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Friday, February 26, 2010

MILAD UN-NABI (s.a.w.) - Brief Thoughts Part 2.


From the Layman's Desk- 4: MILAD-UN NABI– Brief Thoughts Part 2.




In the name of Allah, Most Beneficient, Most Merciful.


Pre-Islamic Arabia was steeped in ignorance and darkness when the worship of Al-Laat, al-‘Uzza and al-Manaat along with other gods and goddesses, heavenly bodies and power of nature, as well as worshipping of stones and trees was rampant. Inside the Ka’ba itself there were idols of 360 gods and goddesses. Female infanticide was common and sometimes daughters were even buried alive, all because of shame or illusory fear of poverty. Women were treated as chattels and had no property rights or respect. Polygamy was unlimited. There were also polyandry as when a group of less than ten men would have sexual intercourse with a woman who, after conception, could name anyone of the group as the father. Sons could marry the divorcees or widows of their fathers. Adultery prevailed among all social classes but for a few chaste men and women who did not succumb to the obscenities. Deep ignorance, fragile relationships, tribal warfare, greed for wealth and leadership, superstition and other negative traits were common in pre-Islamic Arabia. Therefore, it was natural for the Satan to shed tears on the day when Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) was born as he would change all that, and also bring a monotheistic religion, where only Allah would be worshipped to the exclusion of all others.


Allah The Almighty mentions in the Qur’an: “Remind them of the day of Allah..” (Surah Ibrahim, v.5). According to Hafiz Ibn Kathir in Fath-ul-Qadeer and in Tafsir, and Qadhi Shawkani, the Day of Allah means the day when Allah does a favour on mankind such as the day when Bani Isra’il gained freedom from the Pharoah.


Surah Ibrahim clearly states that Allah ordered Moses to remind his nation of the day when Allah brought them from darkness into light.(14:5) In other words, there is this concept of the “Day” when great events took place and when Allah conferred His Mercy on his creatures, especially the mankind. That the birth of Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) is the greatest favour of Allah on mankind cannot be denied or contradicted. It is for this reason too that we remember the day of birth and celebrate the Milad an-Nabi (s) since it was he (s) who brought light to the world that was engulfed in the darkness of ignorance and corruption.  That's one of the reasons why some Islamic scholars such as ibn Marzuq (Imam Nawawi's famous student) consider the Night of Milad un-Nabi as better than the Laylatul Qadr in the same way as Ibn Taimiyya had stated that Laylatul Isra was better than the Laylatul Qadr.


As stated before, Allah sent Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) as “Mercy to the Worlds”. (Surah Anbiya, v. 107).


In fact there are many verses in the Holy Qur’an that speak of Allah’s favours on the mankind and His order that we should remember those favours, one of which is from Surah Baqarah: “ …And remember Allah’s favour (i.e. Mohammef Mustafa sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) that is bestowed upon you, and that He has sent down to you a Book of Wisdom for your guidance…” (2:231)


It is especially important to remember that it’s just not about remembering the favour but also proclaiming it: “And abundantly proclaim the favours of your Lord.” (Surah Duha, 93:11)


Is it not a wonder that some people hesitate to admit this bounty of Allah by bringing in all sort of untenable excuses for not proclaiming the birth of the Holy Prophet (s)?


It is important to recall that when Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) came to Madinah the Radiant for the first time. It was 12th day of Rabbi-ul Awwal. The joy and happiness witnessed that time has remained unprecedented and much has been written about it in the Islamic literature. The little girls of Banu Najjar tribe sang the songs of joy and praises of Allah from the roof-tops of their homes. To the accompaniment of tambourines (mizmar), they sang:


Tala’al-Badru ‘alayna
min thanniyatil-Wadaa’i
wajaba al-shukru ‘alayna
ma da’a lillahi daa’i


O the white moon rose over us
From the Valley of Wada’
And we owe it to show gratefulness
Where the call is to Allah


Ayyuh al-mab’uthu fina
ji’ta bi al-amri al-muta’
ji’ta sharrafata al-Madinah
marhaban ya khayri da’


O you who were raised among us
Coming with a work to be obeyed
You have brought to this City nobleness
Welcome! Best call to God’s way.


In other words, they expressed their joy by singing that the full moon has risen from behind the Farewell Mountain Pass and that we are duty-bound to thank Allah as long as the one who calls us to Allah is in our midst and that we present our perfect obedience to you who has been sent to us by Allah. The above eulogy been reported by Imam Bayhaqi in his Dalaail u'n Nabuwwa, and is engraved on the hearts and minds of Muslims who recite it in the spritual gatherings or Majlis of Mawlid to celebrate the birthday of Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam). It is also reported in Ihya of Imam Ghazali and in Anwaaru'l Muhammadiyah by an-Nabhani.


Hassaan bin Thabit ® used to compose poems in defence of Islam and in praise of the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). Let’s recall what he recited about the Holy Prophet (s):


Wa ahsanu minka lam tara qattu 'ayniy
I've never seen anyone better than you,
Wa ajmalu minka lam talidinnisaau
Nor did any woman give birth to anyone more beautiful than you,
Khuliqta mubarra-an min kulli 'aybin
You're created free from all faults
Ka-annaka qad khuliqta kamaa tashaau
As if you were created just as you desired.


(Sharh Diwan Hassaan bin Thabit, p. 66)


Al-Abbas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, the uncle of the Holy Prophet (s) said of him:


... Before you came to this world,
you were excellent in the shadows and in the repository (i.e. loins)
in the time when they (Adam and Eve) covered themselves with leaves.
Then you descended through the ages...
When you were born, the earth shone
and your light illuminated the horizon.
We travel in that illumination and in the light and in the paths of right guidance.”


Hafiz Ibn Kathir says in his book, Mawlid Rasul Allah:


The Night of the Prophet’s birth is a magnificient, noble, blessed and holy night, a night of bliss for the believers, pure, radiant with lights, and of immeasurable price.”


The above has been attested to by Imam Ibn Hajar Asqalani in his book, al-Durar al-kamina fi ‘ayn al-Mi’at al-thamina.


Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, the most renowned student of Ibn Taimiyya says in Madarij as-Salikin (p.498):


"Listening to a good voice celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (s) or celebrating any of the holy days in our history gives peace to the heart, and gives the listener light from the Prophet (s) to his heart, and he will drink more from the Muhammadan spring (`ayn al-Muhammadiyya)."


A century and a half earlier than Ibn Kathir, another Hanbalite theologian Ibn Jauzi wrote in his book of Mawlid:


"When Muhammad was born, angels proclaimed with high and low voices.
Gabriel came with the good tidings, and the Throne trembled.
The houris came out of their castles, and fragrance spread.
Ridwan [the keeper of the gates of Paradise] was addressed: "Adorn the highest Paradise, remove the curtain from the Palace, send a flock of birds from the birds of Eden to Amina's dwelling place that they may drip a pearl each form their beaks..
And when Muhammad was born, Amina saw a light, which illuminated the palaces of Bosra. The angels surrounded her and spread out their wings.
The rows of angels, singing praise, descended and filled hill and dale."


Imam Sharfuddin Busairi (1211-1294 c.e.) wrote an entire poem called Qasidat al-Burda (Ode of the Mantle), considered as the greatest panegyric in praise of Prophet (sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam). Speaking about birth the Holy Prophet (sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) he says: The blessed day on which Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, was born is a praise-worthy event. The birth of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) illuminated the entire universe. Some miracles and incidents, which took place at the time of birth, are mentioned in this chapter. These were signs of the greatness of Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam. He also says in the Burda:


fansub ila dhatihi ma shi'ta min sharafin / wansub ila qadrihi ma shi'ta min `izami
And attribute to his person whatever nobility you will, and ascribe to his worth whatever greatness you will,
fa inna fadla rasulillahi laysa lahu / haddun fa yu`riba `anhu natiqun bi fami
For the superiority of Allah's Messenger has no limit that a speaker can express with his mouth.


Sufi Shaykh Ahmadou Bamba (1850-1927) of Senegal says:


The night of the birth of the Holy Prophet (sallalahu Alaihi wasallam) is the night of annihilation, the night of the lifting of sorrow and the purification of the sinners.
The night of freedom, of prosperity accompanied by joy and success, that of benefit and virtue, with the disappearance of torment.
This night contains obvious miracles, as mentioned by the authentic narrators, such as the fire which was put off.
The eminent and prestigious Persian source of Sawa was destroyed.
And stones were thrown like comets to chase those who were enquiring about the news of the birth of the Prophet , (sallalahu alaihi wasallam)and they returned with regrets.
This night, the cursed, Satan was thrown out of the celestial spheres in the form of shooting stars and he fled, empty- handed with his guards in great distress.
Has glowed, at the time of the birth of the best Prophet, May Allah bless him,
A Sublime light that enabled an inhabitant of Makkah to perceive the palace of Caesar .
The hall of the palace of Chosroes [Kisra] collapsed during that night, despite its very lofty roof
To such an extent that the royal bed was ripped, because of the light which came from the best of creation, May Allah bless him.


The Shaykh ends the eulogy with the salutations and greetings to the Prophet (sallalahu Alaihi wasallam) and his progeny.


Milad un Nabi of Imam Hasan al Barzanji al Kurdi al 'Iraqi from Shaykh as Sayyid 'Alawi al Maliki:


Yaa Nabi Salaam 'alaika
Yaa Rasul Salaam 'alaika
Yaa Habib Salaam 'alaika
Salawaatu'llah 'alaika


A full moon rises over us
The other moon disappears
We never saw the like of your beauty
O face of gladness
You are the sun, you are the moon
You are light upon lights
You are gold and even more priceless
You are the light of hearts
O my beloved, O Muhammad
O star of east and west
O supporter, O praised one
O leader of both Qiblas
Whoever sees your face, gets happiness
O the kind one to both parents
Your clear and cool fountain
Is our goal on the Day of Reckoning
Welcome! O the light of my eyes, O the light of my eyes
Welcome! The grandfather of Imam Husain
Welcome! Greetings! Greetings!
Welcome! O the best caller and inviter to Islam.
And your face that shines like the sun
Has been unveiled on the finest night
The night of your birth bestowed happiness on religion
And splendour on its day
The day the daughter of Wahb succeeded in getting
Of prestige what other women never succeeded in attaining
She came to her people with a pregnancy
Superior than that of the blessed virgin Mary before her
A birth that resulted for the disbelievers
In nothing but woes and epidemics
And the glad tidings of rejoicers came one after another
That the chosen one was born and happiness was a must.


On this auspicious occasion, I shall now end this brief thought by quoting Dr. Allama Iqbal in his Persian mathnavi Pas Chi Baayad Kard Ay Aqwaam-i-Sharq (So What’s to be Done O Nations of the East?) which ends up with a moving address to Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wassallam):


"Round you the universe rotates, From you I beg a kindly glance.
My knowledge, thought meditation are you, My boat, ocean and storm are you.
The shrine of your street is my refuge, hopefully have I run unto you.
Ah! The agony of my body and soul, A glance of yours is the sovereign remedy.
Like Busiri I beg deliverance from you, That the day that was may never return again.
Your mercy on the sinners is greater, In forgiveness it is like mother's love."


Peace And Abundant Blessings Be Upon Our Master Mohammed (Peace and Blessings be upon Him) - The Leader Of The Creation – And Upon His Progeny, His Companions, And All His Followers.


Allah and His Rasool know best.


NASIR.


Notes:
1. Arabic and other translations taken from the internet posts with thanks.
2. This year, in India, 27th February is a Public Holiday for 'Id-e-Milad.

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