By Ashraf Abdul Wahab.
Tripoli, 13 January 2014:
If today’s celebrations of the Prophet’s Birthday – Mawlid Al-Nabi – had been appropriate, they . . .[restrict]would have been sanctioned long ago, the Grand Mufti, Sheikh Sadik Al-Ghariani, has ruled in a new fatwa that repeats his disapproval last year of the festival.
Ghariani said that neither the Prophet nor his Companions celebrated his birthday, and the date was never deemed a celebration by the four main schools of Islamic thought. He repeated the view that it was an 12th-century invention of the Fatimids, who were Shiite.
The Grand Mufti went on to warn: “These celebrations nowadays contain many taboos”. If they had been deemed appropriate, they would have been authorised long ago, he said.
As last year, his pronouncement has fallen largely on deaf ears. The Prophet’s Birthday is celebrated with enthusiasm by Libyans and today is an official public holiday in Libya, as in most Muslim countries — Wahabist Saudi Arabia and Qatar being the notable exceptions.
It is widely believed that the Prophet’s birth was honoured in the 8th century, when the house in Mecca where he was born was converted into a place of prayer by the mother of the Caliph Harun al-Rashid.