Rabi’ul-Awwal and Celebrations Around the World

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Devotees following Covid protocol offer Friday prayers on Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi at Hazratbal Shrine in Srinagar. KO photo: Abid Bhat

The Month that turned Darkness into Light

By Uzair Makhdoomi

THE month of Rabi’ul-Awwal is the most significant month in the Islamic history, because humanity was blessed in this month by the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Before the birth of the Holy Prophet , not only the Arabian peninsula, but also the so-called civilized nations of Rome and Persia were drowned in the darkness of ignorance, superstitions, oppression and unrest.

The Holy Prophet came with the eternal truth of Tawhid (Oneness of Allah), the only faith which provides a firm basis for the real concepts of knowledge, equity and peace. It was this faith which delivered humanity from ignorance and superstitions and spread the light of true knowledge all over the world.

Thus, the birth of the Holy Prophet was the most significant and the most remarkable event in human history. The life of the Holy Prophet is, no doubt, the most important source of guidance for all the Muslims, and every Muslim is under an obligation to learn and study the events of his life, and to follow the practical example set by him in every sphere of life. The narration of his pious biography (the Seerah) in itself is a pious act which invites the divine blessings, but the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah have not prescribed a particular time or method for it. This pious act should be performed in all the months and at all times.

Some parts of the world have their own ways of celebrating it.

In South Asia, religious celebrations are a huge deal especially in Pakistan. The month of Rabi-ul-Awwal is marked with the remembrance of Prophet (pbuh). Events such as Mehfil-e-Naat and Mehfil-e-Zikr are organised to commemorate this month and the birth of the beloved Prophet (pbuh). Local mohallas organise events in local mosques. These days are filled with the praise of the Prophet (pbuh) through recitations from Quran as well as poetry.

The Arab world as it is loosely called is where most of Islamic History thrives. It is here in the Arabian Peninsula that Prophet (pbuh) was born. It is in his teachings, his memory, his remembrance that the Prophet is celebrated. The Arabic literature has a rich repository of odes in the praise of the Prophet. Qasidat al-Burda is one such ode which is popular across the muslims especially in South Asia.

The Prophet (pbuh) is celebrated wherever his teachings have reached. Even in muslim minority regions, he’s remembered fondly. Diaspora muslims take on the ways of celebration from countries of their ancestors and have their own ways as well. In fact, muslims in the west have grown into a well knit community trying to preserve and respect the eternal glory of Prophet by studying it and following it.

Indeed, the best way to honour Prophet (pbuh) is to honour his teachings by following them. He represented the spirit of exceeding peace, kindness and justice. As Muslims, it is sufficient for us to strive to imitate that idea, however impossible. He was sent as a blessing to the world and we must strive to be the harbingers of help and hope for others around us. This is the true celebration of the Prophet (pbuh) — the best of mankind.

  • The author is a student of IMBA at Islamic University of science and technology, Awantipora

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