Answered by Shaykh Omar Subedār
What is the ruling on Mawlid? Is it permissible to take part in such gatherings in which the burda will be sung? Where did the burda originate? And I’ve often seen that people stand up at certain points to show respect to the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him). Is this allowed?
The word ‘Mawlid’ has different connotations to it depending on which circle uses it. Based on the nature of your question it seems that the ‘Mawlid’ you are referring to are gatherings in which poetry is recited and songs are sung about the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) in order to honour him and express the attendees’ love for him. Technically there is nothing wrong with gatherings of this nature provided;
- They are not treated as an Islamic duty
- They do not take precedence over practices that are to be given importance to in Islam such as regularly attending the local Masjid for congregational prayers and reciting the Qur’ān
- Merits are not attached to it by the organizers or the attendees which have not been stated by our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings upon him)
If the gathering has anyone of the aforementioned elements in it then it must be shunned as it either falls under the category of reprehensible innovation (bid’ah) or has the potential of becoming one. It is also important that the poems that are recited and the songs that are sung within the gathering do not contain content that denote shirk due to over exaggerating the Prophet’s (peace and blessings upon him) praises or else it would not be permissible to attend. The Prophet’s (peace and blessings upon him) himself has prohibited us from exaggerating his praises by stating,
“Do not exaggerate in praising me as the Christians exaggerated the praises of the Son of Maryam. I am simply [Allāh’s] slave, hence [when describing me] say, “[He] is the slave of Allāh and His messenger.” [Bukhāri: 3445]
As for the Burda, this is a poem that was composed by the famous Egyptian Ṣufī Shaykh from the Shadhilī order, Muḥammad ibn Sa’īd [d. 1294] who is better known as Imam Al Būsīrī. According to tradition he had composed this poem of approximately 160 couplets while suffering from paralysis and was cured upon reciting it to the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) in his dream. He was also granted a mantle by the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) which he found by him upon awakening. Hence this poem was named the ‘Poem of the Mantle’.
The poem was composed on the premise of expressing love for the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him).
Regarding the act of standing up to display reverence for the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him), this is something the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) himself disliked during his lifetime and hence it is considered makrūh (disliked) today. Anas (may Allāh be pleased with him) reported,
“There was no one more beloved to the companions than Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings upon him). Whenever they would see him they would not stand for him due to knowing that he disliked it.” [Tirmidhī: 2754]
And Allāh Knows Best