Translated by Zameelur Rahman
Do you say that the commemoration of his (Allah bless him and grant him peace) birth is deemed blameworthy (mustaqbah) in the Shari‘ah, from the evil and prohibited innovations (al-bid‘at al-sayyi’ah al-muharramah), or [do you believe] otherwise?
Far be it that any of the Muslims say, let alone we, ourselves, say, that commemorating his noble birth (upon him blessing and peace), rather even commemorating the dust on his shoes and the urine of his (Allah bless him and grant him peace) camel, are deemed blameworthy in the Shari‘ah, from the evil and prohibited innovations; for, commemorating the states which have the least connection with the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is from the most desirable of recommended acts (ahabb al-mandubat) and the greatest of preferable acts (a‘la l-mustahabbat) according to us, whether it is the commemoration of his noble birth or commemoration of his urine, feces, standing, sitting, sleeping and waking as is stated clearly in our treatise called Al-Barahin al-Qati‘ah at various junctures therein, and in the fatwas of our teachers (mashayikh) (may Allah have mercy on them), as [is mentioned, for example] in the fatwas of Mawlana Ahmad ‘Ali al-Muhaddith al-Saharanpuri, the student of Shah Muhammad Ishaq al-Dahlawi then al-Muhajir al-Makki, which we will quote in translation, that it may become an example of all [the other fatwas]:
He (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked about the milad function, in which manner is it permissible and in which manner is it impermissible? He replied [saying] that:
Commemorating the noble birth of our master, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) using sound narrations, during times devoid of the obligatory duties of worship, and in forms not contravening the path of the Companions and the people of the three generations whose greatness has been attested to, and [in forms not] containing beliefs that may be conceived of as shirk and bid‘ah, and in manners which do not contravene the conduct of the Companions which is the measure of his (peace be upon him) statement, “What I and my Companions are upon,” and in gatherings free from abominations of the Shari‘ah, is a cause for goodness and blessing, with the condition that it is accompanied by pure intention and sincerity and the belief that it is included within the totality of recommended good remembrances (jumlat al-adhkar al-hasanah al-mandubah), and is not restricted to a time from the times. When it is so, we do not know of any Muslim who rules it to be unlawful (ghayr mashru‘) or bid‘ah. To the end of the fatwa.
It is learnt from this that we do not denounce the commemoration of his noble birth. Rather, we denounce the abominable acts that are associated with it as you [may] have seen in the mawludi functions which [take place] in India, of narrating weak and forged narrations, the mixing of men and women, extravagance in lighting candles and decorations, and the belief that it is obligatory, by vilifying, insulting and anathematising those who do not attend their function with them, and other such abominations of the Shari‘ah which are almost not found to be absent from them. If they were free of these abominations, far be it that we say that commemorating the noble birth is abominable and a bid‘ah. How can this ugly belief be suspected of a Muslim? Hence, this attribution to us is also from the inventions of the deceptive lying deviants (Allah Exalted is He disgrace them, and curse them on land and sea and on smooth and rough land). For further reading, see Mawlid, Deoband and Hanafi fiqh
Al-Muhannad ‘ala l-Mufannad ya‘ni ‘Aqa’id ‘Ulama Ahl Sunnah Deoband, pp. 60-63