlid a time of great joy and togetherness for the Muslim umma.

 

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.