CELEBRATING MEELAD-UN-NABI ﷺ
When we celebrate Meelad, we gather, in order to send salutations (Esal-e-Swaab) to the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace], give charity to the poor (Sadaqah Khairat) and remember wilaadah (Birth) and virtues of the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace]. The Ahl as-Sunnah does not say that one must celebrate “Meelad” only on 12 Rabee’ -ul- Awwal, in fact it can be celebrated at anytime of the year. Generally Meelad-un-Nabi ﷺ is celebrated, on the 12th of Rabee’ul-Awwal, by Muslims all over the world. In every Muslim country, there is a public holiday for “Meelad-un-Nabi”, except one country, but even in that country, the people celebrate “Meelad” individually. The birth of the Anbiyaa’ has been mentioned in the Qur’an. For example, Adam, Musaa, Eesaa, and Yahyaa (May Allah bless them and grant them peace). If it is wrong to talk about the birth of the Prophet (May Allah bless him and grant him peace), then why has Allah TA’ALA mentioned it in the Qur’an?
Evidence of Meelad-un-Nabi ﷺ from the Qur’an:
Allah Ta’ala says in the Holy Qur’an:
Say: “In the bounty of Allah, and his mercy, Therein let them rejoice.” That is better then what they Amass. (Yunus, 58)
In this verse, Allah Almighty tells us that we should be happy when we receive blessings and mercy from Him. Without doubt, the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] is the greateset mercy and blessing of Allah Almighty
Allah Almighty says in the Qur’an:
“And we sent not to you but a mercy for all the worlds” (Al’Anbiyaa’, 107)
AllahAlmighty says in the Qur’an:
Oh Prophet! The communicator of unseen news. We have sent you as a present beholder and bearer of glad tidings and a warner. And an inviter towards Allah by His command and a brightening sun. And give glad tidings to the believers that for them is great bounty of Allah. (Al-aHzaab, 44-47)
AllahAlmighty says in the Qur’an:
…remind them of the day of Allah… (Ibraaheem, 5)
Imam Ibn Kathir and Qadi Shawkani (RadhiAllahu Anhum) write that:
“the day of Allah” refers to the day on which AllahAlmighty has done a favour on mankind. For example, the freedom of Bani Isra’il from the slavery of Fir’awn.
[Tafsir Ibn Kathir, and Fath-ul-qadeer, by Hafidhh Ibn Kather and Qaadee Shawkaanee]
Allah’s graetest favour on mankind was the birth of the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace]. This means that the Milaad of the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] is a “day of Allah”, therefore we should remember it.
Imam Ibn Rajab (RadhiAllahu Anhu) writes that:
It is recommended to fast on those days on which Allah Almighty has sent blessings on us. The greatest favour which AllahAlmighty has bestowed us with, is the sending down of the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace].
Allah Almighty says in the Qur'an:
“I have favoured among nations and sent to you a Prophet from among you”
(ltaa’if-ul-ma’rif, page 111, by Hafidh Ibn Rajab)
Some other evidences of Meelad:
Our Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] celebrated the birth of his son Ibraaheem by freeing a slave.
(Tareekh Ibn Kathir, “Birth of Ibraaheem”).
Imam Muslim (RadhiAllahu Anhu) writes that the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] was asked about the fast on Mondays, which he used to keep, the Prophet replied “This is the day of my birth”.
This proves that the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] kept fast on Mondays to show gratitude for his birth.
Imam Bukhari (RadhiAllahu Anhu) writes that:
when Abu Lahab died, someone from his household saw him in a dream, they asked him what happened in the grave he said “I am being punished severely, but on Mondays, I get water from my finger with which I am freed Thuwayba,
Friday is a special day for Muslims because this is the day that Allah created Aadam[May Allah bless him and grant him peace]
(The Muslim book of Jum’ah, also Tareekh Ibn Kathir, vol.1, “Story of Aadam (May Allah bless him and grant him peace])
Imam Ibn Kathir (RadhiAllahu Anhu) writes:
that Abu Lahab freed Thuwayba on the day that the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] was born.
(Sirat-un-Nabee, “Birth of Prophet May Allah bless him and grant Him peace]”, by Hafidh Ibn Kathir)
This proves that a kaafir, Abu Lahab, was happy on the day of the birth of the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] and was rewarded by having his punishment reduced. If this is true, then indeed Allah will bless a Muslim who rejoices the birth of the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace]. This Hadith has been used by many ‘Ulamaa’, to justify the celebration of Meelad.
Imam Ibn Hajr Asqalani (RadhiAllahu Anhu) writes
that Sohaily said that Abbaas Radi-Allahu-unhu, who was the uncle of the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace], had the above dream. Apart from this, other Muhadditheen have also attributed this dream to Abbas RadhiAllahu Anhu.
(Fath-ul-baari, “Nikaah”, by Hafidh Ibn Hajar Asqalaanee)
A person may ask, “When did Abbaas Radi-Allahu-unhu have this dream? Was it before or after he embraced Islam?” The answer to this is that he had this dream after coming into the fold of Islam (Seerah-Ibn-Hashaam) Abu Lahab died after the battle of Badr before which Abbaas Radi-Allahu-unhu embraced Islam.
Fatwa of Scholars for Meelad:
Ibn Taymiyyah writes:
“Those people who celebrate Meelad through the love and respect of the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace], will be rewarded by Allah.
[Iqtidaa’ us-siraat-il-Mustaqeem, page 294]
He also writes that:
If someone celebrates Milaad with the love and respect of Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace], he will have a “big reward”. He says that in Muslim communities, Milaad-un-Nabi gatherings are only done with the respect and love of the Muslims for the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace]
[Iqtidaa’ as-siraat-il-Mustaqeem, page 297, by Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyyah]
Imam Ibn Kathir (RadhiAllahu Anhu) wrote that:
There was once a King, Abu Sa’eed Malik Muzaffar - a man of good deeds. In his kingdom, wherever he saw a lack of water, he would build a well. He also established many Islamic study centers. Every year, he would spend half a million dinars on hosting a gathering of his people to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace]
[Tareekh Ibn Kathir, see story of King Abu Sa’eed, Volume 13]
Ibn Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab Najdi, in his book, writes:
“Thuwaiba, who was the freed slave of Abu Lahab fed Rasolallah Sallalalhu ‘alaihi wa sallam milk. Abu Lahab freed Suwaiba at the time when she informed him that a son has been born at your brother’s house. After the death of Abu Lahab he was seen in a dream, in which he said ‘I am in severe punishment but this is lessened on Mondays, he showed his forefinger, and said that he would suck from it. This is so because it was with this finger that I freed Suwaiba when she informed of the birth of the Prophet, and she also fed the Prophet Sallalalhu ‘alaihi wa sallam milk”. Ibn Jawzi states: Abu Lahab is that kaafir who has been specially referred to, in the Qur’an. If such a person can be rewarded for celebrating the Milaad of the Prophet Sallalalhu ‘alaihi wa Sallam, then imagine how great the reward would be for a Muslim when he celebrates it.
[Mukhtassar Sirat-ur-rasool, “Milaad-un-nabi”, by Ibn Muhammad bin Abdul wahhaab Najdi].
The above is evidence that celebrating the birthday of the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] in the form of a gathering is permissible. Otherwise Hafidhh Ibn Kathir would not have referred to it as a good deed and Ibn Taymiyyah would not have said that there would be a “big reward” for doing so.
Some people have the opinion that King Abu Sa’eed introduced the celebrating of this occasion. This is not true because Imam Ibn Kathir states that in the 5th Century hijree, a King named Malik Shah celebrated it also with a gathering.
[Tareekh Ibn Katheer biography of Malik Shah]
Some people even argue that the Holy Prophet was not even born on the 12th Rabbi Awwal. This argument is baseless, as Imam Ibn Kathir has discussed this in Sirat-un-nabi. He states that the majority of the scholars agree that the Prophet was born on the 12th of Rabee’ul-Aawal. The evidence of the people who do not accept this is weak.
(As-Sirat-un-nabi, vol.1, “Birth of the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace]”)
Muhammad Ibn Is-haaq (RadhiAllahu Anhu) states that the Prophet was born on the 12th of Rabee’ul-Awwal.
(Seerah Ibn Hashaam, “Chapter Birth of the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace]”)
Ibn Is-haaq was a Taabi’ and was born in 75 Hijrah. His book is the oldest book available of seerah in Islamic history. The first book of Seerah was written by Musa bin Uqba. This book is no longer avaiable for reference.
The Ahl as-Sunnah Wal Jamaah celebrate the Milaad of the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] with love and respect. If someone does not celebrate it, we do not call them a kaafir because the matter of Meelad does not affect the ‘Aqeedah of a person. The celebrating of this should not cause any divisions among Muslims.
Hafidh Salaahuddeen Yoosuf [A follower of Ibn Taymiyyah and Shaikh Najdee] writes:
On the birth date of the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant him peace], to give charity to the poor or to build a Masjid. We agree in this type of celebration of Meelad.
(Milaad-un-nabi, by Hafidhh.Yoosuf, page 92)
Imam Ibn Kathir (RadhiAllahu Anhu) writes:
“On the day of the birth of Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace], Shaytaan cried a lot.”
(Sirat-un-nabi, “Birth of the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace]”, by Hafidh Ibn Kathir)
From Ibn Kathirs narration we can see that to feel unhappy on the Birthday of the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant him peace] is the way of shaytaan not the way of a Muslim!
Some questions raised concerning the Meelad:
(1) Although the Prophet was born on the 12th of Rabee’ul-awwal he also died on the same date.How then can the 12th of Rabee’ul-awwal be a happy day?
Mourning for someone’s death should not be more than three days, except for a woman, who has lost her husband. The Prophet’s [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] death was over 1400 years ago, so the period of mourning has passed. But, after someone dies, his death is remembered by reciting the Qur'an, remembering his merits, giving alms, and making du’a for him. Even if the period of mourning for the Prophet’s [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] death exists, all the actions mentioned above are included when people gather for Milaad-un-nabee. For this reason, there is not need to separate the celebration of the Prophet’s [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] birth, and the mourning of his death.
(2) How can there be an Eid Milaad-un-nabi when there are only two Eids (Al-Fitr and Al-AdhHaa)?
Allah Almighty says in the Qur’an:
Prophet Isa [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] prayed to Allah Almighty “Oh Allah, our Lord, send down to us a tray of food from the Heavens so that it may be an occasion of Eid for us for the first and the last of us.” (Al-Maa’idah, 114)
Imam Hakim (RadhiAllahu Anhu) writes that the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] said “Friday is also an Eid day”. Once, in the Prophet’s time Eid came on Friday and the Prophet [May Allah bless him and grant Him peace] said “Allah has given you two Eids today”.
(Mustadrak, “Jum’ah” by Imam Haakim and summary by Imam Dhahabi).
Imam Tirmidhi (RadhiAllahu Anhu) writes
“Abdullah-bin-Abbaas was reciting verse 3 of surah maa’ida, from the Qur’an. A Jew, sitting close-by heard it and said to Abdullah “If that verse which you recited, was revealed to us, we would make that day an Eid day”. Abdullah-bin-Abbas replied “When this verse was revealed, there were two Eids on that day. One of them was the Hajj day and the other Friday”.
[Tirmidhi , “Tafsir”, and also Tafsir Ibn Kathir, surah 5, verse 3]
From the references above, it is proved that the term “Eid day” does not specifically apply to the two Eid days (Al-fitr and al-adhHaa), but instead, it could be used for any Islamic holy day. This means that we can refer to “Milaad-un-Nabi” as “Eid-Milaad-un-nabi”
Books on Meelad-un-Nabi
Imam Tirmidhi (RadhiAllahu Anhu),
in his book even gives the title of one of this chapters, the name “Milaad-un-Nabee”. (Tirmidhi, shamaa’il)
Imam Waaqdi (RadhiAllahu Anhu)
(A second century Scholar) also wrote a book entitled “Milaad-un-Nabi”. The original copy can be found in Cairo.
Imam Ibn Al-Jawzi (RadhiAllahu Anhu)
wrote a book called “Milaad-un-Nabi” in which he gives very strong proofs permitting the celebration of Milaad.