Birthday of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): Its significance

Q69 :Birthday of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): Its significance

A69 : The month of Rabi Ul-Awal, which is the third month of the lunar year, has a special significance for Muslims. According to the more authentic reports, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ibn Abdullah was born in that month, ..... His birth signaled a new stage in human history, since he was destined to be the man who would receive and convey Allah's final message to mankind. With him the process of divine revelation was to reach its climax, for it was through Muhammad (peace be upon him) that we received the Qur'an, which provided a complete and final constitution for human life on earth. Allah has taken it upon Himself to preserve the Qur'an intact in order that all human generations should have the same divine guidance. The occasion of the birth of the Prophet was, then, a great one. Yet we do not celebrate his birth in any formal or ritual manner. This is because we have received our religion of Islam from Allah through Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Allah has given us our religion complete, and by doing so, He has perfected the grace He has bestowed on us, as He expressly tells us in Verse 3 of Surah 5: "This day I have completed your religion for you and perfected My grace on you and have chosen Islam to be your religion." What is complete and perfect can admit no addition. The Prophet did not celebrate his birthday, nor did he ever hint that its celebration was of any religious significance. His companions, who provided the perfect model of how Islam should be practiced, did not celebrate it either. Hence, we cannot make of the Prophet's birthday a religious occasion. It is always important, however, to remember the Prophet and give him the love and respect he deserves. He was the means through which we received Allah's guidance. Equally important was the fact that he provided for us the perfect example of how to live in accordance with that guidance. Every thought, every feeling and every deed he had or did was conceived within the framework of the guidance Allah chose for man. Every utterance or statement he made had the single aim of getting people to know Allah's guidance and put it into practice. Nothing gave him greater happiness than the acceptance of Islam by a new person. He personally did not gain anything from that. His only gain was that another human being had seen the light. Ever since the Prophet realized what role Allah had chosen for him, he dedicated himself totally to the task in hand. He did not hesitate to take any risk, speak to any person, undertake any action or spend any amount of money in service of his cause. He did not aspire to any of the luxuries of this life. He lived the life of a poor man. When he was the sole master of the whole of Arabia, he prayed: "My Lord, let me live a poor man, and die a poor man, and resurrect me on the day of judgment with the poor." The Qur'an describes the Prophet as "kind and benevolent to the believers." His kindness and benevolence was unequaled. They were also shown, in equal measure, to all believers. He would go himself to a family in order to propose to them that they marry their daughter to a poor man of his companions, knowing that the man stood little chance of being accepted should he go by himself. He would lay the body of a dead young man of his companions in his grave and pray Allah to be pleased with him because the young man did not have any relatives in the Muslim community. His companions were unanimous in describing the great care he showed to the weak among his companions. We are told that any young child was able to take him by the hand wherever it wanted. He would not leave it until he had done for it whatever it wanted. He enjoyed the love of his companions and followers to a degree which defied any comparison. They laid their lives at his fingertip. They did not make him forget his modesty at any moment. He continued to remind them that he was simply "the son of a Makkan woman who used to eat dried meat." Yet his anger was great indeed when anyone tried to usurp a right which belonged to Allah. He recognized the great favor Allah bestowed on him by choosing him to convey His last message to mankind. When he conquered Makkah, an almost bloodless conquest which represented his greatest victory, he entered the holy city with his head as low as possible, in gratitude to Allah for that favor. The Prophet was a great statesman and a shrewd military commander. He was also the perfect model of modesty, kindness and compassion. He conveyed his message complete and perfect. He has left with us divine guidance which ensures that we do not sink into error. He, then, deserves our whole love. How should we love the Prophet? He has indeed given us guidance even on this question. He tells us: "No one of you is a true believer until I am dearer to him than himself, his money, children and all people." His great companion, Umar, once said to him: "Messenger of Allah, you are dearer to me than everything else with the exception of myself." The Prophet said: "No, Umar! You must love me more than you love yourself." Umar said: "I do love you more than I love everything else, including myself." The Prophet said: "Now you have got it, Umar," meaning true faith. This is not a simple thing, easily achieved. It is something which requires a great effort and a perfect understanding of Islam and the position of the Prophet. Moreover, it requires us to overcome our natural and deeply seated love of ourselves in order to obey the Prophet in every small matter as we obey him in the more serious affairs.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )