Sunday, April 24, 2005

Happy Birthday!

Tomorrow, Shias celebrate the birthday of the Holy Prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him) 17th Rabi' al-Awwal, which marks the 3rd month in the Islamic calendar. Sunnis celebrate this auspicious holiday 5 days earlier on the 12th. It is celebrations like these that make me homesick because I will be by myself with no goodies instead of in the mosque all dressed up with my family & friends. Ah well, I celebrate in my heart...

From the World Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheris:

The 17th of Rabi' al-Awwal marks the entrance into this world of the final Prophet and Messenger of Allah, Muhammad ibne Abdullah (peace be upon him and his family). With his coming, the spiritual darkness that had plagued the entire world was lifted and the rays of true monotheism were able to once again shine.

Undoubtedly, this is one of the greatest events of celebration – the birth of the person referred to as the “Mercy to the Universe.” The man whose mission had a profound impact and even today is remembered throughout the Muslim world in a month of celebrations – that commemorates both the man and the message.

Born an orphan, al-Mustafa (peace be upon him and his family) lost his father a few months before coming into this world. The Prophet was raised by his mother and other close family members in the precincts of the first house of worship built for mankind, Mecca. Forced to give up his mother to the Almighty some years later, it was perhaps through the hand of providence such losses strengthened his character.

The Prophet’s life is full of examples for us. We just need to look at the various aspects of his life to better appreciate his contributions. Such articles can only scratch the surface; it is then up to each one of us to investigate further to learn the entire Sirah (life) of the leader of humanity.

His life before he was commanded to officially preach the message in the centre of pilgrimage was one of self-building and training. In fact, it can be seen that his first 40 years before revelation were spent by his Creator grooming and nurturing him to bear a heavy responsibility. Through his purity of character and moral authority, Prophet Muhammad came to be known amongst the general public as as-Sadiq (the Truthful) and al-Amin (the Trustworthy)!

However, when the words, “Read, in the name of your Lord who created …” came down upon him, the same people who knew the extent of the Prophet’s honesty began to reject his claims of prophethood! Nonetheless, just as he was commanded, he continued to persevere and propagate his message for thirteen years in his hometown of Mecca. All the while, the Prophet, his family and the small group of believers were being persecuted and even denied the basic necessities.

After enduring thirteen years of difficulty, permission finally came to migrate north to the city of Yathrib, now called Madinah, where people were anxiously awaiting his arrival and the end of their own spiritual and social difficulties. Welcomed into the city, Muhammad was not only the representative of Allah in the spiritual realm, his role expanded to a judge, governor, banker and other positions as the Muslims formed a true community in every sense of the word with the last Messenger of Allah at its helm.

On this auspicious day of the birth of the Prophet, we should seek to study the life of this great man and emulate his characteristics and ways of being.

Find out more about the life of the
Holy Prophet of Islam