The Earth held no prophet. Its people were lost in an utter darkness – no prophet, no current message, no light for souls seeking solace. The last prophet had lived and left the Earth hundreds of years ago. There was an utter deprivation of righteousness. There was a hunger and a yearning for the return of the Divine Will – for the presence of one who would reflect that light.
A Jew ran through the streets of Mecca asking, “Was anyone born to you on this night?” None were sure and he cried out to them, “Find out, for on this night a prophet was born.”
The midwife saw the stars come so near that she felt they would touch her, and at his ﷺ birth she could see nothing but light.
His mother saw a light emanating from her that lit the earth to the east and west.
This child was the answer to Ibrāhīm’s prayer, and the good news of ʿĪsā (peace be upon them both).
The child was an end to the pause in prophethood. The period of darkness, the prophet-less age, had come to an end. The final prophet was here. Never again would there be a pause in the divine will, or light – for Muhammad ﷺ was sent to all people, to all nations, to all generations till the end of time.
It happened at the break of pre-dawn, on Monday, the 12th of Rabīʿ al-Awwal, in the Year of the Elephant. The Prophet was born.
Alhamdulillah! Our Prophet ﷺ! Born! What a day! A day for celebrations, thanksgiving! A day for happiness and smiles! It was a day for congratulatory handshakes, and joyful embraces, a day to be remembered.
The month of the Prophet’s ﷺ birth is a month of great joy for Muslims everywhere. And for centuries different cultures and peoples have recited poetry, gathered together, and increased their good deeds in celebration and remembrance of his birth.
The Mawlid Celebration
Around the world Muslims yearning and longing for a relationship with the Prophet ﷺ spend the month of his birth in remembrance of him ﷺ. They invite friends and family, serve something sweet, and recite a poem that sings his praises. This poem is often the famous Burda poem, and at other times it is a poem written in the local language and sung in the local style. The poems narrate the wondrous signs and miracles of his birth, and his glorious character. People come away feeling refreshed, reconnected, and reminded of the importance of the Prophet ﷺ in their faith.
Allah (swt) says in Sūrat al-Tawba, “Say, [O Muhammad], ‘If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your relatives, wealth which you have obtained, commerce wherein you fear decline, and dwellings with which you are pleased are more beloved to you than Allah and His Messenger and struggle in His cause, then wait until Allah executes His command.’ And Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people.”
Nothing is to be more beloved to us than Allah and His messenger. When the cares and attachments of the world threaten to tease us away from loving him, the month of the mawlid returns to give us the opportunity to refresh our state.
The Prophet ﷺ said, “A servant (ʿabd) does not believe until I am more beloved to him than his family, his wealth and all people.” (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim) Here the Prophet ﷺ ties our very faith to our love for the Prophet ﷺ and thus we must be very serious about examining our hearts and his place within them.
In Syria, may Allah send peace and security to this country of beauty and religiosity, a recitation of the mawlid is the standard celebration for every joyous occasion. In summer ice cream cake is served, and in winter milk pudding is the treat of choice. There is an expert poem reciter, someone to beat a drum and someone to lead the singing of beautiful songs of faith. Usually a sheikh or sheikha will give a motivational talk, encouraging the guests to grow in religion. As guests leave, they are handed a neat little package of sugared almonds that are indicative of the mawlid celebration. Guests leave the celebration feeling that the greatest joy of all is the birth of our beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him).
All over the world the mawlid is celebrated with joy and generosity (see video Where Do We Stand?). How will it be celebrated in your home this year?
Allah (z) says, “Verily Allah and His angels send prayers upon the Prophet; O you who believe, send prayers upon him and greet him with the greeting of peace.” (al-Aḥzāb: 56) We are ordered to send prayers and peace upon our beloved Messenger. This is a serious call to Muslims. The month of Rabīʿ al-Awwal is an opportune time to renew our commitment to fulfilling this obligation.
It is reported in al-Nisāʾī that, “The Messenger of God ﷺ came one day with joy on his noble face.” And so the companions said, “O Messenger of God, we see joy on your face!” He responded, “An angel came to me and said, “O Muhammad, God says that no one sends prayers upon you from your community except that I send ten prayers upon him. Neither does anyone from your community send blessings upon you except that I send ten blessings upon him.” Allahu Akbar! The Prophet’s joyous countenance radiated with the joy of blessing for his umma.
He also said, “There is no person who sends greetings of peace upon me, except that God brings my soul back so that I return to him his greetings of peace.” (Sunan Abū Dāwūd) So our increasing in ṣalawāt, means participating in a conversation with our beloved. May our tongues never rest from sending prayers upon him – and may this beautiful month be the beginning of an increase in our ṣalawāt.
See the Rabata Ṣalawāt counter to add your personal totals, and the totals of family and friends around you. Let us fill our hearts with faith and love, obey Allah (swt), and send prayers upon the Prophet.
Allāhumma ṣallī ʿalā sayyidinā Muhammad.
His Blessed Life:
Rabīʿ al-Awwal is an excellent time to start an annual reading of his life. Read books about his life, watch online videos that tell his story, listen to songs that remind you of his blessed qualities.
It is an opportunity to imitate our beloved Prophet and live as he lived, to invite guests and be generous to them, to be truly good and cheerful to our families, to be helpful and humble to neighbors and to bring about good in the world wherever we go.
Western cultures often think of gifts when they hear of a birthday. As we think about the birth, and life of the Prophet ﷺ, what gift might we give him in this blessed month? Some women choose to pledge 70,000 ṣalawāt for him. Others decide to read a number of sīrah books in this blessed month. Still others reach deeply into their creative treasures and write poetry, make movies, and paint murals of his blessedness.
Some Muslims decide to make tawba from that which is not reflective of a life lived in imitation of his life, and others decide to increase their worship, memorize Quran, or study Islam to become of those who truly love the Prophet ﷺ.
His Birth, His Death, His Hijra:
The Prophet ﷺ was born, died, and performed his hijra in this month. It is indeed a blessed month. Let us celebrate him by holding and attending mawlids, increasing our ṣalawāt, learning about his life, and determining what gift we might give him.
Peace and blessings be upon him.