From Discourses On Islamic Way of Life (vol 2)
By Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani
All praise is for Allah. We praise Him and seek His help and His forgiveness and we believe in Him and rely on Him. We seek refuge with Allah from the evils of our selves and the vices of our deeds. There is no one to let go astray whom Allah guides and there is no one to guide whom Allah lets go astray. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone. He has no partner. I also bear witness that our authority, our prophet salaalahu alayhi wa salam and our master, Muhammad is His servant and His messenger salaalahu alayhi wa salam. May Almighty Allah send on him, on his household and on his companions his mercy and bless them and send peace on them in abundance.
Indeed, you have beautiful model for such of you as looks for Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah a great deal. (33:21)
The Blessed Discourses about the Holy Prophet salaalahu alayhi wa salam
To mention the biographical anecdotes of the Prophet’s salaalahu alayhi wa salam sacred life is a source of great blessing and fortune. To talk about no one’s biographical sketches who lived or is living in this world is so praiseworthy and rewarding as to talk about the Holy Prophet’s alayhi salatul wa salam sacred life. Notwithstanding thus, we have begun to mention in these gatherings of the Prophet’s alayhi salatul wa salam birthday celebrations unauthentic and baseless anecdotes. So we do not reap the true reward and benefit from these birthday gatherings.
The sacred biography of the Holy Prophet alayhi salatul wa salam and the attitude of the Noble companions.
One of the serious mistakes we commit on this auspicious occasion is that we have confined these speeches, addresses or the celebration exclusively to the month of Rab’iul Awwal and that too only to one day and only to a few hours of that day. We think that by so doing we have done full justice to the discourse about the Prophet’s alayhi salatul wa salam sacred “Seerat” (biography). This is indeed a great rather the greatest, injustice to the Holy Prophet’s alayhi salatul wa salam biography.
We find that no ttraces of such trends in the lives of the noble companions radiallahu anhum of the Holy Prophet alayhi salatul wa salam. You will also not get a single occasion in their lives on which they ever celebrated the twelfth day of the month of Rab’iul-Awwal or held special gatherings in this month to celebrate the Prophet’s alayhi salatul wa salam birthday. On the other hand, every moment of their life reflected a remembrance of the Prophet’s alayhi salatul wa salam beautiful biography. Whenever two companions radiallahu anhum met, they talked about the Prophet’s alayhi salatul wa salam Ahadith, his teachings and different events and aspects of his salalaahu alayhi wa salam sacred life. In this way every gathering or meeting of the noble companions radiallahu anhum was a meeting of discussion on the Prophet’s salalaahu alayhi wa salam biography. As such, they did not require any formal celebration or procession in the name of the birthday of the Prophet salaalahu alayhi wa salam to express the love of, and attachment they had with, the holy prophet salalaahu alayhi wa salam not a single instance of such showy and formal activities can be produced from the times of the noble companions, radiallahu anhum the tabbies and their followers.
Islam is not the faith of Formalities
In fact it was not the practice of the noble companions radiallahu anhu to indulge in formal and showy processions and celebrations. They had imbibed the very spirit of the sunnah and the practices of the Prophet’s alayhi salatul wa salam sacred life. They always tried to understand why the holy Prophet alayhi salatul wa salam had came to this world, what were his mission and teachings and what he salalaahu alayhi wa salam expected from the world concerning his mission. The noble companions radiallahu anhu had devoted their entire lives on reflection on, and promotion of, such ideals concerning the faith; they were not after such formal, empty and showy celebrations and processions which we have borrowed from the non-muslims, like Christians and hindus. We invented the festival of celebrating the prophet’s alayhi salatul wa salam birthday in blind imitation of these infidel nations living around us who celebrate the birthdays and death anniversaries of their prominent leaders in some other field of worldly activities. These leaders were not, in general, men to be emulated on account of some moral spiritual or religious distinction.
The Life of the Holy Prophet salalaahu alayhi wa salam is a prefect model
As for the Holy Prophet salalaahu alayhi wa salam, the very divine intention of sending him to this world was that he salalaahu alayhi wa salam should present a perfect practical model for the entire humanity, so that men may follow his way of life and try to mould their own lives on the pattern available in the holy prophet’s salalaahu alayhi wa salam sunnah. Every moment of his life is a valuable example for us to follow. As muslims, it is a binding on all of us to imitate the prophet’s alayhi salatul wa salam life to the best of our abilities. The holy prophet alayhi salatul wa salam should not be compared to any other leader in the world in memory of whom a particular day relating to his life is celebrated and the matter ends there. Every day of our lives is a day to celebrate the memory of the Prophet’s alayhi salatul wa salam life concerning everything we do or say, Allah sent him salalaahu alayhi wa salam to this world to serve as a complete model till the day of judgement.
We are not sincere in our intentions
It is true that Seerah (biographical) meeting are held from place to place and speeches are delivered there in about the sacred life and practices of the Holy Prophet alayhi salatul wa salam. However good and appreciable this action may be in itself, it will not produce the desired effect in the heart of the doer of that action unless he is true and sincere in his intention. If the action is not based on sincere intentions it is fruitless. At times such actions may become harmful and even sinful. For example, how highly dignified is the prayer! It is an act of worship of Almighty Allah. The Quran and ahadith are full of its virtues and importance, this dignified worship goes waste, if anyone does it only to show it to the people, so that they may regard him as a very pious and righteous man. It is not only useless, but it is possible that such worship may attract punishment instead of reward. It is said in a Hadith:
This means: He who prays only to show his praying to the people, commit’s the grievous sin of attributing a partner to Allah.
This is quite obvious, because he is not praying to please Allah, but he is praying to please the people and to impress upon them that he is a pious and righteous man. It is just as if he has made someone a partner in the divinity of Allah. An action so virtuous and elevated as prayer became a sin for want of sincerity of intention.
The same applies to those who arrange and take part in assemblies held for having discourses and speeches on the sacred life of the holy Prophet salalaahu alayhi wa salam. It is no doubt an act of great virtue and reward which may produce revolutionary results, if such assemblies are arranged and attention in right earnest and, true intention, sincerity of purpose and warmth of faith. If there is a man or a group that participates in Seerah (biography of the Prophet alayhi salatul wa salam) Assemblies and processions, devoid of sincere intentions but prompted only by some hidden, wordly purposes and not in honour of and obedience of him alayih salatul wa salam in whose sacred name these celebrations are being staged, then all this is a bad bargain. To all apperance these activities are very righteous deeds, but in reality they are sins incurring Allah’s wrath and punishment.
If we review our attitude and activities from this angle of vision to find if the gatherings we are holding and the celebrations we are staging on the twelfth of Rabi’ul-Awwal are to please Allah and follow the sunnah of the holy prophet alayhi salatul wa salam and to make his teachings the guiding light of our lives, the result will be disappointing. There may be a few sincere persons attending these functions to reform their lives, but on the whole, the intention of holding these glamorous shows is something else. Some local groups usually arrange for purposes other than religion. There may be a group participating in these celebrations, so that people may praise the grandeur illumination and the number of the audience, the number of the speakers taking part and their formal high worded, well-prepared speeches eleciting applaus from the listeners. At places assemblies may be held to gain some political advantage or some sectarian attainment, not possible to attain it through open and direct approaches to the public. The general practice on such occasions is to open the meetings with a few words devoted to the topic of the Prophet’s alayhi salatul wa salam biography then to shoot, accusations and charges against the rival parties or sects in cleverly concealed words. These assemblies are held, in general, for such irreligious and mundane purposes.
The Functions are attended to please the friends
The form and method of these celebrations would have been totally different had they been intended to sincerely seek guidance from them. These birthday celebrations take the form of private functions in which invitation cards are issued and displeasure is expressed against those who do not attend the functions held in the name of the holy prophet salalaahu alayhi wa salam. Those attending these functions do not do so out of love for the prophet salalaahu alayhi wa salam, but they participate in such functions only to avoid resentment and complains of the patrons of the function arranged to please men and the society and not Allah and His Prophet salalaahu alayhi wa salam.
Enjoying the oratory and force of the orator’s speeches
Sometimes a person attends this function to enjoy the exciting speech of a famous speaker because he is renowned for his firy and thrilling speeches. In short, this gentleman is going to attend the birthday assembly only to satisfy his lust for enjoying the sophisticated, well studied speeches and not to take any useful lessons from the sacred life of the holy prophet alayhi salatul wa salam.
Just to while away spare time
Some people attend seerah assemblies for no purpose other than whiling away their spare time in listening to speeches, enjoying the lights and decoration and thus having a good time. It is obvious that a good number of men attending these auspicious assemblies have no special interest in listening to speeches and learning lessons from the sacred sunnah of the holy prophet alayhi salatul wa salam projected in these assemblies. They attend them, as mentioned above, to satisfy their own desires. Although even while attending these gathering, in such a carefree and amusing mood, a man may be moved by some word or point and his life may be reformed, yet this happens in very exceptional cases. People in general do not participate in the gatherins with sincere intention to learn lessons from the life of the holy prophet alayhi salatul wasalam.
The Prophet’s alayhi salatul wa salam life guides those whom Allah wills
The holy Qur’an declares:
You have a beautiful model in the Prophet alayhi salatul wa salam of Allah (33:21)
In the light of this Qur’anic verse, it may be emphasized that the Prophet’s alayhi sallatul wa salam sacred life is a beacon of light, a message of guidance and a complete, flawless model. It is, however, a beautiful model only for such people as desire to please almighty Allah, have unflinching belief in the hereafter and want to ameliorate their hereafter, and are busy most often with the remembrance of Allah. So the Prophet’s alayhi salatul wa salam life is a message of guidance only for those who are endowed with these attributes and qualities. There is no guarantee that the Prophet’s alayhi salatul wa salam life will prove a guiding light also for those who are devoid of these qualities, particularly, belief in the hereafter and a desire to reform and beautify it. The light of the Prophet alayhi salatul wa salam shone brightly even before abu jahl and abu lahab, but they could not receive any benefit from the light.
(He recites a person couplet)
This person couplet means: The rain-water has the same refreshing and reviving properties, but in the gardens it brings out the beautiful crimson tulip flowers but it brings out the useless, thorny shrubs in the saline, barren lands. The meaning of this couplet applies with equal force to these two wretched infidels into whose hearts the light of the Prophet’s alayhi salatul wa salam life could not penetrate, as they neither believed in, nor had they any desire to prepare for the hereafter, nor to please Allah. What effect can the discourse about the sacred life of the holy prophet salalaahu alayhi wa salam have on such errant and hard-hearted persons?
Most often we are not sincere and true in our intentions in organizing these assemblies and the birthday celebrations. The result of all this is that no change for the better takes place in our lives even after listening to thousands of speeches on the prophet’s alayhi salatul wa salam life and after attending thousands of gatherings held in the month of Rabi’ul awwal in every nook and corner of the country. The temptation to commit sins and enjoy worldly pleasures is not at all eradicated or even reduced through these celebrations.
A fun is being made of the sunnah of the Prophet salalaahu alayhi wa salam
Moreover, during these assemblies held on the subject of the Prophet’s alayhi salatul wa salam life we indulge in activities which are totally opposed to the injunctions of the Holy Prophet salalaahu alayhi wa salam. This is nothing but making a fun of the sunnah, teachings and the guidance of the holy prophet alayhi salatul wa salam. These are topics on which we are delivering, and listening to, and attending full-throated speeches, without paying any serious attention to them.
Seerat assemblies and the violation of Purdah
It is an increasing practice in our society that male and female joint gatherings are held on the topic of seerah. This is being done in flagrant violation of the command of the holy prophet salalaahu alayhi wa salam. The command lays down that if women have to offer prayer they should do this in their houses instead of going to mosque. Even in the house women have been commanded to pray not in the courtyard, but in a room, rather in a separate small room. This is the command of the holy prophet alayhi salatul wa salam about purdah, but in an assembly held to talk about his life and sunnah men and women are present side by side. None feels how fun is being made of the seerah assemblies. Women are participating in the assemblies along with men with glamorous make-up, in attractive dresses and without purdah.
Music in seerah assemblies
The holy prophet alayhi salatul wa salam is reported to have said that one of the important duties for the sake of which he alayhi salatul wa salam was sent to this world was the total eradication of music and the forms of musical instruments. What an irony of fate it is that meetings are held in the name of seerah of the holy prophet alayhi salatul wa salam in which his praise “Nat” is sung to the accompaniment of musical instruments along with Qawwali “Shareef” (a special musical performance of the mystics). This Qawwali is called “Shareef” meaning pious. No difference is made between the songs sung in praise of the holy prophet alayhi salatul wa salam and song on other worldly themes. What a greater fun one can make of the sacred, theme of the holy prophet alayhi salatul wa salam! More than this, both men and women are taking part in the radio and television Seerah programmes together with female partners with highly attractive make-up, showy attires and without purdah. Is she not the same women about whom the Qur’an has said?
That is “Do not display your features (before men) as you used to display in the early days of Ignorance”
What a greater wrong and disrespect can be done to the pious Na t (Praise) and seerah of the holy prophet alayhi salatul wa salam that such ornately prepared women are taking part in these seerah celebrations by delivering speeches and singing Na t along with males. You are in a great delusion if you think that this behaviour and conduct on your part will attract Allah’s Mercy. You are trying to efface the sunnah of the holy prophet alayhi salatul wa salam, to violate his teachings and ridiculing his sacred seerah. These are sins which can invite only Allah’s wrath and punishment. While holding the seerah meetings and making speeches on his sunnah, we flagrantly violate and disobey the prophet’s alayhi salatul wa salam teachings. May Allah guide us on the right path.
Missing prayers during Seerah assemblies
In the beginning only some rules of the shariah were violated during participation in these seerah gatherings and none minded this, but with the passage of time things have gone too far. People involved in managing these gatherings and listening to the speeches delivered therein forget to offer their prayers and miss them quite frequently. These gatherings with their programmes continue till two O clock in the night and the fajr prayer is missed deliberately. The injunctions of the holy prophet alayhi salatul wa salam about the importance of prayer are violated, although he alayhi salatul wa salam has emphasized in his injunctions that if a man who misses his one asr prayer is like one who loses all his property and all the members of his family: What a tremendous loss indeed! How strange it is that, we are busy with an apparently sacred programme concerning the holy prophet’s alayhi salatul wa salam life and at the same time we are freely violating his salalaahu alayhi wa salam imperative command regarding the protection and preservation of the obligatory prayers!
Disturbing the muslims through seerah gathering
The seerah programmes are in progress with only about two or three dozens of participant but a very big loud speaker has been installed which is transmitting the speeches of the speakers at its full volume disturbing all the living in the surrounding area. This means that no sick, old or disabled person of the area can sleep as long as the programmes are going on. Was this the pious conduct of the holy prophet alayhi salatul wa salam?
When the holy prophet alayhi salatul wa salam got up at night for the Tahajjud prayer, as narrated by hadrat aye shah radiallahu anha he rose from his bedding very quietly, and opened the door also quietly, lest aye shah radiallahu anha should be awakened from her sleep. As for the holy prophet’s alayhi salatul wa salam behaviour in an obligatory duty like the prayer, he alayhi salatul wa salam is reported to have said: When I hear during prayer a child weeping I shorten the prayer, lest by hearing the child’s weeping his mother should be in distress. But look! What is being doone in these seerah celebrations. Such powerful loudspeakers are installed unnecessarily only for the sake of two or three dozen participants with the result that an old and sick person cannot sleep in his house peacefully. Those responsible for all this are ignorant of the fact that by so doing they are commiting grievous and major sins, because to cause distress to a muslim is a major sin. Yet nobody is mindful of this serious situation )Nasaee, book of ten women… Hadith no:3963)
Taking out processions in imitation of others
All these activities prove that we are not true in our intentions- which are concentrated on something other than adopting and acting upon the teachings of the holy prophet alayhi salatul wa salam. As already mentioned, in the beginning our activities are confined only to holding gatherings and meetings at various places. Crossing the limit we have now gone ahead to the extent of taking out processions on the plea that such and such sect takes out processions in rembrance of the name of its imam in a particular month. Why should we , too, not take out processions in rabiul awwal in the name of our prophet alayhi salatul wa salam? In other words, in taking out processions in the month of Rabi’ul awwal we are imitating the sect that takes out processions in the month of muharram. By so doing we are only deluding ourselves into the belief that we are following the commands of the holy prophet alayhi salatul wa salam and are doing full justice to his alayhi salatul wa salam dignity and honour.
Would the holy prophet salalaahu alayhi wa salam appreciate the processions, if he alayhi salatul wa salam was ever to see them which are being taken out in his name? Our holy prophet alayhi salatul wa salam has always taught this ummah to refrain from such formal and showy processions and demonstrations. He salaalaahu alayih wa salam has commanded us that instead of hankering after showy, useless and formal activities like these, we should resort to his sacred teachings and try to make them the guiding light of our lives. Nobody can point out a single instance from the pious lives of the noble companions radiallahu anhum that they ever took out any procession in the month of Rabi’ul awwal or any other month of the year in the name of the Prophet’s alayhi salatul wa salam seerah (biography). I atleast have not come across even a single evidence during the history of this entire period of thirteen centures which may prove that anyone ever took out such a profression. It is, however, true that the shia community take out processions in the month of muharram in the name of their imams. We also become tempted to take out processions in the name of our prophet alayhi salatul wasalam in imitation of the shi’as, in violation of this hadith of the Prophet salalaahu alayhi wa salam.
A man who tries to make resemblance with any community becomes one of them. (Abu Dawood, book garments… hadith no:4031)
It is a pity that we have not confined our activities to taking out only processions. We have gone too far beyond that. Now we are making images of the sacred Ka’bah the sacred Rozah of the holy prophet salalaahu alayhi wa salam including the green dome. A large number of men, women and children visit these images and touch them with their hands for blessings and ask for boons there and vow fferings for some need and the fulfillment of some desire. And all this is in the name of the sacred seerah of the holy prophet salalaahu alayhi wa salam. The holy prophet alayhi salatul wa salam was sent to this world to efface from the surface of the earth, apostasy, idoltry, bid’ah, and ignorance, but today we have started all these innovations and sinful practices in the very name of the holy prophet salalaahu alayhi wa salam. Which you have made with your own hands has absolutely no virtue in it. Ye this false and artificial image is being touched and kissed for blessings. May Allah save us from this.
Hadrat Umar Farooq radiallahu anhu and Hajr e aswad
At the time of kissing the black stone hadrat umar farooq radiallahu anhu said:
O black stone! I know that you are nothing more than a piece of stone. By Allah, I would never have kissed you, if I had not seen the holy prophet salalaahu alayhi wa salam kissing you. I am kissing you only because I have seen the holy prophet salalaahu alayhi wa salam kissing you and because this is his sunnah. (Sahih bukhari chapter on hajj-blackstone, hadith no: 1597)
This is what hadrat umar farooq radiallahu anhu said to the black stone, but here we have made with our own hands a green dome, and an image of the kabah which are regarded as a source of blessing and which are being kissed. This is reviving what the prophet salalaahu alayhi wa salam had uprooted. There is illumination, record playing, musical entertainments and enjoyments. Festivals are held in the name of the holy prophet salalaahu alayhi wa salam. This is an excuse for turning the deen (faith) into a play and sport, which satan has taught us to do. I appeal to you to have, for Allah’s sake, mercy on your souls and do full justice to the dignity and honour of the Prophet’s alayih salatul wa salam seerah. The prophet’s alayhi salatul wa salam dignity and honour demand of us that we should try to mould our lives on the pattern of the Prophet’s salalaahu alayhi wa salam sacred practice.
For the sake of Allah change this practice
Hwo many people attend these meetings with the intention that they shall change their practices according to the sunnah? If they are deviating fifthy of the prophetic practices after listening to these sermons they shall correct at least ten of them. Is there a single osul who changed himself like this? They are, however always ready to devote their time, effort, and spend money to take out processions, stage festivals, erect arches and arrange illuminations, because they receive joy and satisfaction from such activities. On the other hand neither the Self nor satan are pleased with the real conduct and course of life shown by the holy Prophet salalaahu alayhi wa salam.
I appeal, in the name of Allah, to relinquish this misconduct and disobedience and do full justice to the dignity and honour the holy prophet salalaahu alayhi wa salam by strictly following his teachings. May Almighty Allah help us all to follow the straight path of his sunnah. Aameen.
And we close with the call that the praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.