THE RELIGIOUS BASIS OF
The Almighty says in the Holy Qur'aan:
“O mankind! There hath come to you an exhortation from your Lord; a balm for that which is in the breasts; a guidance and a mercy for believers. Say! In the bounty of Allaah and in His mercy: therein let them rejoice. It is better than what they hoard.” (X 57-58)
The exhortation from the Lord for mankind, a balm for their hearts, a guidance for the believers, and the arrival of a sacred and pious man with all the Divine Graces along with him, from the celestial regions to the corporeal world, are not a usual or common phenomenon, but the most vital and significant event of human history. The auspicious day on which this event of paramount importance occurred is a historic occasion for all mankind. Allaah, the Exalted Lord, accosting the Holy Prophet ( ), has said:
“We sent thee not save as mercy for the peoples” (xxl 107)
That sacred person is a universal blessing for all the worlds and a special blessing and guidance for the believers in particular. His eulogies and praises are found sprinkled in the Holy Qur’aan itself throughout; no other blessing can excel him. When the all-venerated person of the Holy Prophet is in itself the greatest of all bounties, then the acceptance and acknowledgment of this bounty becomes an obligatory gratefulness for the Muslims.
The grandeur and invaluable worth of this bountiful blessing can be assessed from the fact that Allaah, in the Holy Qur’aan, calls it a great bounty for the believers. That is why it has been asserted in Surah Al-e-Imran;
“Allaah verily hath shown grace to the believers by sending them a messenger of their own who reciteth unto them His revelations, and causeth them to grow, and teacheth them the Scripture and wisdom.” (iii 4)
God Almighty has bestowed upon mankind thousands of bounties in this world and Hereafter and each one of them is an act of His mercy and kindness. But the sending of the Prophet is so priceless a blessing that God has pronounced it as His obligation to mankind. The recognition and acknowledgment of this blessing, in conformity with His own assertion:
“If you are grateful, we would increase our bounties.” (xiv 7)
leads to multiplying these Graces. However, this fact should also be considered that all other additional blessings following the advent of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) are due to him and because of his bounties. These blessings include material and spiritual, divine and mundane, eternal and mortal, transitory and everlasting bounties.
References of Divine Graces
Remembrance of the Divine Grace is not only desirable and benedictory but an obligatory duty which has been referred to time and again by the Lord Himself for the pre-Islamic nations particularly Bani Israel and also for the followers of Islam.
It occurs in the Holy Qur/aan:
“O children of Israel! Remember My favour wherewith I favoured you, and fulfil your part of the covenant.” (ii 40)
“O children of Israel! Remember my favour wherewith I favoured you and how I preferred you to all creatures….” (ii 47)
“O ye who believe! Remember Allaah’s favour unto you when there came against you hosts..” (xxxiii 9)
“O ye who believe! Remember Allaah’s favour unto you how a people were minded to stretch out their hands against you..” (v 11)
The remembrance of Allaah according to:
“Lo! Only remembrance of Allaah gives contentment to hearts.” (xiii 28)
is the source of contentment of heart and on the testimony of
“Remember Him for verily His remembrance is beneficial to you.” (ii 55)
leads to our advantage. The greatest of all its advantages is that God Himself has said:
“Remember Me and I shall remember you; be grateful and be not deniers.” (ii 153).
Ya! As this verse indicates, not to express gratitude is tantamount to denial of His blessings, and this negation testifies the denial of the Giver of these bounties.
When the remembrance of God is the source of worldly and divine benefits and contentment of the soul, then the remembrance of that being who is blessed by God Himself and on whom His benedictions shower, will invariably bear material and spiritual advantages. Then why should we not reap those blessings by remembering him?
“Allaah and His angels send their blessings to the Prophet; o ye who believe! Send your blessings and offer your salutations to him” (xxx 56)
is the injunction of the Exalted Lord of the worlds sand none of the believers can entertain the slightest doubt and suspicion about the authenticity of God’s injunctions.
Blessings Salutations and Adherence to the Sacred Conduct
Some persons tend to exaggeration and magnifying the Oneness of God and the Prophet’s traditions and hold that the remembrance is not so important as the following of his noble actions. However the Holy Qur’aan enjoins upon us the remembrance of the Prophet and the offering of “salaat-o-salaam” to him as well as obedience to him. Those who are apt to exaggerate things attach little importance even to the remembrance of the Lord Almighty and contend about remembrance of Him also. Actually, there is a commandment, not about remembrance only, but also about plenty of it. And among the attributes of believers one is described in the words that the true Believers are those who remember God while sitting, standing and lying on their sides. It is obvious that only remembrance can be offered in the state of lying and prayer is not possible in this position.
Eid Milad-un-Nabi – The Origin of All Other Eids
A scrupulous survey will reveal that Eid Milad-un-Nabi is the source of all other happy festivals. The radiant birth of the Holy Prophet brought the consciousness of God’s being. The recognition of oneness of God, acceptance of monotheism, dissemination of God’s injunctions, the knowledge of God’s worship – all owe their origin to the sacred person of the Holy Prophet (peace upon him and his progeny). The holy month of Ramadaan and its blessings were revealed to us because of the Holy Prophet and we also had the deserving of the joys of Eid after earning these blessings. Likewise the Prophet also taught us the rites of the Pilgrimage (Hajj) earning thereby the pleasures of Eid-ul-Adha. Then the auspicious day which is the source of two auspicious Eids is naturally much more an occasion of rejoicing and festivity. And that is the day which may be called the greatest of all festivals.
The verses from the Holy Qur’aan which we have referred to in the beginning of this section also indicate the expression of bliss and glee in the words
“So express joy on this”. (x 8)
The basis of the manifestation of joy and rejoicing lies in that exhortation, spiritual purification, guidance and blessing which came to the lot of Adam’s children. If we consider attitude for God’s bounties as obligatory, then undoubtedly the arrival of the harbinger of these bounties also deserves thanksgiving. It is particularly so on this account that the bearer of these tidings is not merely a messenger or a harbinger, but blessings personified, and as such is the greatest benediction for the Muslims. Regarding the expression of blessings Allaah Himself calls upon us:
“And so speak of thy Lord’s bounties” (xciii 11).
In this injunction the addressee no doubt is the Prophet, but it comprehends in it through the Prophet all Muslims and all times and in adherence to the ways of the Prophet we are all duty bound to express gratitude for the bounties.
Description of his own person by the Holy Prophet
It is in the Mishkat that Tirmizi has, with the narration of Hazrat Abbas, recorded that the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) remarked:
“I am Muhammad, son of Abdullah and grandson of Abd-ul-Muttalib,. When God created the living beings, he created me in the higher genesis, i.e. humans. He made two main divisions among men, the Arabs and the Ajams. He divided the Arabs into clans and raised me in the noblest of all the clans, i.e. the Quraish. Then He split the Quraish into many families and made me born in the choicest of the families, i.e. Bani Hashim. So I excel all in person and in family.”
Undoubtedly jubilation on the birth of this noblest of human beings and extolling and eulogising him is a very desirable act.
Opinions and Attitude of Eminent Scholars
Right from the early days the eminent scholars of Islam have considered the Prophet’s birthday as an auspicious and blessed occasion and have been continuously celebrating it in the manner of the glorious festival of Eid. Those eminent scholars include such religious leaders as could not even imagine of any digression from the righteous path and were rather those whose pious lives were devoted to waging a holy war against evil practices and eradication of digressions of all kinds.
Hazrat Shah Abd-ur-Rahim, the revered father of Shah Waliullah (mercy be on him) says:
“It has been my practice to feed people on the occasion of the Holy Prophet’s birthday. Due to famine one year I could not get anything except parched grains. I distributed the same. In the night I was blessed with the Vision of the Holy Prophet. Lo! The same parched grains were placed before the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) and he (peace be upon him) was greatly pleased and happy because of these.” (al-Darr-us-Sameen, p 8)
Hazrat Shah Waliullah Delvi and his family hold a high position among the eminent scholars of the sub-continent. He narrates:
“On the eve of the Prophet’s birthday I happened to be at the Prophet’s birthday in Mecca. At that time people were offering darood and salam to him and narrating the episode of his birth and also describing those miracles which took place at the time of his birth (e.g. the prostration of Lat and Hubal, falling of the turret of Kisra’s palace and the sudden extinction of the fire burning in the Fire Temple of Persia). I witnessed divine effluence and celestial blessings in that gathering. When I contemplated about this divine radiance it flashed upon me that these lights were emanating from those angels who are deputed to be there in such meetings..” (Fuyus-ul-Haramain)
In the same way Shah Abd-ul-Haq Muhaddis Dehlvi (blessings of God on him) describes in his Ma-Sabbata-Bis-Sitta:
“The night of the auspicious birthday undoubtedly is superior to Laila-tul-Qadr because the night of his birth is that of his own emergence while Laila-tul-Qadr has been granted to him. Laila-tul-Qadr is honoured for the descending of the angels, while the night of the Prophet’s birth became sanctified due to his own appearance.”
Similar opinions regarding the celebration of Milad-un-Nabi have been expressed by Shah Abd-ul-Aziz Dehlevi and Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki. Haji Imamdadullah Muhajir Makki narrates:
“The wonted practise of this humble person is that I attend the meetings attributed to the Prophet’s birthday; rather I hold such functions every year considering them as a means of Blessings and derive great bliss out of them.”
However taboos which have found their way into such functions are to be discarded. The above-named scholar says in this regard:
“If some irreligious factors stand in the way of performing a deed it needs be removing their defects rather than giving up the very action. Denying such matters means the discarding of a great blessing.”
This is a matter of the present times. The pious scholars and sweet-tongued poets have, however, been delivering sermons and composing eulogising poems praising the Holy Prophet during this long period of fourteen centuries beginning from the glorious times of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) till this day. No doubt can be entertained about the validity of a practice inherited by the Muslims all over the world with its due popularity incessantly for such a long period. Moreover it is an historical fact Hazrat Hassan b. Tabit, a great devotee of the Holy Prophet (may God be pleased with him) composed many poems eulogising the Prophet, recited them in his presence and the Prophet approved of them with pleasure. Two couplets in a eulogy of the Prophet composed by Hazrat Hassan are still very popular among the masses:
The eye has never seen a better person than thee
And none more handsome than thee was born to any woman;
Thou was created free from all defects,
As if thou was created as thou desired to be created.”
(Extract from the book entitled “To The Prophet” by Maulana Kausar Niazi)
Behold! Here the person of the Holy Prophet is eulogised in these lines and the birth and the creation of the Prophet are described therein.
As such these extolling verses are also associated with Milad-un-Nabi. And on one occasion when the Holy Prophet arrived in the sacred city of Madina, the daughters of the Ansar welcomed him with the recitation of these words:
“The moon has shone upon us from the two hills of Wida’a.”
Here too the graceful face of the Prophet is compared to the moon. This is also a personal eulogy for the Prophet. The Prophet accepted this reception with pleasure. No further testimony is required when the Prophet’s own attitude is so obvious regarding his praise and eulogy. Who can raise his finger about the legitimacy and validity of our actions if we hold functions of Milad-un-Nabi following the traditions of Hazrat b. Thabit describing the physical graces and attributes of the Holy Prophet even today?