With humans comes a difference of interpretation, and when the difference in interpretation occurs, there is a probability of rise of a dispute. Like there is no limit to the way a group of people can interpret a single message in different ways, similarly the probability of the dispute arising is also unending. However, dispute is not something desirable in any group under any circumstance.
The sighting of the moon of Rabi-ul-Awal is also such an occasion where the arguments of dispute among Muslims rise. It is the month of the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and there is no denial of it being the month of His birth. However, the dispute lies in the fact that some Muslims believe that the day of His birth i.e. 12th of Rabi-ul-Awal should be celebrated, while there are others who believe that the celebration of it is not proven from Islamic history hence doing so is a bidah and against Islam.
Both schools of thought have their respective arguments supporting the celebration or non-celebration of the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). A Muslim must understand that where there is conflict or dispute, firstly he or she should stay away from it, but if one decides to take sides one should respect the opinion of the other group as they also have arguments supporting it. The lines below give the arguments of both schools of thought in favor and against the celebration of Milad-un-Nabi.
School Of Thought In Favor Of Celebration:
The school of thought that stresses the need of celebration of 12th of Rabi-ul-Awal as a day of the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) support their argument from different ayahs of Quran and hadiths as well. In this regard, they give the reference of the Prophet Yahya (AS) and Prophet Eesa (AS).
In Quran, Allah says about Hazrat Yahya (AS) in the following way:
“And peace be upon him the day he was born and the day he dies and the day he is raised alive.” (19:15)
This ayah shows that Allah Almighty sends peace upon the day Hazrat Yahya (AS) was born. This sending of peace upon the birth day of Prophet is a gesture of celebration, therefore, if the birth of Prophet Yahya (AS) is a day on which Allah sends peace, then surely the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is more than worthy of being an event of celebration.
Furthermore, when Allah Almighty made Hazrat Eesa (AS) speak with his people whilst he was in cradle to prove his Prophethood and the chastity of his mother, along with those mentions he also said:
“And peace is on me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive.” (19:33)
Therefore, the birth of Prophet Eesa (AS) is also an occasion of peace, all the more reasons for the celebration of birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The famous hadith that the school in favor of celebration of Milad give is the hadith that discusses the kind of treatment that Abu Lahab receives in hell regarding the day of birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Hazrat Abu Huraira (RA) narrates:
“Abu Lahab would be punished lightly in the hell on Monday. Because he rejoiced and freed his handmaid indicating by his finger, when the Prophet (PBUH) took birth. So as a reward of happiness on Milad-un-Nabi he would be given water by his finger.” (Bukhari)
Abu Lahab was the uncle of Prophet (PBUH) yet one of the greatest enemies of Islam and a grave opponent of Prophet (PBUH). When Prophet (PBUH) was born he freed one of his slaves by indicating with his index finger and it is through this finger that on Monday (the day of birth of Prophet (PBUH)) that he receives water from the finger in hell. The respective school of thought argues that if an enemy of Islam as grave as Abu Lahab is given such favor that he is given relaxation and ease in hell all because he expressed joy on the birth of Prophet (PBUH), then why cant Muslims who are the followers of Prophet (PBUH) celebrate His birth? Thus, it is from this narration that people support their celebration of 12th of Rabi-ul-Awal as a day of Eid.
School Of Thought Against The Celebrations:
Like the group that favors and supports the celebration of 12th of Rabi-ul-Awal as a day of Eid, there is a counter group that states that such a celebration is not proven from Islam therefore, there is no need of celebrating it because it is against Islam.
- The first argument brought forward by this school of thought is that there is no historical proof of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) or His immediate followers and companions celebrating His birth day. Therefore, for people of this school of thought, if something is not proven from the life of Prophet (PBUH) and those who were close to Him, therefore, none at present holds intellect or faith enough to start celebrating His birthday.
- The second argument put forward by this school of thought is that there is no mention or commendation of the celebration of the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) from the ayahs of Quran. To this school of thought, Quran is the one and only school of thought, therefore, a thing that is not mentioned in Quran cannot be practiced in daily life on such a mass level, hence, for them there is no logic behind the celebration of Eid Milad-un-Nabi.
- Another argument that this school of thought uses in its rhetoric is that the celebration of Milad-un-Nabi is a bidah that was initiated by some king or ruler in Iraq as a means of veneration. To this school of thought the only veneration to Prophet (PBUH) lies in following His Sunnah and the Quran, therefore, a thing that is initiated by someone under some cultural or personal precedence is not something that could be made a part of Islam, rather it stands as a bidah, therefore, there is no room for it in Islam.
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Truth be told, there can be no clear verdict on the celebration of Milad-un-Nabi. Those who do it have their arguments, while those who do not do it also have their arguments. A Muslim must realize that Islam requires unity and in this regard it can be achieved by respecting the point of view of others and allowing them to have the belief which they have reached upon, because none of these group has their respective opinion out of some malice or ill against Islam, rather they do it for the love of Islam and Prophet (PBUH).