Rabiul-Awwal, Mawlid, Deoband and Hanafi fiqh

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Rabiul-Awwal: Shaykhul-Islam Mufti Taqi Usmani

From Superstitions into Light

Rabi’ul-Awwal is the most sig­nif­i­cant month in the Islam­ic his­to­ry, because human­i­ty has been blessed in this month by the birth of the Holy Prophet Muham­mad, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam.

Before the birth of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, not only the Ara­bi­an penin­su­la, but also the so-called civ­i­lized nations of Rome and Per­sia were drowned in the dark­ness of igno­rance, super­sti­tions, oppres­sion and unrest. The Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, came with the eter­nal truth of Tawhid (One­ness of Allah), the only faith which pro­vides a firm basis for the real con­cepts of knowl­edge, equi­ty and peace. It was this faith which deliv­ered human­i­ty from igno­rance and super­sti­tions and spread the light of true knowl­edge all over the world.

Islamic Celebrations

Thus the birth of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, was the most sig­nif­i­cant and the most remark­able event in human his­to­ry. Had there been room in Islam­ic teach­ings for the cel­e­bra­tion of birth­days or anniver­saries, the birth­day of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, would have undoubt­ed­ly deserved it more than the birth­day of any oth­er per­son. But that is against the nature of Islam­ic teach­ings. That is why, unlike Judaism, Chris­tian­i­ty, and Hin­duism, there are very few fes­ti­vals in Islam, which pro­vides for only two Eids (Eidul-fitr and Eidul-Adha) dur­ing the whole year. The dates of these two Eids do not cor­re­spond to the birth­day of any of the out­stand­ing per­sons of Islam­ic his­to­ry, nor can their ori­gin be attrib­uted to any par­tic­u­lar event of his­to­ry that had hap­pened in these dates.

Both of these two Eids have been pre­scribed for pay­ing grat­i­tude to Allah on some hap­py events that take place every year. The first event is the com­ple­tion of the fasts of Ramadan and the sec­ond event is the com­ple­tion of Hajj, anoth­er form of wor­ship regard­ed as one of the five pil­lars of Islam.

The man­ner pre­scribed for the cel­e­bra­tion of these two Eids (fes­ti­vals) is also dif­fer­ent from non-Islam­ic fes­ti­vals. There are no for­mal pro­ces­sions, illu­mi­na­tion or oth­er activ­i­ties show­ing for­mal hap­pi­ness. On the con­trary, there are con­gre­ga­tion­al prayers and infor­mal mutu­al vis­its to each oth­er, which can give real hap­pi­ness instead of its sym­bols only.

No Birthdays

On the oth­er hand, Islam has not pre­scribed any fes­ti­val for the birth­day of any per­son, how­ev­er great or sig­nif­i­cant he may be. The prophets of Allah are the per­sons of the high­est sta­tus amongst all human beings. But the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, or his noble com­pan­ions nev­er observed the birth­day or anniver­sary of any of them. Even the birth­day of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, which was the most hap­py day for the whole mankind was nev­er cel­e­brat­ed by the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, him­self, nor by his blessed Com­pan­ions.

The Com­pan­ions of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, remained alive after him for about a cen­tu­ry, but despite their unpar­al­leled and pro­found love towards the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, they nev­er cel­e­brat­ed the birth­day or the death anniver­sary of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam. Instead, they devot­ed their lives for pro­mot­ing the cause of Islam, for bring­ing his teach­ings into prac­tice, for con­vey­ing his mes­sage to the four cor­ners of the world and for estab­lish­ing the Islam­ic order in every walk of life.

The Origins of Christmas

In fact, com­mem­o­rat­ing the birth of a dis­tin­guished per­son has nev­er been pre­scribed by any reli­gion attribut­ing itself to divine rev­e­la­tion. It was orig­i­nal­ly a cus­tom preva­lent in pagan com­mu­ni­ties only. Even Christ­mas, the famous Chris­t­ian feast com­mem­o­rat­ing the birth of Jesus Christ finds no men­tion in the Bible or in the ear­ly Chris­t­ian writ­ings. It was only in the 4th cen­tu­ry after the ascen­sion of Jesus Christ that Christ­mas was rec­og­nized as a reg­u­lar Chris­t­ian feast. To quote the Collier’s Ency­clo­pe­dia:

It is impos­si­ble to deter­mine the exact date of the birth of Christ, either from the evi­dence of the gospels, or from any sound tra­di­tion. Dur­ing the first three cen­turies of the Chris­t­ian era there was con­sid­er­able oppo­si­tion in the Church to the pagan cus­tom of cel­e­brat­ing birth­days, although there is some indi­ca­tion that a pure­ly reli­gious com­mem­o­ra­tion of the birth of Christ was includ­ed in the feast of Epiphany. Clement of Alexan­dria men­tions the exis­tence of the feast in Egypt about the year A.D. 200 and we have some evi­dence that it was observed on var­i­ous dates in scat­tered areas. After the tri­umph of Con­stan­tine, the Church at Rome assigned Decem­ber 25 as the date for the cel­e­bra­tion of the feast, pos­si­bly about A.D. 320 or 353. By the end of the fourth cen­tu­ry the whole Chris­t­ian world was cel­e­brat­ing Christ­mas on that day, with the excep­tion of the East­ern Church­es, where it was cel­e­brat­ed on Jan­u­ary 6. The choice of Decem­ber 25 was prob­a­bly influ­enced by the fact that on this day the Romans cel­e­brat­ed the Mithra­ic feast of the Sun-god, and that the Sat­ur­na­lia also came at this time.” (Collier’s Ency­clo­pe­dia 1984 ed, v. 6, p. 403).

A sim­i­lar descrip­tion of the ori­gin of Christ­mas is found in-the Ency­clo­pe­dia Bri­tan­ni­ca with some more details. Its fol­low­ing pas­sage will throw more light on the point:

Christ­mas was not among the ear­li­est fes­ti­vals of the Church, and before the 5th cen­tu­ry there was no gen­er­al con­sen­sus of opin­ion as to when it should come in the cal­en­dar, whether on Jan. 6, March 25 or Dec. 25. The ear­li­est iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of Dec. 25 with the birth­day of Christ is in a pas­sage, oth­er­wise unknown and prob­a­bly spu­ri­ous, of the phi­los of Anti­och (c.180), pre­served in Latin by the Magde­buryg cen­turi­a­tors (i, 3, 118), to the effect that the Gauls con­tend­ed that since they cel­e­brat­ed the birth of Lord on Dec. 25, so they ought to cel­e­brate the res­ur­rec­tion on March 25. A pas­sage, almost cer­tain­ly inter­po­lat­ed, in ‘Hip­pelates’ (c. 202) com­men­tary on Daniel iv, 23, says that Jesus was born at Beth­le­hem on Wednes­day, Dec. 25, in the 42nd year of Augus­tus, but he men­tions no feast, and such a feast, indeed, would con­flict with the then ortho­dox ideas. As late as 245, Ori­gin (hem. viii on Leviti­cus) repu­di­at­ed the idea of keep­ing the birth­day of Christ “as if he were a king Pharaoh”. (Bri­tan­ni­ca, 1953 ed. v. 5, p.642)

These two quotes are more than suf­fi­cient to prove the fol­low­ing points:

  1. The com­mem­o­ra­tion of birth­days was orig­i­nal­ly a pagan cus­tom, nev­er rec­og­nized by a divine scrip­ture or prophet­ic teach­ing.
  2. The exact date of the Birth of Sayyid­na ‘Isa is unknown and impos­si­ble to be ascer­tained.
  3. The com­mem­o­ra­tion of the birth of Jesus Christ was not a rec­og­nized prac­tice in the ear­ly cen­turies of the Chris­t­ian his­to­ry.
  4. It was in the 4th or 5th cen­tu­ry that it was rec­og­nized as a reli­gious feast, and that, too, under the influ­ence of the pagans who wor­shipped Sun-god.
  5. There was a strong oppo­si­tion against the com­mem­o­rat­ing of the birth­day by the ear­ly Chris­t­ian schol­ars like Ori­gin, on the ground that it is orig­i­nal­ly a cus­tom of pagans and idol­aters.

Original Islamic Resources

In orig­i­nal Islam­ic resources, also we can­not find any instruc­tion about the cel­e­bra­tion of birth­days or death anniver­saries. Many Com­pan­ions of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, passed away dur­ing his life-time. His beloved wife Sayyi­dah Khadi­jah, Radi-Allahu anha, passed away in Makkah. His beloved uncle Sayyid­na Hamzah, Radi-Allahu anhu was bru­tal­ly slaugh­tered dur­ing the bat­tle of Uhud. But the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, nev­er observed their birth­day or their death anniver­saries, nor did he ever advise his fol­low­ers to cel­e­brate his own birth­day in Rabi’ul-Awwal.

What is Wrong with These Celebrations?

The rea­son for absti­nence from such cel­e­bra­tions is that they divert the atten­tion of peo­ple from the real teach­ings of Islam towards the obser­vance of some for­mal activ­i­ties only. Ini­tial­ly, these cel­e­bra­tions may begin with utmost piety and with a bona fide inten­tion to pay homage to a pious per­son. Yet, the expe­ri­ence shows that the cel­e­bra­tion is ulti­mate­ly mixed up with an ele­ment of mer­ry­mak­ing and rejoic­ing and is gen­er­al­ly con­fused with sec­u­lar fes­ti­vals and the sec­u­lar, and often sin­ful, activ­i­ties creep into it grad­u­al­ly.

The Transformation of Christmas

The exam­ple of Christ­mas will again be rel­e­vant. This Chris­t­ian feast was orig­i­nal­ly inno­vat­ed to com­mem­o­rate the birth of Jesus Christ and, of course, to remem­ber his teach­ings. But once the occa­sion had been rec­og­nized as a feast, all the sec­u­lar ele­ments of pub­lic fes­ti­vals crept in. The fol­low­ing quo­ta­tion from the Ency­clo­pe­dia Bri­tan­nia is worth atten­tion:

For sev­er­al cen­turies Christ­mas was sole­ly a church anniver­sary observed by reli­gious ser­vices. But as Chris­tian­i­ty spread among the peo­ple of pagan lands, many of the prac­tices of the win­ter sol­stice were blend­ed with those of Chris­tian­i­ty because of the lib­er­al rul­ing of Gre­go­ry I, the great, and the coop­er­a­tion of the mis­sion­ar­ies. Thus, Christ­mas became both reli­gious and sec­u­lar in its cel­e­bra­tion, at times rev­er­ent, at oth­ers gay.”

Then, what kind of activ­i­ties have been adopt­ed to cel­e­brate Christ­mas is men­tioned in the next para­graphs of which the fol­low­ing quote is more per­ti­nent here:

Mer­ry­mak­ing came to have a share in Christ­mas obser­vance through pop­u­lar enthu­si­asm even while empha­sis was on the reli­gious phase. … In the whol­ly decked great halls of the feu­dal lords, whose hos­pi­tal­i­ty extend­ed to all their friends, ten­ants and house­hold, was sail­ing, feast­ing, singing and games, danc­ing, mas­querad­ing and mum­mers pre­sent­ing pan­tomimes and masques were all part of the fes­tiv­i­ties.” (Ency­clo­pe­dia Bri­tan­ni­ca, 1953 v. 5, p. 643)

This is enough to show as to how an appar­ent­ly inno­cent feast of rev­er­ence was con­vert­ed into a sec­u­lar fes­ti­val where the mer­ry­mak­ing and seek­ing enjoy­ment by what­ev­er means took pref­er­ence over all the reli­gious and spir­i­tu­al activ­i­ties.

Being ful­ly aware of this human psy­chol­o­gy, Islam has nev­er pre­scribed, nor encour­aged the obser­vance of birth­days and anniver­saries, and when such cel­e­bra­tions are observed as a part of the reli­gion, they are total­ly for­bid­den.

The Religion is Complete

The Holy Qur’an has clear­ly pro­nounced on the occa­sion of the last Hajj of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam:

Today, I have com­plet­ed the teach­ings of your reli­gion.” [Al-Mai­da 5:3]

It means that all the teach­ings of Islam were com­mu­ni­cat­ed to the Mus­lims through the Holy Qur’an and the Sun­nah of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam. No one is allowed after it to add any thing to them as a part of reli­gion. What was not a part of reli­gion dur­ing the life­time of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, can nev­er become part of it. Such addi­tions are termed by the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, as Bid’ah or inno­va­tion.

Thus, the obser­vance of the 12th of Rabi’ul-Awwal as a reli­gious feast is not war­rant­ed by any verse of the Holy Qur’an or by any teach­ing of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam. Had it been a part of the reli­gion it would have been clear­ly ordered or prac­ticed by the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, and his blessed com­pan­ions or, at least, by their imme­di­ate pupils. But no exam­ple of the cel­e­bra­tion of the occa­sion can be traced out in the ear­ly cen­turies of the Islam­ic his­to­ry. It was after many cen­turies [Albal­agh Note: Accord­ing to Maulana Yusuf Lud­hi­navi it was in the year 604 A.H.] that some mon­archs start­ed observ­ing the 12th of Rabi’ul-Awwal as the birth­day of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, with­out a sound reli­gious basis, and the con­gre­ga­tions in the name of Maulood or Milad were held where the his­to­ry of the birth of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, used to be nar­rat­ed.

Disagreement About the Date

The obser­vance of the 12th of this month as the birth­day of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, is not only an inno­va­tion hav­ing no basis in the Islam­ic teach­ings, but the accu­ra­cy of this date as the real birth­day of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, is also very much doubt­ed. There are dif­fer­ent dates sug­gest­ed in dif­fer­ent tra­di­tions, and the major­i­ty of the authen­tic schol­ars is inclined to hold that the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, was born on the 9th of Rabi’ul-Awwal. This dif­fer­ence of opin­ion is anoth­er evi­dence to prove that the obser­vance of the birth­day is not a part of the reli­gion, oth­er­wise its exact date would have been pre­served with accu­ra­cy.

The life of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, is, no doubt, the most impor­tant source of guid­ance for all the Mus­lims, and every Mus­lim is under an oblig­a­tion to learn and study the events of his life, and to fol­low the prac­ti­cal exam­ple set by him in every sphere of life. The nar­ra­tion of his pious biog­ra­phy (the Seer­ah) in itself is a pious act, which invites the divine bless­ings, but the Holy Qur’an and the Sun­nah have not pre­scribed a par­tic­u­lar time or method for it. This pious act should be per­formed in all the months and at all the times. The month of Rabi’ul-Awwal has not been des­ig­nat­ed by the Shari­ah as a spe­cial sea­son for hold­ing such con­gre­ga­tions to com­mem­o­rate the birth or life of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam. It is thus an inno­va­tion (Bid’ah) to restrict the Seer­ah meet­ings to the month of Rabi’ul Aww­al only, or to believe that the meet­ings held in this month are wor­thy of more reward than the meet­ings held on any oth­er date dur­ing the year. In fact, the Com­pan­ions of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, used to com­mem­o­rate the life of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, through­out the year, not only by study­ing and con­vey­ing his mes­sage to oth­ers, but also by fol­low­ing his way of life and act­ing upon his teach­ings in each and every branch of their activ­i­ties, and this is exact­ly what a Mus­lim is required and sup­posed to do.

By this we do not mean that the Seer­ah meet­ings should not be held in the month of Rabi’ul-Awwal. The point is only that they should not be restrict­ed to it, nor should it be believed that the Shari­ah has laid any kind of empha­sis on hold­ing such meet­ings in this par­tic­u­lar month.

Anoth­er point that should always be kept in mind while hold­ing such meet­ings is that they must be in com­plete con­for­mi­ty with the rules of Shari­ah. A Mus­lim is sup­posed to abide by the rules of Shari­ah in all his activ­i­ties. But at least the meet­ings held in the mem­o­ry of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, should be free from all the acts for­bid­den by the Shari­ah.

Contemporary Seerah Meetings and Shariah

It is often observed, espe­cial­ly in the West­ern coun­tries, that the peo­ple hold the Seer­ah meet­ings where men and women sit togeth­er with­out observ­ing the rules of hijab pre­scribed by the Shari­ah. The teach­ings of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, are obvi­ous­ly against such mixed gath­er­ings. How can a Seer­ah meet­ing bring fruits where such fun­da­men­tal teach­ings of the Shari­ah are open­ly vio­lat­ed?

In some meet­ings the Na’ts (poems) in the mem­o­ry of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, are recit­ed by the women before the male audi­ence, some­times with music, which is total­ly against the instruc­tions of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam. It is clear­ly pro­hib­it­ed by the Shari­ah to hold such meet­ings or to par­tic­i­pate in them, because it is not only a vio­la­tion of the Shari­ah rules, but it is an affront to the sanc­ti­ty of the Seer­ah of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam.

All oth­er activ­i­ties, often prac­ticed on the twelfth of Rabi’ul-Awwal, like hold­ing pro­ces­sions, con­struct­ing the mock tombs of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, and illu­mi­na­tion of the build­ings and the roads are not war­rant­ed by any rule of the Shari­ah. Rather they are based on con­scious or uncon­scious imi­ta­tion of cer­tain oth­er reli­gions. No exam­ple of such activ­i­ties can be traced out from the ear­li­er Islam­ic his­to­ry.

Real Message of Seerah

What is real­ly impor­tant with regard to the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, is, first, to fol­low his teach­ings, and sec­ond to make his pious Seer­ah avail­able to every Mus­lim, to pre­serve it in the hearts of the Mus­lims from the very child­hood, to edu­cate the fam­i­ly mem­bers to run their lives accord­ing to it and to hold it as the most glo­ri­ous exam­ple of the human con­duct the uni­verse has ever wit­nessed — and all this with utmost love and rev­er­ence, not man­i­fest­ed by some for­mal activ­i­ties only, but also through actu­al behav­ior of fol­low­ing the Sun­nah. This can­not be done by mere­ly hold­ing pro­ces­sions and illu­mi­nat­ing the walls. This requires con­stant and con­sis­tent efforts and a mean­ing­ful pro­gram of edu­ca­tion and train­ing.


Mawlid, Deoband and Hanafi fiqh: Shaykhul (Maulana) Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA)

Trans­lat­ed by Hamood Abdul-Aleem

There are three types of mawlid gath­er­ings and the rul­ing for each is dif­fer­ent.

First Type

The first type of gath­er­ing is that which does not con­tain any of the preva­lent and cus­tom­ary restric­tions (quyud). Nei­ther [does it con­tain] mubah (per­mis­si­ble) restric­tions nor makruh (pro­hib­i­tive­ly dis­liked) ones, i.e., it is free from all [sorts of] restric­tions. For instance, a few peo­ple gath­ered by coin­ci­dence, no one had invit­ed them with any extra­or­di­nary effort; rather they were gath­ered for some oth­er per­mis­si­ble event. In this gath­er­ing, either by read­ing from a book or by deliv­er­ing a lec­ture, the blessed event of the birth and the char­ac­ter­is­tics, habits, mir­a­cles and virtues of our Radi­ant Mas­ter (Allah bless him and give him peace), the Lord of the Uni­verse, the Source of Pride for the Prophet Adam (may Allah’s peace be upon him), were nar­rat­ed based on sound sources.

Dur­ing this nar­ra­tion, if the need was felt to enjoin good actions and dis­cuss reli­gious rul­ings and one pro­ceed­ed in doing so with­out hes­i­ta­tion or this gath­er­ing was held to lis­ten to a reli­gious dis­course and with­in it these blessed events and virtues were nar­rat­ed, then this is the type [of mawlid] that is per­mis­si­ble with­out any objec­tion. More­over, it is sun­nah and mus­ta­habb (rec­om­mend­ed).

The Hon­or­able Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) nar­rat­ed his per­son­al events and virtues in a sim­i­lar way and lat­er his Com­pan­ions (may Allah be pleased with them) nar­rat­ed them, the chain of which con­tin­ues through the hadith schol­ars of present with the bless­ings of Allah Most High and it will con­tin­ue until the end of time. [This sec­tion (First type) is the orig­i­nal (edit­ed) trans­la­tion by the respect­ed Shaykh Dr. Hanif Kamal, a khal­i­fah of Shaykh al-Islam Mufti Taqi Usmani, which was ini­tial­ly pub­lished on the now defunct Basair blog]

Second Type

The sec­ond type of gath­er­ing is that which con­tains unlaw­ful restric­tions, which in their essence are detestable and sin­ful. For instance, the relat­ing of fab­ri­cat­ed nar­ra­tions that did not occur; the recita­tion of odes by charm­ing and sweet-voiced young boys; the spend­ing of unlaw­ful mon­ey [earned] from bribes or usury on this [gath­er­ing]; exceed­ing what is nec­es­sary by extrav­a­gant­ly light­ing, car­pet­ing and dec­o­rat­ing the venue; mak­ing an extra­or­di­nary effort to gath­er peo­ple, the likes of which is not even made for con­gre­ga­tion­al salah or a lec­ture; insult­ing and dis­hon­or­ing Allah Most High or the Prophets (may Allah’s peace be upon them) explic­it­ly or implic­it­ly in prose and poet­ry; miss­ing salah in con­gre­ga­tion or miss­ing it alto­geth­er due to attend­ing this gath­er­ing or if due to it lit­tle time for per­form­ing salah remains or a strong pos­si­bil­i­ty of this hap­pen­ing exists; the chief orga­niz­er of the event is hold­ing it to boast and gain pop­u­lar­i­ty; con­sid­er­ing the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) omnipresent (hadir wa nadir) in the gath­er­ing, or the exis­tence of any oth­er unlaw­ful action of these types (above). This is the type [of mawlid] which is most­ly ram­pant among the mass­es and the igno­rant ones, and is con­sid­ered com­plete­ly imper­mis­si­ble and sin­ful in Shari’ah.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Who­ev­er tells lies about me, let him take his place in Hell­fire.” It was nar­rat­ed that Sayyiduna Haf­sa ibn ‘Asim (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “The Mes­sen­ger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: ‘It is suf­fi­cient for a man to be con­sid­ered a liar to speak of every­thing that he hears’” (Mus­lim). It is under­stood from these hadiths that great care should be prac­ticed when relat­ing nar­ra­tions. To nar­rate hadiths with­out knowl­edge and research is a sin and it is espe­cial­ly a great mis­for­tune when one wrong­ly attrib­ut­es an action to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).

Sayyiduna Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Mes­sen­ger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Music grows hypocrisy in the heart as water grows herbage” (Sunan al-Bay­haqi). It is under­stood from this hadith that singing is blame­wor­thy, espe­cial­ly where the pos­si­bil­i­ty of fit­na (temp­ta­tion) exists such as the singing of an attrac­tive woman.

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) nar­rat­ed that the Mes­sen­ger of Allah (Allah bless him and give peace) said: “Allah the Exalt­ed is Pure and He only accepts that which is pure. Allah has indeed com­mand­ed the believ­ers with what He has com­mand­ed the Mes­sen­gers, He said, ‘O (you) Mes­sen­gers! Eat of all things pure, and do right­eous deeds,’ (23:51) and, ‘O you who believe! Eat of the law­ful things that We have pro­vid­ed you’ (2:172). Then he men­tioned a case of the man who sets out on a long jour­ney, his hair becomes ruf­fled and his face is cov­ered with dust and he rais­es his hand towards heav­en and sup­pli­cates, ‘O Lord, O Lord’, while his food is unlaw­ful and his drink is unlaw­ful and his sus­te­nance is unlaw­ful, how would the sup­pli­ca­tion of such a per­son find accep­tance?” (Mus­lim). From this hadith it is under­stood that no mat­ter how sin­cere one is in wor­ship, unlaw­ful wealth ren­ders it worth­less. More­over, the sin which remains upon this per­son for spend­ing unlaw­ful wealth is sep­a­rate.

Allah Most High says in the Qur’an: “Do not be extrav­a­gant” (7:31) and He says: “Sure­ly, squan­der­ers are broth­ers of Satan, and Satan is very ungrate­ful to his Lord” (17:27). Any expen­di­ture with­out a law­ful objec­tive is includ­ed in this (extrav­a­gance and squan­der­ing), regard­less if it is [spent on] light­ing or oth­er for­mal­i­ties.

On the issue of dress and unlaw­ful appear­ance, the hadiths which have been nar­rat­ed are men­tioned in the first chap­ter [of the book Islah al-Rusum]. There is no need to repeat them here.

Sayyiduna Hud­hay­fah (may Allah be pleased with him) nar­rat­ed that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “By Him in Whose hands is my life (Allah the Almighty), nec­es­sar­i­ly you should enjoin good and for­bid evil, or else Allah will cer­tain­ly send chas­tise­ment upon you. And then you will pray but your sup­pli­ca­tions will not be accept­ed.” (Al-Tir­mid­hi)

[Imam Ahmad (may Allah have mer­cy on him) relates from] Sayyiduna Hasan (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: “‘Uth­man ibn Abi al-‘As (may Allah be pleased with him) was invit­ed to a cir­cum­ci­sion, but he declined the invi­ta­tion. Asked why, he answered: ‘In the days of the Mes­sen­ger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) we did not go to cir­cum­ci­sions and we were not invit­ed’” (Mus­nad Imam Ahmad, 4/217). It is under­stood from this nar­ra­tion that to invite indi­vid­u­als for an event which is not estab­lished from the Sun­nah was some­thing a Com­pan­ion of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) dis­liked and refused to attend.

From this we can ascer­tain that invi­ta­tion is proof of [mak­ing] extra­or­di­nary effort. If the Shari’ah does not place extra­or­di­nary impor­tance on a mat­ter, to make extra­or­di­nary effort for it is invent­ing in the reli­gion. For this rea­son, when Sayyiduna ‘Abdul­lah Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) saw peo­ple gath­ered for duha (forenoon) prayer in the mosque, he declared it an inno­va­tion (bid’ah). Based on this, the fuqa­ha (jurists) con­sid­er supereroga­to­ry (nafl) prayer in con­gre­ga­tion makruh [The term makruh, through­out this arti­cle, is refer­ring to makruh tahri­mi (pro­hib­i­tive­ly dis­liked, high­ly rep­re­hen­si­ble). In Hanafi fiqh, the rul­ing for makruh tahri­mi and haram is the same, i.e., both are sin­ful.].

No expla­na­tion is need­ed on [the obvi­ous­ness of] the kufr (dis­be­lief) and blame­wor­thi­ness of insult­ing Allah Most High, the Prophets or the Angels. Which Mus­lim denies this [act of kufr]? Despite this, many igno­rant poets are involved in it. It is not per­mis­si­ble to com­pose such poet­ry nor is it per­mis­si­ble to read or lis­ten to it.

Sim­i­lar­ly, it is obvi­ous that miss­ing con­gre­ga­tion­al prayer or wast­ing time is imper­mis­si­ble because the means (dhari’ah) to a sin is also a sin. It is because of this the pro­hi­bi­tion for hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions after ‘isha prayer is relat­ed in a hadith. The rea­son — men­tioned in the hadith com­men­taries for this pro­hi­bi­tion — is due to the hin­drance it may cause in [wak­ing up for] taha­jjud or morn­ing (fajr) prayers.

Sim­i­lar­ly, every­one is aware of the pro­hi­bi­tion of osten­ta­tion and van­i­ty because that which leads to haram (a pro­hib­it­ed act) is also haram. It is men­tioned in a hadith that [Sayyiduna ‘Abdul­lah ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) nar­rat­ed that the Mes­sen­ger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:] “He who wears the cloth­ing of fame in this world will be dressed in humil­i­at­ing clothes on the Day of Judg­ment” (Abu Dawud). In anoth­er hadith, Allah’s Mes­sen­ger (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Ver­i­ly, even a lit­tle osten­ta­tion (riya’) is shirk” (Ibn Majah).

Omnipres­ence (being hadir wa nadir) is depen­dent on knowl­edge (‘ilm) and pow­er (qudrah), since the knowl­edge and pow­er of Allah Most High is Most Per­fect (kamil), He is omnipresent at all times and in all places. If this belief about the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) or the anbiya’ (prophets) and awliya’ (saints) is based on the under­stand­ing that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) has this knowl­edge and pow­er in essence like the belief of some igno­rant indi­vid­u­als then this is shirk. This is even if it (omnipres­ence of the Prophet) is con­sid­ered to be less than that of Allah Most High because it is explic­it­ly men­tioned in the Qur’an that the mushrikin (poly­the­ists) of Ara­bia were engaged in shirk. It is also estab­lished by the Qur’an that they did not con­sid­er their demigods equal to Allah.

If it is believed that Allah Most High informs and gives per­mis­sion [to the Prophet] then this will not be shirk although [such a belief] with­out hav­ing a basis in the Shar’iah is cer­tain­ly a sin. This is because every­one knows that lying is pro­hib­it­ed. A lie, just as it is uttered by the tongue, is also present in the heart since that is where it orig­i­nates. It reach­es the tongue [from the heart] such that sus­pi­cion (or mis­trust) is mere­ly an action of the heart. In rela­tion to this, Allah Most High says in the Qur’an, “O ye who believe! Avoid sus­pi­cion as much (as pos­si­ble), for sus­pi­cion in some cas­es is a sin.” (49:12) and it comes in a hadith that Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) nar­rat­ed that the Mes­sen­ger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “I warn you of sus­pi­cion, for sus­pi­cion is the most false form of talk.” (Al-Bukhari)

In short, due to these [above men­tioned] unlaw­ful actions this [mawlid] gath­er­ing also becomes unlaw­ful. Par­tic­i­pat­ing in this gath­er­ing is not cor­rect either. Nowa­days most gath­er­ings are of this sort. If all of the imper­mis­si­ble actions are not present in them, at least some of them are almost cer­tain­ly present. A sin­gle unlaw­ful action is enough for a gath­er­ing to be deemed unlaw­ful, as it is obvi­ous.

Third type

This is the gath­er­ing in which nei­ther is there the sort of dis­en­gage­ment and infor­mal­i­ty that is found in the first type [of mawlid gath­er­ing] nor are there any unlaw­ful restric­tions like those found in the sec­ond type. Even though this gath­er­ing does con­tain restric­tions, they are law­ful (halal) and per­mis­si­ble (mubah) in their essence, such as [men­tion­ing] authen­tic and reli­able nar­ra­tions [in the gath­er­ing]; the pres­ence of a trust­wor­thy and pious ora­tor;  the absence of oppor­tu­ni­ties to arouse illic­it desires; the spend­ing of law­ful and pure (tayy­ib) wealth on the gath­er­ing; the dec­o­ra­tions [at this place] do not reach the bound­aries of waste­ful spend­ing (israf); the atten­dees of this gath­er­ing are dressed in accor­dance with the Shari’ah although if some­one, by chance, does come dressed in vio­la­tion of the Shari’ah then the speak­er, if he has author­i­ty to do so, does not refrain from enjoin­ing good and in a sim­i­lar way, in accor­dance with the sit­u­a­tion, he speaks about oth­er impor­tant rul­ings; if there is recita­tion of poet­ry then it is not accom­pa­nied with music; the con­tent [of the lec­ture] does not exceed the lim­its of the Shari’ah; no exag­ger­a­tion is employed in inform­ing and invit­ing peo­ple [to the gath­er­ing]; no hin­drance is cre­at­ed in any com­pul­so­ry form of wor­ship due to attend­ing this gath­er­ing; the inten­tion of the per­son who orga­nized the event is sin­cere, i.e., he does it mere­ly to attain bless­ings and for the love of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace); and if the voca­tive case (sighah al-nida) is used, it is used with absolute assur­ance — backed by strong evi­dence — that the atten­dees are not defi­cient in their under­stand­ing that they will begin con­sid­er­ing the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) to be Omnipresent (Hadir wa Nadir) and the Know­er of Unseen (‘Alim al-Ghayb).

If the gath­er­ing is free from all oth­er types of evils as well but it includes things such as sweets, stand­ing up (qiyam), car­pet­ing, pul­pit, incens­es and sim­i­lar things, which in their essence are not unlaw­ful, then this is the type of gath­er­ing of extreme­ly cau­tious indi­vid­u­als which maybe rarely occurs. Thus, this type of gath­er­ing is nei­ther absolute­ly per­mis­si­ble like the first type, nor is it absolute­ly imper­mis­si­ble like the sec­ond type.

On [the issue of] per­mis­si­bil­i­ty, there is some detail, which will be men­tioned soon. Before these details are dis­cussed, there are cer­tain prin­ci­ples of Islam­ic law worth men­tion­ing, which will be help­ful in under­stand­ing the dis­cus­sion [which fol­low the prin­ci­ples].

First Principle

To con­sid­er an unnec­es­sary action nec­es­sary and emphat­ic in one’s ‘aqi­dah (belief) or to con­sis­tent­ly act upon it with such per­sis­tence that it equals or exceeds the amount of effort put into oblig­a­tory (fard) or com­pul­so­ry (wajib) acts — such that it is con­sid­ered blame­wor­thy to leave this action and the one who leaves it wor­thy of rebuke — then these two actions are pro­hib­it­ed.  This is because this involves break­ing the rul­ings of Shari’ah. Restrict­ing (taqyid), stip­u­lat­ing (ta’yin), spec­i­fy­ing (takhsis), mak­ing manda­to­ry (ilti­zam), delim­it­ing (tah­did), etc. are [all] from the vari­a­tions of this prin­ci­ple and issue. Allah Most High has said in the Qur’an that who­ev­er exceeds the lim­its set by Allah Most High is from the oppres­sors.

Sayyiduna ‘Abdul­lah ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “You should not give away a part of your prayer to Satan by think­ing that it is nec­es­sary to depart [after fin­ish­ing the prayer] from one’s right side only; I have seen the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) often leave from the left side” ( al-Bukhari). Al-Tibi, the com­men­ta­tor of Mishkat al-Masabih, said that it is learned from this hadith that who­ev­er insists on a mus­ta­habb (rec­om­mend­ed) mat­ter and is deter­mined in strict­ly adher­ing to it (‘azimah) with­out ever mak­ing excep­tion (rukhsah), i.e., act­ing upon its oppo­site, then Satan takes his part in mis­guid­ing this per­son. So, what can be said regard­ing that per­son who insists upon a bid’ah or an evil action (i.e., an unlaw­ful belief or action)?

The author of Maj­ma’ said that it is learned from this hadith that some­times a man­dub (rec­om­mend­ed) action becomes makruh if it is thought that it will exceed in its rank. Based on this, Hanafi jurists have declared the spec­i­fy­ing of surahs in prayer as makruh, regard­less if the adher­ence is in belief or prac­tice. This mat­ter has been clear­ly men­tioned in Fath al-Qadir. [Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) report­ed that] the Mes­sen­ger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Do not sin­gle out the night [pre­ced­ing] Fri­day among the nights for prayer and do not sin­gle out Fri­day among days for fast­ing but only when any­one among you is accus­tomed to fast [on dates] which coin­cide with this day (Fri­day).” (Mus­lim)

Second Principle

A mubah action, in fact even a mus­ta­habb one, becomes unlaw­ful and pro­hib­it­ed due to the join­ing of an unlaw­ful action with it. For exam­ple, going to a din­ner par­ty [which one is invit­ed to] is mus­ta­habb, rather it is a sun­nah, but the pres­ence of an unlaw­ful action at this gath­er­ing will make it pro­hib­it­ed to go there. Sim­i­lar to this has been men­tioned in the hadiths and [books such as] Al-Hidayah, etc. Sim­i­lar­ly, per­form­ing supereroga­to­ry (nafl) prayer is mus­ta­habb, but dur­ing makruh times it is pro­hib­it­ed and sin­ful. It is under­stood from this that a law­ful action becomes unlaw­ful due to its asso­ci­a­tion and affil­i­a­tion with an unlaw­ful action.

Third Principle

If an unnec­es­sary action of the elect (khawas) caus­es a defect to be formed in the ‘aqi­dah of the mass­es (awam) then this action will become makruh and pro­hib­it­ed for them because sav­ing fel­low Mus­lims from harm is an oblig­a­tion. It is [incum­bent] upon the elect to aban­don this action.

An inci­dent is relat­ed in the noble hadith about when the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) made the inten­tion to include the Hatim (round wall near Ka’ba) inside the Ka’ba. [Sayyi­datu­na ‘A’isha (may Allah be pleased with her) nar­rat­ed: “I asked the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) whether the round wall (near Ka’ba) was part of the Ka’ba. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) replied in the affir­ma­tive. I fur­ther said, ‘What is wrong with them, why have they not includ­ed it in the build­ing of the Ka’ba?’ He said, ‘Don’t you see that your peo­ple (Quraysh) ran short of mon­ey (so they could not include it inside the build­ing of Ka’ba)?’ I asked, ‘What about its gate? Why is it so high?’ He replied, ‘Your peo­ple did this so as to admit into it whomev­er they liked and pre­vent whomev­er they liked. Were your peo­ple not close to the pre-lslam­ic peri­od of igno­rance (i.e. they have recent­ly embraced Islam) and were I not afraid that they would dis­like it, sure­ly I would have includ­ed the (area of the) wall inside the build­ing of the Ka’ba and I would have low­ered its gate to the lev­el of the ground.’” (Al-Bukhari)] Because the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) felt that those who had recent­ly entered Islam might devel­op unsound­ness in their belief or anx­i­ety in their hearts and to include the Hatim in the struc­ture was not some­thing nec­es­sary, he [decid­ed to] put off this mat­ter and explic­it­ly men­tioned this rea­son [i.e., his con­cern about their reac­tion]. This is even though to include the Hatim inside the struc­ture [of the Ka’ba] was mus­tah­san (com­mend­able) but to avoid the pos­si­bil­i­ty of caus­ing any harm to the mass­es, he left a mus­tah­san act.

In Sunan Ibn Majah, a nar­ra­tion from Sayyiduna ‘Abdul­lah (may Allah have mer­cy on him) is men­tioned that to pro­vide food to the house­hold of the deceased per­son on the first day was a sun­nah but when peo­ple made it a cus­tom, it was aban­doned and pro­hib­it­ed. From this it can be observed that in order to pre­serve the faith of the mass­es, the elect also aban­doned this act.

The act of doing the saj­dah (pros­tra­tion) of thank­ful­ness is mubah accord­ing to the hadiths but Hanafi jurists, as men­tioned by ‘Allamah Ibn ‘Abidin al-Sha­mi (may Allah have mer­cy on him),  declared this act to be makruh in case the mass­es start con­sid­er­ing it a desired sun­nah. It is men­tioned in ‘Alam­giri (Fatawa Hindiyyah) that peo­ple used to do this (saj­dah) after prayers and it is makruh because igno­rant peo­ple will begin con­sid­er­ing it sun­nah and wajib. Any mubah action which comes to this becomes makruh. Although if it is nec­es­sary in the Shari’ah, it will not be aban­doned rather the cor­rupt traits which have crept in it will be rec­ti­fied.

For instance, the act of accom­pa­ny­ing the funer­al [pro­ces­sion] will not be aban­doned due to the asso­ci­a­tion of a makruh action with it such as the pres­ence of a wail­ing woman; rather the wail­ing will be pro­hib­it­ed. This is because this (funer­al) is some­thing nec­es­sary and it will not be aban­doned because of a tem­po­rary kara­hah (rep­re­hen­si­bil­i­ty). This is in con­trast to accept­ing the din­ner invi­ta­tion, which should be refused after [one becomes aware of] the makruh action’s asso­ci­a­tion with it because the din­ner par­ty [in itself] is not some­thing nec­es­sary [in the reli­gion]. ‘Allamah Ibn ‘Abidin al-Sha­mi has dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed [between] these issues as well.

Fourth Principle

The rul­ing from the muftis could vary in regards to an action which con­tains tem­po­rary kara­hah due to dif­fer­ences in time and place or due to their expe­ri­ences and obser­va­tions. This means that it is pos­si­ble for some­thing to be deemed law­ful at one time because at this time there was no rea­son for it to be con­sid­ered makruh, while at anoth­er point in time, the [same] action was deemed unlaw­ful because the rea­son for it to be now con­sid­ered makruh had arisen. It is also pos­si­ble that per­mis­sion could be giv­en in one coun­try while in anoth­er coun­try it is made pro­hib­it­ed due to the above-men­tioned dif­fer­ences.

It is also pos­si­ble that one mufti at a cer­tain time or [in a cer­tain] sit­u­a­tion deems some­thing law­ful with­out know­ing that the mass­es have intro­duced defi­cient beliefs and prac­tices in it, while anoth­er mufti deems this [same] action unlaw­ful because, giv­en his expe­ri­ence and obser­va­tion, he has knowl­edge of what the mass­es are involved in. In fact, this dif­fer­ence of opin­ion is in the out­ward sense, not in the real sense (haqiqi) … many exam­ples of this can be found in the [books of] hadith and fiqh (jurispru­dence).

The Mes­sen­ger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) had giv­en women per­mis­sion to enter the mosque to per­form salah. At that time, the pos­si­bil­i­ty of fit­nah (temp­ta­tion) did not exist but when the Com­pan­ions (may Allah be pleased with them) saw the changed con­di­tion [of the peo­ple], they pro­hib­it­ed this. Sim­i­lar­ly, many of the dif­fer­ences between Imam Abu Han­i­fah (may Allah have mer­cy on him) and the Sahibayn [Imam Abu Yusuf (d.798 AH) and Imam Muham­mad al-Shay­bani (d.805 AH)] (may Allah have mer­cy on them both) are of this kind.

Fifth Principle

If an unlaw­ful action yields ben­e­fits and to acquire them is not nec­es­sar­i­ly required from the per­spec­tive of the Shari’ah or there are oth­er ways to obtain such ben­e­fits and [this action] is done with the inten­tion of obtain­ing these ben­e­fits or after see­ing these ben­e­fits the mass­es are not stopped [from per­form­ing this action], then this is not per­mis­si­ble. A mubah [action] per­formed with a good inten­tion becomes wor­ship (‘ibadah) but sin (ma’siyah) is not mubah, even if it con­tains thou­sands of ben­e­fits. It is not law­ful to com­mit such an act, nor is it allowed to remain silent on it. This prin­ci­ple is very much self-evi­dent.

For instance, if some­one usurps [the wealth of oth­ers] and oppress­es [peo­ple] with the inten­tion of col­lect­ing wealth so it can be dis­trib­uted to the poor and needy. This type of force and oppres­sion can nev­er be con­sid­ered law­ful. This is even if it is hoped that hun­dreds of thou­sands of ben­e­fits will be obtained from doing this.

After these pre­lim­i­nary com­ments and prin­ci­ples have been under­stood, the details of the law­ful­ness or unlaw­ful­ness of the third type [of mawlid gath­er­ing] should be heard.

Concluding remarks

Since these above-men­tioned restric­tions [of the third type of gath­er­ing] are in them­selves mubah, there is no defect in their essence, nor will this gath­er­ing be con­sid­ered unlaw­ful and pro­hib­it­ed at any time due to these actions and occur­rences. And these actions, in their usu­al state, will remain mubah if no type of defect aris­es [due to them]. This rul­ing is evi­dent from the sec­ond prin­ci­ple.

Now, it is worth look­ing at the fact, whether in our times, if any defect is occur­ring due to this per­mis­si­bil­i­ty. If any defect is seen aris­ing then this gath­er­ing should be con­sid­ered unlaw­ful and pro­hib­it­ed. Knowl­edge of this issue can be obtained with­out hin­drance mere­ly through expe­ri­ence and obser­va­tion. There is no need for any argu­men­ta­tion in this [mat­ter].

Accord­ing to this writer’s expe­ri­ence of many years, it is worth men­tion­ing that with­out a doubt the vast major­i­ty, rather near­ly all of the mass­es (awam), rec­og­nize these restric­tions (quyud) as nec­es­sary, empha­sized and essen­tial for the gath­er­ing. They act upon [these restric­tions] sim­i­lar to how they prac­tice the require­ments of the faith. In fact, they act upon them with much more empha­sis. Thus, the amount of effort put into the Fri­day or con­gre­ga­tion­al prayer is very lit­tle when com­pared to the extra­or­di­nary effort that is put into act­ing upon these restric­tions. The amount of unpalata­bil­i­ty caused by aban­don­ing these restric­tions is nev­er equal to that caused by aban­don­ing oblig­a­tory and com­pul­so­ry acts [of wor­ship]. On the con­trary, for one [involved in these activ­i­ties] to aban­don [these restric­tions] is incon­ceiv­able and putting aside the exam­ple of the per­son who refus­es [to par­tic­i­pate], even if some­one aban­dons these restric­tions, he is taunt­ed and cursed beyond bounds. His oppo­nents resort to caus­ing more trou­ble and ver­bal abuse than what unbe­liev­ers, inno­va­tors or evil-doers would cause.

When the mass­es have brought the issue to this point, in belief and prac­tice, such that they have ele­vat­ed the rank [of these actions] beyond the rank of oblig­a­tory and com­pul­so­ry acts, then, with­out a doubt, due to this per­sis­tence and neces­si­ta­tion, these actions become pro­hib­it­ed. This has been estab­lished by the first prin­ci­ple.

Since these actions are pro­hib­it­ed, if they are found in a gath­er­ing then that gath­er­ing also becomes pro­hib­it­ed and unlaw­ful. This has been explained in the sec­ond prin­ci­ple. This is despite the fact that there is a learned indi­vid­ual [in this gath­er­ing] who does not hold these cor­rupt­ed beliefs and does not con­sid­er these actions emphat­i­cal­ly nec­es­sary or the per­son who aban­dons them blame­wor­thy. Although, in our times, such a qual­i­ty is rarely found in peo­ple, if for instance such a per­son does attend, then he is saved from the sin of hav­ing cor­rupt­ed his beliefs and prac­tice. How­ev­er, if his actions gave sup­port to and strength­ened the activ­i­ties of cor­rupt-mind­ed (in belief and prac­tice) indi­vid­u­als, then, how can this per­son not be blamed for sup­port­ing and prop­a­gat­ing their makruh act? This has been dis­cussed in the third prin­ci­ple.

To con­clude, wher­ev­er the above-men­tioned evil prac­tices are not present, even though to expect this from the mass­es, giv­en their con­di­tion, is an extreme­ly remote pos­si­bil­i­ty, but for instance if at any place or time this is the case, then per­mis­sion will be giv­en. At the same time, it will be nec­es­sary in this action to con­sid­er these restric­tions unnec­es­sary in prac­tice just as they are under­stood to be unnec­es­sary in belief by repeat­ed­ly mak­ing it appar­ent [in prac­tice].

For instance, dis­trib­ut­ing sweets some­times, secret­ly giv­ing cash, pro­duce, or clothes to the poor or some­times, either due to lack of resources or to mere­ly act upon the rukhsah giv­en in the Shari’ah, noth­ing is giv­en [to the atten­dees]. Dur­ing the course of the lec­ture, when the blessed virtues and char­ac­ter­is­tics of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) are men­tioned, if one is over­come with emo­tions and love [for the Prophet] then he could stand up. There is no rea­son to spec­i­fy a par­tic­u­lar moment for [doing] this. This would be done when one is in the state of being over­come [by emo­tions] whether this is at the begin­ning, mid­dle, or end of the lec­ture and whether it is done once, twice, or four times dur­ing the lec­ture.

When this feel­ing of being over­come [with emo­tions] is not present, one should remain sit­ting. And at times, even though this feel­ing is present, one could restrain him­self to remain sit­ting. This (stand­ing up) should not be stip­u­lat­ed only for this mawlid gath­er­ing and if one is over­come with [sim­i­lar] emo­tions at oth­er times after the men­tion of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), one could occa­sion­al­ly stand up.

By anal­o­gy, if the rest of the mubah restric­tions are sim­i­lar­ly prac­ticed, even though this type of gath­er­ing is not nar­rat­ed from the pious pre­de­ces­sors (salaf), it would not be con­sid­ered pro­hib­it­ed because it is not against the prin­ci­ples of the Shari’ah. This is the rul­ing for the third type of gath­er­ing with regards to the fat­wa (legal ver­dict).

How­ev­er, in the best inter­est of keep­ing order in the reli­gion, it is nec­es­sary to abstain in this regard. This is because this is not from the nec­es­sary ele­ments of faith nor is any nec­es­sary aspect of the faith depen­dent upon it. This type of mubah gath­er­ing has, in the past, led to [the devel­op­ment of] cor­rupt traits sim­i­lar to what can be seen [occur­ring nowa­days] as igno­rance is gain­ing promi­nence on a dai­ly basis. This is why the dig­ni­ty of taqwa (piety) is in abstain­ing. And Allah Most High knows best, His knowl­edge is Most Per­fect and He is Most Wise.

Islah al-Rusum, Sec­tion 3, Chap­ter 1, p. 107–118, Dar al-Isha’at, Karachi