Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)
How do we deal with those who condemn celebrating the mawlid?
The mawlid is part of the Prophetic Biography (Sirah) and it should be treated just as the Sirah, the remembrance of Allah and the remembrance of the Prophet ﷺ are treated.
We should realise that the misgivings people have about the mawlid are false and that they have been wrongly spread in the Ummah. There is no valid evidence either intellectually or in the Sacred Law to support the prohibition of the recitation of the mawlid. There is no text in the Sacred Law that prohibits celebrating the birth of an animal, let alone the Prophet ﷺ. Thus reciting the mawlid would at the very least be permissible (mubah). However it is combined with acts of obedience, leads to an increase in people’s faith and increases their love for and connection to the Prophet ﷺ. It is thus regarded as being recommended (mandub) since it takes the ruling of the objectives that it is being used to achieve. It should be used in the best way, just as other means are used.
That being said, we must recognise that people have been affected by false beliefs so we should not be so rigid that we cause divisions amongst the Muslims and add fuel to the fire.
The situation may dictate that the mawlid be concealed or left, such as when it would have a detrimental effect on the da`wah. It should not be left merely in response to those who condemn it, especially when it is not expected that those people will respond to our da`wah. When the majority will benefit it should not be left.
We can also call it by another name such as ‘Commemorating the life of the Prophet’ or a gathering of remembrance or knowledge or poetry so that when people find out what it contains they will see that there is nothing in it which is impermissible.
Should we invite those who disagree with the Mawlid to attend?
Of the people that disagree with the mawlid, some are prepared to discuss the issue and if they can be convinced of its merit then they can be invited to attend. If they remain unconvinced we should show patience with them. Others may be aggressive in their rejection of the mawlid so we should not discuss the issue with them and we should not invite them. Those who have problems with some of the things that take place in the mawlid can be invited to attend at the end of the gathering, to share a meal for example.