This morning’s newspapers greeted us with two prominent figures speaking on the same subject: the celebration of Maulidur Rasul (Maulidin Nabi), and the two figures are Dr Asri, the former Mufti of Perlis; and Datuk Nik Aziz, the PAS spiritual leader. The former spoke about the need to ban processions that congest roads while the latter questioned the need for such a celebration.
With the former, I would agree. If you talk about human rights in Islam, the need for what purpose something is built takes precedence over the need of other rights. For example, a road was built for traffic users. Therefore, their right to use the road freely and unobstructed except by law takes precedence over the need for people to use the roads to demonstrate. Furthermore, in my opinion, demonstrations achieve nothing. They serve only to incite participants, and if done frequently, present a clear and present danger of the demonstrators going unruly. If I were an employer, I would duly sack my employees who demonstrated during office hours.
The latter stressed that Maulidur Rasul was not celebrated until 300 years after the Prophet’s death. Nik Aziz asked if that would mean the people who lived between Muhammad’s time up to when his birthday was celebrated did not love Muhammad? Certainly not.
There was never a Mauliddin Nabi until some 460 years after the death of Muhammad. And this was done during the Fatimite caliphate in Egypt, which was a Shiah Caliphate (during the reign of Wazir al-Afdlal).
The Ahlil Sunnah Wal Jamaah version was brought about by King Muzaffar ad-Din Kukburi, who ruled Egypt after the Shiite caliphate was overthrown some 200 years later. King Muzaffar was the brother of the muslim warrior Saladin (Salahuddin al-Ayubbi). Because of Saladin’s involvement fighting the Christians during the Crusades, the Birthday of Muhammad was introduced to counter the birth of Christ…Christmas.
Christmas was only a date picked by the Catholics because it is one week before the new year. And they traced back to the day a comet appeared somewhere during Year Zero, and deduced that Christ was born on December 25th. The Orthodox Christians however, celebrate Christmas on January 7th, because to them, Jesus was born a week after new year, taking the new year as the day the universe was created by God, and on the 7th day there was life.
No one knows when Muhammad was born. No one had recorded his birth, and I doubt very much that the Quraisy had had a birth registration system, given the fact that they were still burying little baby girls alive then. It was just a date borne out of consensus (Ijma’) but has never been proven to be correct. As I have stated above, none of the Khulafa ar-Rashiddin ever celebrated Muhammad’s birthday, not even when he was alive. The Shiites celebrate Maulid on the 17th of Rabi’ul Awwal while the Sunnis on the 12th of Rabi’ul Awwal.
There are two schools of thoughts when it comes to celebrating the birth of Muhammad. The first being the scholars who think it is okay to celebrate based on a hadith asking Muslims to fast on a Monday as it was also the day Muhammad was born, and the day prophecy descended on him.
Those who say it is not, based their findings on the following:
Muhammad (pbuh) has said: Do not over praise me as the Christians over-praised the son of Mary. I am His slave so say: ‘Allah’s slave and messenger’ (Al-Bukhaari and Muslim)
The Messenger (Muhammad Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers. Each one believes in Allâh, His Angels, His Books, and His Messengers. They say, “We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers” – and they say, “We hear, and we obey. (We seek) Your Forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the return (of all).” (al-Quran 2:285)
Based on that ayat, and the fact that the celebration of Mauliddin Nabi originated from the Shiites, coupled with the fact that it imitates the Christian celebration of Christmas, and the fact that it was never practised by either Muhammad or any of the Khulafa ar-Rashiddin – the celebration was deemed a bida’ah and Haram by the Senior Ulama Committee of Saudi Arabia.
So, there have you. I don’t see anything wrong in remembering Muhammad, but it should not be confined to that one day where you glorify him. He should be remembered everyday in every single prayer, as you should remember all the other Messengers before him: Christ, David, Abraham, John, Moses, , Noah Adam etc. They were all human beings like us.
So, like Valentine’s Day, I do not celebrate Maulidur Rasul. I don’t mind the holiday, though. But I prefer to remember those I love on a minute-to-minute basis rather than once a year.