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What is Mawlid? Should it be celebrated or not? Let’s find out together
What is the Mawlid?
The Mawlid is a Muslim holiday that celebrates the birth of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh), which took place on the 12th of the month of Rabi ‘al Awwal of the Islamic calendar (although some Shiite sources claim that he was born on the 17th of this same month). It is not certain when the first public celebration of this event took place, some sources trace it back to the Abbasid dynasty, others to the Fatimid one; what is certain is that, starting from the end of 1100- beginning of 1200, this holiday spread like wildfire throughout the Islamic world, becoming linked above all with the Sufi world. For the mystics of Islam, in fact, the figure of Muhammad (pbuh) has a central and fundamental role, representing the gift of divine mercy to creation, thus transforming itself into a day of glory for the whole world and lifting itself beyond the human figure of the Prophet.
To date, the Mawlid is celebrated in practically the entire Islamic world, except for countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which, referring to the Wahabi and Salafist tradition, frown upon everything that was not introduced directly at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) .
Mawlid, why not?
Indeed, it seems that in no official source such as the Qur’an and hadith is there a clear reference to the celebration of the birth of Muhammad (pbuh), who, in a famous saying reported by Muslim and Bukhari, explicitly said:
“Any innovation contrary to our teachings will be rejected.”.
All those who are against the Mawlid refer to these bases, claiming that it is essentially a bad copy of the Christian birth and that it is de facto more an excuse to party rather than a genuine way of remembering the life and history of the Prophet (pbuh) .
Mawlid, why yes?
Those who are in favor of this celebration, on the other hand, are tied above all to two verses of the Qur’an and a hadith. The first of them reads:
قُلْ بِفَضْلِ ٱللَّهِ وَبِرَحْمَتِهِۦ فَبِذَٰلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَحُوا۟ هُوَ خَيْرٌۭ مِّمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ
“Tell them to be pleased with the grace of Allah and His mercy, for this is better than what they accumulate.”Surah Yunus, verse 58
while the second says:
وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَـٰكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةًۭ لِّلْعَـٰلَمِينَ
“We did not send you except as Mercy for creation.”.Surah Anbiya, verse 107
According to many scholars, the two verses are linked by the fact that in both cases when we speak of Mercy we mean the figure of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the “being pleased with His mercy” would imply the fact of being happy when such mercy is manifested in creation. The hadith to which many refer is the following and it is transmitted by Muslim:
Abu Qatada Ansari (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) was asked about fasting on Monday, after which he said: It is (the day) that I was born and the revelation was sent to me.
Fasting in the Islamic world is not only synonymous with “penance”, but also with deep adoration and by several scholars the fact that the Prophet (pbuh) placed such an emphasis on the moment of his birth means that it was a very intense moment in spiritual level and therefore worthy of being remembered.
My humble opinion
I am not an imam and therefore I advise you in all possible ways to listen to your imam and rely on him, but, as a faithful ignorant, I have developed a personal opinion that I believe is the most balanced and in accordance with the “middle way” so loved by our faith and our Prophet (pbuh).
In my opinion, without any shadow of doubt any celebration “over the top” or too similar to Christmas should be avoided as it does not in any way conform to the tradition and spirit of this day; but if it is really only a matter of coming together to remember Muhammad (pbuh), his history and his prophetic mission, then not only is there no evil, but it can be very useful and beautiful to strengthen faith and knowledge.
In any case, I wish you to spend this day in the best possible way and that every road and every way will be facilitated for you, in’sh’Allah.
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