Sharee`ah violations during Al-Mawlid celebrations

Question: Dear Chairman and members of the Fatwaa Committee, there are some villages here in Jordan, particularly in my village of Kharja, where they continually read the birth story of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in the following manner:

1. A group of men, which sometimes also includes some women, read the birth story of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). In this story there are claims such as: “Anyone whose name is Muhammad will be called by a summoner from Allaah on the Day of Resurrection, and it will be said to them: Enter Paradise in honor of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him),” and “Anyone who invokes blessings upon Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) thousand times, Allaah will prohibit the Fire from touching their body,” and “When `Abdullaah, the father of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), married Aminah one hundred women in Makkah died, because they had not married `Abdullaah.” Also, when the narrator reaches the part relating the Prophet’s mother giving birth to him, everyone stands up; and when they read the part about his birth, they recite it, to show respect for Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). There are even more exaggerated acts performed in a birthday commemoration called Mawlid Al-‘Arawy.

2. They put some barley in the middle of the gathering and burn incense. After the recitation, everyone takes a small amount of the barley, over which the birth story of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is recited, to be used in treating any illness.

3. During the celebrations, some women utter Zagharid (trilling cries of joy) by the door of the room where the birth story of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is being told, to express their happiness at the recitation, in front of the men. No one objects to any of this, except me.I, on my part, have objected and denounced their acts, for I have heard many of your Fataawaa (legal opinions issued by a qualified Muslim scholar) on the radio, but they do not listen to me.

Answer: Firstly, it is permissible and encouraged to read the Seerah (the Prophet’s biography) to learn the rites and acts of ‘Ibaadah (worship) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to perform, in words and deeds, and learn about his noble manners. However, gathering regularly at a certain date to relate the Prophet’s birth narrative is a detestable Bid‘ah (innovation in religion) that neither took place during the lifetime of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) nor that of the first three generations of Islaam, which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) attested to their being the best of all… read more here.

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