Beginning: Recitation of Holy Verse from Quran:
“God did a great favor to the faithful, when he sent for them an Apostle out of their own people who recites to them Our revelations and purifies them and teaches them the Book and Wisdom and hitherto they were in rank ignorance ” (4:164)
In this Verse, God is reminding His Favor, which He did to the believers by sending his Prophet SAS. There should be thanksgiving for this Great Favor. When we start counting the favors of God they are immense and uncountable but this specific Favor is such that it has been reminded by God Himself. Therefore, we have to thank Him for it and show our gratefulness by remembering the life, teachings and the message of the Last of all His Prophets, Hz. Muhammad Rasullah (SAS).
Why this new, third Eid?
Some of the lovers of the Prophet called Milad-Un-Nabi as "Jashn E Milad Un-Nabi" or "Eid-e-Milad-Un-Nabi". Now, there are some others who raise objections that how and why this third Eid got added to Islam when there were only two Eids (Eid-Ul-Fitr and Eid-Uz-zuha). Let us find out whether the Milad-Un-Nabi can be called an Eid or it is wrong to call it an Eid.
Let’s first begin with understanding meaning of the word "Eid" .
The term Eid is used to refer to a "day of happiness" in Urdu and Arabic It’s a day which repeats every year reminding us a significant event that happened on that day and it is a cause to rejoice.
In Surah Ma-yida, Allah SWT says "and remember the incident when people of Prophet Isa (Aliahissalam) told him can your Lord send down for us a “tray of food (Ma-yida)? Isa AS replied if you are faithful, fear the Lord. They replied that we wish your Lord send down a tray of food or dining table of which we can eat and become content that so far what you have said is true. And we will bear witness to it. Isa AS prayed to God," Allah, Our Lord send down on us a tray of food so that it will become a day of Eid for our earlier and our later people and it becomes a sign from you". God answered his prayer by responding that I will send it down but if even after this, some people disbelieve I will punish them as I did not do to any people of the world.
The point to be noted here is that if Isa AS says that sending down a tray of food from the Lord will make a day of Eid or festival for all the faithful who came before and after, why cannot the day on which the Prophet of Allah, who is regarded as Rahmat ul lilallameen (Blessing for the Worlds) was sent to the world not be regarded as a Day of Celebration or Eid?
In another verse Allah says, "Ya ayuhan Nabiyu Inna Arsalanaka Shahidan wa Mubbashiran wa nazira:"
Shahid means witness; different scholars interpret this in different ways. Some claim that Shahid means witness of heaven, witness of hell or religion etc but why it should not be interpreted as “Witness of God”. The word, "Shahid e aynii" means eye witness. Hence Shahid means witness of Allah, Eye witness of Allah. Then He says, Mubashiran, i.e. giver of good tiding (on good deeds) and Nazeeran i.e Warner (warning on disbelief and sins). Further He says, Daiyan illallah , please note Allah does not say Daiyan Ila Deenillah, that means one who is calling towards God Himself. Wo Sirajam Muneera, Siraj means lighted lamp. Muneer means illuminating lamp which will illuminate others.
Now please note that Isa AS considers the day on which the tray of food is sent down to his followers as the day of Eid (Day of celebration) so why terming the day on which the Illuminating Lamp of Allah has been sent down in this world, filled with darkness of evil and polytheism as Eid or Day of Jubilation is considered wrong? What is wrong in calling it Eid? If some people don't want to celebrate Milad Un Nabi it’s their choice.
If some of us don't consider the day as worthy of celebration let them not celebrate it. But if some people out of sheer love of the Prophet regard this day as a Day of Jubilation or Eid why that is regarded as a great sin or innovation? If sending a tray of food for the followers of Isa AS is a day of celebration under the light of Quranic Verses, then why the day on which the Illuminating Lamp of Allah, the Holy Prophet, was sent into this world cannot be regarded as a Day of Celebration or Eid...
My youngest son, Syed Dilawar Ilyas was asked by someone why this third Eid is being added in Islam and he replied that if this Eid would not have been there i.e. if birth of the Prophet SAS would not have taken place we would not have known anything about the other two Eids, Eid Ul Fitr or Eid Ul Zuha.
God has given a lot of freedom in His religion.
La Ikraha fid din, there is no force in religion, those who want to celebrate, may celebrate Milad un Nabi and those who do not like to celebrate they are not forced to celebrate. But objecting to others who celebrate this day is inappropriate.
Is celebrating Milad Un Nabi a Shirk (polytheism) or Bid-aah (Innovation) ?
One scholar from India gave a decree that any individual can celebrate his birthday in his lifetime although it’s not desirable (makrooh). However, celebrating the birthday of people or personalities who have died already is forbidden as it will lead to Shirk or polytheism like celebrating Christmas or Birthday of Jesus Christ. This person who is regarded as great scholar says that the celebration of Milad un Nabi is forbidden because Prophet is dead and celebrating his birthday is Haram and shirk similar to the way in which the birth day of Jesus Christ is celebrated.
Here, the point to be noted is that this scholar says that Prophet is dead, it’s his opinion. Our belief is that Prophet SAS was born as a human being and lived his life as a human being and then left the world after the age of 63 years. If you regard this as his being dead then you may do so but try to understand that his death was a bodily death. If you think that Prophet is dead, you can believe that but realize that many of his followers or slaves laid down their lives in the way of Allah and became Martyrs.
Allah says that don't call them dead they are alive but you do not realize. It hurts God when martyrs are called “dead”. If you choose to call Allah’s beloved Prophet as “dead” it is left to you.
I will quote a Couplet of Allama Iqbal
"Ye Nukta main ne seekha Bul Hasan se Ke jaan marti naheen marg-e-badan se.”
It means that I learnt this point from Abul Hasan (RZ) that the soul does not die on the death of body.
The martyrs are regarded as alive and not dead as they have attained a life of eternity. So if you want to consider the Prophet as dead that is up to you but it’s not suitable for a scholar to use such a word about Our Beloved Prophet.
Furthermore, Allah says that one who obeys the Messenger indeed he obeyed Allah. Is this verse of Quran not enforced because the Prophet is not alive bodily? So we conclude that even after his death we are obeying the Prophet.
Therefore, Imammuna Mehdi AS said,
“ Mazhab E Ma Kitabullah Wa Ittebah E Muhmmad Rasululah”
Our religion is the Book of God and following the Messenger of God.
That means even today we can follow the Prophet and he has a life of eternity. Now I want to ask you a question. Allah says that I have sent an Illuminating Lamp. Can this Divine Lamp extinguish? Lamps of ordinary people can blow off but the illuminating lamp of God can never extinguish. Allah Himself says, “the disbelievers want to extinguish the light of Allah by the blows of their mouths but Allah will maximize His Nur, no matter how bad the enemies feel about it”. Allah regards His Prophet, His Book as Nur, Divine Light. He fills the hearts of people with light who to follow the faith. The teachings of Prophet are eternal and will remain so till the Doom's Day. So calling the Prophet as dead is a great disregard.
Ai Be khabar Ze jahaan-e-mana Ba too che kunam bayan-e-mana
O you, who is unaware of the world of meaning. How should I describe to you reality of meaning?
Couplet (in Persian)
Moreover, the scholar goes on by calling Milad Un Nabi as a celebration similar to Christmas which is inappropriate because what do we do on Milad Un Nabi?
The most appropriate way of celebrating Milad un Nabi:
We have seen from the days of our childhood, public gatherings used to be organized everywhere and the teachings, the holy life, and the message which Prophet SAS gave to the world used to be remembered. All this we do to revive our faith and we hope that God will make us better Muslims. Where is Shirk in doing all this? We don’t believe in making noise and singing, dancing or other unislamic ways of celebration. Since that is not the right way of celebrating and we don't promote such activities.
By our use of the term “celebration” some people presume that we want to do activities forbidden in Islam but that is not the case, our community celebrates Milad by remembering the holy life, teachings and practices of the Holy Prophet. There is no trace of shirk in what we have been doing.
Prophet SAS, the best example or model for mankind:
Allah says, “There was a great example in the life of the Messenger for one who believes in Allah, Dooms day and the one who remembers Allah always”. This Quranic verse is meant for all Muslims till the dooms day. Allah has given a model or example of the life of His Prophet and guides us to follow it. Now, if a person hears speeches, naats, or reads articles about Holy Prophet, his life and his teachings and analyzes his own practices with those of Holy Prophet and decides to change himself or his way of life according to the teachings then he has in fact celebrated the Milad already. This is the best way of celebrating Milad and not by means of singing, dancing and other impermissible activities.
Now some people may question that this can be done throughout the year why on the Day of Milad un Nabi only? My answer to them is, if these righteous deeds can be thought of or performed throughout the year why they are forbidden on this particular day of Milad only. In view of the significance of this great day we should make sure that we perform these good deeds on this day whole heartedly.
The Book of God says that- “Verily God and His angles send down their blessings on the Prophet. O believers ye also do call for blessings on him & salute him as he aught to be saluted.” (33:56)
Now, a loving believer, calls for blessings on the Prophet and salutes him humbly and sincerely on the Day of Milad un nabi. I think he has celebrated Milad. In fact the command of God should be carried out by a believer throughout the year but in the month of Milad un Nabi and especially on this auspicious day there should be more effort. Is there any trace of Bid-at (innovation) in celebrating milad un nabi this way? Thanksgiving for this great divine favor is imperative: The verse I recited in the beginning has made it amply clear that God has done a great favor to the believers when he sent His Messenger and He reminds us of this favor only to make us grateful.
Now I request you to carefully listen, these verses and decide for yourself as to how much essential is thanksgiving for this divine favor:
“Likewise (as a favor), we have sent an Apostle for you from among yourselves, who recites our Verses to you, and purifies you and teaches you the Book and wisdom, and teaches you what hitherto you knew not.”
“So, remember Me and I shall remember you and give Me thanks and be not ungrateful.”
So we have to be ever grateful for the favor of His sending the Last of all His Prophets and particularly on the auspicious day when His Prophet came into this world i.e. Milad un Nabi sallahlluhu alaihi wa sallam.
May God make us celebrate the Milad of His Holy prophet in the way it deserves.
True Spirit of Milad un Nabi:
Allah and his angels sent greetings on this Prophet and people who have faith send your greetings on him in the way which is right or justified.
A muslim sends greetings to Prophet a day before, a day after Milad or throughout the entire month, a month before or after or whenever God made him realize that. I believe he has celebrated the milad, this is the true sense of milad and not getting involved in improper activities. What is bid-aat or shirk in doing this?
Now coming back to the Verse that I recited in the beginning, Allah has done great favor by sending Holy Prophet then we should thank him for this great favor. Finally I would recite a similar verse, Wala takshao hum wakshaoni.....don't fear them but fear me....Allah has reminded His favor and then says, "fazkuruni azkuru kum wa "remember Me and I will remember you and thank Me and don't be the unfaithful”. Allah has shown His great favor of sending the Prophet and then says remember Me and thank Me and don't be unfaithful. So on the day when Allah has sent the Prophet, we should be grateful and thank God sincerely. A person who remembers the mission of the Prophet on this day and makes a determination to follow or practice those teachings he has celebrated Milad in true sense.
May Allah SWT make us celebrate the Milad of Holy Prophet in the true sense.