The Religious and Legal status of the Birthday of the Holy Prophet (saw) In light of the Quran and Sunnah. - Part Two
To substantiate and elaborate the Qur’ anic verses mentioned in part one, the tafsir works of reliable and authentic leading aima will be discussed in part two of this article, with particular reference to Surah Yunus, 10:58.
Imam Alusi in “Ruhul Ma’ ani”, (vol.2 pg 141) interprets Surah Yunus, (10:58) by quoting a statement of Hadrat Abdullah ibn Abass (r.a.d) an expert on tafsir. He states that the word fadl in surah Yunus means ilm, knowledge, and is a reference to the Holy Qu’ran. Since this ilm came about as a result of the means of the Holy Prophet (saw) who received this Divine revelation, Hadrat Ibn Abass (r.a.d) states that the rahama Allah Almighty refers to in the ayah is the Holy Prophet (saw) himself. In conclusion he says the coming and raising of this rahma in the form of the Holy Prophet (saw) is an occasion to be celebrated. The Holy Qur’an also singles out the birthday as an important event and worthy of mention. In Surah Maryam Allah tala commands us to send salaam on the day Sayyidina Yahya was born ie his birthday.
“And send salaam on him the day he was born, and the day he dies and the day he wil be raised up to life (again)” (19:15)
If the celebration of bithdays is an innovation and prohibited then why would Allah Ta’ala single out the birthday of Hadhrat Yahyah (a.s)? It is to be remembered that these are the words of Allah (swt) and He is the one who is sending salaam on to His messenger and clearly signifying his birthday as a peculiar and significant day.. If Allah Almighty is ordering mankind to convey these salaams on to Sayyidina Yahya (as) how can one say it is prohibited to do the same for the Holy Prophet (saw) on his birthday who is the last and greatest of all Prophets? A birthday is significant in that a day is singled out for collective worship. One type of salaam is salaam ul-aam, a general one and the other type salaam ul qass which is sent together collectively. Although we are encouraged to send salaat and salaam on the Holy Prophet (saw) every day, having one day in particular means a collective act of worship takes place which is always superior. Indeed salaam can also be viewed as a gift from Allah to His Prophets just as we give gifts to each other on our birthdays. The same commandment has also been given in respect of Sayyinia Isa (a.s) in Surah Maryam
“And send salaam on me the day I was born and the day I died and the day I shall be rasied alive” (19:33)
joiced by all. Imam Alusi then gives many other authorities who quote this same tafsir of Hadrat ibn Abass, including Imam Katir Baghdadi and Ibn Sakir, all whom say rahma is the Holy Prophet (saw)
Imam Jalaludin Suyuti in “Adurul Mansur fil Tafseer” (vol. 4 pg. 330) also quotes Hadrat ibn Abass and says fadl is ilm, referring to the Holy Qur’an and rahma is the Holy Prophet (saw).
Imam Abi Hayan Andulusi in “Tafseer ul Bahrul Muheet” (vol. 5 pg. 171), a great scholar of the 7th and 8th century states the same tafseer of Hadrat ibn Abass (r.a.d) through his famous student Tabil as does Imam Bahaiqui.
Imam ibn Jawzi in “Zadul Maseer” (vol.4 pg. 40) gives various meanings for these two words and implications. He states that although they have different meanings we need to see what it refers to in the context of this verse when Allah has asked us to rejoice. He again gives the same reference of the tafsir of ibn Abass.
Imam Tabrasi, a great Imam of tafseer from the 6th Century in “Majamual Bayan” (vol. 5 pg. 177-178) gives an explanation of this ayah. He comments that in reality Allah is stating to His Prophet (saw) that tell those who rejoice of things of the dunya, if they want to rejoice something then they should rejoice in Allah’s fadl and rahma, that has been bestowed and sent upon them. He says there are two things to be celebrated, the revelation of the Holy Qur’an which is Allah’s fadl and the raising of the Holy Prophet (saw) who is the raama. He also quotes Qutada and Mujahid students of Hadrat ibn Abass (r.a.d) as well Imam Bakr who all state the same
Earlier in part one, in Surah al- Jumu’ua, it was shown how Allah Almighty, after praising the Holy Prophet (saw) and listing his qualities, addresses mankind and states had it not been for the raising of the Prophet (saw) man would have remained in error and it is this raising that is the rahma and grace of Allah.
“That is the Grace of Allah, which He bestows on whom He wills. And Allah is the owner of Mighty Grace”. (62:4)
“Dalika fadulal” the Grace of Allah has been taken to refer to the Holy Prophet (saw) by many scholars of Islam too. In the tafseer of Hadrat ibn Abass (Tanveer ul Miqbass pg 471), ibn Abass gives various meanings to this ayah and in one he includes the meaning of fadalil adheem as being the Holy Prophet (saw) since the Qur’an was revealed on to him.
In his tafseer work “Al – Jalalain”, Imam Suyuti says, regarding the words dhalika fadulal, Allah’s fadl means the Holy Prophet (saw) and whoever came with him
In the tafseer of Imam Khazin, “lababal tawayl fee ma’anal thanzeel” (vol. 4 pg. 265) under Surah Al- Jumu’ua verse 4, Allah’s fadl is that He sent His beloved Prophet (saw) to us and that is a great favor upon us.
Imam Alusi in Roohul Ma’ani (juz 28, pg. 94 – 95) says dhalika fadalul azeem is an indication towards the Holy Prophet (saw) who came to the unlettered people of this world.
Imam Mahmood Nasafi in his tafseer “Madarak al thanzeel aw haqiaq al thawail” (vol. 4 pg 198) states the coming of the Holy Prophet (saw) in this world and being a prophet for all times and centuries is the fadlulah, the Grace of Allah. Even though future generations will not see him they are entitled to come under the blessing of falyafrahoo. This is reiterated in by Imam Zamakshari in his tafseer work “Al-Kashaf” (vol. 4 pg. 530)
Imam ibn Katheer in his “Tafseer al-Qur’an al-Adheem” (vol. 4 pg. 364) uses similar words, that the fadl referred to in the verse is the coming of the Holy Prophet (saw) to the ummah and whatever is revealed to him for his ummah is the fadl of Allah Almighty.
Imam ibn Jawzi in “Zad-al-Maseer” (vol. 8 pg. 260) says the Holy Prophet’s (saw) coming down to mankind and being raised is the fadl referred to in Surah Al-Jumu’uah. This is also reiterated by Abu Hayan Andulusi in his tafseer works (vol. 8 pg. 265) as well as Shaykh Thantavi Jawhari, a modern Egyptian scholar in his book “Al Jawahir fee Tafseer ul Qur’ an” ( juz 24 pg 174-175)
Shaykh Ahmed al Mustafa al Maraghi in his “Tafseer al Maraghi” (vol.10 pg. 96) states Allah’s great fadl upon mankind is the sending of His beloved Prophet (saw), who is the sanctifier and purifier of all, providing us with the light of guidance.
Imam Tabrasi in his tafseer work “Majmul Bayan” (vol.10 pg 429) also says Allah Almighty has said sending His Prophet (saw) for now and the future is Allah’s fadl upon us.
Thus it is clear from numerous works of great classical and modern scholars the fadl and rahma referred to in the Holy Qur’an is indeed a direct reference to our beloved Prophet (saw) and thus the commandment in Surah Yunus to celebrate the Mercy of the Holy Prophet (saw) is a direct divine commandment to celebrate the mawlid of the Holy Prophet (saw). Part three of this article will discuss different Hadiths that substantiate this view.