Radboud University, Nijmegen-Netherlands and University of Hasyim Asy’ari Tebuireng Jombang, Indonesia,
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This article explains the standing of the Salafis on the celebration of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday (mawlid). It will also capture some opinions of the proponents of the mawlid against the understanding of the Salafis. The Salafis’ criticism of the mawlid has been mainly built on their theological perspective due to three reasons. The first is the requirement of authenticity, as they argue that the mawlid has no argument (dalīl) both in the Qur’ān and ḥadīth. The second is the prohibition of innovation (bid‘ah) due to the status of the mawlid as an act of innovation. The third is the reprehensibility of veneration and idolatry of the Prophet Muhammad. The proponents of the mawlid, on the other side, clearly reject these arguments. They admit that the mawlid is inauthentic. However, they argue that it falls under the category of good innovation (bid‘ah ḥasanah). Therefore, it is allowed to be practiced. In addition, the Salafis also condemned some practices within the mawlid, such as serving food, the act of standing up (qiyām), the recitation of mawlid books, and the use of musical instruments. For the proponents, however, these practices are allowed as they do not violate any Islamic teachings (sharī‘ah) and they also represent a sincere expression of joy and happiness for the birth of the messenger of Allah and the noblest person, i.e., the Prophet Muhammad.
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