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Response to an Email (Birth of the Prophet (S.A.)

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by DarulUloomTT.net
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Recently an e-mail came to our attention which spoke about a Fatwa that was issued by the Darul Uloom.
The sender of the e-mail did not really seek an answer or clarification on what was written on the Darul Uloom Fatwa, but seeing that the brother seemed to have a problem in understanding the contents, we hereby give a respond to his e-mail.

However, before doing so, we hereby reproduce the e-mail of the sender and then we will give our response. The e-mail is:

The recent issuance of a Fatwa by the Darul Uloom of T&T is misguided, whatever their intentions may be.

The Holy Quran commands believers to honour the Prophet and no restrictions are placed as to method.

Honouring the Prophet by standing in his honour is not worship and therefore permissible.

If it is believed that the Messenger in humility declined honour, Allah’s several Command supersede and abrogate this.

And if he did not wish to be honoured by his companions standing up for him before God’s revelation to us, his request to them does not apply to us who honour him posthumously in his absence.

Below is a recent article by this writer that details the Quranic justification for honouring the Prophet sas.

The term Makruh is a scholars’ interpolation that makes Halaal unclear from Haraam.

What does Darul Uloom have to say for the thousands who stand at the grave of the Holy Prophet daily offering salaams?

Following is the article above mentioned:-

Celebrating the Birth of the Holy Prophet UWBP.
March 7th, 2010. 20th Rabiul Awwal 1431.

Bismillahir rahmanir raheem

At the Masjid which I attended for Juma Salaat on Friday 26th Feb last (11th Rabiul Awwal 1431), the Khateeb took great pains to warn the congregation against celebrating the Birth of the Holy Prophet (sas) which many Muslims observe on the 12th of Rabiul Awwal (the 3rd month of the Islamic Lunar calendar) annually.

The basis for his exhortation was that he had found nothing either in the Quran or Sunnah to support the celebration of birthdays, or any precedent in the lives of the Sahaba, or Taba’in or Taba Taba’in.

This essay offers an explanation why celebrating the birth of the Holy Prophet is not only permitted but laudable.

Firstly, Quran states unequivocally that it is a detailed exposition of all things. (12:111). Thus the matter may only be made clear by reference to the Quran.

Secondly, the Quran establishes itself as the sole determiner of Halaal and Haraam when it makes Itself the sole reference at 6:145 – “Say: I find not in the Message received by me by inspiration any (meat) forbidden…..except…”. Only that which is specifically forbidden by name or classification (e.g. unclean) is forbidden. Quran forbids all from saying: “This is lawful and this is forbidden” by his own thinking. 16:116. We may not forbid that which is not forbidden by Quran. 6:140; 7: 32. And nowhere in Quran is celebrating birthdays prohibited.

The Christians and Jews make gods of their monks and rabbis because they follow their laws rather than the laws in their scriptures that are with them. 9 : 31. We may only follow the laws in Quran.

Thirdly, Quran rejects any and all Hadith that follows It: “In what Hadith after this (Quran) will they believe?” 7 : 185; 45 : 6; 77 : 50. It calls Itself the Most Beautiful Hadith. 39: 23. And It asks: “Whose word can be truer than Allah’s?” 4:87. No messenger may invite to his own Sunnah when he knows that it is only Allah’s Revelation that must be studied and followed. 3 : 79; 80. Our disregarding the Quran for aught else will cause the Prophet to say: “O my Lord! Truly my people took this Quran for just foolish nonsense.” 25 : 30.

Good deeds are not limited or confined by any detailed schedule in Quran. Indeed, any deed done for the sake of Allah is recorded as a good deed, intention being what defines its acceptability. 9: 120; 121.

Now specifically, we have been commanded in Quran to send blessings on the Prophet (sas) and to salute him with all respect. 33 : 56. We have also been commanded to honour him. 7: 157. Indeed, as the Beloved of Allah, he deserves greater honour from us than any other human being. We are also commanded to honour the Holy Things of Allah. 22 : 30. And Holy Prophet Muhammad’s (sas) appearance was a Blessing upon the believers. 3 : 164.

Further, we are commanded to congregate for the doing of good, not evil. 58: 9. And when we assemble we must make room when asked, and also we must stand up when asked. 58 : 11. Assembling for good is permitted.

We are commanded to remember Allah constantly. Yet Quran causes several Messengers to be particularly remembered for their goodness. “Remember in The Book Ibrahim….Ismail,…” and others. Salaat is for Remembering Allah, but Salaat incorporates the remembrance of The Prophet and we are required to send blessings on him (without limitation) 33 : 56.

We are also required to celebrate the bounties of Allah (93 : 11), and Holy Prophet is “Rahmatul lil alameen”, a Mercy to both the worlds. 21 : 107, His greatest bounty to us.

Allah has exalted the fame of the Holy Prophet (94 : 4), and when we forbid remembering the Prophet, we are in fact negating that Fame which Allah has bestowed on him.

The things which must be forbidden are the evil things and dirty things which Allah has forbidden. Bad and good are not equal. 5 : 103. Good things may not be forbidden. 5 : 90.

Quran continues to say of the day of the birth of Prophet Yahya (a.s.), “Blessings upon him the day he was born…” 19 : 15.

The manner in which the Birthday of the Holy Prophet is celebrated is with assemblies, recitation of Quran, sending of Blessings on him, remembering him in song and giving gifts to fellow believers in his honour. All good things.

This annual commemoration is small compared with the honour men give to others. To remember the Prophet is to remember Whose Slave he is. And the Remembrance of Allah is greater than all else.

While Allah commands us to honour the Prophet, He has Himself honoured him above all other creatures in a manner we can never equal. By taking him into His Presence in the Meeraj, Allah has honoured him and declares Himself to be Glorified thereby. 17 : 1.

The celebration of the Birthday of our Holy Prophet is recommended and its neglect may well render us derelict in our duty. (End of e-mail)

OUR RESPONSE:

First of all, the sender wrote: ‘The recent issuance of a Fatwa by the Darul Uloom of T&T is misguided, whatever their intentions may be’.

To this, we say, if the brother believes that the fatwa is misguided then it is upon him to prove it from any of the sources of the Sacred Shariah. The Quran says, ‘Bring your proof, if you are indeed truthful’. Additionally, we say that our fatwa is in conformity to the thousands of other fatwas given by the reliable scholars of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah.

The brother then said, ‘Whatever their intentions may be’. If the brother did not know before, then let’s make it clear to him and others, that our intention is simply to propagate the true and unadulterated teachings of Islam, as it is preached in the Holy Quran, and explained by the beloved Messenger of Allah (S.A). We are sorry if anyone takes offence, however, our intention is to reach out the message of Islam. We have no dislike for any of our Muslim brothers/sisters, nor do we have any grudges against any organization or masjid. Our purpose is simply that of Islamic Education. We teach, we preach and propagate the creed and practices of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah, and we defend that which has been established as the truth from the time of the Prophet (S.A), the Sahabahs, the Tabieen and Tab’ut Tabieen. We do not ‘bash’ anyone, nor do we make ourselves low by using names for others. We will continue to preach that which is the truth, without bias and favouritism. We love our Muslims and so, we do not deal with personalities. We deal only with issues. Whoever wishes to attack our personalities and the name of our organization, we will not jump into a fight of words with them. We will leave them to the care of Allah, and let Allah deal with them. As for those who attack the truth and wish to distort or condemn it, then we will stand to defend the truth to the extent of the knowledge, strength and Divine guidance which Allah has given to us.

The sender of the e-mail goes on to say: ‘The Holy Quran commands believers to honour the Prophet (S.A) and no restrictions are placed as to method’.

Here, the writer mixes up two statements, one is right and the other is wrong. He rightfully says that the Holy Quran has commanded us to honour the Prophet (S.A). This is what every Muslim believes, and this is what is compulsory on every Muslim. Not only to honour and respect, but to love the Prophet (S.A) is essential upon every believer.

The statement which is wrong is where the writer says, ‘and no restrictions are placed as to method’. Probably, the writer fails to realize that Islam has already been perfected and completed while the Prophet (S.A) was still alive. All the practices and methods of our acts of worship have already been shown and given to us by the Prophet (S.A). Even, in expressing joy and happiness on special occasions, the Prophet (S.A) had already fixed all these before he departed. As such, we will find that one can express his happiness at the birth of a child by having an Aqeeqa. In our joy through having fasted the whole month of Ramadhan, the Prophet (S.A) has shown the celebration of Eid ul Fitr, to express great happiness. In a similar manner, the Prophet (S.A) has shown us a manner of commemorating the sacrifice (Qurbani) by showing us to celebrate three days of Eid.

In the reverse, we find that the Prophet (S.A) has taught us how to control our emotions upon the death of someone, in cases of sickness, difficulties and hardships. So, the sender of the e-mail must understand (only if he would accept the truth) that the details of our practices in Islam have already been fixed and given.

If the writer really believes that ‘no restrictions have been placed in honouring the Prophet (S.A)’ then he should go into the sajdah posture when he is saying the Tazeem, rather than standing. (As he said, there are no restrictions).

The e-mail sender then states: ‘Honouring the Prophet by standing in his honour is not worship and therefore permissible’.

Here, the sender enters the arena of issuing his ‘own personal fatwa’. Is he qualified to issue a fatwa? Is he qualified to even say what he said? I think the brother himself would admit that he is not qualified in the Islamic Sciences to do any of the above. His statement simply shows ignorance of simple Islamic treachings. We know very well that ‘standing for the Prophet (S.A)’ is not worshipping him. However, the question is ‘Who started this?’ ‘Where did this come from?’ Does it mean that anytime a few Muslims wish to bring about some religious practice, they would invent new ways and then say it is permissible?

Our Prophet (S.A) outrightly prohibited people from standing for him, and the pious generation of the most knowledgeable Muslims did not do this practice. Why should one hold on to it as if it is a teaching of Islam? Are innovations and inventions more important to these Muslims than the teachings of the Prophet (S.A) himself?

My advice to the e-mail sender is, ‘instead of trying to prove what was not established, please look to see when and where this innovation came from? Who started it? And what should you as a Muslim follow?’

The e-mail sender goes further to state: ‘If it is believed that the Messenger in humility declined honour, Allah’s several Command supersede and abrogate this’.

If the writer was fully aware of the life of the Prophet (S.A) and his teachings, then he would know very well that the Sahabahs did many things in honour of the Prophet (S.A) and to show their deep love for him. They caught the water which he made wuzu with, and passed it over their bodies. They did not even allow his saliva to fall on the ground. His wives stored his perspiration in bottles and used it as perfume. The Companions laid their lives for his cause. In the battlefield, they would stand in front of him and take all the arrows on their chests, so that none will touch him, and the list continues. They loved him more than anyone, and they sacrificed everything for his sake. The Prophet (S.A) accepted all these acts and expressions of their love/honour and did not rebuke them. If it was an issue of humility, the Prophet (S.A) would have never allowed them to do so many things. He even taught them the manner of reciting Salaah and Salaam (Darood), and would allow them to say words of praise in front of him, and did not stop them. However, when they wanted to stand for him on one occasion, he reprimanded them harshly and ordered them not to do it.

The sender said, ‘Allah’s several command supersede and abrogate this’. We will simply ask this brother to bring forth these several command which he thinks abrogated anything. The truth is that this is a statement that has no substance in it. Probably, the brother did not read in the Quran several times that Allah commanded all the Muslims by saying, ‘O you who believe, obey Allah and His Messenger’, and Allah also commanded the Muslims, saying, ‘Whatever the Messenger gives you, take it. And whatever he forbids you from, stay away from it’.

The sender goes on by saying: ‘And if he did not wish to be honoured by his companions standing up for him before God’s revelation to us, his request to them does not apply to us who honour him posthumously in his absence.’

The writer says, ‘And if he did not wish to be honoured by his companions’. It seems that the writer really has a problem in understanding the Islamic Sciences. He says ‘And if he did not wish’. The dear brother should understand that it was not a matter of ‘wishes’, it was a matter of ‘strict prohibition’ to the followers, which also included the Muslims of today. The email sender gives the impression that there was a different law for the companions and a different law for the Muslims of today. He says, ‘his request to them does not apply to us’. All Muslims believe that based upon the teachings of the Prophet, they must also follow the teachings of the Sahabahs. They also accept that prohibitions given to the companions are also meant for them. As such, if the writer has fabricated the principle/statement that ‘his request to them does not apply to us’, then he must prove it from the sources of the Shariah.

The writer goes on to say: ‘The term Makrooh is a scholar’s interpolation that makes Halaal unclear from Haraam’.

It is sad to see that instead of finding out about ‘technical terms’ of the Shariah, the sender is quick to condemn. From his statement it shows that the sender does not understand the word Makrooh, Halaal and Haraam. His statement is his own concoction of an ignorant mind. Had he inquired about the word ‘Makrooh’, he would realize that it was always used in Islamic Jurisprudence from the earliest centuries of Islam until present. All the books of Islamic Jurisprudence are filled with explanations on this word. However, if one does not seek the truth and gain knowledge, then he will be left alone to wander in his own ignorance.

The sender continues by saying, ‘What does Darul Uloom have to say for the thousands who stand at the grave of the Holy Prophet daily offering salaams?

Our dear sender believes that people stand at the grave of the Prophet (S.A) on account of the ‘customary standing’ which he does. This is a clear misunderstanding on the part of the email sender. What he fails to understand is that when one visits the grave of the Prophet (S.A), then there is a manner of passing by the grave.

I do not know if the (email) sender ever went for Hajj or Umra, but the thousands of Muslims who have undertaken these trips and have visited the sacred Rawdhah (grave of the Prophet S.A), know very well that there is a fixed manner for giving Salaams to the Prophet (S.A) at his grave. Muslims are required to form themselves into lines and walk in front of the graves of the Prophet (S.A), Abu Bakr (R.A) and Umar (R.A). No one is allowed to stand or sit. Everyone must keep on walking, and in this state one will recite the Salaams upon the Prophet (S.A) as well as upon Abu Bakr (R.A) and Umar (R.A). If anyone halts at that spot, he will be immediately pushed away by the securities who are always around the area. The practice therefore, is not of standing to give Salaams, but it is that while walking slowly in the lines, one will convey Salaams to the Prophet (S.A). If one wishes to do any other thing besides this, then the security officers will immediately stop him.

Our brother must also know that while the above takes place, there are thousands of other Muslims who sit in the Prophet’s Mosque close to the grave to convey Salaah and Salaams. Muslims also sit where the ‘Companions of Suffah’ used to sit, and all engage in different acts of worship. Some are in Salaat, some are in dua, some are in recitation of the Quran and Zikr, and others are engaged in sending Salaah and Salaams to the Prophet (S.A). It should also be noted that the act of standing, is what is recommended in Islam when visiting any graveyard. Hence, we see that when Muslims visit the graveyard in Madina, (Jannatul Baqi), they stand and walk through the paths, while visiting the graves of the Sahabahs and others. Similarly, when they go to their local graveyards to visit the deceased Muslims, they stand and they do not sit. So here, we see that ‘standing while visiting graves’ are common to all, and is not specific to only one person or one grave.

The sender goes on to another article which he wrote entitled, ‘Celebrating the Birth of the Holy Prophet UWBP’.

With respect to the article, readers would have read it and seen the contents. While looking at this article, we found it extremely strange that the writer would write an essay of this nature, seeing that from his previous articles, he has shown no regards to the teachings of the Prophet (S.A). In fact, on one occasion he wrote, ‘When we have the Quran with us, why do we need anything else?’

In fact, in all the Quranic verses that he has quoted, there is absolutely no indication to the teachings of the Prophet (S.A). The reason for this approach is quite clear, since the writer himself has no regards for the teachings of the Prophet (S.A). This fact is also borne out from the translation he has given for some of the Quranic verses.

In one of his translations, he has openly slandered the Holy Quran by saying, ‘Thirdly, Quran rejects any and all Hadith that follows it’. Here, the writer wanted to make it abundantly clear that in his opinion ‘there is no place for Hadith in Islam’. He goes further to state, ‘No Messenger may invite to his own Sunnah when he knows that it is only Allah’s Revelation that must be studied and followed’. In this way, the writer expresses his ignorance and also his open condemnation of following ‘Hadith’ and ‘the Sunnah’.

I pose a question to the readers, ‘Will you follow a person like this who has no regards for the teachings of the Prophet (S.A)?’

The translations and explanations given by the writer by quoting all these Quranic verses are not only misguided, but they are deviated, and a fabrication of his own mind. The writer dismisses all those verses of the Holy Quran in which Allah has commanded us to obey and follow the Prophet (S.A).
Some of these verses are:

Allah says to the believers, ‘And obey Allah and His Messenger so that mercy be showered upon you’. (3:132), (4:59)

In another verse, Allah says that a Messenger is sent so that he be obeyed, ‘And We have not sent a Messenger except that he be obeyed with the permission of Allah’. (4:63)

Allah also states that whoever has obeyed the Prophet (S.A), has indeed obeyed Him. He says, ‘And whoever obeyed the Messenger, then he has certainly obeyed Allah’. (4:80)

The Quran is filled with such verses which order all Muslims to be fully obedient to the Prophet (S.A), since he has brought to them the teachings of Allah. Allah also ordered the believers and said, ‘Whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he prohibits you from, then abstain from it’. (59:7)

It is therefore established from the Holy Quran that Allah Himself has ordered us to follow the hadith and Sunnah of the Prophet (S.A). In fact, he goes further to condemn those who disobey and cause harm to the Prophet (S.A). In Sura Nisa (4) verse 115, Allah says, ‘And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger of Allah, after the right path has been shown clearly to him and follows a path other than the path of the believers, we shall keep him on the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell. What an evil destination!’ (4:115)

With respect to the statement of the writer that, ‘Good deeds are not limited…’. We say, that any good deed done for the sake of Allah will be accepted, as long as it falls within the teachings of Islam. Furthermore, a practice can only be called Islamic/religious in nature when it conforms to the principles of the Shariah.

The writer then goes on to make a complete ‘mess’ of his quotations by applying his own personal understanding of Quranic verses which are far from the truth. He has become confused with the words, ‘honour, respect, remembering the Prophet, and standing for the Prophet (S.A)’. All the verses are misquoted and misrepresent the truth.

Like others, the writer has fallen prey to a grave misunderstanding, and thinks that if anyone holds the view that the birthday of the Prophet (S.A) must not be celebrated, then it means that this person does not love, honour, respect or exalt the Prophet (S.A). The writer fails to understand that ‘celebrating Meelad’ is a totally separate issue from showing love and reverence to the Prophet (S.A). Allah has commanded us to love the Prophet (S.A) and to send blessings and greetings upon him, but Allah has not even indicated to the celebration of his birthday. If this was found in the Quran, directly or indirectly, ambiguously or in expressed terms, then the Prophet (S.A) and his blessed companions would have been the first to adhere. But there is absolutely no verse of the Holy Quran, or a single teaching of the beloved Prophet (S.A) which gives one the permission to celebrate his birthday. The verses quoted by the writer bear no relation and connection to the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday. The interpretation of these verses given by the writer is his personal understanding which has not been expressed by a single authentic scholar of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah from the time of the Prophet (S.A) until today.

In short, we can say that the writer has attempted to establish his position, but like others, failed miserably. His attempt incorporated slanderous statements against Allah and His Messenger, and also fabricated opinions. We ask him to fear Allah in this matter. There are millions of Muslims who remember the Prophet (S.A) everyday of their lives. They upkeep his Sunnah and live in accordance to his blessed teachings. They honour the Prophet (S.A) and show their deepest respect and love for him, and send hundreds of Darood daily upon him. But they do not celebrate the birthday of the Prophet (S.A), because they know that it is not from his blessed teachings.

The writer pointed that the matter must be made clear by reference to the Quran, he wrote: Firstly, Quran states unequivocally that it is a detailed exposition of all things. (12:111). Thus the matter may only be made clear by reference to the Quran.

Based upon his statement, we are kindly requesting him to show us in the Holy Quran where Allah has asked the Muslims to celebrate the Prophet’s birthday. His proof must be unequivocal and unambiguous, and must not be his personal inference or deduction.

On another point, the writer states, ‘Secondly, the Quran establishes itself as the sole determiner of Halaal and Haraam…’

Based on this statement, we are kindly requesting the writer to show us in clear words of the Holy Quran where Allah has made the celebrating of the Prophet’s birthday permissible. He should not use the verses of ‘honouring’, ‘exalting’, ‘remembering’, ‘respecting the Prophet (S.A)’. These words of the Quran do not mean ‘celebrate the birthday of the Prophet (S.A)’. We also do not want inferences and personal reasoning. If the writer has made the point that the Quran must be the sole determiner, then we need the clear-cut words of the Holy Quran in this matter.

The writer also states, ‘Only that which is specifically forbidden by name or classification (e.g. unclean) is forbidden. Quran forbids all from saying, ‘This is lawful and this is forbidden’ by his own thinking’.

Based on this statement, the writer wishes to establish that the Quran alone will prohibit and also make something lawful. Hence, he quotes the verse which states that it is forbidden for someone to say ‘This is lawful’. Based on this statement, it means that the writer has gone against this principle, since he has made things lawful and permissible which the Quran did not do. In one of his statements, he said, ‘This essay offers an explanation why celebrating the birth of the Holy Prophet (S.A) is not only permitted but laudable’. Here, the writer has given his own personal statement by saying that this celebration is ‘permitted’ and ‘laudable’. But where in the Quran are these statements?

At another place, the writer states, ‘The celebration of the birthday of our Holy Prophet is recommended’. Here, again, the writer is putting forth his own statement which is not in the Quran. All the statements he has used, show that he is telling us that, ‘This celebration of the Prophet’s birthday is lawful’. But, he has already stated that only the Quran has the authority to say something is lawful. So why is he doing this? He therefore needs to bring this evidence from the Holy Quran to show that Allah has stated that the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday is lawful.

In the end, we say that the writer has simply tried to prove something that does not exist in the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (S.A). When there is no proof for a thing, a person will simply try to use his personal reasoning and judgement to establish his point. Yet, these cannot be acceptable in the Shariah of Islam.

And Allah Knows Best
Mufti Waseem Khan

This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.

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