The Celebration of the Birth of Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h.
by Rabia Mills
The Hijri date 12
Rabi Awwal (some say 09 Rabi Awwal) is one of twelve months in
the Islamic calendar. This is the Islamic birth date of the holy Prophet
Muhammad p.b.u.h. He was born in 570 C.E.. and since the Islamic calendar
is 354 days long, the Hijri date is pushed back up to 11 days each year.
Muslims celebrate this occasion by holding
birth of the prophet) functions and gatherings throughout the month of
The main thrust of these
gatherings is to remember, observe, discuss and celebrate the advent of
the birth and teachings of the holy Prophet Muhammad, p.b.u.h. Toronto
is even home to an International Milad-un-Nabi conference which organizers
have held every year for the past eight years. Speakers from all over the
world have addressed large audiences here in Toronto for this conference.
Various mosques and Muslim organizations will also hold their own celebrations
at various times and places throughout the month. Those who cannot do it
during this particular month may hold these functions during the next month
or even later.
The British historian and
philosopher, Thomas Carlyle, (d. 1881) in his "Lectures on Heroes, Hero
Worship and the Heroic in History," (1841) has this to say about Muhammad
p.b.u.h., "The word of such a man is a voice direct from nature's own heart.
Men do and must listen to that or nothing else; all else is wind in comparison
. . . They called him prophet, you say? Why, he stood there face to face
with them, bare, not enshrined in any mystery; visibly sewing his own cloak;
cobbling his own shoes, fighting, counselling; ordering in the midst of
them, they must have seen what kind of man he was. Let him be called what
you like! No emperor with his dignity was obeyed as this man in a cloak
of his own making. During three and twenty years of tough actual trial,
I find something of a veritable hero necessary for that of itself."
In the west, little is known
about Prophet Muhammad's p.b.u.h. teachings by the general population.
It might surprise a non-Muslim reader to learn that throughout his impressive
career, every detail of his life is known. His actions and sayings, known
as Hadith or Traditions, were recorded in the minutest
More than fourteen hundred
collections of his sayings are currently available, although the most widely
used among the Sunnis are the six Sahih (correct, sound or
authentic) collections. These collections are considered 'authentic' due
the very strict criteria used in compiling them. For instance, the narrator
had to have heard the Prophet himself or herself; he or she would have
to have had a good memory as well as possess good understanding and judgement;
he or she would have to be an upright person known to have never told a
lie, and so on. This is the first link in the chain. If the person related
what they heard to another person, this would comprise a second link. Each
link in the chain had the same exacting standards applied to it. If there
was a break in the chain, or if the narrator had been known to have told
a lie even once, or if the narrator was not considered to have been an
upright person by his or her peers, then the saying would be considered
unreliable and was not included in the 'Sahih' version. (for more
details esp. re. compilation of Qur'an click
Many sayings (Hadith)
were narrated by A'isha, one of the Prophet's wives, who was known for
her good memory and upright character. It is marvellous to consider the
extent of the Hadith literature considering that Muhammad, p.b.u.h.
was unlettered. Despite the fact that he could neither read nor write,
his wise words have been carefully and accurately preserved for humankind
from then until now and it is hoped for generations to come.
Here is a sample of a few
of the Prophet's sayings derived from the Sahih collections. This will
give the reader a flavour of his wisdom. It will also show how these jewels
are similar to the words of Jesus Christ and many teachings in the Bible
and the Torah. Whether of a religious, non-religious or secular persuasion,
it is no wonder that great people of the world have admired Muhammad as
a great reformer:
The following is an excerpt
from the book entitled "The Sayings of Muhammad" with a forward
by Mahatma Ghandi by Allama Sir Abdullah al-Mamun al-Suhrawardi. Published
by Charles Tuttle Co. Inc., Boston 1992.
The Prophet Muhammad
He who knoweth his own self,
He will not enter hell who hath
faith equal to a mustard seed in his heart, and he will not enter Paradise
who hath a single grain of pride, equal to a mustard seed in his heart.
Muhammad, p.b.u.h. said: "That
person will not enter Paradise who hath one atom of pride in his heart."
And a man present said, "Verily, a man is fond of having good clothes and
good shoes." Muhammad p.b.u.h. said, "God is Beauty and delighteth
in the beautiful; but pride is holding man in contempt."
God's kindness towards His creatures
is more than that of a mother towards her babe.
Do not say that if people do
good to us, we will do good to them, and if people oppress us, we will
oppress them. Instead determine that if people do good to you, you will
do good to them; and if they oppress you, you will not oppress them.
No man is a true believer unless
he desireth for his brother that which he desireth for himself.
He who believeth in one God
and the Hereafter, let him speak what is good or remain silent.
Riches are not from abundance
of worldly goods, but from a contented mind.
Whoever suppresseth his anger,
when he hath in his power to show it, God will give him a great reward.
The greatest crimes are to associate
another with God, to vex your father and mother, to murder your own species,
to commit suicide, and to swear a lie.
Whoso openeth unto himself the
door of begging, God will open unto him the door of poverty.
A man asked, "Are there rewards
for our doing good to animals and giving them water to drink?" Muhammad,
p.b.u.h. said, "Verily there are heavenly rewards for any act of kindness
to a live animal."
The best of alms is that which
the right hand giveth and the left hand knoweth not of.
There are seven people whom
God will draw under His own shadow, on the day when there will be no shadow;
one of them will be a man who hath given alms and concealed it, so that
his left hand knew not what his right hand did.
The best of almsgiving is that
which springeth from the heart, and is uttered by the lips to soften the
wounds of the injured.
All actions are judged by the
motives prompting them.
The most excellent Jihad
[trans.:striving] is that for the conquest of the self. [i.e., the carnal
self or ego]
The exercise of religious duties
will not atone for the fault of an abusive tongue.
Keep yourselves far from envy
because it eateth up and taketh away good actions, like a fire eateth up
and burneth wood.
God is gentle and loveth gentleness.
What is Paradise? Muhammad p.b.u.h.
replied "It is what the eye hath not seen, nor the ear heard, nor ever
occurred to the mind of man."
He is not a perfect man of fortitude
who hath not fallen into misfortunes; and there is no physician but the
Every good act is charity; and
verily it is a good act to meet your brother with an open countenance,
and to pour water from your own water bag into his vessel.
Guard yourselves from six things,
and I am your security for Paradise. When you speak, speak the truth; perform
when you promise; discharge your trust; be chaste in thought and action;
and withhold your hand from striking, from taking that which is unlawful,
Feed the hungry and visit the
sick, and free the captive, if he be unjustly confined. Assist any person
oppressed, whether Muslim or non-Muslim.
Speak to men according to their
mental capacities, for if you speak all things to all men, some cannot
understand you, and so fall into errors. Abuse no-one, and if a man abuse
thee, and lay open a vice which he knoweth in thee, then do not disclose
one which thou knowest in him.
Meekness and modesty are two
branches of Iman [Faith]; and vain talking and embellishing are
two branches of hypocrisy.
The world and all things in
it are valuable; but the most valuable thing in the world is a virtuous
Whoever doeth good to girls,
it will be a curtain to him from hell-fire.
Whoever befriendeth three daughters,
or three sisters, and teacheth them manners, and is affectionate to them,
till they come of age, may God apportion Paradise for him.
Whoever hath a daughter, and
doth not bury her alive, or scold her, or prefer his male children to her,
may God bring him into Paradise. [Note: this refers to the practice of
female infanticide which was common in those days. The Prophet Muhammad
p.b.u.h. abolished this practice]
God enjoins you to treat women
well, for they are your mothers, daughters and aunts.
Do not prevent women from coming
to the mosque.
is short for "peace be upon him" which is an expression used by Muslims
to indicate reverence towards the holy Prophet Muhammad.