12 Rabi ul Awal and remembrance of the blessed Holy Prophet ﷺ.
The twelfth of Rabi ul Awal of the Islamic month has assumed the status of regular celebration and festival in our society, in our country, and in the Indo-Pak sub-continent. No sooner does the month of Rabi ul Awal arrives than an endless chain of Seerat (Biography of the Prophet ﷺ) and his Birth-Day celebrations commence. Discourses held on the subject of the biography of the Holy Prophet it is obviously the highest source of blessings for the believers. The difficulty, however, in our society is that we confine these blessed and enlightening discourses and speeches only to the month of Rabi ul Awal, rather, only to the twelfth day of this month. This practice is justified by saying that these celebrations are held on this date because this is the date of the blessed arrival of the Holy Prophet ﷺ in this world.
While doing all this we forget to consider what are the teachings of the reverend personality of the Prophet ﷺ on whose sacred biography seminars are being held and whose sacred birth-day is being celebrated. Do the Prophet’s teachings contain any hint at the desirability of following such practices?
A Great Event of Human History
No Muslim can have a doubt that the event of the birth of the Holy Prophet ﷺ is the most splendid, blissful, and blessed of all the phenomena that ever occurred on the surface of the earth. It was due to this unprecedented phenomenon that humanity received the light of the Holy Prophet’s teachings and the blessings of his unique personality.
If Islam had allowed the celebration of the birth-day of any person, then the birthday of the Holy Prophet ﷺ would have been the greatest celebration and the fittest occasion to be declared as an Eid (a joyous festival). The fact, however, is that after having been graced with the Prophetic mission, the Holy Prophet ﷺ lived in this world for twenty-three years and witnessed the day of his blessed birth every year but he never thought of celebrating this day as a festival, as people do nowadays. It also never occurred in the mind of any of his Noble Companions (R.A) that they should celebrate the birthday of the Holy Prophet it with any zeal and fervor.
The Twelfth of Rabi ul Awal and the Companions (R.A)
After leaving behind about one and a quarter Lakh (1,25,000) loyal Companions (R.A) the Holy Prophet ﷺ left this world. The Noble Companions were so faithful, loving, true, and devoted that they were ready to sacrifice even their lives for every breath of the Holy Prophet ﷺ. You will, however, not find a single Companion whoever took care to celebrate the Prophet’s birthday by holding meetings, taking out processions, burning candles or decorating places with flags, and doing such other acts of merriment. Why did the Noble Companions (R.A) not care to do so? This is only because Islam is not. like other religions, a religion of customs and festivals. The very existence of other religions depends on observing some rites, customs, and formal traditions. On the other hand, Islam is a practical religion in which every Muslim is called upon to live his entire life up to the principles of Islam, reforming his conduct, guarding himself against sins, and following the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet ﷺ. It is his lifelong duty from birth till death.
The Origin of Christmas
The idea of celebrating birthdays has crept into our society from the Christians. The birthday of Hazrat Essa (Jesus Christ) is celebrated in the name of Christmas every year on the 25th of December. If you go into the records of history you will find that none thought of celebrating the birthday of Hazrat Essa at least for about three hundred years since the date of his ascension. None of his helpers and companions ever celebrated his birthday. This Bid ah (Innovation) was started three hundred years after his leaving the world, by a section of the Christians. Even at that time, the true Christians objected to this innovation on the ground that there was no hint in the teachings of Prophet Jesus at such celebration. The innovators replied by asserting that there was no harm in this, as during such celebrations and gatherings the Prophet ﷺ would be remembered along with his teachings and this would induce the people to follow them. On the basis of such flimsy arguments this Bid ah started.
The present Condition of Christmas
In the beginning, the Christians used to assemble in a Church and a priest addressed them on the topic of the life and teachings of Hazrat Essa and then the assembly would disperse. This innovation started in a harmless and innocent way. Later on, they felt that it lacked the color and glamour. To give it color and jubilation they added to these innocent celebrations music and recitations of poems and with the passage of time merry-making musical concerts, dancing, even drinking gambling, etc., became the hallmark of this celebration. Thus, all immoral activities and festivities came to the foreground driving into the background the teachings of Hazrat Essa.
The Fate of Christmas
You may be unaware of the havoc played by this so-called Christmas in the western countries. The wine consumed on this one day exceeds the quantity consumed during the full one year. Fatal accidents, rape cases, and other evils that occur on this day far surpass the number of casualties and such crimes during the entire year.
The Beginning of the Milad un Nabi
Almighty Allah is well-Aware of the psychology and weaknesses of man. He knew that if the slightest hint was given to him about celebrating someone’s birthday, he would make a great fuss out of it. So He left no hint for man in this regard. It is very unfortunate that what happened to “Christmas” also happened to the twelfth day of the Rabi ul Awal. This Bid ah was originated by some king in imitation of “Christmas” celebrations to commemorate the birthday of Hazrat Essa In the beginning the celebrations of the twelfth Rabi ul Awal were simple. They contained only some speeches on the Prophet’s biography and the recitation of a few eulogistic poems (Naat). Now think for yourself how formidable form this Bid’ah has assumed.
This is like a Hindu Festival
It must be admitted that as a miracle of the Holy Prophet ﷺ even after the passage of fourteen centuries, matters concerning the celebrations of his birthday, have not yet reached the level of the unbridled festivities of the “Christmas”. Despite this, paper and wooden structures of the Prophet’s mausoleum and of the Ka’bah are set up on the roads and people are seen going around this artificial Ka’bah. Look also at the extensive recordings, expensive illumination of houses and mosques with multi-colored flags. In all respects, these resemble the Hindu and Christian celebrations and have nothing to do with the prophet’s birthday and biography.
This is not an Islamic practice
The worst of this Bid ah is being done in the name of Deen (Faith) and in the sacred name of the Holy Prophet ﷺ. This is being done in the hope that these activities will bring great credit and reward from Allah. They think that by lighting their streets, their houses, and mosques on this day they have paid their due homage to the Holy Prophet ﷺ. If you complain to them about their apathy to Deen they will reply that they celebrate the Prophet’s birthday, decorate every nook and comer with illuminations, and take out processions on this occasion in order to pay tributes to the Holy Prophet This is not the way of Islam, nor that of the Holy Prophet nor of his Noble Companions (R.A). If there had been any good in such celebration then Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq, Hazrat Umar Farooq, Hazrat Usman Ghani, and Hazrat Ali Murtaza (R.A) would never have missed these virtues if they were of any notice.
What was the objective of Prophetic Mission?
The Noble Companions (R.A) did not believe in assemblies and processions, illuminations, flags, and decorations. The distinctive feature of their lives was that they had molded their lives on the pattern of the Holy Prophet’s life and had fully imbibed the essence and spirit of his beautiful teachings. Every day that dawned on them and every moment of their lives was for them a day or moment of the Prophet’s Seerah (the Prophet’s biography). Everything they did, reflected the Prophet’s Sunnah. They knew full well that the Holy Prophet ﷺ had not been sent to this world to popularize the celebration of his birthday, nor to have his own praise sung in eulogistic poems (Naat) composed and recited in his praise – no nothing of this sort. It is well known that the unbelievers of Makkah offered to make him their richest man, to give him in marriage the hand of the most beautiful damsel of Arabia, or even to appoint him their king on the only condition that he $ relinquished the preaching of his new faith. If the Holy Prophet had the slightest inclination towards these offers he would have readily accepted them for the sake of worldly power, fame, and authority. What was the Prophet’s reaction to these attractive offers? His famous reply was:
I am not going to relinquish my divine mission of preaching Allah’s Deen even if you place the sun on my one hand and the moon on the other.
Was it the aim of his mission to enforce the celebration of his birthday? The aim of his mission has been mentioned in the Qur’an in the following words:
لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا
That is. in the messenger of Allah, there is a beautiful model .for such of you as looks for Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah a great deal. (33:21)
Thus this verse makes quite clear the divine intention of the Prophetic mission.
The Light of the Prophet’s teachings is needed
How nicely has the Holy Qur’an expressed this idea in another place!
قَدْ جَاءَكُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ نُورٌ وَكِتَابٌ مُّبِينٌ
A light and a clear Book has come to you from Allah. (5:15)
There is an indication in this verse that if a man has a book, but has no light, whether sunlight, electricity, or candlelight, he cannot benefit from the contents of the book. If a man has sources of natural or artificial lights but is blind, he too, cannot receive any benefit from books. In the same way, Allah sent along with the Qur’an, the guiding light of the Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ without which you can neither fully understand the injunctions contained in the Qur’an, nor can you comply with them according to Allah’s will.
The teachings of the Holy Prophet ﷺ are themselves light
Some ignorant and inconsiderate people interpret the above-quoted Qur’anic verse to mean that the Holy Prophet was not a man in his personal capacity but was a “Light”. Just think, what is the worth of these electric and other artificial lights as compared with the light of the teachings of the Holy Prophet ﷺ? This verse is telling us that the teachings of the Holy Prophet are a kind of light in which you can understand and follow rightly the injunctions of the “Clear Book”, which is the Qur’an. Allah sent His Messenger ﷺ to this world that the light of his teachings may provide a practical explanation and demonstration of the Book of Allah before you. For this purpose, Allah has made the Prophet’s life a complete model, the like of which humanity is unable to produce. You have been commanded to see and follow this model.
Source: Islam aur daur e hazir kay shubhat o mughalty and Islahi Khutbat, Vol 2, By Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani
12 Major Wrongdoings About Milad & Seerah Congregations & Processions, By Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani, click on the link below: