The Beloved Prophet şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam also specified his own birthday in the same way. In a Hadīth narrated by Abu Qatada Ansarī rađiyAllāhu ánhu, he reports that Allah’s Beloved Messenger şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam was asked about fasting on Monday, whereupon he said:
It is (the day) when I was born and revelation was sent down to me.
Reference: Sahih Muslim, Bk 6, Number 2606.
This Hadīth is also reported in by Imām Abū Bakr al-Bayhaqī in his Sunan al-Kubra (Vol 4, Pg 300, Hadīth no. 8182, 8259); in the Sunan of Imām Nisa’ī and the Musnad of Imām Ahmad bin Hanbal.
It is clear from this Hadith that the Beloved Messenger şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam was very happy about the day of his birth and so fasted out of gratitude. Fasting is a form of worship, so one can celebrate this day by any form of ibâdât. One can fast or hold gatherings or provide food to the poor, all being acts of worship.
The third Hadith is regarding a dream seen by the Uncle of the Beloved Prophet şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam, Hadrat Abbas rađiyAllāhu ánhu.
Before the birth of the Beloved Prophet şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam, his father, Hadrat Abdullah rađiyAllāhu ánhu had already died, so a lady slave called Thwaiba was sent to Sayyidah Aminah’s rađiyAllāhu ánha house for her help and service. Upon the birth of the Beloved Prophet şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam Thwaiba came running to Abu Lahab, the Beloved Prophet şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam uncle, to give the good news of the birth of his nephew. Abu Lahab became extremely happy and raising two fingers pointed to Thwaiba saying,
I free you in thankfulness of the birth of my nephew.
That day was a Monday. When he died he came in the dream of Hadrat AbassrađiyAllāhu ánhu who asked him how he was fairing in the life after death. Abu Lahab replied:
I am in the fire of hell day and night and have no escape except Monday. The punishment is reduced for me and from these two fingers of mine I receive water from which I drink (like a fountain) for I freed Thwaiba on the birth of the Beloved Prophet şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam.
This Hadīth is in the Sahīh of Imām al-Bukharī, Kitab Ul-Nikah who quotes this from his own Shaykh, Imām Abdul Razzaq who was the student of Imām Ul-Adham, Abu Hanīfa rađiyAllāhu ánhu. It is also quoted by Imām Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani in Fath al-Barī, Hafidh Ibn Kathir, Imām al-Bayhaqī, Imām Suhaylī, Imām al-Baghwī, Imām al-Qurtubī, Imām Ibn Jawzī, Imām Mullah Alī Qarī, and Imām Abdul Haqq Muhaddith of DelhirađiyAllāhu ánhum.
Abu Lahab was an infidel and one of the greatest enemies of Islam having been cursed in the Holy Qur’ān too. Yet despite this he was still was given a favour and benefit from his act. It thus stands to reason that if a man such as Abu Lahab can be blessed then surely those Muslims who celebrate the Mīlad Un-Nabī şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam will receive manifold blessings too.
Unfortunately many people use different arguments to criticize this Hadīth. Firstly some critics have argued that since it is an Islamic principle that a pious act done by a kafir is not rewarded in the Hereafter how can Abu Lahab benefit? Imam Razzaq discusses this subject in his Musannaf (Vol 7 pg 478) as does Imām Abdul Haqq Muhaddith of Delhi rađiyAllāhu ánhu. They state that this is the qisays of the Beloved Prophet şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam and an exception just reserved for him. Ibn Kathir in Sīrat Un-Nabawiyyah (Vol 1, pg 224) states this is because of the fadl and kirama of Beloved Prophet şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam who is given this exception and is reiterated by Imām as-Suyūtī, Imām Shaybanī, Ibn Hisham and Imām al-Baghwī too. Moreover in a Hadīth inSahīh al-Bukharī the Beloved Prophet şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam states that his uncle, Abu Talib will benefit from his intercession which is again part of the ‘qisayse muhammadiyy’.
A second criticism levelled at this Hadīth is that the event has been narrated in the form of a dream and so loses some of its integrity. This again is not a valid point. This Hadīth has been accepted by Imām al-Bukharī in his Sahīh who is one of the greatest Muhaddith of Hadīth so we cannot object to it. If this dream was not to be accepted then why did he bother to accept it? Moreover this is a narration of Hadrat Abbas rađiyAllāhu ánhu and if had considered the dream as unimportant then he too would not have narrated it and rejected it as insignificant. Both of these great men as well as the other scholars mentioned earlier all considered the Hadith as authentic and used it in arguments pertaining to the legality of the Mawlid.
A third criticism is that Hadrat Abbas rađiyAllāhu ánhu had this dream when he was not a Muslim and he is quoting something said by another non-Muslim thus querying its authenticity. Again this is not a valid critique. When we take this Hadīth as evidence that celebrating the birth of the Beloved Prophet şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam is rewarded, the base of this argument has no link with the aqīdah of Abu Lahab and the information he gives. The evidence is based on the narration of Hadrat Abbas rađiyAllāhu ánhu. If he was not a Muslim at the time of the dream, he was a Muslim when he reported it! It is part of the Usūl of Hadīth, legal and juristic principles, that the narrator of the Hadīth must be a Muslim. Hadrat Abbas rađiyAllāhu ánhu narrated this dream in his capacity as a Companion of the Beloved Prophet şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam whilst living in Madīnah Sharīf.
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