CELEBRATING THE BIRTH (MILAD) OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD ﷺ
-IN LIGHT OF THE HOLY QURAN AND HADITH-
Allah Ta'ala states in The Holy Quran:
'And recall when Allah took from the Prophets their covenant whatever I should give you of the scripture and wisdom, then comes to you the Messenger, confirming your books, then assuredly you shall believe in Him and help him. Then (Allah) said: 'do you agree and take this as my firm agreement as binding on you?' They said: 'We agreed'. Then Allah said: 'Then be witness, and I am with you among the witnesses'.'
(Surah Ale-Imraan. verse 81)
On the Day of Covenant (agreement) in the Alam e Arwah (where the human souls resided before this world was created), Allah Ta'ala assembled all the Prophets and mentioned the blessed birth of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. This is Quran. The first ever 'Milad' of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was celebrated by Allah Ta'ala. Hence, celebrating the birth of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is not a bida'h nor shirk. It is a sunnah of Allah Ta'ala.
In any gatherings where the arrival of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is mentioned, the events at the time of the birth of Prophet ﷺ is narrated, the blessings Prophet ﷺ brought to this world is narrated, the miracles that took place at the time of the birth of Prophet ﷺ is narrated, poetry in praise of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (naat) is recited, poetry in praise of Allah Ta'ala (hamd) is recited; is called the celebration of the birth (milad) of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, also known as the milad un-nabi celebrations.
Let us scrutinize this verse of The Holy Quran:
'And recall when Allah took from the Prophets their covenant'.
This means that when Allah Ta'ala assembled all The Prophets, Prophet
Muhammad ﷺ was also present. An event can only be recalled if the person being asked to recall was present in the event when it took place.
'comes to you the Messenger'.
We learn that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ has come to all from the time of Hazrat Adam(alaihis salaam), and all are followers of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Allah Ta'ala has made Prophet ﷺ a total mercy, giver of glad tidings and a Prophet for all the worlds. Those prior to the advent of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ are all included. It is for this reason all the Prophets of Allah Ta'ala performed salaah behind Prophet Muhammad ﷺ on the night of Me'raj. This Namaaz was performed in the sharia of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and not according to the sharia of any other Prophet.
The covenant from the Prophets was taken only regarding our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ because only the final Prophet can verify all the truth about all the Prophets and all the revealed books. The final Prophet is Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Although all the Prophets had brought faith on Prophet Muhammad ﷺ on the Day of Covenant, it was their natural faith. Their lawful and religious faith could only take place after they had physically come into this world.
The anecdote (waqia) is from Alam e Arwah. At that time, there was no world, no 'body', only the world of souls. Before creating the world, Allah Ta'ala assembled two conventions on the Day of Covenant. First, it was the convention of tauheed, and the other was the convention of the milad of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
In the convention of tauheed, the Prophets, the souls of the Mu'min, the souls of the Muslims, the souls of the infidels, all were present.
Allah Ta'ala states in The Holy Quran:
'And (O Beloved Prophet) remember when your Lord brought forth from loins of Adam's children their seed and made themselves witness against their own selves saying: 'Am I not your Lord?' All will say: 'Why not, we all bear witness'. Lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection, that we were not aware of it'
(Surah Al-Raaf, verse 172)
The covenant and the agreement were taken from all the souls, which included the Prophets, saints, believers, infidels and hypocrites. The first to utter 'why not' was the blessed soul of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. The same was repeated by the souls of all
the Prophets and then it was repeated by all the other creation. But the infidels replied this out of compulsion, and the believers out of joy. Although every soul had brought faith, this was purely in the spiritual state. Hence, because of this faith everyone cannot be called a believer.
After the tauheed convention, Allah Ta'ala called for the milad convention. Here, only the holy souls of the Prophets assembled.
In the first mentioned verse of The Holy Quran, Allah Ta'ala mentions the arrival of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, the milad of Prophet ﷺ:
'then comes to you the Messenger confirming your books, then assuredly you shall believe in Him and help him'.
The covenants from the Prophets was taken only regarding our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Allah Ta'ala had taken a solemn promise from the Prophets to render assistance to the religion of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, although Allah Ta'ala was fully aware that none of these Prophets would be physically alive during the period of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Through the help of Hazrat Musa(alaihis salaam) on the night of Me'raj, the fifty salaahs were reduced to five. Allah Ta'ala made every Prophet a witness over one another as well as sealed the covenant by making Himself witness over all.
It is in this second convention, Allah Ta'ala mentioned the arrival, the milad of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. The first 'milad' of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was celebrated by Allah Ta'ala Himself in Alam e Arwah. Thus, celebrating the birth of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is a sunnah of Allah Ta'ala. It is not a bida'h nor shirk.
In Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari, it is narrated that when Prophet Muhammad ﷺ migrated from Mecca to Madina (Hijrah), the people of Madina took to the streets in processions to welcome Prophet ﷺ. They voiced out 'ahlan wa sahlan marhaba' and rejoiced the arrival of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Hazrat Buraeda(Radi Allaahu Anhu) took off his turban (imama), tied it on the tip of his sword and made a flag, swelling out and moving in the wind. The women of Madina rejoiced by reciting 'tala al badru' alayna, min thaniyati-al wada', wajaba shukru 'alayna, ma da'a lillahi da'.'
Taking out processions, raising flags, distributing sweets and food during the milad celebrations of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is not a bida'h, but a sunnah of the companions(Radi Allaahu Anhum) of Prophet ﷺ.
Celebrating the birth (milad) of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is proven from The Holy Quran and Hadith.
This article is an abridged English translation of Urdu sermons delivered by his eminence, Peer Syed Imroz Dean Saifi, Hanfi, Maturidi of Masjid Anwaar e Madina, Surrey BC Canada
If there is an inaccurate translation, please pardon it and not let it be a means to negatively reflect on the honoured presenter.