Abu Qatadah Al-Ansari (RAA) said that a person asked about fasting on Mondays, and the prophet (SAAW) said: “I was born on that day and revelation came down on me on that day.”[1]

When the Sahabah were trying to decide the starting point of the Islamic calendar, one of the suggestions was to begin from the birth of the prophet (SAAW).[2]

Al-Abbas, the uncle of the prophet (SAAW), had a dream about his brother Abdel-Uzza (Abu Lahab) being in a terrible state saying, “I have never experienced rest after leaving you except on Mondays when punishment is less severe, for it was on a Monday that I was told of the birth of Mohammad, and I freed the slave girl Thouwaybah out of joy for his birth.”[3]

Once, a woman had made an oath that if the prophet (SAAW) returned safely from one of his trips that she would play the drum for him. The prophet (SAAW) said: “If you have made an oath go ahead, but if you have not, don’t.” She replied that she had indeed made an oath, so she sat down and played the drum for him (SAAW).

Allah (SW) said: {Say it is only by the blessings of God and His mercy they should be joyful}[4], and the prophet (SAAW) was described as a mercy to mankind[5], so that is truly a reason for celebrating mercy in the person of prophet Mohammad (SAAW).

Upon his (SAAW) arrival to Madinah after migrating from Makkah, the Sahabah, including women and children, welcomed him as he entered the city with the famous Nasheed saying “the moon has risen upon us from the valley of Wada’.”[6]

All the above mentioned references and many, many more clearly show the celebration of the prophet (SAAW) in his birth, upon his arrival after travelling, and especially of his chosen role as a mercy to mankind, and there is no doubt it is all out of love.

The prophet (SAAW) said: “I wish we had seen our brothers.” Sahabah asked: “Aren’t we your brothers?” The prophet (SAAW) said: “You are my companions, but our brothers are those who have not come yet.”[7]

In another hadith, the prophet (SAAW) said: “Among the most intense type of love from my Ummah are from the people who will come after me, ones who would have sacrificed their wealth and family for the sake of seeing me.”[8]

Celebrating love is not something to be condemned. It takes different forms in relation to different cultures in every generation.

While he (SAAW) was alive, the Sahabah would compete for his satisfaction with them. Anas Ibn Malek said that servants would come to visit the prophet (SAAW) with containers of water and the prophet (SAAW) would put his hands in it.”[9] Abu Ghuhaifa (RAA) said: “The prophet (SAAW) made Wudu and prayed Zuhr and Asr, and people started holding his hands and wiping it on their faces. I took his hand and put it on my face and I felt it cooler than snow and more scented than musk.” [10]

Once, the prophet (SAAW) poked Usaid Ibn Hudair on his stomach while straitening lines during some battles. Usaid said: “Let me get even.” The prophet (SAAW) answered in agreement to his request. Usaid said: “I was bare skinned but you have a shirt on.” The prophet (SAAW) removed his shirt for Usaid’s retaliation, but Usaid only kissed his (SAAW) stomach and said: “I only wanted to do this.”

If the Sahabah (RAA) initiated all types of joyful celebrations regarding their prophet while he was among them and he (SAAW) approved it all, there should be allowances for Muslims in each generation to celebrate their prophet (SAAW). Gatherings where lectures are given about his life, Nasheed being sung or played in his memory, or food being served to guests or distributed to the needy is not a matter of making a new holiday or innovating something new in Islam, but rather should be seen as celebrating love towards the beloved (SAAW).

In the spirit of Rabi’ Al-Awwal, the month of the prophet’s birth, I hope that we celebrate our prophet (SAAW) by following his Sunnah and expressing our love to him.

By Sh Kifah Mustapha

 

[1] Muslim

[2] Ibn Katheer Bidaya and Nihaya

[3] Bukhari

[4]Younus 58

[5]107:21

[6]Baihaqi

[7] Muslim

[8] Muslim

[9] Bukhari

[10] Bukhari