CELEBRATING BIRTHDAY OF THE PROPHET (PBUH); HISTORY, CONDITIONS AND ETIQUETTES. Khutbah 5th R. Awwal, 1439 (24/NOV/2017)

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE BENEFICENT, THE MERCIFUL

BEING THE SECOND SERMON FOR THE MONTH OF R/AWWAL, 5TH R. AWWAL/1439AH (24/NOV/2017CE)

CELEBRATING BIRTHDAY OF THE PROPHET (PBUH); HISTORY, CONDITIONS AND ETIQUETTES.

Praise be to Allah. We praise and thank Him, we believe and depend on him. We seek his refuge from the evil of ourselves and our deeds. Whomever Allah guides is truly guided and whomever He misleads none can guide. I testify there is no god but Allah alone and that our leader- Muhammad (pbuh) is his servant and messenger who came to plant the tree of brotherliness among Muslims, and joined as brothers between the Muhajirun and the Ansar. O Allah shower peace and blessings on him, his household, companions and whoever follow their guidance and footsteps till the day of accountability.

Having said that,

Worshipers of Allah, I enjoin you and myself to fear Allah, the Almighty- this is a basic foundation for faith in the hearts of believers. Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنْتُمْ مُسْلِمُونَ (آل عمران: 102).

O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims [in submission to Him]. ” (3: 102).

Dear faithful, being the first sermon in the month of Rabiul Awwal in which the Prophet – peace be upon him- was born, we shall dedicate today’s sermon to talk on the: CELEBRATING BIRTHDAY OF THE PROPHET (PBUH); HISTORY, CONDITIONS AND ETIQUETTES.

Dear Muslims, Definition of Birthday of the Prophet.
Linguistically Mawlid means the place or the time of the Prophet’s birth. The Prophet was born in the house of Abu Yusuf, which is today a public library in Makkah. While his date of birth was Monday, 12th Rabi’ul- Awwal in the year of Elephant, corresponding to August, 570 C.E according to the most famous account.

The practice was unknown to Muslims for six centuries and a quarter of a century i.e beginning from the start of revelation up until the start of the seventh century of the hijrah.

After the departure of the favoured generations of Muslims then surfaced the innovation of Mawlid (celebration of Prophet Mohammed’s birthday) as a manifestation of weakness and deviation among Muslims.

The first Mawlid (celebration of Prophet Mohammed’s birthday) was organized by Muzaffar, who was then the king of Irbil in Damascus, in 604 Hijrah. The first person to author a book on Mawlid was Abul- Khatab bn Dahiyyah titled: “At-Tanweer Fi Mawlidil- Basheer Nadheer” (The enlightenment on the birth of the bearer of glad tidings and the warner) which he presented to the king who then rewarded him with one thousand dinar (an old form of currency).

Imam As-Suyutiyy described that Muzaffar- the innovator of Mawlid, at one of the Mawlid celebration he organized, spread banquet table filled with five thousand heads of grilled sheep, ten thousand chickens, one hundred horses, one hundred thousand bowls, and thirty thousand dishes of sweets. He organised an audition show for the Sufis from noon till dawn where he personally participated dancing with the dancers.

People are divided today and even before now over the appropriate judgement of Mawlid (celebration of Prophet Mohammed’s birthday) – Some views it as a good innovation while others disapprove of it, categorizing it as one of the innovations warned against in the statement of the prophet thus:

“And beware of newly invented things, every innovation is misguidance”, and other similar hadith.

They also affirmed that the prophet never did nor commanded it, no one among the companions practised it, likewise the immediate generation after them and those after them. Infact it was not practised by anyone in Islam throughout the favoured generations of Muslims. It equally represents imitation of Christians in their celebration of the birth of Jesus (AS) an act which Muslims have been warned against.

The prophet said: Whoever imitates a people is of them”

Equally, there is no consensus on his birthday, how then can such be a day assigned for a great act of worship of getting closer to God. Such celebrations also witness grave sins and outrageous practices, providing opportunity for people of lowly desires to satisfy their desires for ecstasy, music, freely mix of the two sexes and others.

SOME INADEQUATE REASONS GIVEN FOR ORGANISING MAWLID

Here are the reasons of Endorsers of Mawlid:
1 – An annual anniversary where Muslims remember the Prophet, peace be upon him, thereby increase in love and veneration for him.
2 – An opportunity to listen to some qualities of the prophet and to learn about his lineage and history.
3 – Manifestion of joy over the birth of the Prophet- peace be upon him, signifies one’s love for him and a demonstration of complete faith in him.
4 – Providing a banquet is a commanded act which possesses great reward especially when done with the intention of showing gratitude to God.
5 – Gathering in order to remember Allah, through the reading of the Quran and seeking blessings for the Prophet, peace be upon him.
These five excuses are inadequate going by what it contains of deviation from the lawgiver- Allah, through legalizing what He had not legalized. We shall explain the falsity of these excuses one after the other.

1- The fact that it is an annual anniversary where Muslims remember the Prophet (pbuh)

This reason could have been acceptable if Muslims were not engaged in the remembrance of the prophet dozens of times daily, a situation which would have necessitated the need for an annual or monthly remembrance. A Muslim regularly remembers the prophet in his solat day and night, the Adhan- call to prayer and Iqamah are also made with prophet’s remembrance inclusive.

Obviously, annual anniversary would be appropriate for fear of being forgotten for someone who is not remembered or talked about however, that would be inappropriate for someone who is regularly mentioned and remembered.

2 – Being an avenue to listen to some of the qualities of the prophet (pbuh) and learn about his lineage and history is an inadequate reason for the celebration. It is not enough to make listening to his attributes and qualities a mere annual event. What benefit does an annual experience give on a matter which is an integral part of the Islamic ideology of faith? It is a personal duty on every Muslim man and woman to learn the prophet’s lineage and attributes, ordinary listening to readings of story of Mawlid once a year is grossly insufficient.

3 –   Manifestion of Joy over birth of the Prophet (pbuh): This is a baseless excuse. Such joy could either be one of two possibilities- Expression of happiness over the prophet personality or an expression of happiness over the day he was born. However, if the joy is for the person of the prophet, then it should be continuous, whenever the prophet is mentioned or remembered, rather than being a time bound affair. On the other hand, if the second possibility is the case, then, that was the same day he died. It is not rationally right for someone to joyously celebrate the day his beloved dies. Hence, the death of the messenger was the greatest calamity that befell the Muslims. The companions used to say: “whoever is befallen with a calamity should remember his calamity by through the messenger of Allah (pbuh).” In addition to that, death is natural “Man rejoices over a newborn the day he is born and grieves over him the day he dies.
4 – Providing a banquet is a commanded act which possesses great reward especially when done with the intention of showing gratitude to God. This reason is weaker than those above. Feeding people is encouraged practice whenever occasion calls for it, a Muslim entertains guests, feeds the hungry persons and dispenses charity throughout the year, and therefore there is no need for creating a day in year specifically for feeding people. Thus this argument holds no water for inventing an innovation in any way.

Another reason they placed forth stems from the narration where Abu Lahab was seen in a dream, he was asked of his situation and he said he is been tortured in hell-fire, but the torture is lessened every Monday, and he also sips water from between his fingers of this measure- pointing to the tip of his finger, and that was because he set free Thuwaibah his slave when she gave him the good news of the birth of Muhammad to his brother Abdullah bn Abdul- Mutallib and for her effort to nurse him (pbuh). However, this suspicion is revoked on several grounds as follow:

1 – It is a known fact in Islam that laws are not verified through dreams regardless of the person’s level of faith, knowledge and piety, except for the prophet of God because the dreams of the prophets are inspired revelation which are certainly true.

2 – It was Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib who had the dream while the hadith was narrated from him through an intermediary, thus such hadith is a Mursal Hadith (a hurried hadith with interruption in the chain). Consequently, Mursal Hadith is not used for proof or verification of faith and worship matters. In addition, Abbass had the dream before accepting Islam, whereas the dream of an unbeliever cannot be used as evidence.

3 – Most scholars of the foremost and later generations unanimously agree that the unbeliever will not be rewarded for any good he did provided he dies in the state of disbelief. This is the actual truth according to Allah’s word:

{ وَقَدِمْنَا إِلَى مَا عَمِلُوا مِنْ عَمَلٍ فَجَعَلْنَاهُ هَبَاءً مَنْثُورًا }(الفرقان 23)

And We shall turn to whatever deeds they did (in this life), and We shall make such deeds as floating dust scattered about. (25: 23)

{أُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ وَلِقَائِهِ فَحَبِطَتْ أَعْمَالُهُمْ فَلاَ نُقِيمُ لَهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَزْنًا }(الكهف 105)

“They are those who deny the Signs of their Lord and the fact of their having to meet Him (in the Hereafter): vain will be their works, nor shall We, on the Day of Judgment, give them any weight.” (18: 105).

Aishah asked the prophet about Abdullah bn Jud’aan who used to slaughter a thousand camel every pilgrimage season, he will clothe a thousand garments, he do hosts the Alliance Group in his house. She said: “O Messenger of Allah will that benefit him? He said: “No, he has never once said: “My Lord, forgive me my faults on the Day of Judgment” this therefore confirms the invalidity of this dream.

4 – The joy Abu Lahab had was a natural gesture not a religious worship, because it is natural for someone to express happiness when he has a new born, or any of his brothers or relatives. Being Joyous would not be rewarded, if it is not for Allah. Also this fact further weakens and nullifies this narration.

Another proof they use is that narration which states that the prophet (pbuh) do fasts on Monday and Thursday. He gave the reason for that by saying: (As for Monday, it was the day I was born and commissioned as a messenger, and Thursday is the day where deeds are presented to Allah, thus I wish to be fasting when my deeds are presented to my Lord).

Therefore, if the intention for Mawlid is to show gratitude to Allah on the birth of the prophet, then it will be reasonable for the practice to align with the practice of the prophet in showing gratitude to Allah by observing fast on that day the same way he did. Unfortunately, the proponents of Mawlid celebration would not observe the fast because fasting strengthens the soul by depriving it of the enjoyment of food and drink.

Another proof of theirs is the word of Allah:

{قُلْ بِفَضْلِ اللهِ وَبِرَحْمَتِهِ فَبِذَلِكَ فَلْيَفُرَحُواْ}( يونس 58)

Say: “In the bounty of Allah. And in His Mercy,- in that let them rejoice”. (10: 58)

 

They argue that Allah instructs us to rejoice in His mercy, as a coincidence, the prophet is a mercy, as described in:

{ومَاأَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلاَّ رَحْمَةً لِلْعَالَمِينَ}( الأنبياء 107).

We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures. (21:107)

The answer to that is that nothing in this manner of interpretation could be found in the major books of Quranic exegesis such as Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Qurtubi, Baghawi, Baydhawiyy, Nasafiy and Ibn Jawziyy.

To buttress this point, we shall quote Ibn Jarir: “Allah the exalted said to Muhammad (pbuh), His prophet: ‘O Muhammad say to those who reject you and the revelation from your Lord: ‘O people! Islam is the grace of Allah with which He has favoured you, He clarifies it to you, He invited you to it, also throught favour of the mercy He bestows and sent on you, He taught you through His book that which you knew not, He enlightens you from there the signposts of your religion, and that is the Qur’an,-“ in that let them rejoice”: that is better than the (wealth) they hoard” He further said: “Verily the Islam he invited them to and the Qur’an which was revealed to them are better than the worldly debris, wealth and treasures.

Here are good alternatives:
Concerning the story of Mawlid and the contents, including review of the noble lineage and the impeccable qualities of Muhammad, the appropriate alternative is for Muslims to be diligent and serious. Develop learning circles with grounded scholars in the mosques who would teach Muslims their religion daily or weekly after Maghrib prayer to Ishai prayer. If this is done they would have truly learnt the noble lineage of the prophet and his undefiled qualities, and would take exemplary to become sincere followers and lovers of the prophet and not mere claimants.

The alternative for dhikr and Quranic recitation would be that each person should be devoted to a daily devotion of dhikr in the morning and evening called Wird.

Feeding people is an open act with generally known method, it does not depend on any celebration or a particular act of obedience. One could prepare food, invite the poor and even the rich to eat and praise Allah and show gratitude to Him for whoever thanks Allah, He increases him, Allah is surely the best of the thankful.

Some scholars who permit Mawlid Celebration attach some conditions:
1 – To be free from time wasting, prayer neglect and wasteful spending.
2 – It should be devoid of freely mix between the two sexes.
3 – The Praises of the messenger should not contain flattery and excesses
4 – The celebration should be on a single day
May Allah forgive me and you and all other Muslims.

SECOND KHUTBAH

All praises are due to Allah, the lord of the worlds. May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon Prophet Muhammad, his household, companions and believers till the end of time.

Allah says: (يَاأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنْثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ [الحجرات: 49\13])

“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” (49: 13)

As to what follows,
Dear faithful, the UNO is commemorating INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN on 25th November, 2017 which is an annual event, thus we consider it worthwhile to discuss the Islamic perspective to women status in Islam. The theme of the campaign for 2017 is “Leave no one behind: end violence against women and girls.”

The premise of the day is to raise awareness of the fact that women around the world are subject to rape, domestic violence and other forms of violence; furthermore, one of the aims of the day is to highlight that the scale and true nature of the issue is often hidden.

Historically, the date is based on the date of the 1960 assassination of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic; the killings were ordered by Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo (1930–1961). In 1981, activists at the Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Encuentros marked November 25 as a day to combat and raise awareness of violence against women more broadly; on December 17, 1999, the date received its official United Nations (UN) resolution.

For 2014, the official Theme framed by the UN Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women, is Orange your Neighbourhood.

The status of women in Islam:

Freeing the woman from the shackles of the darkness of ignorance and its injustices:

In Islam, women were given equal rights, and their fair rights were granted after she has been related with unjustly by all other forms of systems. Islam freed them from all their limitations, granted them honour, and elevated their status as a human being, a girl, a mother and a member of the family and society.

The position of Islam – the Islamic principles on women:

We shall summarise the reformation principles declared in Islam by Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him regarding women in the following manners:

“Women are humans like men in equal terms: Allah says: “O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul” (4:1)” Narrated by Ahmad, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi and others. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Women are like men in humanity.

Secondly: Islam exonerated her from the foundational curse ascribed to her by men of the previous religions. Islam also do not find her solely responsible for the banishment of Adam from the paradise, rather both were liable.

Allah says: “But Satan caused them to slip out of it and removed them from that [condition] in which they had been.” (2: 36)

Thirdly: She is fit for religious activities, worship, and capable of entering paradise if she does good, and liable to punishment if she errs, just like men in equal terms. Allah says: “Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do.” (16: 97)

Fourthly: Islam also form pessimistic thoughts for giving birth to female, as it was the practice of the Arabs and is still the practice of many nations, including some Westerners, till this moment as witnessed by myself. Allah says denouncing this bad habit: “He hides himself from the people because of the ill of which he has been informed. Should he keep it in humiliation or bury it in the ground? Unquestionably, evil is what they decide.” (16: 59)

Fifthly: Islam also forbid infanticide- burying the female child alive, describing it abominable in strong terms: “And when the girl [who was] buried alive is asked, ( 9 )   For what sin she was killed” (81: 8-9)

Sixthly: Islam ordered that she is honoured as a girl, a wife, and a mother.

Seventhly: Islam also encouraged that she is trained and educated like the male child is. We have talked earlier on the hadith of the Prophet (pbuh) where he said: “Any man who has a girl child and taught her, and perfected her education … “.

In another hadith, he said: “Seeking knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim.” (Narrated by al-Bayhaqi).

Eighthly: Islam gave her the right to inherit, as a mother, a wife and a daughter, old or young, or fetus: Allah says: (For men is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, and for women is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, be it little or much – an obligatory share.” (4:7).

Ninth: Islam also regulate the rights of the spouses, and granted the woman rights like that of men,  with the men granted the leadership role in the house, …

“And due to the wives is similar to what is expected of them, according to what is reasonable. But the men have a degree over them [in responsibility and authority].” [2: 228]

Tenthly: Islam also established the system of divorce so as to prevent the oppression of the man and his tyranny in the matter, and specified his limit, not to be exceeded, …

Oh Allah descend peace; flowing with continuous tranquility and security upon Nigeria and all other Muslim nations. O Allah accept the worship of the pilgrims of hajj and Umrah, and grant us all Your pleasure, And the last of our call will be, “Praise to Allah, Lord of the worlds!”

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