This piece was written and sent two days before Almowlid. |
On the Almowlid Alnabawi Alshareef 1
To my three little children, Zahrah (11/24/94), Abdu Al-Mutalib (2/13/96) and Abdu Al-Karim (12/15/97), may the love of the Prophet give their minds guidance and fill their hearts with delight; and to their lovely mother who, when she became a Muslim nine years ago, has given herself and I the endless gift.
In the same way that zakat has become a neglected duty among a large number of Muslims, Almowlid Alnabawi has become a forgotten occasion. There are many reasons why too many Muslims pass this happiest of occasions with little or no remembrance. The growing, and indirect influence of Al-Wahabbi movement, to which the house of Bin Saud is committed, is one of the main reasons for the silent passage of this beautiful occasion. The Wahabbis have too rigorous a view of monotheism, tawheed, and, therefore, consider all expressions of reverence, which are directed towards beings other than God, a form of polytheism, shirk. The Wahabbis are also militant traditionalists who consider everything that was not practiced during the time of the first two generations of Islam as innovation, bidd'aa and, therefore, must be forbidden. Perhaps I should also mention that the Wahabbis, unlike other schools of Islamic law, make no distinction between bad innovation, bidd'aa sa'yiaa, and good innovation, bidd'aa hassanna.2
The aim of Wahabbis is not without virtue, but this does not mean that others who disagree with them, on this or other matters, are wrong and, therefore, less monotheistic, mawahideen, than they are. We must not forget that, according to the Prophet Muhammad, disagreement among the believers is mercy. Indeed, when you disagree with me, you help me discover whatever errors I may have and, thus, make it possible for me to correct them; and that is indeed a show of mercy towards me. For who of us would be able to know their mistakes without the help of those who are kind enough to disagree with us? Without knowing our mistakes, we are more likely to act upon them and, thus, inflict pain on others or ourselves. This is one of the great meanings of ikhtilafuhum rahma.
Like hundreds of millions of Muslims, I have grown up with delightful memories of Almowlid Alnabawi. My remembrance of the Prophet's birth did not make my belief that he was nothing more than a human being less strong than that of those who did not grow up with this remembrance. However, while the Prophet is merely a human being, he is not like any other human being and the remembrance of his birth is a good way to remind our children, as well as ourselves, of this fact. Indeed, the remembrance of the Prophet's birth has done nothing but delight my heart with the love of the Prophet, which is one of the requirements of the Islamic faith. Nor should we forget that all those who fail to attack Islam on the merit have, instead, tried to question the character of the Prophet in order to question the truth of the message of which God had entrusted him – the message of Islam. We Muslims must always remember that there could be no Islam without a true love of the Prophet.
I remember the eve of Almaylood, when we, happy Muslim Libyan boys, gathered in our local mosque, which was full of light and great expectations of sharbbat. And I remember when we, in one reverent course with the grownups, repeated
And I remember that it was a time of peace between us, Torialli boys, and the villains next door, Ishabbi boys, when we all went to a little place across the road from the sea, from Ishabbi, and together we sang, in one sanguine course, after the beautiful voice of our friend, Hassan Bashoon, an lshabbi boy.
So for this happy occasion, I intend to light five lanterns and let them shine in our apartment in a reverent remembrance of the Prophet, and I will sit down with my three little children and tell them stories of how kind, just and beautiful the Prophet was; may the good lord plant the seed of the love of the prophets in their little hearts and the hearts of every human being, once and for all. And in this happy occasion, I would like to share with you what a number of non-Muslims, as well as one Muslim Scholar, had to say about the Prophet. Here are the non-Muslims.
In The Life and Teaching of Muhammad, Annie Besant wrote:
"It is impossible for anyone who studies the life and character of the great Prophet of Arabia, who knows how he taught and he lived, to feel anything but reverence for that almighty Prophet one of the greatest messengers of the Supreme."
In Historie de la Turquie, Alphonse de LaMartaine wrote:
"Never has a man set for himself, voluntarily or involuntarily, a more sublime aim, since this aim was superhuman; to subvert superstitions which has been imposed between man and his Creator, to render God unto man and man unto God; to restore the rational and sacred idea of divinity amidst the chaos of the material and disfigured gods of idolatry, then existing." He then continues, "Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without images; the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammad, as regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he?"
In Mahomet and His Successors, Washington Irving wrote:
"In his private dealings he was just. He treated friends and strangers, the rich and poor, the powerful and the weak, with equity, and was beloved by the common people for the affability with which he received them, and listened to their complaints."
"His military triumphs awakened no pride nor vain glory, as they would have done had they been effected for selfish purposes. In the time of his greatest power he maintained the same simplicity of manners and appearance as in the days of his adversity. So far from affecting a real state, he was displeased if, on entering a room, any unusual testimonial of respect were shown him. If he aimed at universal dominion, it was the dominion of the faith ..."
In Mohammad and Mohammadanism, Bosworth Smith wrote:
"He was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without Pope's pretensions, Caesar without the legions of Caesar: without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a palace, without a fixed revenue; if ever any man had the right to say that he ruled by the right divine, it was Mohammad, for he had all the power without its instruments and without its supports."
In Muhammad, The Prophet of Islam, K.S. Ramakrishna Rao wrote:
"Perfect Model for human life." "The personality of Muhammad, it is most difficult to get into the whole truth of it. Only a glimpse of it I can catch. What a dramatic succession of picturesque scenes! There is Muhammad, the Prophet. There is Muhammad, the Warrior, Muhammad, the Businessman; Muhammad, the Statesman; Muhammad, the Protector of Slaves; Muhammad, the Emancipator of Women; Muhammad, the Judge; Muhammad the Saint. All in all these magnificent roles, in all these departments of human activities, he is alike a hero."
In The Genuine Islam, George Bernard Shaw wrote:
"He must be called the Saviour of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it much needed peace and happiness."
In Young India speaking on the character of Muhammad (PBUH), Mahatma Gandhi said:
"I wanted to know the best of one who holds today's undisputed way over the hearts of millions of mankind ... . I became more than convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet, the scrupulous regard for his pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his rearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle. When I closed the 2nd volume (of the Prophet's biography), I was sorry there was not more for me to read of the great life."
Now, here is some of what Ibn Qiam Al-Jawzia wrote about the Prophet in Madarij Al-Salikeen:
1 I would have liked to write the whole thing in Arabic, but, unfortunately, I do not know how to typewrite in Arabic. I promise that I will make a good effort to overcome this embarrassing handicap.
2 In Iqtetha Alsiratt Almustaqeem, Mukhalafat Ashab Aljaheem (Dar Alfikir, P294), Ibn Taymia gives an argument in justification of the opinion that Almowlid Alnabawi is a bad innovation, bidd'aa sa'yiaa. I find his argument unconvincing. In fact, the argument of the good Imam is logically invalid. The argument commits a number of fallacies, chief among them is (a) the genetic fallacy, the fallacy that if the origin of something is bad, then the thing itself is bad, like when we say that since the origin of a certain medicine is a poison, then the medicine itself is a poison, or the son of a thief is necessarily a thief and so on; (b) the fallacy of a dicto simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid, as when the Imam argues from the need to follow the Suna of the Prophet in all significant matters to the conclusion that anything else, regardless of the consequences, ought not be permitted.