The Festival of Festivals

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Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

"Say by the bounties of Allah and his bountiful Mercy and in that let them rejoice - it is better than (what) they accumulate" (Al-Qur'an 10:58)

Written by: Professor Dr. Muhammad Mas'ud Ahmed
Translated from Urdu by: Syed Zayn Al 'Abedin

In the name of Allah, the Universally Merciful, the Singularly Compassionate

We praise Him and send Blessings And Peace upon His Messenger

The first thing that Allah subhanahu wa ta'alah (swt) created before everything else was the Muhammadan light. [1] He exalted him with the prophethood. [2] Then began the chain of "Durood" (sending prayers, blessings and peace upon the Prophet). When the angels were born, they too joined in sending "Durood". And when that resplendent light came into this world [3], men also joined in it. [4] If the people of understanding reflect they will know that this is also a style of celebration. Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest).

From the very first day remembrances are taking place and joys are celebrated. Allah loves His beloveds. Hence, He made them His signs, [5] and commanded their reverance and respect. [6] He made their memorable days as his own memorial day [7], and commanded "An remind them of the Days of Allah". [8] The birthday of the Holy Prophet Muhammad sallal-lahu 'alayhee wa sallam is also a day from the Days of Allah.

The significance of the birthday is measured from the Noble Qur'an, as it declared about Prophet Yahya (a.s.) "And peace be upon him the day he was born." [9]

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (saws) came to this world of color and scent on Monday. He used to fast on on Monday for expressing his gratitude. When asked (about it), he said ' on that day I was born and on that same day revelation was sent down to me' [10]

  1. Madarij un-Nabuwwah V.1 P.2
  2. Ash 'Atul Lumu'at P. 474
  3. Al-Qur'an 5:15
  4. Al-Qur'an 33:56-57
  5. Al-Qur'an 2:158
  6. Al-Qur'an 22:32
  7. Tafseer Al-Khazin and Al-Madaarik
  8. Al-Qur'an 14:5
  9. Al-Qur'an 19:15
  10. Ibn Atheer : Asad-ul-Ghaaba

The date of the coming of the Holy Prophet (saws), according to to some historic traditions is the 12th of Rabi Al-Awwal 569 C.E. This is also supported by the presence of three to four thousand years old (historic) evidences. [11] Hence, the day of Monday and the date of the 12th of Rabi Al-Awwal have a special connection with the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saws). And it is through connections alone that lofty heights become (one's) destiny.

By annunciating the Holy Prophet (saws), Allah (swt) has done a great favor and (then) reminded about it. [12] A favor is reminded so that it will be remembered and not forgotten or ignored. He, then commanded to rejoice and celebrate the joys (of favors and bounties).[13]

Prophet Eisa (A.S), pleaded with Allah to "send down for us a table spread with food from heaven that it might be an ever recurring feast (Eid) for us, for the first of us and the last of us." [14] This is an important matter of attention and reflection. When the table spread descends, Prophet Eisa (A.S) celebrates it as a Eid (festival) and when the soul of all favors and blessings comes down (on this earth) will it not be a day of Eid? when the night in which the Holy Qur'an descends is established as better than one thousand months [15], then how magnificent will be the night of the day when that talking Qur'an ( Qur'an al-Natiq) came down to this earth ?

  1. Bhagwat Paran Ask and 12 Chapter 2: Ashloke- 18
  2. Al-Qur'an 3 :16
  3. Al-Qur'an 10 : 58
  4. Al-Qur'an  97 : 3

When the night of power is celebrated every year, then why not the night when the leige lord of both worlds came down to this world be celebrated?

Allah (swt) has said "And as for the Grace of your Lord - proclaim it." [16] Imam Bukhari says that the greatest Grace is the Holy Prophet (saws), himself. [17]

So he should be mentioned and publicized greatly. The Holy Prophet (saws) himself remembered and mentioned his birth from the top of his pulpit. [18] He ordered some companions to narrate his excellences and qualities. [19] His uncle Hadhrath 'Abbas (R.A.A) made a poetical presentation of his birth events in front of him (The Prophet), after returning from the expedition of Tabuk.[20]

The Prophet (saws), himself spread a sheet (of cloth), over the pulpit for Hassaan Bin Thabith (R.A.A) and he sat on the pulpit to present a Qasidah (a poem in praise of the Prophet), in his praise. [21] The Holy Prophet (saws) in return showed his kindness and prayed for him (Hassaan Bin Thabith). All these facts are contained and present in the Ahadith (Hadeeths).

  1. Al-Qur'an 93:11
  2. Sahih Al- Bukhari V.2 - P : 566
  3. At-Tirmidhi V.2 - P : 201
  4. Zarqani V. 1 - P : 65
  5. Ibn Katheer : Milad -e-Mustafa - P :29-30
  6. Sahih Al- Bukhari V.1 P : 65

The famous Tab'a Tabi'ee (follower of the followers of the companions), Hadhrath Maalik Bin Anas (R.A) used to make great efforts and arrangements  to relate and  tell the most beautiful and lovely stories of the Holy Prophet (saws) [22], exactly like the elaborate arrangements we see  in some gatherings of scholars and sahykhs today.

Hadhrath Shaykh Abdul Qadir Al-Jeelani (R.A), used to offer gifts and oblations to the Holy Prophet (saws) on the eleventh day of every month. [23] This tradition is still practiced today. Ibn Taymiyyah too gives glad tidings to those who support and organize the gatherings of blessed Milad. [24]

The gatherings of Milad-un-Nabi or the birth of the Holy Prophet (saws) are not new. They are going on for centuries. Its reality lies in its presence and observation in the Prophetic times (saws).The father of Hadhrath Shah Waliullah, Muhaddith of Delhi (R.A),Hadhrath Shah Abdur Rahim (R.A), used to cook food at the birthday celebration of the Prophet (saws),and distribute it among the poor and the needy regularly. [25]

Hadrath Shah Waliullah (R.A),himself and his son Shah Abdul Aziz, Muhaddith of Delhi (R.A) had a regular practice of celebrating the birth of the Holy Prophet (saws) on the 12th of Rabi Al-Awwal (every year). People used to gather at their place. He used to narrate the (events) of the blessed birth and distribute food and sweets. [26]

  1. Aqamat-ul-Qiyamah : P : 44
  2. Qurrat-un-Naazir P : 11
  3. Ad- Durr -us- Thamin P : 8
  4. Iqtidh -e-Sirat-ul-Mustaqim
  5. Ad-Durrul Munzam V 1 P : 89

Hadrath Shah Waliullah (R.A), once participated in a Milad gathering in Makka, where he witnessed the downpouring of lights and manifestations taking place (during the gathering). [27] Haji Imdad ullah Muhajir Makki (R.A), who was the shaykh of Moulvi Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi (R.A),used to conduct the gathering of the Milad (birth) every year.He used to  offer his Salat -O- Salaam to the Holy Prophet by  standing and considered it as source of salvation. [28]

The great Mufti Shah Muhammad Mazharullah Dehlavi (R.A) also used to celebrate the gathering of Milad on the 12th of Rabi Al-Awwal every year with great pomp and show. It used to last from the Eisha prayer to the Fajr prayer, after which a standing Salat-O-Salaam was offered and sweets disributed to end the gathering.[29]

Some of Allah's angels also offer standing Salat-O-Salaam. So this (practice) is a sunnah of the angels (too):[30]

Seven hundred years ago, the great illustious scholar Imam Taqi-ud-din Subki (R.A) was honorably seated in an assembly of scholars when a verse from the Na'at (a poem in the praise of the Prophet) of Imam Mur Mury was read out. In that verse the poet expressed his desire to stand up at the remembrance of Hadrath Mustafa (saws).

  1. Fuyuz -ul-Haramayen : P : 80-81
  2. Faisla Haft Mas'ala Ma'a Ta'aliqat P : 111
  3. Tazkira Mazhar Maso'od P : 176-177
  4. Al-Qur'an 37:1

As soon as this verse was recited all scholars stood up (in Prophet's honor). [31]

Hence offering benedictions and peace upon the Prophet (saws), by standing is a sunnah of the righteous sages of the ummah.Hadhrath Shaykh Abdul Haqq Muhaddith of Delhi (R.A), used to offer Salat-O-Salaam by standing for it and considered it as a source of (its) acceptance. [32]

The Resplendent Prophet (saws) has said: ' The thing which is considered good by the Muslims is also considered good by Allah (swt)'. [33]

He also said "whoever initiates a good practice in Islam, he shall have reward of it and the reward of everyone who acts upon it." [33] He also said "In every condition be with the great majority (of Muslims) [34], and with the community and the masses. [35]

Verily then, organizing the gatherings of the festival of the birth of the Prophet (saws) is a sunnah of the Holy Prophet (saws), his companions, the followers of the companions and the followers of the followers of the companions and the righteous sages of the ummah . It is proven  by their consistent  practice (of celebrating the Milad).

  1. Iqamat-ul-Qiyamah
  2. Akhbar -ul-Akhyaar P: 624
  3. Muwatta Imam Muhammad: P: 34
  4. Mishkat-ul-Masabih:V 1 P : 58
  5. Mishkat-ul-Masabih:P:31

The nature of love is such that the lover always likes to hear the praise, commendation and mentioning of the name and the remembrance of his beloved .The lover always desires from (the depth of) his heart to hear the mentioning and remembrance of his beloved to go on all the time .The lover does not quarrel or talk bad with those who remember his beloved. It is so because it is against the nature of love.

The truth of the matter is that celebrating the real joy and happiness is to act upon the sunnah, every moment and every day both outwardly and inwardly. And then to celebrate every year (in a great way), the joy of the coming of the beloved of the Lord of All Worlds (saws). Do it the way our nobles and ancestors have done it from whom is the glory and splendor of Islam. The teacher of Moulvi Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi has said it quite well that rejoicing in the birth of the Holy Prophet (saws), alone is the true felicity. [36]

May Allah bestow us with such a true love of the Resplendnt Holy Prophet (saws) that we may  automatically keep molding into the pattern of (his) sunnah and our being become a minaret of bright light. Aameen! With the magnificence of the leader of all the Messengers (and his lofty status), the Mercy for all the Worlds, prayers, benedictions and peace be upon him, his pure family and his noble companions.

36. Shifa -us-Sa'il

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