Celebrating the Al Amin

India is a land of celebrations. Birthdays are also one of the occasions of festivity in this nation. The gazetted holidays for Ram Navami, Krishna Ashtami, Nanak Jayanti and Eid-e-Milad reiterate the Indian freedom to celebrate different faiths. They also exemplify the essence of Unity in Diversity. So, for today join the celebrations of the birth of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).
A sketch(1910) of the mosque built at the birthplace of Mohammed (PBUH) Image source: islamiclandmarks.com

A sketch(1910) of the mosque built at the birthplace of Mohammed (PBUH) Image source: islamiclandmarks.com

First, let us share a few details of the differences in the method of reverence for The Prophet Mohammed(PBUH). Just like the prefix words like Sri, Lord or Guru, are used for Ram, Jesus and Nanak, to show respect to the leaders of different religions, Peace Be Upon Him(PBUH) are the words used as a mark of respect for The Prophet (as instructed in the Qur’an).

The reverence is also shown by identifying the uniqueness of his personality. So his pictures, portraits or any form of visual art of his face is prohibited. He cannot be compared to any other human. Hence no form of art should try to recreate his great persona through imagination.

The day of Milad un Nabi is not about celebrating his birth, it is rather a day of re-focussing on his cause, principles and guidance through the Qur’an and Hadith. Hadith are the volumes of recorded answers given by the Prophet in his lifetime, to the queries about the best way of living in all the different aspects ranging from the method of prayers to legal solutions, from marriage to business transactions, etc.

Prophet Mohammed(PBUH) is believed to be born on the 12th of Rabbi-ul-Awwal in the holy city of Mecca by the Sunni Muslims. The Shias celebrate on the 17th day. As the day of celebration is as per the 3rd month of the Islamic Lunar calendar, this year it falls on October 9th. It is both a day of rejoicing and mourning because it is also believed to be his death anniversary. Though it is said that the people of Syria first began celebrating the day, it is in Egypt that the day was celebrated officially for the first time which later gained popularity during the 11th century.

Mohammad ibn Abdullah ibn Abdul Muttalib is the son of Amina bint Wahb and Abdullah ibn Abd al-Muttalib. As the saying goes, great people get tested by the Almighty with more adversities. So, as per the Hadith and other records, The Messenger was bereaved of his father before his birth. He was then under the care of his paternal grandfather Abd al-Muṭṭalib the Quraish tribal leader.

At the age of six, the child lost his mother and two years later even his grandfather. He then came under the care of his uncle Abū Ṭālib the head of the clan Hashim. He was also entrusted to his wet nurse Bi Bi Haleema by his mother as per the contemporary tradition at an early age, who when orphaned took care of him till his teens. Even as a boy, he preferred to be self-reliant and earned his keep as a shepherd to the clansmen. His uncle was a modest merchant and Prophet Mohammed used to accompany him during the trading journeys far and wide across the deserts.

This verse in the Qur’an confirms his early life: "Did Allah not find you an orphan and give you shelter and care? And He found you wandering, and gave you guidance. And he found you in need, and made you independent" (93:6-8).

During his transactions with traders on these journeys which took him as far as the north of Syria, he gained the famed title of Al Amin – the one who can be trusted and always speaks the truth. Owing to his fame as Al Amin, during one of his journeys a Christian Monk prophesied that Mohammad ibn Abdullah was going to be the last Prophet of Islam as promised in the earlier books of revelations. Contrary to the general belief that Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was the founder of the Islamic faith, he is in fact, the last of the 124,000 Islamic prophets who had traversed this world.

In his early twenties, he became the caravan agent of a wealthy Meccan merchant widow. He took her goods to the north for sale and returned with the profits. Observing his honesty and a uniquely different character compared to the contemporary Meccan men, she sent a proposal of marriage to his uncle through a relative. So, around 595 AD, Mohammed (PBUH) was married to Hazrat Khadija with the blessings of his uncle. He was 25 while she was nearing 40. He continued managing her business as a caravan agent rather than as an owner even after the marriage.

The simple fact that age is not a barrier in true relationships was exemplified by him 1400 years ago. Also, women had equal rights to send a marriage proposal in that era, yet were considered un-lady like in the supposed modern era till a few decades ago in other parts of the world.

While polygamy was prevalent in every civilisation, proved even in the Indian epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata, Prophet Mohammed did not take another wife till his first was alive. His other wives recount his constant reference to Hazrat Khadija as one of the five best women in Islam who have already been promised a place in Jannah. All his wives were widowed women with children of various wars except the last one, who was the only virgin he married as instructed by Allah.

This fact is a far cry from the accusations that he was a reveller of the flesh, while in fact, he was setting examples to his followers that marriage must be a tool to protect women and not a part of the booty won in war.

Hence the day of Eid-e-Milad is not just a celebration of the mercy of the Almighty showered through The Messenger. It is a tribute to each moment of his life. The recorded Hadiths act as the treatise on the code of conduct for every walk of life. His life thus navigates the Muslims across the globe on the path of righteousness and Jannah (paradise).

So, the day is marked by singing Hamd and Naats, which are hymns in praise of the Almighty and The Prophet (also referred to as the Messenger of Allah) respectively. Mass prayers, food, and charity are performed and served on the day to emulate his attributes. Programmes for authenticating the recitations of the Qur’an by children known as Hadiya are organised. In some places, Muslims join in processions wearing green colour topis (Muslim caps) or carrying flags or banners because green is the favourite colour of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

Eid-e-Milad Celebration in India Image Source: learnaboutislam.in

Eid-e-Milad Celebration in India Image Source: learnaboutislam.in

The Masjid-e-Nabawi founded by The Prophet at Madina Image Source: zamzam.com

The Masjid-e-Nabawi founded by The Prophet at Madina Image Source: zamzam.com


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