SHAFAQNA – All praise is due to Allah and may Allah raise the rank of Prophet Muhammad, his virtuous and blessed kin and honoured companions.
We Muslims remember our beloved prophet, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), as today 12th of Rabi-ul-Awal (January 3rd 2015) marks three milestones in his life and our Ummah (Muslim community). It was the day he was born, the day he received the holy revelation and the day he passed away.
“The peace is on Him the day when he was born and the day when he will die and the day when he will be raised alive.” (Verse 15, Surah Al-Maryam).
The Arabic word “Milad –un-Nabi” loosely translates to meaning “Birth of the prophet.” Muslims may also use the words Mawlid-un-Nabi, Mawlid Al Sharif or Milad Sharif interchangeably.
Celebrations in commemoration of the birth (Al-Mawlid) of Prophet Muhammad, whom Allah sent as mercy, by way of reciting the Qur’an and by way of remembering the honourable traits and characteristics of the Prophet is a blessed matter of immense goodness, as long as the celebrations do not immerse in any types of hideous innovations which our religion rejects.
About Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him…
Early Life of the Prophet
MUHAMMAD, peace be upon him, was born around the year 570 in the city of Makkah. His name means “highly praised.” Muhammad’s full name was Abu Al-Qasim, Muhammad Bin Abdallah Bin Abd Al-Muttalib Bin Hashim. He was the last prophet of the religion of Islam.
Muhammad’s father, Abdallah, died several weeks before his birth and his mother, Aminah, died when he was six years old. He was raised by his paternal grandfather, ‘Abd Al-Muttalib, until the age of eight, and after his grandfather’s death by Abu Talib, his paternal uncle. Under the guardianship of Abu Talib, Muhammad (PBUH) began to earn a living as a businessman and a trader.
In his late 30s Muhammad (PBUH) took to regularly visiting a cave in Mount Hira, on the outskirts of Makkah, to seek solitude and contemplation. In 610, at the age of 40, Muhammad returned from one such visit telling his wife he had either gone mad or become a prophet, for he had been visited by an angel. The initially startled Khadija, may Allah be pleased with her, became his first convert.
Muhammad (PBUH) reported that while in a trance-like state, the Angel Gabriel appeared to him and said “Proclaim!” But like Moses, Muhammed (PBUH) was a reluctant prophet. He replied, “I am not a proclaimer.” The angel persisted, and the Prophet repeatedly resisted, until the angel finally overwhelmed Muhammad and commanded him:
Recite in the name of your Lord who created –
Created man from a clinging substance.
Recite, and your Lord is the most Generous –
Who taught by the pen –
Taught man that which he knew not.
Quran (96: 1-5)
After receiving Khadija’s support, and additional angelic visits, Muhammad became confident he had indeed been chosen as the Messenger of Allah and began to proclaim as he had been commanded.
Muhammad’s (PBUH) message to his countrymen was to convert from pagan polytheism, immorality and materialism, repent from evil and worship Allah, the only true God. He was always careful to clarify his role in God’s work, he was only a prophet. He was not an angel, he did not know the mind of Allah, he did not work miracles. He simply preached what he had received.
In the first three years of his ministry, Muhammad (PBUH) gained only 40 followers. And as his teachings threatened the Meccan way of life, both moral and economic, he and his followers experienced heavy persecution. It first took the form of mockery, but soon turned into open violence. Members of the small movement were stoned, covered in dirt as they prayed, beat with sticks, thrown into prison and refused service by merchants.
Persecution continued to increase until Muhammad (PBUH), peace be upon him, received some welcome news: he had gained followers in the city of Yathrib, 280 miles north of Mecca. The city was in need of a strong leader, and a delegation from Yathrib proposed that Muhammad (PBUH) take the job. In return, they pledged to worship Allah only, obey Muhammad (PBUH) and defend him and his followers to the death. Allah revealed to Muhammad (PBUH) his approval of this arrangement, and Muhammad (PBUH) made plans to escape to Yathrib.
The leaders in Mecca heard of the planned escape, and attempted to prevent it. But Muhammad (PBUH) and his close friend Abu Bakr, managed to make a narrow escape north out of the city, evading a Meccan search party and arriving safely in Yathrib. This event is celebrated by Muslims as the Hijira. The year in which it occurred, 622, is the date at which the Muslim calendar begins. Yathrib was renamed Medinat Al-Nabi, “the City of the Prophet,” and is now known simply as Medina, “the City.”
In Medina, Muhammad (PBUH) proved himself an able politician and statesman as well as a prophet.
Battle of Mecca
After establishing himself in Medina and accomplishing the job he had been invited to do, the people of Medina began several years of battle with Muhammad’s former home city. In 624, the Muslims won their first encounter “Battle of Badr” against the Meccans. As the latter had a much larger army, the former took the victory as a sign that Allah was on their side. However, a subsequent encounter “Battle of Uhud” was not victorious, and Muhammad (PBUH) himself was wounded. But in 627, the Meccans attacked Medina, and Medina came out on top. The Prophet was not to lose again.
In 630, Muhammad (PBUH) and his forces marched to Mecca and defeated it. The Prophet rededicated the Ka’ba temple to Allah, witnessed the conversion to Islam of nearly the entire Meccan population, then returned to Medina. Muhammad (PBUH) died in 632, having conquered nearly all of Arabia for Islam.
Spread of Islam
By 634, Islam had taken over the entire Arabian peninsula. Within 100 years of Muhammad’s (PBUH) death, it had reached the Atlantic in one direction and borders of China in the other.