Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi: When poetry meets piety




By Rakhshanda Jalil,

By the late 11th century veneration of the Prophet had begun to assume a visible form in different parts of the by-now burgeoning Islamic world. Celebrations of maulid, the day of birth of the Prophet, on 12th Rabi' ul-awwal, the third month of the Muslim lunar calendar, had begun to make an appearance. Piety increasingly began to take the form of poetry and song. Love for Hazrat Mohammad, the Prophet of Islam, began to be expressed beautifully and eloquently in the poetry of the many languages of the Islamic world. The tradition continues -- the day of the Prophet’s birth is still celebrated. From the eastern end of the Muslim world to the western the maulid is a wonderful occasion for the pious to show their warm love of the Prophet in songs, poems and prayers. And hand-in-hand with the maulid has grown an entire poetic tradition – one that flies in the face of an orthodox view that considers all such celebrations as bid’at or a misguided form of innovation.

The number of poems written for this festive occasion in different languages is beyond reckoning. Using local idiom and metaphor, they express a deep, trusting love for the Beloved of God whose life and sayings, as exemplified in the Hadith, influence the lives of Believers in more ways than can be counted. While an unshakeable love for the Prophet is the strongest binding force among Muslims, its expression in song -- often using the language of conventional love poetry and the idiom of the ghazal and the geet -- is frowned upon by some. Others believe that since 12th Rabi’ul-awwal is not only the day of the Prophet’s birth but also considered to be the day of his death, such celebrations are inappropriate. Still others are uncomfortable with this almost mystical veneration of the Prophet that seems not in keeping with the essential spirit of Islam. Many point out, quite rightly, that the cornerstone of Islam is the Word of God, not the person of His Messenger.



And yet, love and hope and trust in Muhammad the Messenger of Allah continues to find expression in poetry. Annemarie Schimmel in her seminal book And Muhammad is His Messenger traces the origins of poetry in honour of the Prophet. She writes:

"It seems that the tendency to celebrate the memory of Muhammad's birthday on a larger and more festive scale emerged first in Egypt during the Fatimid Era (969-1171). This is logical, for the Fatimids claim to be the Prophet's descendants through his daughter Fatima…It was apparently an occasion in which mainly scholars and the religious establishment participated. They listened to sermons, and sweets, particularly honey, the Prophet's favorite, were distributed; the poor received alms." P. 145

Traveling through northern Africa, the Middle East, Turkey, Iran and Sind, the notion that celebrating maulid provided baraka or blessing to the listeners first reached South India. In its infancy, this tradition among Muslims in the Deccan initially paid homage to not just Hazrat Muhammad but the three first Caliphs of Islam as well as all members of the Prophet’s immediate family, especially Hazrat Ali. Coloured by Sufism, influenced by the fast-gaining popularity of the sozkhwani and marsiyakhwani traditions of Awadh, it flowered in homes and mehfilkhanas all across the north reaching as far east as Bengal. Gradually all references to Ali and the sahabis were dropped and the milad tradition as it evolved and flourished in North India from the 19th century onwards dwelled exclusively on events associated with the birth of the Prophet.

Ghulam Imam Shahid, an Urdu poet of the early 19th century puts it best when he announces,

Friends, before all of us is the journey into nonexistence –

But when one has words of the naat, then one has provisions for the road!

While every naat-poet down the ages has expressed his inability to express the true greatness of the Prophet, they have struggled nonetheless to find the right words. Tender, loving, colourful, rustic, sophisticated, subtle, grandiloquent – the terms and images vary but what doesn’t is admiration for the many qualities the Prophet embodied. Patience, wisdom, modesty, gratitude, intelligence, respect for women are exemplary qualities and dwelling on them in such loving detail is virtually an exercise in “character-building”! Songs celebrating the Mard-e-Kamil, the Perfect Man, the exemplar and model for every believing Musalman, whose every action and habit, no matter how seemingly trivial, began to be written not just in Urdu but in many dialects such as khari boli, bhojpuri, dehati and so on. In naat after naat, the Prophet appears before his listeners as an archetype for all forms of human beauty, or as the poet Saghar Nizami says, he becomes: ‘Beauty from Head to toe, Love embodied’. Fashioned first on the Arab models such as the Burda and later on the Persian masnawis, the Indian versions wove in many indigenous elements. Mohsin Kakorwi, writing in the early 19th century, expresses the hope that his naat would intercede, as it were, on the Day of Judgement. He writes:



In the rows of resurrection your panegyrist will be with you

In his hand he has this enthusiastic ghazal, this qasida

And Gabriel will say with a hint: Now in the name of God recite:

From the direction of Benares went a cloud towards Mathura.

(Simt-e-Kashi se chala janib-e-Mathura badal)

Mirza Ghalib has written some exquisitely fashioned naat in Persian, the most famous being a masnawi called “Abr-i-Gauharbar” or “The Jewel-Carrying Cloud” where the Prophet is compared to the rain cloud which brings blessings in the form of life-giving rain, and is in keeping with his role as rahmatan lil-alimin. The visionary Iqbal too has written a great deal on the Prophet, likening him to the leader of a caravan. In Asrar-i-Khudi, he writes:

We are like a rose with many petals, but with one perfume

He is the soul of the society, and he is one.

Derived from the Arabic word viladut which means birth, the maulid celebrates the birth of Hazrat Muhammad Rasool Allah. However, it need not be celebrated only on the 12th or during the month of Rabi-ul awwal. Milad, literally meaning birthday or anniversary, can be held, in fact, on any auspicious day such as a marriage, child birth, house warming or a celebration of any glad tidings. Milad mehfils all across north India proceed along fairly time-honoured ways. A good time to hold them is usually between the asir and maghrib namaz, giving people ample time to enjoy the proceedings; though they can just as well be held between zuhr and asir, i.e. between late afternoon and early evening. Usually segregated, a typical milad would begin with Quran Khwani or recitation of verses from the Holy Quran. This would be followed by a hamd in praise of Allah. Some of the best-loved, and also most commonly memorized lyrics are to be found in a wonderful little book called Milad-e-Akbar. (My mother has a dog-eared copy, so do I and one day I hope my daughters too will have a copy of this much loved book and shall, hopefully, be able to read it in Urdu!) A typical example of a hamd would be:

Tujhe dhoondhta hoon main char su, teri shaan jall-e-jalal hu

Tu mila qareeb rag-e-gulu, teri shaan jall-e-jalal hu

The reciters sit on a low takht – not a pulpit as you see in a majlis – and the audience sits on the floor which has some sort of farsh arrangement – usually durries covered with white cloth called chandni. Bolsters or gau takhyias are scattered on the farsh. Agarbattis are lit and rose water sprinkled before the milad mehfil gets underway. The hamd is followed by naats, panegyrics in praise of the Prophet.

Beginning with poems celebrating the Prophet’s paidaish or nativity, they go on to relate anecdotes about his life, express joy at his many sayings, or express longing to visit Medina. Those who have not been able to visit the holy cities of Mecca and Medina have written some incredibly sweet verses, describing the arduous journey, each according to their imagination in ever-new imagery. So you have naats such as: Madina ka safar hai aur mai namdeeda namdeeda; or Sun tayba nagar ke maharaja faryaad mori in asuan ki, more nain dukhi hain sukhdata de bheek inhe ab darshan ki; or Mora jab se laga hai nabi ji se ji, mohe pal bhar chain naa aawat hai. Chalo yasrab nagri ai ri sakhi mora hind me ji ghabrawat hai. In fact, Indian poets more than any others, have dwelled, in great ecstasy, on the motif of Medina, imploring the Prince of Medina to intercede on their behalf. In the course of a milad, the naat are interspersed, at every few intervals with prose passages narrating specific instances from the Prophet’s life, his views, on say, education, the position of women, or any other subject chosen by the zakir, or the narrator. In large public gatherings, a renowned alim or maulvi is invited to perform the zikr. In private gatherings, it can be any well-respected man or woman. The audience is encouraged to recite durood sharif and send salaam, greetings, to the Prophet. Rose water is sprinkled, or attar is applied on the wrists of all those present – the haazreen-e-mehfil – sometime during or immediately after reciting the paidaish. The entire congregation gets to its feet when the salaam is being read. Again, the most popular salaam is to be found in Milad-e-Akbar, one that has been read with solemn and sonorous dignity for generations:

Ya nabi salaam alaika ya rasool salaam aleika

Ya habib salam alaika, salawatullah alaika

Others, such as the one by Hafiz Jallundhari -- Salam ae Aamina ke laal, ae Mehboob-e-Subhani -- send similar salutations to the son of Aamina and Beloved of God . The mehfil ends with dua or munajaat. Some of the most popular ones are Momino’n waqt-e-rehmat-e-rab hai, ab woh maango jo dil ka maqsad hai; unconventional choices would be Iqbals’ Ya rab dil-e-Muslim ko woh zinda tamanna de jo rooh ko tadpa de jo qalb ko garma de or Hali’s Woh nabion mein rehmat laqab pane wala muradein gharibon ki bar lane wala. Hissa or sweets are distributed in the end and the congregation disperses.

(Rakhshanda Jalil writes on issues of faith, culture and literature)

Comments

Eid-e-Milad Mubarak.

Kindly accept the Mubarakbad of
EID-E-MILAD-UN-NABI SAW.
To
All Khus-Aqida Muslims,
All over the world.

ONLY TWO 'EIDS' IN ISLAM

FOR YOUR KIND INFORMATION, BOOTWALLAH SAHEB, ISLAM SPEAKS OF AND RECOGNIZES ONLY TWO EIDS VIZ., THE EIDUL FITR AND THE EIDUL AXHA. ALL OTHER SO-CALLED 'EIDS' ARE THE INNOVATIONS INTRODUCED BY MISGUIDED MUSLIMS. IT WILL NOT BE WRONG IF THE 'MEELADUN NABI" IS CELEBRATED IN AN ISLAMIC MANNER EVERY DAY THROUGHOUT THE YEAR BECAUSE THOUGH OUR HOLY PROPHET (s.a.w.s) WAS BORN PHYSICALLY ON THE 8th or 9th or 212th BABIUL AWWWAL, HE WAS BORN SPIRITUALLY LONG BEFORE THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE WAS CREATED. HERNCE FOR ALLAH'S SAKE DO NOT CALL THAT PARTICULAR DAY AN 'EID' REJOICE AS MUCH AS YOU LIKE WITHOUT IMITATING THE NON-MUSLIMS AND OFFER FELICITATIONS TO YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS-IN-ISLAM BUT DON;T CALL THE GREETINGS AN EIDUL MEELAD GREETINGS

You are not such fortunate!!!

Mr. Pasha, you are unfortunately not deserved for celebrating Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi SAW., being bad-aqida person, having no love and affection for Rehamat-ul-Aalameen. I had posted a very fitting reply refer to your above nonsense comments but the kind enough for you the authorities of TCN, curtailed my post!
Don't put any argument and excuse for your hate to peace and love for hatred and terror!!!

You are fortunate A.K. Bootwala - Your comments are published

You are FORTUNATE Mr. Abdul Kader Bootwala that your comments are posted on TCN website about Milad-un-Nabi, which are considered BIDDAT (innovation).

I agree with S.M. Pasha's comments to THE EXTENT that there are ONLY TWO recognized eid in Islam.

FYI, and that of readers on this platform, I wish to repeat the Quranic Verse:

INNAL LAAHA MALAAIKATIHI WA KUTUBIHI WA RUSOOLIHI, YAA AYYUHAL LAZEENA AAMANU SALLU ALAIHI WA-SALLIMU TASLEEMA.

From the above verse, it is clear that Prophet Mohammad SAWS was present SOMEWHERE, before his "birth" and "wafaat". That's HOW and WHY, Almighty Allah says, in the Holy Quran:

ANGELS prostrate in front of Allah and His Messenger.

So, do you think Angels started prostrating after Prophet Mohammad SAWS was sent into this world as Messenger, Prophet, and Imam to mankind ???

Prophet Mohammad SAWS was there (somewhere), EVEN before he was sent to this world, to remove "Jaahiliya" or "IGNORANCE".

Unfortunately, people like A.K. Bootwala and his likes prefer to celebrate Milad-un-Nabi, instead of following his teachings, preachings, and practice i.e. Sunnah and Salah.

Praying five times a day, in congregation can actually please Allah and His Messenger, more than celebrating Milad-un-Nabi.

Thank you.

Amamazed

Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi

Those who want to celebrate Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi should feel free to do so. Those who just want to remember the contributions of the Nabi on that day should also feel free to do so. Let us not try to impose our views on others. Becoming excessively rigid and unaccommodating in our dogmatisms has become the bane of Muslims.

We can have differences, but we can still respect each other and respect the rights of others to follow their beliefs. Nobody has the monopoly on truth except Allah.

New Green Brigade is rising!

True, Mr.Ghulam.
But this new Green Brigade of hypocrite terrorist brand of so called Muslims, are feeling themselves the champion of Muslim cause and destroying world peace.
They want to terrorise non-Muslims as well as Muslims, believing in peace and coexistence.

We cant count how many biography written on Prophet (PBUH)

Many Muslims and non Muslims writers wrote many thing specially about Prophet (PBUH) biography (SEERAT UN NABI/SEERAT PAAK) like Syed Suleman Nadvi, Martin Ling's, Karen Armstrong, Barnaby Rogerson, Durre Yateem by Mahirul Quadri and many more we cant count writers. So finally we can say that Prophet biography not only written in Urdu but in English, Arabi, Persian, Bangla, Assmese, Malyalam etc...
He is Rahmatullill Aalemeen.....

THE HOLY PROPHET'S BIRTHDAY

WHETHER THE HOLY PROPHET (PEACE AND BLESSINGS OF ALLAH BE ON HIM) WAS BORN ON THE 8th OR THE 9th OR ON THE 12th RABIUL AWWAL, AALIMS DIFFER. THAT'S ONE THING. SECONDLY HIS BIRTHDAY WAS NOT CELEBRATED BY THE SAHABAH NOR BY THE TABAYEEN OR THE TABBE TABAYEEN ( May Allah be pleased with them). FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THR HISTORY OF ISLAM IT WAS 'CELEBRTATED' BY SULTAN ABU SAYEED MUZAFFAR SHAH ARBAL OF KHURASAN ON THE 12TH OF RABIUL AWWAL 604 H/1209 C.E. DURING THE KHALIFATE OF THE FIFTY FOURTH KHALIFAH NASIR. EVEN DURING HIS TIME, AALIMS DIFFERED IN THEIR OPINIONS WHETHER IT IS CORRECT OR INCORRECT TO 'CELEBRATE' THE 'MEELAD'. THE DEBATE CONTINUES EVEN TODAY. COMMON SENSE DICTATES THAT IT IS NOT JUST AN INNOVATION BUT OUTRIGHT HEINOUS SIN TO IMITATE NON-MUSLIMS AND 'CELEBRATE' MEELAD IN THEIR STYLE. AT THE SAME TIME IT IS WRONG TO FORBID MUSLIMS FROM REMEMBERING ON THAT DAY - AT LEAST ON THAT ONE DAY - THE CONTRIBUTION OF THE HOLY PROPHET (puh) TO HUMANITY. BUT THEN IT MUST BE DONE BY MUSLIMS IN AN ISLAMIC MANNER.

Aother enemy of Prophet!

Amamazed,
You are discussing your Muslim identity by hiding your name like cowards, you are not deserved answering!!!
You are real Munafiq or so called hypocrite, referred in Surah Noor in holy Quran.
You double faced coward had admitted positively for the celebration of Eid-e-Milad in series of letters responding me, titled "5 km walk in memory of prophet, in love of Muhammed" where you have objected, showing Masjide-Aqsa wrongly in order to show your third grade intelligentsia.
Here you are poking your dirty nose unnecessarily, by showing your true colour of having sympathy for skull cap, with half mast Pajama, terrorist brigade of so called Muslims, defame Islam worldwide!!!
And don't try to teach me for practicing your brand of Wahabi Islam.
I advice you not to participate, for burying ceremony when your nearer or dearer died or don't visit hospital if fortunately new born arrived in your family, remained him/her without Islamic identity, like you!!!

Request from bottom of my heart...

Dear Sir...
Please provide me the naat lyrics of " Sun taibah nagar ke maharaja " ... plz sir ...plz plz plz plz plz ...
If u found .. E mail me ...
Waiting impatiently ...
plz

Hiiii,If u have Mp3 Of "Sun

Hiiii,If u have Mp3 Of "Sun taiba nagar ke maharaja"
Please provide me
This is my fav. naat...
PlS REPLY
Aasim Ansari
From India
+919993934078

I want to congratulate admin

I want to congratulate admin who posted this beautifull articles about milad ( the original term is Maulid ) and I also read the comments of A.K. Bootwala and S.M. Pasha ( I want to tell to Mr. S.M. Pasha that rather than Blaiming each other on this holy topic please listen your heart's voice what it say is true. We all are the brothers binding with the true bond of love and faith of Ahad by the holy Prophet Muhammad SAW. I would say to all my brotheren share your knowledge about islam, Quran & hadith with your brothers, because the real worship of allah is Zikrullah & the next thing is that try to give the reference like verse no. Surah etc. so the others can check your Quote. insha allah soon we will all fall in love with our brotheren.