On this month, our great exemplary leader and also a Daie, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was born with a nubuwah mission of returning mankind’s qibla of life to its rightful place. The Prophet nor his Sahabas had never instituted the celebration of his birthday as a symbol of the believers’ piety, and certainly not in fashionable clothing, fancy dancing and flashy marching that his mawlid had been celebrated since who knows when.
And that’s why we should just leave it to those who are obsessed with celebration to split hairs as to whether his birthday ﷺ was on the 2nd, 8th, 10th or 12th, or whether the celebration itself is permissible or not. We will just note the kind of rationalisation that these people had to come out with. Some justified it as a commendable innovation (بدعة حسنة) supported by general revealed texts (عموم النص). Others refuted it as a misguided innovation(بدعة ضلالة).
Only three things are agreed upon by consensus:
That this event of Mawlid occurred on a Monday,
That the month was Rabi’ul Awwal, and
That the main objective of the Mawlid celebration is to commemorate the Prophet ﷺ as our absolute uswah hasanah (role model).
Yep, the Ummah do need seasonal occasions to help them take a moment from their hectic life and reflect on the significance of the Prophet’s teachings to keep them rightly guided on the straight path of life.
But leaders and Daies like you are an exception in the sense that since you are the ones who take it upon yourselves to continue propagating the faith, then you should be remembering about the Prophet’s uswah at all times. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is your uswah both in terms of leadership and Da’wah.
Throughout his life, the Prophet ﷺ implemented his prophetic mission of upholding the sovereignty of Allah and guiding mankind in fulfilling its responsibility as His vicegerent. It was a lifetime mission for the Prophet ﷺ and the Sahabas.
Well, some 1,400 years had passed since the Prophet’s nubuwwah started. A zillion things have happened and zillions more have changed in the context of mankind’s vicegerency on this Earth. So, after all these centuries, now may be a decent time to bring this commemoration of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday some good points further.
How about these:
1) Keep hammering home the correct perspective in honouring the prophet.
Even the pro-Mawlid scholars stress on the objective of the celebration as a mere approach of Da’wah and warn against perceiving it as a Qurbah Syar’iyyah – the ordained way of being closer to the Prophet ﷺ. Keep enlightening the Ummah about this standpoint to prevent them from being trapped in another unnecessary ritualistic tradition.
2) Keep striving on achieving the original objective.
Don’t stop at singing only praises and adoration of the Prophet, but start enabling and encouraging the people to plead for more than merely reading seerah as a feel-good tale and reciting Salawat. People’s induced affection for the Prophet needs to be upgraded to reverencing his mission and lead them to run their lives according to his teachings and thus contributing to Islamic revival.
3) Work towards cleansing the Prophet’s mawlid of the formality of celebration.
The public’s enthusiasm will be ‘hyped’ and captured with decoration, exhibition, feast and symbolism. But let those STOP at the door. As they’re in, take their hands further to the objective of motivating them living the Prophet’s life. There is no logic in wasteful embellishment at the door of an incomplete house.
4) Never ever exploit it for political benefit.
Even from back then, religions were always exploited for the leaders to maintain power and disseminate their vested interest agenda. Similarly, the remembrance of our Prophet ﷺ should never be presented as a pretext to condone questionable actions of our political leaders, to portray a fake religious-political image to the masses, or to distract the people from crucial issues.
The excuses of “the public can only understand that much” and “Da’wah should be conducted gradually” should not justify leaving the Ummah at the stagnant level of understanding. The Mawlid commemoration hasalready opened the door for the ummah to revere the Prophet, and it is time now for them to finish constructing the house – living the life of the Prophet they’ve learned to revere:
“(O Messenger!) Tell people: ‘If you indeed love Allah, follow me, and Allah will love you and will forgive you your sins. Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.”
“What matters in the Mawlid celebration is practising what is beloved to the owner of Mawlid (our Prophet ﷺ) and the Creator of the owner of Mawlid (Allah), as well as holding firm to the manhaj of the Prophet ﷺ.”