I have been away for a while attending to personal matters. I hope the following post is of benefit, not least in this blessed month, and also for those who maybe wondering about the use of the term of Eid being used for the Mawlid (as is the case in the Indo Pak subcontinent).
Mawlid In Mauritania: When a while back when I went to visit one of our teachers from Mauritania, I raised the issue of the Mawlid and its practice in his country. I had been reading the attempts of some (who in their desperate search to find some kind of justification for their minority position for the Mawlid opinion being impermissible) had tried to give the impression that some scholars in Mauritania were anti Mawlid. The Shaykh Muhammad reassured me that the Mawlid was celebrated all across Mauritania and was a widespread practice in the country. He added that it is also celebrated in his fathers school (mahdara) where students are given the 12th of Rabi al-Awwal as a holiday. He described that the students dressed in their best clothing, gathered together, some qasaid were read and I believe refreshments were given. What is of note is that this is a description of a Mahdara not linked to any tariqah and the Shuyukh who run it are respectful of the Sufi Turuq but prefer to keep a distance from them and some of their other practices/ideas.
The Mawlid Is An Eid According To The Later Malikis and A Wonderful Passage: He had mentioned something previously to me about his reading a discussion on the Mawlid in a work authored by a Salafi leaning author which he found of interest. Alhumdulilah he found it for me and it indeed is wonderful passage, not least as it involves a number of giants of Maliki scholarship, namely: al-Hattab quoting Zarruq, Ibn Abbad and Ibn Ashir. Note: I found some parts of the passage below a little difficult to translate, however I hastened to share it with you in the blessed month of Rabi al-Awwal, so please overlook any shortcomings.
Imam al-Hattab said in his commentary on the ‘Mukhtasar Khalil’:
Shaykh Zarruq said: Fasting on the (day of) the Mawlid was disliked by some…He said: It is from from the Eids of the Muslims and fasting should not take place on it. Our Shaykh Abu Abdullah al-Quri would mention this often and regarded it as good.
I say: Perhaps he means Ibn Abbad, as he said in his ‘Rasail al-Kubra’: As for the Mawlid, what is apparent to me is that it is an Eid from the Eids of the Muslims, and a season from its seasons. All that is done in it which results from the presence of joy and happiness regarding the blessed Mawlid such as the lighting of lamps, the gratification of the sight and hearing, adorning by wearing of beautiful clothing and mounting on fine riding animals is a permissible matter which no one can be condemned for, being analogous/similar to other than it of times of happiness.
The ruling that these things are an innovation (bidah) at this time in which the secret of existence manifested, the banner of witnessing was raised, the darkness of disbelief and rejection was driven away in it. And the claim that this time is not from the legislated seasons for the people of belief, and its comparison to the Nayruz/Mahrajan is a disturbing matter which sounds hearts and intellects find repulsive.
In the past I had gone out on the day of the Mawlid to the sea coast, I happened to meet there Sayyidi al-Hajj Ibn Ashir (Allah have mercy on him) along with a group of his companions. Some of them had brought different types of food to eat there, as they had brought it for this they wished for me to join them in eating. I was at that time fasting, so I said to them: I am fasting. Sayyidi al-Hajj looked gazed towards me with a reprimanding look, and said to me, the meaning of which was: This day is one of joy and happiness in which fasting is disliked, and is at the level of the Eid. I reflected on his words and found them to be true, it was as if I had been asleep and he had awoken me.