Every year, when the Islamic month of Rabiulawal comes around once again, bringing in its train the night of the 12th, it seems to us as if the whole world is perfumed by the memory of the birth of the Final Messenger, may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him.
Countless millions of Muslims in every corner of the earth fix their thoughts on his birth, by re-reading his biography (eg Marhaban, and reading the various Maulid texts) and learning from unique values and qualities.
Of late in Malaysia, some quarters influenced by the Wahhabis, are questioning the celebration of Maulidur-Rasul, as it is known in the Malay world. They claimed that it is an act of innovation or bida'a. Various publications filled with lies and deception which misled many Muslims into thinking negatively about the Maulid.
Their claims are far from the truth, and it is therefore necessary for those who can speak clearly to help clarify and reverse the doubts surrounding this most blessed day.
Should we celebrate Maulid? YES WE SHOULD CELEBRATE IT EVERY YEAR.
Sheikh Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani, the commentator on Al Bukhari, said, "Anything that did not exist during the Prophet's time is called innovation, but some are good while others are not."
Imam Albayhaqi narrated in Manaqib Ash-Shafie that Ash-Shafie said, "Innovations are of two types: that which contradicts the Qur'an, the Sunnah, or unanimous agreement of the Muslims is a innovation of deception, while a good innovation does not contradict any of these things."
Al'Izz bin Abussalam said, at the end of his book, Al Qawa'id, "Innovation is divided into obligatory, forbidden, recommended, disagreeable and permissible, and the way to know which is which is to match it against the religious law."
It is cristal clear that from the opinions of these righteous scholars, that to define innovations in worship as wholly negative without exception is ignorant. For these pious knowers, among them Imam Nawawi and Ash-Shafie, declared that innovations could be divided into good and bad, based on their compliance or deviance with religious law.
Moreover, the following Prophetic saying is known even to common Muslims, let alone scholars: "He who inaugurates a good practice (sunnatun hasana) in Islam earns the reward of it, and of all who perform it after him, without diminishing their own rewards in the least." Therefore it is permissible for a Muslim to originate a good practice, even if the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) did not do it, for the sake of doing good and cultivating the reward.
The meaning of a good practice (sanna sunnatun hasana) is to establish a practice through personal reasoning (ijtihad) and derivation (istinbat) from the rules of religious law ot its general texts. The actions of the Prophet's companions and the generation following them (in celebrating Maulid) is the strongest evidence.
Furthermore, that the Prophet and his companions did not do a certain thing does not mean they made that thing prohibited. Therefore, whoever prohibits anything based on the concept that the Prophet did not do it, his claim has no proof and must be rejected.
Let us join millions of our Muslim brothers and sisters all over the world to celebrate Maulid (12 rabiulawal/April 11 in Malaysia).
May the blessings of Allah be upon you.