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The Ruling of the Shafi’i Jurists on Celebrating the Prophet’s Birthday

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Assalamoo ‘aleykoom dears Ulamas. What are saying the Shafi’is Ulamas about the celebration of the birth of the Prophet -asws- ? Is it permissible or not ? Some people are saying it’s a (bad) bid’a. All quotes of aqwal al Ulama are welcome. Thank you


Wa alaykum salam wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuHu,

Abu Shamah al-Maqdisi wrote a treatise dealing specifically with innovation under the title al-Baith fi al-Bida wa al-Hawadith. Therein, pg. 29-31, he discussed mawlid as a good innovation [bidah hasanah].

Ibn Qasim in his super-commentary on Ibn Hajar’s Tuhfat al-Muhtaj cited some details relevant to the celebration of mawlid, vol. 7, pg. 424-25. His source is primarily Imam As-Suyuti’s Fatawa. In his elaborations, Ibn Qasim cited Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani and his viewpoint on mawlid celebrations. Ibn Hajar mentioned that the basis of mawlid is an innovation [bidah] because it was not practiced by the early generations. Additionally, he mentions that mawlid may comprise of good qualities in accordance with the shariah, or conversely, bad ones. He then stated that if a mawlid gathering is comprised of good qualities, then it is a good innovation [bidah hasanah]; and if not, so it is not. Ibn Hajar al-Haytami approached the matter from a similar perspective in his al-Fatawa al-Hadithiyyah, pg. 109.

The ruling of a mawlid gathering would depend on its qualities and structure. If it is only good and compliant with the dictates of the shariah, then it would be a good innovation [bidah hasanah]; however, if there are disliked or unlawful qualities therein, accordingly it would no longer be something good.

It is important for us to learn to respect those who consent to mawlid gatherings and those who do not. Strong academic arguments could be raised to support either side. The scholars on both sides are upright and both striving to please Allah. The scholarly research and academic contributions produced from those who do not support mawlid and likewise those who do, are much appreciated and deserve our respect: as there is value and benefit in contributions to Islamic knowledge.

Allah knows best.

Shafiifiqh.com Fatwa Dept.

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