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AN ATTACK ON EID-E-MEELAD BY BIN BAAZ  - A REPLY by Hadrat Mufti Naseem Ashraf Habibi (Habibi Darul Ifta)

The Sunni Muslim community should be fully aware and forewarned of the new fitna presently perpetrated by some Wahabi/Najdi based organisations locally and overseas on the Internet regarding the issue of an old Fatwa against Eid-e-Meelad-un Nabi (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) by "Sheikh" Abdul Aziz bin Baaz of Saudi Arabia. The Fatawa of such like must be met with the fiercest of opposition and open condemnation from all circles.

This Fatwa was obviously instituted on the Internet, (which is accessed by thousands of computer users), by these "theological" bodies as a flagrant attack on the Imaan and Aqeeda of Sunni Muslims or the righteous followers of the Ahle Sunnah Wa Jamaah, of whose beliefs and teachings the majority of Muslims the world over ascribe to.

Muslims must also take cognizance of the fact that among his other Fatawa, Bin Baaz of the Saudi Government is also on record for having issued a Fatwa declaring as un-Islamic the Palestinian people's uprising against the Jewish State of Israel, but at the same time not fulfilling his duty in his own country in issuing Fatawa against the evil practices of the Saudi Royal Family, such as gambling, horseracing, etc. Should this not be his first duty as the Head of Department of Islamic Researches Ifta and Propagation?

According to the great Muhaddith, Shamsuddeen Muhammad as-Sakhaawi (d.902 A.H.), the assembling for Meelad in Muslim history began in the 3rd Century A.H., but Ibn Taymiya (d.728 A.H.), almost five centuries later, was the first to begin argumentation and contention against this practice.

In conformity with Ibn Taymiya's beliefs and views which are incompatible with the beliefs of Islam, Bin Baaz, until a few years ago, publicised his condemnation of Meelad-un Nabi by publishing a Fatwa. This Fatwa was met with strong disapproval and displeasure in the Muslim world the majority of whom regard the celebration of Meelad-un Nabi as a beneficial and desirous act.

In opposition and reply to Sheikh Bin Baaz' Fatwa, the distinguished Arab Scholar, Sheikh Sayyid Alawi Maliki, who is an Ustaz of Hadith in the Haram Shareef in Makkah, produced a clear, decisive and well-supported argument in Arabic on the permissibility of Meelad-un Nabi. Sheikh Sayyid Alawi, in his book "Holal Ihtefaal Bezikra-al Moulidin Nabawee al-Shareef" raised some very serious questions to Bin Baaz. He questioned Bin Baaz about his views on the innovations which are being practised "here" (in the Haram Shareef) and which were never practised before, neither in the Prophet's (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) time, nor in the period of the Sahaba-Ikraam or of the Salf-e-Saleheen (ridwanullahi ta'ala ajma'in). The practices, which Sheikh Alawi mentioned were those such as:


Muslims, however, must realise that the Ulema have accepted such practices as Bid'ah, but Bid'ah-e-Hasanah.

Also in opposition to Sheikh Bin Baaz' Fatwa, Sheikh Sayed Hashim al-Rifa'ie of Kuwait produced a lengthy Fatwa on the permissibility of Meelad-un Nabi celebrations which triggered off a tremendous increase in Meelad-un Nabi celebrations amongst the Arab populations of the cities of Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah, Ta'if, etc. and in the Gulf States.

An academic scholar, Sheikh Dr. Muhammad Abduhu Yamani, the Director of Darul Qibla Institute in Jeddah, who was also the ex-Minister of Information till 1983, and a renowned author in both the Arabic and English languages, recently on the ocassion of Meelad-un Nabi celebration had written a detailed essay entitled "Assalatu Wassalaamu Alaika Ya Rasoollallah," which was published in the daily newspaper "Ash Sharqul Ausat." This article was published on the 12th of Rabbi-ul-Awwal in 1987, on page 12 of this popular newspaper.

His very constructive essay, full of proofs, was well received by the Arabs, and Alhamdulillah, today there is a massive silent movement, known as "Irji'oo Ila Rasoolillah" or "Return to Rasoolullah", in progress. This is a clear reflection and indication that the Arab Muslims have become fully aware of the evils of the Wahabi beliefs and have now turned to reinstating the love of Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) as the foundation stone of their Imaan.

At the present moment, the Saudi capital in Riyadh has published a 300 page book titled "Al Deobandiyah" written by Sheik Tuwaijeeri which exposes, with proof, the corrupt beliefs of the Ulema of Deoband and how they deviated from Islam on the basis of Aqaa'id. In the light of this new fact, perhaps these "theological bodies," in re-issuing Bin Baaz'old Fatwa, with additions in the English language, are planning to welcome Bin Baaz to South Africa in order to establish some influence which could be used to eliminate the present sanctions applied to the Tabligh Jamaat activities in Saudi Arabia. However, this may not be possible, as everyone in the Arab world today is becoming aware of the deceit of the Tabligh Jamaat movement.

Almost 600 years ago Imam Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (b.911 A.H.) had written a treatise on Meelad-un Nabi called "Hasnul Maqsid Fi Amalil Maulid" in which he stated that such a celebration is certainly permissible and Mustahab. In fact, so much has been written on this subject in various languages that there are abundant books to complete a library. Inspite of this, a specific group have always opposed this celebration and had no further proof to offer in support of their argument, other than saying that it is a Bid'ah.

For centuries, the Ulema-e-Deen have produced the Shar'i definition of Bid'ah as an innovation which can be good or bad (Sai'yah or Hasanah). Meelad-un Nabi has been identified as Bid'ah Hasanah, in the same manner as the application of I'raab (Use of zabbar, zehr, pesh, etc.) in the Holy Quran, and the performance of Taraweeh Salaah; in the same manner as the construction of places of learning, e.g. Darul Ulooms, etc. for dissemination of education; in the same manner as Dastaar Bandi which is held on completion of Islamic courses; and the graduation ceremonies which are held on completion of Bukhari Shareef, etc. in Darul Ulooms. These actions were never practised before, neither in the Prophet's (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) time, nor in the period of the Sahaba-Ikraam or of the Salf-e-Saleheen.

If one has to take the literal meaning of the word "Bid'ah" and abandon or discard the Shar'i meaning, then the Ij'tima for Tableegi purposes will be Bid'ah; the making of Ghusht will be Bid'ah; engaging in Chilla would be Bid'ah; publication of books would be Bid'ah, etc. - all of which would be classed as detestable in the extreme. However, such application of the literal meaning of "Bid'ah" cannot be found during the entire period of Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), neither can it be found in the period of the Sahabah, nor in the period of Taba'i (ridwanullahi ta'ala ajma'in).

We wish to close this article by quoting to you a few authentic books from the thousands available written in earlier centuries by very renowned Ulama and Muhadditheen of that period on the permissibility of the celebrations of Meelad-un Nabi. Some of these books are:

1. Al Mouridil Raweefil fi-Maulideena Nabawee by Imam Mulla Ali Qari
2. At-Ta'rif bil-Mawlidish 'sh-Sharif by Ibn Asir Muhammad al-Jazri (d.833 A.H.)
3. Jameeul Aasaar fee Maulidin Nabeeul Muqhthar by Imam Hafiz bin Nasirudeen Damishqi
4. Al Fazlur Raaiq fee Mauludi Khairul Khalaaik by Imam Hafiz bin Nasirudeen Damishqi
5. Mauridil Saadi fi maulidil Haadi by Imam Hafiz bin Nasirudeen Damishqi
6. Al mauludil Hanni fil mauludis Sanni by Imam Hafiz Iraqi (b.720 - d.808 A.H.)
7. An Ne'matul Kubra by Imam Ibne Hajjar
8. Hasanul Maqsid by Imam Hafiz Jalal ad-Din Suyuti
9. Meelad-ul Mustapha by Imam Ibne Katheer
10. Bayaanu Meeladin Nabi by Imam Ibn Jawzi
11. Jami ul-Asaar fi Mawlidil-Muhtar by ibne Nasiruddeen ad-Damishqi