Mawlid celebrations in Islamic History
Another trick (falsehood) that opponents of Mawlid use is claiming that some ignorant people from India and Pakistan of the last few decades have invented the celebrations of Mawlid an-Nabawi Sharif being influenced by the Hindu Celebration and culture. They imply that Mawlid was never ever celebrated before in previous ages. So here are some glimpses of facts from actual Islamic history.
1) Hadrat Allama Mulla Ali Qari narrating the routine of the people of Madina Munawwarah writes:
“The people of Madina Munawwarah (May ALLLAH have Mercy on them) used to arrange and attend mawlid gatherings with great enthusiasm and sincerity on the occasion of Mawlid Sharif.” [Mawrid ar-Rawi Fi Mawlid an-Nabawi, Page 29]
2) Ibn Jauzi says:
“People of Haramain Shareefain (Makkah and Madinah) and Egypt and Yemen and Syria and of the eastern and western cities of Arabia hold functions in celebration of the birth of the Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi wa Sallam), they rejoice at the sighting of the moon of Rabi al-Awwal, bathe and put on their best dresses adorn themselves in various ways, put on scent, and give alms with great joy, and exert themselves in listening to the Mawlid of the Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi wa Sallam). By doing so, they themselves attain to success, as it has been proved that by celebrating the Mawlid of the Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi wa Sallam) much good accrues the whole year round, security and comfort, greater means of livelihood, increase in children and in wealth, peace in cities and contentment and peace in homes.”
- Tafsir Ruh al-Bayan by Allama Ismail Hiqqi, Vol. 9, Page 56
- Milad al-Uroos – Urdu “Bayan-e-Milad-un-Nabi”, Page 34/35, Published in Lahore.
- Ad-Durr al-Munazzam, Page 100/101
- Al-Milad an-Nabawi, Page 58
3) Gatherings of Mawlid an-Nabi SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam first appeared in the 3rd/4th Hijri. Then 700 years back from today, a pious and virtuous person named Umer bin Mullah Muhammad Mousli (ra) established it on regular basis. Following him the great commander Sultan Salahuddin Ayyubi’s dearly loved Sultan Arbal Malik Abu Saeed Muzaffar al-Din celebrated Mawlid an-Nabi officially. Ibn-e-Khalqaan Arabali Sha’fai was eyewitness of that festival.
4) According to “Tarikh-e-Mar’at az-Zaman” millions of rupees were spent on those festivities. In the beginning of 7th Century of Hijri Calendar a great Scholar named Abul Khattab Umer Bin Hasan dah’hia Qalbi Andalusi Balansi wrote a book on the topic Milad an-Nabi SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam named “At-Tanveer Fi Mawlid as-Siraj al-Muneer”. In 1207, He went to Sultan Arbal’s castle and presented his book on Mawlid to him, for which he was awarded a thousand gold coins from the Sultan. This was the status and respect of Mawlid Shareef in hearts of earlier leaders of Islam.
5) Not only Sultan Arbal, but the King of the lands of Egypt also celebrated the Mawlid Shareef. Allama Ibne Juzri (ra) is one the eyewitnesses. For the celebration of this festival 1000 mithqal of gold was spent on it. Sultan Abu Hamu Musa Talamsani and earlier rulers of Aqsa and Andalus used to Celebrate Mawlid an-Nabi SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam. Abdullah Tonsi Summa Talamsani has written the details of these festivals in his book “Raah al-Arwah”.
- Subl al-Huda wa ar-Rishaad Fi Seerah Khair al-Ibaad by Muhammad Bin Ali Yusuf Damishqi
- Ad-Durr al-Munazzam Fee Hukmi Mawlidin Nabi Sallalahu Alaihi Wasallam
Wafyat al-Da’yaan Anba’a Abna az-Zaman, Published in Cairo
- Allama Muhammad Raza Misri’s Muhammadur Rasoolullah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam, Published in Lahore, Page 33
- Ahsan al-Maqsad Fee Amilil Mawlid
- Anwar as-Sati’aa (1307 H), Pg 261, Published from Murad Abadi
6) It is stated in Seerah al-Halabiya that:
“Muslims have been celebrating gatherings of Mawlid Sharif in large cities for some time.” [Seerah al-Halabiyah, Page 80]
7) Shaykh Yusuf bin Ismail an-Nabhani states:
“Dwellers of Makkah visits Birthplace of Prophet (peace be upon him) on the eve of Mawlid an-Nabawi every year and arrange enormous gatherings.” [Jawahir al-BiHar, Page 122]
8) In “Fuyudh al-Haramain”, Shah Waliullah has pointed out:
“The birth of the Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi wa Sallam) was celebrated by the people of Makkah who received blessings on account of it.”
9) The Al-Qibla Newspaper of Makkah al-Mukarrama witnesses:
On the eve of Mawlid an-Nabi SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam celebrations are observed in Makkah and dwellers of Makkah name this day as Youm al-Eid Mawlid ar-Rasoolullah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam. People use to cook food. The Ameer of Makkah and Commander of Hijaz with their army use to visit birthplace of Prophet Peace be Upon Him and recites Qasida there. Rows of shining candles are positioned from Haram al-Makki to Birthplace and Shops and Houses on the way are also decorated. People use to recite Qasaid whole day at the birthplace. On the night of 11th Rabi al-Awwal after Isha, Mawlid Gathering is organized. From Maghrib prayer of 11th Rabi al Awwal to Asar Prayer of 12th Rabi al Awwal, after every prayer Salutations of 21 tanks is presented.
- Al-Qibla Paper – Makkah Mukarramah
- Monthly Tariqat – Lahore, January 1917, Page 2/3
10) Encyclopedia of Islam verifies:
“On the Eve of Mawlid an-Nabi; whole Islamic world is observed to be delight and celebrating it. And it is celebrated till now with enthusiasm and integrity. [Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol. 21, Page 824, Published By: Punjab University, Lahore]
11) Ibn Jawzi in his book on Mawlid, says:
“In the Haramayn (i.e. Makkah Mukarrama and Madina Munawwarah), in Egypt, Yemen rather all people of Arab world have been celebrating Mawlid for some time. Upon the sighting of the moon in Rabi ul Awwal their happiness touches the limits and hence they make specific gatherings for Dhikr of Mawlid due to which they earn immense ajr and success. [Bayan al-Mawlid an-Nabwi, Page 58]
12) Shah Waliullah Dhelvi mentions one of his all-time wonderful experiences as:
“I took part in a gathering of Mawlid inside Makkah where people were sending Darood and Salam upon Prophet (Peace be upon him) and commemorating the incidents which took place during the time of the blessed birth (before and after) and those which were witnessed before he was appointed as a Nabi (such as Noor eliminating from Bibi Amina Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha, her seeing the Noor, a woman proposing to Sayyiduna Abdullah Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anho on sighting the Noor on his forehead, etc.) suddenly I saw Noor enveloped one group of people, I don’t claim that I saw this with my bodily eyes, nor do I claim that it was spiritual and Allah knows the best regarding these two, however upon concentration on these Anwaar a reality opened upon me that these Anwaar are of those Angels who take part in such gatherings, I also saw Mercy to be descending along with the Anwaar of Angels.” [Fuyudh al-Haramayn, Pages 80/81]
13) Shaykh al-Islam Imam Ibn Hajr al Haytami (Rahimuhullah) writes:
“The gatherings of Mawlid and Adhkaar which take place during our time, they are mostly confined to good deeds, for example in them, Sadaqat are given, Dhikr is done, Darud and Salam is sent upon the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam) and he is praised.” [Fatawa al-Hadithiyyah, Page 202]
14) The 7th-century historians Shaykh Abu al-Abbas al-Azafi and his son Abu al-Qasim al-Azafi wrote in their Kitab al-Durr al-Munazzam:
“Pious pilgrims and prominent travelers testified that, on the day of the Mawlid Shareef in Makkah al-Mukarrama, no activities are undertaken, and nothing is sold or bought, except by the people who are busy visiting the noble birthplace, and rush to it. On this day, the Holy Ka’abah is opened and visited.”
15) The famous eighth-century historian, Ibn Battuta relates in his Rihla that:
”On every Jum’uah after the Salah and also on the birthday of the Beloved Prophet Alaihis Salat wa as-Salam, the door of the Holy Ka’abah is opened by the head of the Banu Shayba the doorkeepers of the Holy Ka’abah while on the Mawlid Shareef, the Shafi’i head judge of Makkah al-Mukarrama, Najm al-Din Muhammad ibn al-Imam Muhyi al-Din al-Tabari, distributed food to the descendants of the Beloved Prophet Alaihis Salat wa as-Salam and to the people of Makkah al-Mukarrama.”
16) The historian Shaykh Ibn Zahira from his Jami al-Latif fi Fadli Makkata wa-Ahliha; Shaykh al-Haytami from his book al-Mawlid al-Sharif al-Muazzam; and the historian Shaykh al-Nahrawali from al-Ilmam bi-Alam Bayt Allah al-Haram say:
“Each year on the twelfth of Rabi al-Awwal Shareef, after Maghrib Salah, the four Qadhis of Makkah al-Mukarrma (representing the Four Sunni Schools) and large groups of people including the jurists and notables of Makkah al-Mukarrma, Shaykhayn, Zawiya teachers and students, magistrates and scholars, leave the Mosque and set out collectively for a visit to the Noble Birthplace of the Beloved Prophet Alaihes Salato Salaam, shouting out Dhikr and Tahlil.
The houses on the route are illuminated with numerous lanterns and large candles, and a great many people are out and about. They all wear special clothes and they take their children with them.
Inside the Noble Birthplace, a special sermon for the occasion of the birthday of the Beloved Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam is delivered. Hereafter the Dua’ for the (Ottoman) Sultan, the Ameer of Makkah al-Mukarrma, and the Shafi’i Qadhi are done and all pray humbly.
Shortly before the ‘Isha prayer, the whole party returns to the Great Mosque, which is almost overcrowded, and sits down in rows at the foot of Maqam Ibrahim.”
A similar description is given by Shaykh al-Diyar Bakri (d/960) in his Great Sirah entitled Ta’rikh al-Khamis fi Akhbari Anfasi Nafis.
All good is from Allah Ta’ala whereas mistakes are from this humble speck. May Allah Ta’ala bless all readers, bringing you all closer to Him and His Beloved Prophet SallAllahu Alaihi wa Sallam. May He accept our humble efforts and grant us the capacity to be good and do well. Ameen!