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Permissibility of Feeding and Reciting Madih Lyrics at the Mosque in Celebration of the Prophet`s Birthday

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
How should we celebrate the Prophet`s birthday? Is it permissible to name it {Mawlid Eid} i.e. birthday festival? What is the ruling on singing Madih lyrics and serving food and sweets? Is it permissible to hold this celebration at the mosque?

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds, and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions. Celebrating the Prophet`s Mawlid{Birth} starts with reciting verses of the Noble Quran, then reading his Seerah(Biography), urging people to adhere to religion, singing Madih lyrics of the Prophet and it ends with making supplication to Allah. This anniversary is tantamount to an annual invitation for people to follow in the steps of the Prophet(PBUH) as enjoined by Allah, The Almighty, who says, "Verily there is for you a good example in the Messenger of God for whoever hopes for [the encounter with] God and the Last Day, and remembers God often."{Al-Ahzaab/21}. Moreover, it is permissible to name this occasion as " Mawlid Eid, "(Birthday Festival) because people usually say Eid al-Ummal(Laborers' Day), Eid al-Umm(Mother`s Day) and Eid al-Shajarah(Tree`s Day). "Eid"(Festival), here, is a linguistic term referring to an occasion that takes place and ends on annual basis. Therefore, it isn`t intended as a legal term i.e. it isn`t intended as a special day that has special rites and fasting on it is prohibited. Naming it as Mawlid is out of custom, not out of Sharia and this is permissible. Reciting at the mosque is permissible so long as it is lawful, and it is desirable to be Madih(Praise) lyrics of the Prophet(PBUH). `Umar came to the Mosque while Hassan was reciting a poem. (`Umar disapproved of that). On that Hassan said, "I used to recite poetry in this very Mosque in the presence of one (i.e. the Prophet (PBUH) ) who was better than you." Then he turned towards Abu Huraira and said (to him), "I ask you by Allah, did you hear Allah's Messenger (PBUH) saying (to me), "Retort on my behalf. O Allah! Support him (i.e. Hassan) with the Holy Spirit?" Abu Huraira said, "Yes." "{Agreed upon}. An-Nawawi said about this Hadith, "It permits reciting poetry at the mosque if it is lawful and recommends it if it praises Islam and Muslims."{Shreh An-Nawawi ala Muslim(16/46)}. Serving sweets and the like in the Mawlid is among the non-essential things; however, if it is intended to reflect joy about the Mawlid, then it is permissible, although it isn`t a condition in that occasion. Nevertheless, Sharia recommends feeding people. 'Abdullah bin 'Amr bin Al-'as (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: A man asked Messenger of Allah (PBUH), "Which act in Islam is the best?" He (PBUH) replied, "To feed (the poor and the needy) and to greet those whom you know and those you do not know."{Bukhari}.

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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