Rabi ul Awwal – The month of the Prophet (May Allah bless him)
This is the month where the best of all creation was born, the one who brought a guiding light for humanity, to come out of the darkness of ignorance. He was a champion for people living in all times.
Today, Muslims must read and reflect upon his biography and sunnah to find relief and guidance for the current misery that has descended upon them. By studying his biography we will learn how to contribute positively and have a good impact on ourselves, our family, our society and our world. We will learn how to live with different people, how to tolerate others and therefore create a harmonious society.
It is an opportunity to introduce our Prophet (May Allah bless him) to the wider society and prove to people just how great of a spiritual, peaceful and just leader he really was.
Insha’Allah in this issue we have dedicated a number of articles to different aspects of his life and teachings. The readers are recommended to read his biographies such as ‘Muhammad, The Last Prophet’ by Shaykh Abul Hasan Nadwi and ‘The sealed Nectar’ by Shaykh Saifur Rahman.
About Rabi ul Awwal
Birth of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him)
The only authentic narration from the Prophet about his birth is that he was born on Monday. The rest of the details are based on different historical reports. Hence there are various opinions regarding such details.
Month: Rabi ul Awwal: This is the view of majority scholars. Although there are other opinions regarding his birth in Ramadhan and Rajab but they seem to be very weak.
The Messenger of Allah (May Allah bless him) was asked about why he was fasting on a Monday, he replied: ‘It is the day on which I was born’ and some narrations mention with the addition, ‘ ..And the day on which I received prophet-hood’. (Bayhaqi)
This is the most authentic view supported by a number of narrations from the Prophet.
Date: 12th – This is the most popular view amongst the scholars. The other views are; 2nd, 8th, 9th, 10th, 17th, 18th and 21st.
Year: Year of the Elephants.
This is the most authentic view. This is the year when Abrahah, the governor of Yemen, came with an army of Elephants to destroy Ka’bah. Allah in return annihilated him and his army. This incident is recorded in the Quran in Surah Feel.
How do we celebrate his birth?
Every true Muslim will be happy with the advent of the Final Messenger of Allah. Even many non-Muslims hold him in high regard along with millions of Muslims worldwide. The question is how should we express our love and happiness?
The Messenger of Allah fasts on his birthday
The Prophet himself used to fast on his birthdays and he very openly answered the question as to why he regularly fasts on Mondays and one of his replies was that ‘I was born on this day’.
This act of the Prophet clearly distinguishes that in our religion, when it comes to expressing our joy, happiness and thanks (to Allah), we should show it through our deeds rather than throwing parties.
The Messenger of Allah told us to fast on the day of Ashura when Musa (AS) and his community were saved. Once again we have examples of ‘how to express happiness and thanks to Allah’.
True expression of love is by ‘following one’s beloved’
Allah has very clearly explained how to express happiness and this concept is common within the entire humanity: ‘you follow and imitate your beloved’.
“Say if you love Allah, then follow me, as a result Allah will love you” (Aal-Imran). This verse tells us that if we want to express our love for Allah then we have to follow him. Since Allah will not physically be present in front of us to be ‘imitated’, he has ordered us to follow His Prophet.
Islam is a pragmatic religion where our actions have to speak louder than our words, which means that we have to do more than just say we love the prophet, but also our actions and deeds have to back this up.
What about holding events for educational and inspirational purposes?
There are two extremes to this; the first is that to throw a big party with no regard to the Sunnah and Islamic values, where men and women mix freely without due Hijab, unlawful music and songs are played aloud etc. This is all done under the excuse that ‘we love the prophet’. Any sound minded scholar will regard this as Haram.
It is evident through the texts and early practices in Islam that having a birthday-like celebration is baseless, in fact most scholars even disagree with celebrating birthdays by throwing a party etc. for normal Muslims let alone the Prophet.
The other extreme is to completely avoid the mention of the Prophet during this month and to regard any event, although free from any Haram activities, purely for the remembrance of the Prophet, his sunnah, biography etc. as bid’ah (innovation in Islam).
This view is unsubstantiated as there is no textual evidence that any gathering held in Rabi ul Awwal or any other month to mark the Prophet’s life, is prohibited in Islam.
Yes, if people see events like this to be compulsory, sunnah or regard others who do not formally mark Rabi ul Awwal with an event, to be sinning and acting wrongly, then in that case it will become ‘bid’ah’- an innovation in Islam which goes against Islam because nowhere in Islamic sources does it mention that we should commemorate his birthday with an event.
Death of the Messenger of Allah – In Rabi ul Awwal
Month: Rabi ul Awwal – This is agreed upon by all the scholars.
Date: 12th Rabi ul Awwal and this is the most popular view– The other opinions are 1st, 2nd, 13th and 15th.
The birth and death of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him) makes Rabi ul Awwal as a month of joy and sadness.
All Muslims must sense happiness over the birth of the Messenger of Allah in Rabi ul Awwal. The best way to express that is to live his legacy. Those who wish to seize this opportunity to hold events or exhibitions on his life and Sunnah, will be rewarded for it with the condition that they avoid organising any birthday parties and abstaining from any Haram in the event.
There is no specific worship for this month. The readers are encouraged to send salat (peace and blessings) upon the Prophet abundantly, particularly when his name is mentioned.
– By Mawlana Muhammad Rayhan
‘Muhammad, The Last Prophet’ by Shaykh Abul Hasan Nadwi,
‘The sealed Nectar’ by Shaykh Saifur Rahman, Lataaiful-Ma’arif by Ibn Rajab Hanbali