A Dialogue between Shaikh al-Albanee and a proponent of Mawlid on the subject, Is the celebration of Mawlid a good deed (Khayr)?


Written by Salman Mohammed

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Shaikh al-Albanee: Is the celebration of Mawlid an-Nabawi Khayr (good) or evil?

The opponent: Khayr.

Shaikh al-Albanee: So, were the Messenger of Allah sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam and his Sahabah unaware of this Khayr (good)?

The opponent: No.

Shaikh al-Albanee: I am not convinced with your saying, ‘No’ because it is impossible that this Khayr (i.e. the celebration Mawlid) if it is Khayr

– be concealed from the Prophet sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam and his Sahabah since we do not know Islam and Eeman except through Prophet Muhammad sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam.  So, how do we know a Khayr (good deed) that he did not know of? This is impossible.

The opponent: Establishing Mawlid an-Nabawi is reviving his sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam memories and is a tribute to him sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam.

Shaikh al-Albanee: This is a philosophy that we know of, and have heard from many and read in their books, but when Allah’s Messenger sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam invited the people (to the Deen of Allah), did he call them to Islam as a whole or he invited them to Tawheed?

The opponent:Tawheed.

Shaikh al-Albanee:First, he invited them to Tawheed, next prayer was made obligatory, then fasting, later the obligation of Hajj, and so on. So, you follow this Sunnah of the Sharee’ah, (and talk about the issue under discussion) step-by-step.

We have now agreed that it is impossible that there could be a Khayr with us which the Prophet sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam did not know of. (Because) we know all the Khayr through the Messenger sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam… and I believe that anyone, who doubts in this matter, is not a Muslim.

From the Ahadeeth of Allah’s Messenger sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam that support this statement is, “There is nothing that will take you closer to Paradise but that I have enjoined it upon you, and there is nothing that will take you closer to Hell but that I have warned you of it.” [Musnad ash-Shafa’ee and others]

So, if Mawlid was Khayr and something that could bring us closer to Allah, then Allah’s Messenger sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam would have guided us to it. Right or wrong?

I don’t want you to agree with me except if you are convinced of every word I say. You have complete freedom to say, “Please, I do not agree with this point.” So, do you stop at some point from what I have just said, or are you with me completely?

The opponent: I am with you totally.

Shaikh al-Albanee: Jazak Allah Khair.
We say to everybody who approves of this celebration – Mawlid is Khayr in your opinion, so did the Messenger of Allah sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam guide us to it or did he not. If they say, “He guided us to it.” We say to them, “Produce your proof if you are truthful.” [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 11] and they can never bring a proof of it… they have no proof or argument except (saying), “This is a Bidah Husna (a good innovation)!!”

All – those who approve of Mawlid and those who forbid it – are in agreement that this (celebration of) Mawlid neither existed at the time of Allah’s Messenger nor at the time of the Sahabah…

However, the supporters of Mawlid say, “What is in Mawlid? It is just remembering the Prophet sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam , sending blessing upon him and similar acts.”We say, “If it was Khayr, there would have been precedence in it (by the Salaf as-Salih). You know the Hadeeth of Allah’s Messenger sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam,“The best of my ummah is my generation, then those who come after them, then those who come after them.” This is an agreed upon Hadeeth.

The Prophet’s generation was in which he sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam and the Sahabah lived, then those who followed them were the Tabi’oon, and then those who followed them were the followers of Tabi’oon. This again is an agreed upon matter.

So, do you think that there could be any Khayr in which we could excel them in terms of knowledge and actions? Is it possible?

The opponent:Concerning knowledge – if the Messenger had informed someone at his time that the earth rotates.

Shaikh al-Albanee: Please no divergence (from the issue under discussion). I asked you about two things; knowledge and action. As a matter of fact, this divergence of yours has been helpful to me. So, (to say in a more clear way), my question is in terms of the Sharee’ah knowledge and actions. It is not concerning (the knowledge of) medicine for example.

The doctor today is more knowledgeable than Ibn Seena in his age because he was born after a long time and various experiments(were) carried out (during this period) but this does not increase him (in status) in the sight of Allah nor does he achieve precedence over the best generations. Rather he possesses a superior status in the field of knowledge he possesses. We are however, speaking about the Sharee’ah knowledge Barak Allah Feek (may Allah bless you).

So, you have to keep this in mind. When I tell you, do we believe that we can be more knowledgeable, it refers to the Sharee’ah knowledge not the experimental knowledge like Geography, Astronomy, Chemistry and Physics. In this time of ours, a disbeliever is more knowledgeable than the other people in these secular sciences – does this bring him closer to Allah?

The opponent:No

Shaikh al-Albanee: So, now we are not talking in terms of worldly knowledge but we are speaking about knowledge with which we seek nearness/closeness to Allah.

Just a little while ago, we were speaking about the celebration of Mawlid. The question again is and please reply openly without another divergence.

Do you think with the mind and intellect bestowed upon you (by Allah) that it is possible for us, in this later time to be more knowledgeable than the Sahabah and the Taba’een with regards to the Sharee’ah knowledge and be hastier in performing actions and that we be closer to Allah than the Salaf as-Salih?

The opponent: Do you mean the Tafseer of the Qur’aan by the knowledge of the Sharee’ah?

Shaikh al-Albanee: They are more knowledgeable than us in Tafseer, they are more knowledgeable than us in the Ahadeeth of Allah’s Messenger – consequently they are more knowledgeable than us in the Sharee’ah of Islam.

The opponent: Perhaps today in our time (we are more knowledgeable) concerning the Tafseer of the Qur’aan, for example the Qur’aanic verse, “You will see the mountains and think them solid, but they shall pass away as the passing away of the clouds. The Work of Allah, Who perfected all things. Verily! He is Well-Acquainted with what you do.” [Soorah an-Naml (27): 88]

If the Messenger of Allah sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam had informed someone in his time that the earth rotates, would he have believed him? Nobody would have believed him.

Shaikh al-Albanee: Do you want us to write down another divergence in your record?
Brother, I am asking about the totality and not some part, we are asking a common question – who is more knowledgeable as a whole about Islam?

The opponent: Obviously Allah’s Messenger sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam and his Sahabah.

Shaikh al-Albanee: This is (the answer) we want from you, Barak Allah Feek.
The Tafseer, which you keep repeating, has no relation with actions. It relates to thinking and intellect. Those who mention this verse in order to conclude that the earth rotates are mistaken because the verse relates to the Day of Judgment, “On the Day when the earth will be changed to another earth and so will be the heavens, and they (all creatures) will appear before Allah, the One, the Irresistible.‘ [Soorah Ibraheem (14): 48]

(However), We are not discussing this subject. I accept that that the later people are more knowledgeable about secular sciences than the Sahabah, the Taba’een and others – but this has no relation with righteous actions. For example, today the disbelievers are more knowledgeable in the sciences of astronomy but will it benefit them in any way? No. So, we don’t have to plunge into this subject, we are to speak about everything that brings us closer to Allah. We have to discuss about Mawlid an-Nabawi.

We have so far agreed that if there was any Khayr then the Salaf as- Salih and at their head Allah’s Messenger sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam would have been more knowledgeable about it than us and enthusiastic in performing that action. Is there any doubt in it?

The opponent: No, no doubt.

Shaikh al-Albanee: Do not restrict this to experimental sciences it has nothing to do with closeness to Allah or righteous deeds. So, Mawlid was non-existent during the time of Allah’s Messenger sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam – as agreed upon by everybody. So, this Khayr was non-existent during the time of Allah’s Messenger sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam, his Sahabah, Taba’een and the Imams. How could this Khayr be concealed from them? We have to say one of the two things; They knew this Khayr like we know (because) they were more knowledgeable than us.

OR

They did not know this Khayr, then how did we know it? So, if we say, they knew – and this saying is more in favor of those who approve the celebration of Mawlid – so, why did they not act upon it?

Are we closer to Allah then they were?!

Why did not even one of them perform this act – a Sahabi, a Taba’ee, a knowledgeable or even a common person?
Does it suit your mind that nobody ever acted upon this Khayr although there number was in millions, they were more knowledgeable than us, righteous than us and closer to Allah than us?

You know the saying of Allah’s Messenger sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam, “Do not revile my companions. By (Allah) in Whose Hand my soul is, if any one of you spends gold (piled up) like (mount) Uhud it will not equal a pint of any one of them, nor its half.” [Agreed upon]

Do you see the difference between them and us? They struggled in the path of Allah with the Prophet sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam. They took the knowledge ‘gaddan taryan’ (fresh and anew) without these many mediums that are between us and the Prophet sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam.

Allah’s Messenger sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam pointed towards a similar meaning in the Saheeh Hadeeth,“Whoever wants to read the Qur’aan as gaddan taryan as when it was revealed, then let him read according to the recitation of Ibn Umm Abd (i.e. Abdullah ibn Mas’ood).”

We cannot imagine that these Salaf as-Salih and at the head of them the Sahabah were ignorant of something that would bring one closer to Allah and we know of it.

If we say that they knew it like we know then we cannot imagine that they ignored this Khayr.
Insha’Allah, this issue has been made clear to you after I have repeatedly mentioned it. If the celebration of Mawlid was Khayr then it would have been from Islam.

The opponent: al-Hamdulillah.

Shaikh al-Albanee: Jazak Allah Khair.
One more thing. There are numerous verses and Ahadeeth which explain that Islam has been completed/perfected. I believe you are well-aware of this and firmly believe in it – both a scholar and a common man know this truth that Islam is complete and it is not like the religion of the Jews and Christians in which there is alteration and modification every day.

I remind you of the saying of Allah, “This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed my Favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” [Soorah al-Maidah (5):3]

So here comes the question and this is another way to prove that the celebration of Mawlid is not Khayr. If the celebration of Mawlid wasKhayr then it would have been from Islam. So are we all – those who approve of the celebration of Mawlid and those who disapprove of it – agreed upon this issue like our agreement upon the issue that the celebration of Mawlid was non-existent during the time of Allah’s Messenger?

Are we agreed upon now that if the celebration of Mawlid was Khay then it would have been from Islam and if it was not Khayr then it is not from Islam?

“This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed my Favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” [Soorah al- Maidah (5):3]

The day when the above verse was revealed, there was no celebration of Mawlid. So do you think the Deen would have been complete (without this celebration)?

Please be frank with me, do not think of me as those scholars who quiet their students and common people saying, ‘Be quite, you do not know and you don’t understand.’

Use your freedom to speak as if you were speaking to a person of your age and knowledge. If you are not convinced say, ‘I am not convinced.’

So, if the celebration of Mawlid was Khayr then it would have been from Islam and if it was not Khayr then it would not have been from Islam and we are agreed upon that Mawlid was non-existent when this verse was revealed.

I base my argument upon the saying of Malik Ibn Anas, who said, “He, who innovates a Bidah in the religion of Islam and he considers it to be Khayr then he has maligned the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam that he sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam betrayed the Message (i.e., did not completely convey the message).”

Notice that Malik Ibn Anas says one Bidah and not many Bidah.

So, this is a dangerous matter. What is the proof, O Imam?

Imam Malik said, “Read if you wish, ‘This day I have perfected your religion for you,ncompleted my Favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.'” [Soorah al-Maidah (5):3]

So, something that was not from the Deen that day is also not from the Deen today.”

When did Imam Malik make this statement?

In the 2nd century after Hijrah – one of the generations that was promised goodness. So, how about the 14th century?!
This statement of Imam Malik should be carved with letters of gold. But we are ignorant of the Book of Allah and the Ahadeeth of Allah’s Messenger sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam, and from the saying of the scholars whom we claim to follow, between their example and ours is a distance equal to the distance between east and west.

Imam Malik speaks in clear Arabic, ‘something that was not from the Deen that day, is not from the Deen today.’

If it was not so then there would have been no controversy or dispute among the scholars who adhere to the Sunnah and those who defend the Bidah.

How can the celebration of Mawlid be from the Deen, when it was not so during the time of Allah’s Messenger, the Sahabah, the Taba’een and their followers?!

Imam Malik was from the followers of the Taba’een and was included in the Hadeeth, “The best of my ummah is my generation, then those who come after them, then those who come after them.” [Agreed upon]
Imam Malik said, “The affairs of the later part of this ummah can never be corrected except with that which corrected the affairs of the early generations of this Ummah.”

With what were the first part of the Ummah corrected?

By innovating in the religion and (seeking to) achieve closeness to Allah with that which Allah’s Messenger sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam did not prescribed??!

Allah’s Messenger sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “There is nothing that will take you closer to Paradise but that I have enjoined it upon you, and there is nothing that will take you closer to Hell but that I have warned you from it.” [Musnad ash-Shafa’ee]

Why did Allah’s Messenger sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam not order us with the celebration of Mawlid?

This is a question and it has an answer, (because) there exists a legislated celebration of Mawlid an-Nabawi in contrast to the unlegislated celebration of Mawlid an-Nabawi. The legislated celebration existed during the time of Allah’s Messenger sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam in contrast to the unlegislated one.

There are two big differences between these two celebrations;
1) The legislated celebration is a form of worship and is agreed upon by all the Muslims (in contrast to the unlegislated one, which is neither legislated nor a worship and is not agreed upon by all Muslims)
2) The legislated celebration comes once every week and their celebration of Mawlid comes once a year. I do not say this without a proof, I will relate to you a Hadeeth from Saheeh Muslim, Abi Qatadah al-Ansaree related,“There came a man to Allah’s Messenger sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, why do you fast on Mondays?” He sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam replied, “That is the day on which I was born and the day on which I was entrusted with the Mission or when I was first given Revelation.” [Saheeh Muslim]

What is the meaning of this statement?

The Prophet sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam is saying, why do you ask me this while on this day Allah gave me life and revealed the Qur’aan upon me?! Which means that it is required to fast on Mondays as a gratitude to Allah for His creating me and revelation of the Wahy.

This is similar to the fast of Aashoorah. The fast of Aashoorah was made obligatory upon every Muslim before the month of Ramadaan. It has been related in the Ahadeeth that when Allah’s Messenger migrated to Medina, he found the Jews fasting the day of Aashoorah and inquired about it. They replied saying this is the day when Allah saved Moosa alaihissallam and his people from Fir’awn and his army. So we fast on this day in thankfulness to Him. Allah’s Messenger sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “We have more right upon him than you.”  So,he fasted and ordered fasting on this day and it was made obligatory until Allah revealed this verse, “The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’aan, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and criterion (between right and wrong).” [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 185]

The obligation of fasting on the day of Aashoorah was abrogated later and it became a Sunnah.

It is evident from this that Allah’s Messenger sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam participated with the Jews in their fasting on the day of Aashoorah in thankfulness to Allah for saving Moosa u from Fir’awn. So, the door of Shukr (thankfulness) has been opened – even for us – in the form of fasting on Mondays because it is the day when Allah’s Messenger r was born and on this day the Wahy (revelation) came down upon him.

Now I ask, ‘These people who celebrate Mawlid, do they fast on Mondays?’
No, they do not fast on Mondays. But most of the people celebrate Mawlid an-Nabawi every year! Is this not altering the facts?

For these people, the following verse is true with regards to Jews (alone), ‘Would you exchange that which is better for that which is lower?’ [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 61]

The fast which is agreed upon by all the Muslims on Mondays is Khayr although majority of the Muslims do not fast this day!!

There are a very few people who fast on these days. So, do they know the reason behind this fast? No, they don’t.

So, where are the scholars who defend Mawlid, why don’t they enlighten the people that fasting on Monday is the legislated celebration of Mawlid (i.e., birthday of Allah’s Messenger)? And why don’t they encourage the people to it instead of defending the unlegislated celebration?

Allah truly says, “Would you exchange that which is better for that which is lower?” [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 61]

The Messenger sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam truly said, “They will follow the ways of those who came before them, handspan by handspan, cubit by cubit, until even if they entered a lizard’s hole they will follow them.” We said, “O Messenger of Allah, (do you mean) the Jews and Christians?” He said, “Who else?” [Agreed upon]

So, we have followed in the footsteps of the Jews, they chose that which was less over that which was Khayr, like we have chosen the celebration of Mawlid an-Nabawi that comes once a year and is baseless – over the Khayr i.e., celebration (of Mawlid an-Nabawi) every Monday.

It is a legislated practice that you fast while keeping in mind the motive behind it which is being thankful to Allah for His creation of Allah’s Messenger r on this day and the revelation of Wahy…

The opponent: Isn’t reading the Seerah (biography) of Allah’s Messenger sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam an act of honoring him?

Shaikh al-Albanee: Yes

The opponent: In it is reward – this is Khayr from Allah.

Shaikh al-Albanee: All of it is Khayr, there is no benefit (for your stance) in this question so I interrupt you with a question, ‘Does anybody stop you from reading his sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam Seerah?’

Let me ask you a question, ‘If there was a legislated worship, but Allah’s Messenger sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam did not assign a specific time or specific manner for it. Is it allowed for us to set a specific time and manner for it from ourselves? Do you have an answer?’

The opponent: No, I don’t have an answer.

Shaikh al-Albanee: Allah says, “Or have they partners with Allah, who have instituted for them a religion which Allah has not allowed.” [Soorah Shurah (42): 21]

Similarly, Allah says, “They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah (by obeying them in things which they made lawful or unlawful according to their own desires without being ordered by Allah), and (they also took as their Lord) Messiah, son of Maryam, while they (Jews and Christians) were commanded to worship none but One Ilah (Allah) La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshiped but He). Praise and glory be to Him, (far above is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him).” [Soorah Tawbah (9): 31]

Narrated Adee Ibn Hatim radiyAllaahu ‘anhu that he heard the Prophet of Allah sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam reciting the verse: (above verse), he (Hatim) said “We didn’t worship them.” The Messenger of Allah sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam, “Did they not make Haraam what Allah made Halaal and you all made it Haraam, and they made Halaal what Allah made Haraam and you all made it Haraam?” He replied, ‘Certainly.’ The Prophet of Allah sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “That is your worship to them.” [at-Tirmidhee, vol. 3, p. 56. no. 247]

This shows the danger of innovating in the Deen of Allah.

Adapted from
cassette no 1/94 of the series al-Huda wan-Nur
Arabic text can be found on http://www.binbaz.org
Translated by Shawana A. Aziz
translated article taken from http://www.qsep.com

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