In today’s post, we will try to cover the history of Milaad-un-Nabi or Eid-Milaad, Insha Allah.
The first time the Mawlid/Eid Milad-un-Nabi was celebrated as the public event in a recorded history was in 517 AH ie 6th century of Islam. Which means that in first 500 years of Islam nobody knew about it. And since the authorities of that time, those who innovated it decided 12th Rabbi-ul-Awal as the day of Birth of Prophet Muhammad Peace be upon him, everyone stuck to it. It spread like a wildfire.
The Arabs never used to record the birthdays, it is a western concept and the celebration of the birthday was a very late addition. It is the way of Jews and Christians.
Eid Milad was first introduced by Fatimid Dynasty or simply Fatimid’s of Egypt. They belonged to extreme Shia theology. They are the ancestors of Aga Khani’s or Bohra’s or Ismaili’s. They instituted over 30-40 festivals during their reign and of those festivals was the birth of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
After some 150 years of it(in 670 or so), some Sunni governers thought that this was a good idea and adopted it and since Fatimids used to celebrate it on 12 Rabbi-ul-Awal, these governors used the same date and celebrated it first at Mosul, a place in Iraq. It is the first recorded Sunni celebration of Milaad. The king of Ibril(King Al-Mudhaffar Abu Sa’eed Kazkaboori) and others took an example and followed it.
It must be noted that the first person to introduce Eid Milad in the Sunni world was a governor and not a Khalifa!
Abu Shaamah said:
“The first person to do that in Mosul was Shaykh ‘Umar Ibn Muhammad Al-Malaa, one of the well-known righteous people. Then the ruler of Irbil and others followed his example.”
It became a very luxurious festival and various governer’s used to compete with each other as to who will hold the grandest feast. The reason behind this is simple, they wanted to attract most of the sympathies of people, economics, trade, money, just like today’s governments do. They spend in order to be recognized as the best of the governers.
Ibn Katheer said in his biography of Abu Sa’eed Kazkaboori:
“He used to observe the Mawlid in Rabee’ Al-Awwal and hold a huge celebration on that occasion… some of those who were present at the feast of Al-Muzaffar on some occasions of the Eid Mawlid said that he used to offer in the feast five thousand grilled heads of sheep, ten thousand chickens and one hundred thousand large dishes, and thirty trays of sweets… he would let the Sufis sing from Dhuhr until Fajr, and he himself would dance with them.”
Thus, from the above discussion, we come to conclusion that it is not the Prophet or rightly guided Khalifas who endorsed Eid Milaad in Islam rather it was just some governor who did it senselessly and for personal gains may be. And hence we call these things innovations or Bidaah. Moreover, there is no place for dancing, singing and organizing such large scale and luxurious feasts in Islam.
Regarding Bidah, Prophet (peace be upon him) had said this:
Narrated by Ali ibn AbuTalib That the Prophet of Allah (saws) said: “If anyone introduces an innovation (in religion), he will be responsible for it. If anyone introduces an innovation or gives shelter to a man who introduces an innovation (in religion), he is cursed by Allah, by His Angels, and by all the people.” Sunan of Abu-Dawood [Hadith 4515]
Narrated by Jabir ibn Abdullah That the Prophet of Allah (saws) said in a sermon: “The best speech is that which is embodied in the Book of Allah, the Al Quran; and the best guidance is the guidance given by me, Mohammad (saws). The evilest affairs are the innovations, and every innovation is an error.”Sahih Muslim [ 1885]
Here it must be noted that Prophet (Peace be upon him) said that “every Innovation is error” and it includes bad and good things alike no matter how people justify them.
Aishah narrated that: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours (i.e. Islam) that is not part of it, will have it rejected.” (Sahih) ibn Majah [Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 14]
Regarding the hadith on fasting on Monday.
Abu Qatada Ansari (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) was asked about fasting on Monday, whereupon he said: It is (the day) when I was born and revelation was sent down to me. SAHIH MUSLIM [Book 6: Hadith 2606 ]
Certain people argue on the basis of this hadith that Prophet (Peace be upon him ) used to celebrate his birthday. But if we analyze carefully we may notice that he (PBUH) didn’t say anything about the celebrations on 12th Rabbi-ul-Awal. Nor did he say hold night long gatherings and hold a feast. All that is mentioned is fast on Monday and that includes all the Mondays of the year!
As a believer, we must fear Allah and the Day of Judgement and avoid participating in such events. We must ask our reasoning and logical self, if and how this must be the commandment of our beloved prophet? If we truly love him we must not show our love for one day of the year rather we must follow his Sunnah and his commands. If one truly wants to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), they must fast every Monday of every year of their lives. He used to fast on Mondays, not one Monday in a year.
May Allah guide us to the righteous path.