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Fatawa Of The Rightly Guided Imams

On Mawlid

by Sh. G. F. Haddad

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- Imam Al-Suyuti
- Ibn Taymiyya
- the basis of Mawlid
- the activities of Mawlid
- others who wrote about Mawlid
- the Mufti of Mecca on Mawlid
- one of the best innovations
- Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

Some Sayings Of The Rightly Guided Imams On Mawlid

Al-Suyuti, Ibn Taymiyya, the Mufti of Mecca and many others

Imam Al-Suyuti, from Alhawi lil-Fatawi wrote a special chapter entitled "The Good Intention In Commemorating The Mawlid," at the beginning of which he said, "There is a question being asked about commemorating the mawlid of the Prophet ﷺ in the month of Rabi' al-Awal: What is the religious legal ruling in this regard, is it good or bad? Does the one who celebrates get rewarded or not?"

The answer according to me is as follows: To commemorate the mawlid which is basically gathering people together, reciting parts of the Quran, narrating stories about the Prophet's birth ﷺ and signs that accompanied it, then serving food and afterwards departing, is one of the good innovations [rt]; and the one who practices it gets rewarded, because it involves venerating the status of the Prophet ﷺ and expressing joy for his honorable birth.

Ibn Taymiyya
Ibn Taymiyya said in his book Iqtida' Al Sirat Al Mustaqeem (Cairo, al-Fiqqi 1950 edition, pages 294 and 297)

"What some people innovated, either to emulate the Christians who celebrate the birth of ʿIsa (as) or out of love for the Prophet ﷺ and in order to exalt him:
Allah MAY reward them for such love and effort but not for the innovations [...]. So one MAY magnify the birthdate of the Prophet ﷺ upon him blessings and peace, AND treat it as a festival, perhaps obtaining IMMENSE REWARD for it because of his good intentions in honoring the Messenger of Allah."

(ma yuhdithuhu baʿdu al-naasi immaa mudaahaatan lil-nasaara fi meelaadi ʿIsaa ʿalayhi as-Salam wa'imma mahabbatan lil- Nabiyyi SallAllahu ʿalayhi wa Sallam wataʿzeeman lahu, wAllaahu qad yutheebuhum ʿala haadhihi al-mahabbati wal- ijtihaadi laa ʿala al-bidaʿi [...]. Fataʿzeemu al-mawlidi wattikhaadhuhu mawsiman qad yafʿaluhu baʿdu al-naasi wayakunu lahu feehi ajrun ʿazeemun lihusni qasdihi wataʿzeemihi lirasulillaah).

This text is found in the 2nd edition (1369/1950) of Muhammad Hamid al-Fiqqi at Cairo's Matbaʿat al-Sunnat al-Muhammadiyya.

This is a saying of someone who set fanaticism aside and sought to please Allah and his Prophet ﷺ. As far as we are concerned, we commemorate the Mawlid for no other reason but what Ibn Taymiya said, "Out of love and veneration of the Prophet." May Allah reward us according to this love and effort.

Al Suyuti

In the same source previously mentioned, Al Suyuti said, "Someone asked Ibn Hajar about commemorating the Mawlid. Ibn Hajar answered:

As for the origin of the practice of commemorating the Prophet's birth ﷺ, it is an innovation ( bida'a ) that has not been conveyed to us from any of the pious early muslims of the first three centuries, despite which it has included both features that are praisweorthy and features that are not. If one takes care to include in such a commemoration only things that are praiseworthy and avoids those that are otherwise, it is a praiseworthy innovation, while if ones does not, it is not. An authentic primary textual basis from which its legal validity is inferable has occured to me, namely the rigourously authenticated ( sahih ) hadith in the collections of Bukhari and Muslim that ' the Prophet ﷺ came to Medina and found the Jews fasting on the tenth of Muharram ( 'Ashura ' ), so he asked them about it and they replied

'It is the day on which Allah drowned Pharaoh and rescued Moses, so we fast in it to thanks to Allah Most high',
which indicates the validity of giving thanks to Allah for the blessings He has bestowed on a particular day in providing a benefit, or averting an affliction, repeating one's thanks on the anniversary of that day every year, giving thanks to Allah taking any various forms of worship such as prostration, fasting, giving charity or reciting the Koran."

Al Suyuti then further writes, "Then what blessing is greater than the birth of the Prophet ﷺ, the Prophet of Mercy, on this day?"

(Quotation from Al Suyuti continues below [n1])

"This is regarding the basis of Mawlid. As for the activities, there should be only the things that express thankfulness to Allah, such as what has been previously mentioned: reciting Quran, eating food, giving charity, reciting poetry praising the Prophet or on piety which moves hearts and drives them to do good and work for the Hereafter."

These are the derivations that those opposed to Mawlid call false conclusions and invalid analogies.

Imam Mohammed bin Abu Bakr Abdullah Al Qaisi Al Dimashqi.
Jami' Al Athar fi Mawlid, Al Nabiy Al Mukhtar, Al lafz al ra'iq fi Mawlid khayr al khala'iq, and Mawlid al sadi fi Mawlid Al Hadi,

Imam Al ʿIraqi.
Al Mawlid al heni fi al Mawlid al sani.

Mulla ʿAli Al Qari.
Al Mawlid Al rawi fil Mawlid al Nabawi.

Imam Ibn Dahiya.
Al Tanweer fi Mawlid Al basheer Al Nadheer.

Imam Shamsu Din bin Nasir Al Dimashqi.
Mawlid al Sadi fi Mawlid Al Hadi. He is the one who said about the Prophets estranged uncle, Abu Lahab, "This unbeliever who has been dispraised, { "perish his hands" } [111: 1], will stay in Hell forever. Yet, every Monday his torment is being reduced because of his joy at the birth of the Prophet." How much mercy can a servant expect who spends all his life joyous about the Prophet ﷺ and dies believing in the Oneness of Allah?

Imam Shamsu Din Ibn Al Jazri.
Al Nashr fil Qira'at Al ʿAshr, ʿUrf Al Ta'reef bil Mawlid al shareef.

Imam Ibn Al Jawzi

Imam Ibn Al Jawzi said about the honorable Mawlid, "It is security throughout the year, and glad tidings that all wishes and desires will be fulfilled."

Imam Abu Shama

Imam Abu Shama (Imam Nawawi's shaykh) in his book Al ba'ith ala Inkar Al bidaʿ wal hawadith (pg.23) said, "One of the best innovations[rt] in our time is what is being done every year on the Prophets birthday, such as giving charity, doing good deeds, displaying ornaments, and expressing joy, for that expresses the feelings of love [rt]and veneration for him in the hearts of those who are celebrating, and also, shows thankfulness to Allah for His bounty by sending His Messenger, the one who has been sent as a Mercy to the worlds."

Imam Al Shihab Al Qastalani

Imam Al Shihab Al Qastalani (Al Bukhari's commentator) in his book Al mawahib Al Ladunniya (1-148) said, "May Allah have mercy on the one who turns the nights of the month of the Prophets birth into festivities in order to decrease the suffering of those whose hearts are filled with disease and sickness."

Other Shuyukh On Mawlid

There are others who wrote and spoke about Mawlid, such as Imam Al Sakhawi, Imam Wajihu Din bin ʿAli bin al Dayba' al Shaybani al Zubaidi, and many more [rt], which we will not mention due to the limited space available. From these many evidences, it should be clear by now that celebrating the Mawlid is highly commendable and allowed. Surely we cannot simply shrug off as heretics the scholars and dignitaries of this nation who approved the commemoration of the Mawlid and wrote countless books on the subject. Are all these scholars, to whom the whole world is indebted for the beneficial books they have written on Prophetic sayings, jurisprudence, commentaries, and other sorts of knowledge, among the indecent who commit sins and evil? Are they, as those opposed to Mawlid claim, imitating the Christians in celebrating the birth of Jesus? Are they claiming that the Prophet did not convey to the nation what they should do? We leave answers to these questions up to you.

Peace & Blessings upon Sayyidina Muhammad ﷺ,
his Family, and his Companions.

From The Muslim Magazine with permission.

Dr. ʿIsa al-Maniʿ al-Humayri, Department of Awqaaf, Dubai

Office of Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs, Dubai Administration of Ifta' and Research

Al Suyuti also statet:

In light of which, one should take care to commemorate it on the day itself in order to conform to the above story of Moses and the tenth of Muharram, those who do not view the matter thus do not mind commemorating it on any other day of the month, while some have expanded its time to any of the day of the year, whatever exception may be taken at such a view.

Reference :
al Suyuti, Jalal al Din.
al Hawi li al fatawi al fiqh was ulum al tafsir was al hadith wa al usul wa al nahw wa al i wa sa'ir al funun. 2 vols. 1352/1933 - 34 Reprint Beirut : Dar al Kutub al Ilmiyya, 1403/1983. Quoted in The Reliance of the Traveller ( Ahmad ibn Naqib al Misri ) A Classical Manual of Islamic Sacred Law translated by Noah Ha Mim Keller ( 1991 ) page w58.0 --> w59.0

The Mufti of Mecca
The Mufti of Mecca on Mawlid

According to the Mufti of Mecca Ahmad ibn Zayni Dahlan, in his book al-Sira al-nabawiyya wa al-athar al-muhammadiyya, page 51: "To celebrate the Mawlid and to remember the Prophet ﷺ is accepted by all the Ulama of the Muslims." Most of the following quotations are taken from that work.

Other Scholars' Opinions On The Mawlid

Imam Subki

Imam Subki said, "When we were celebrating the Prophet's birthday ﷺ, a great uns (familiarity) comes to our heart, and we feel something special."

Imam Shawkani

Imam Shawkani in his book al-Badr at-taliʿ, said, "It is permissible to celebrate the Prophet's birthday." He mentioned that Mullah ʿAli Qari held the same opinion in a book entitled al-Mawrid ar-Rawi fi al-Mawlid al-Nabawi, written specifically to support the celebration of the Prophet's birthday.

Imam Abu Shama

Imam Abu Shama, the sheikh of Imam Nawawi, said in his book on innovations entitled: al-Baʿith ʿala inkar al-bidaʿ wa al-hawadith:

The best innovation in our day is the remembrance of the Prophet's birthday. On that day, people give much donations, make much worship, show much love to the Prophet, and give much thanks to Allah Almighty for sending them His Messenger to keep them on the Sunna and Shariʿa of Islam.

Imam Sakhawi

Imam Sakhawi said, "The Mawlid was begun three centuries after the Prophet ﷺ, and all Muslim nations celebrated it, and all ʿulama accepted it, by worshipping Allah alone, by giving donations and by reading the Prophet's Sira."

Ibn Hajar al-Haytami

Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Haytami said , "As Jews celebrated the day of ʿAshura by fasting to thank Allah, we also have to celebrate the day of Mawlid," and he quoted the aforementioned hadith, "When the Prophet came to Madina..." Ibn Hajar continues, "One gives thanks to Allah for the favor that He gave on a particular day either through a great good, or through the averting of a disaster. That day is celebrated every year thereafter. Thanksgiving entails various forms of worship like prostration, fast, charity, and recitation of Qur'an, and what greater good is there than the advent of that Prophet, the Prophet of Mercy ﷺ, on the day of Mawlid?"

Ibn al-Jawzi

Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597) wrote a booklet of poems and sira to be read at mawlid celebrations. It is entitled Mawlid al-ʿarus and begins with the words: al-hamdu lillah al-ladhi abraza min ghurrati ʿarusi al-hadrati subhan mustanira: "Praise be to Allah Who has manifested from the radiance of the bridegroom of His presence a lightgiving daybreak..." [From The Muslim Magazine with permission.]

Gathering For The Mawlid
During The Month Of Rabiʿ al-Awwal

Is it permissible to gather during the month of Rabiʿ al-Awwal to remember the birth of the noble Prophet ﷺ Allah bless him and give him peace)?

In his Lata'if al-Maʿarif, a book on what Muslims should do for each month and season of the years, the great hadith master Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali held three lessons. The first two lessons concerned the birth of the Prophet and the third and final lessons concerning his death. Allah bless him and his family and give them peace. As a bare minimum, this shows that Ibn Rajab considered teaching about the life of the Prophet ﷺ Allah bless him and give him peace) during the month of Rabiʿ al-Awwal to be something not only permissible, but of such importance that it should be done in public. While virtually no Muslims denies the permissibility of studying the biography of the Prophet ﷺ Allah bless him and give him peace), a vocal minority claims that this is a [blameworthy] innovation.[fn1]

Mentioning the birth and death of the Prophet ﷺ Allah bless him and give him peace as things that Muslims should do during the month of Rabiʿ al-Awwal is a clear indication from Ibn Rajab that it is permissible:

1. to learn about the birth and death of the Prophet ﷺ Allah bless him and give him peace)

2. to gather in public to do so

3. to emphasis doing it during Rabiʿ al-Awwal is permissible

While specific modalities of education about, reminding of, and commemoration of these things may take different rulings, they cannot be declared categorically impermissible.

[See: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Lata'if al-Maʿarif. Damascus: Dar Ibn Kathir. 1999/1420 AH. pp158-216]

And Allah knows best.

With author's permission, originally from the Hanbali fiqh list.



Related texts
link-inShaykh Qaradawi Approves of Celebrating Mawlid
link-inWhat Is Bidʿa (Innovation)?
link-inLove Of The Prophet And Following His Example
link-inThis Is A False - Bid`a Mawlīd
link-out Mawlid: Celebrating the Birth of the Prophet Muhammad (saws) Sh GF Haddad

  1. There are two taxonomies regarding for things which were not done during the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). The most popular taxonomy places these things into five categories: obligatory, praiseworthy, neutral, offensive, and impermissible. The other taxonomy declares these things as being praiseworthy sunnahs or blameworthy innovations. It is confusing to simply say "innovation". (Musa)

    See What Is Bidʿa (Innovation)?


* Living Islam – Islamic Tradition *