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WHY RABI’UL-AWWAL REMAINS IMPORTANT?

Almost every month of the Islamic calendar, has a renowned subject. Sha’ban, for instance, the greater part of it, is for nafl fasting. Ramadhan, is for fasting. Shawwal, is for six days. Still Shawwal, Dhul-Qa’dah, and Dhul-Hajj, are for performance of pilgrimage to Makkah. Yet Rabi’ul-Awwal, no doubt Muslims around the globe, remember the birth of their beloved Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him (PBUH). In Uganda, my first home country before Pakistan, some sections of Muslims celebrated the Messenger’s birthday in varied ways. To a considerable number, especially the elderly, 12th Rabi’ul-Awwal was a public holiday. Mauled cerebrations that involved poetry like recitals in the praise of the Prophet from classical treasured books with entertainment interludes took place. That would be followed with some heavy feast. In other circles, seminars, workshops, pulpit based Friday sermons, and public lectures to elucidate the greatness of the Messenger were witnessed. Several other Muslims were cognizant of this memorable date, but to them, life went on as usual. Of course don’t forget that some people up to now are not aware of which Islamic month is current. What happened here in Pakistan will be for next year, insha-Allah. Remembrance of our Messenger Muhammad (PBUH) in this month does not essentially mean that he is forgotten in other months. In fact, he is the only single human being frequently remembered in every minute throughout the world (Allahu Akbar!). American author, Michael H. Hart rightly ranked him No.1 in his “The 100 most influential people of all time.” Take for instance the five daily prayers, he is mentioned in each several times. What about during nafl salaat that are conducted at each one’s convenience? What about those who just say: “Allahumma salli alaa Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wassalaama” just to get rewards from Allah for that? Those who call for prayers during Azaan and Iqaama still make mention of him. Allah sums it up when He says: “And have We not raised high your fame? Qur’an, Al-Inshirah, 94:4. One commentator, Mujahid says the verse implies that whenever Allah is remembered, the Messenger will also be remembered. In a similar manner, a great scholar Qatada said: “Allah elevated the remembrance of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) both in this world as well as in the hereafter.” Belief in Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is an element of faith in Islam. It is also the second part of the first pillar of Islam i.e. to testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad (PBUH)is His Servant and Messenger. This latter part implies: trusting whatever he said as revelation from Allah, obeying whatever he instructed, and shunning whatever he forbade. The three mentioned benchmarks can be used as of now to do some self-assessment. For sure, he is a unique Messenger, sent to entire humanity unlike other Prophets and Messengers. He is the seal of Prophethood. Allah elevated him to the highest rank; HE (PBUH) is the best human being, the intercessor on the Day of Judgment for humanity including other people he wasn’t sent to and must be dearer to us than our selves, parents, children and all other people. He is the gate-pass to Paradise. Prophets, Musa and Isa prophesized his coming (As-Saf 61:6; Al-A’raaf 7:157). Allah sent him with historical miracles, Qur’an being the permanent one, to prove his messengership. Whosoever obeys the Messenger, he/she has indeed obeyed Allah (An-Nisaa’ 4:80) and love for Allah Ta’laa is only attained through strict following of the Prophet’s teachings, Al-Imraan 3:31. Now that we know him, some actions must be observed. He must be preferred to our own desires, follow his lead in all matters, don’t rush in making decisions before him, and do not say or do anything that contradicts the Qur’an and Sunnah, (read Al-Hujuraat 49;1). He should not be called plainly as we call ourselves like Abdulhamid, Mustafah or Khan; a word like rasuulullah or peace be upon him should precede his name or follow it (refer to An-Noor 24:63). Obedience to him without deviation is mandatory and the contemporary disorders in the Muslim Ummah appear to be the consequences of our disobedience. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, while giving his translation of Al-Qur’an 24:63 in the Noble Qur’an, he observed: “And let those who oppose the Messenger’s commandment (i.e. his Sunnah¬¬__legal ways, orders, acts of worship, statements) (among the sects) beware, lest some Fitnah (disbelief, trials, afflictions, earthquakes, killing, overpowered by a tyrant) should befall them or a painful torment be afflicted on them.” Being the best of all creatures (khair-khalqillah), makes him the right model for anyone with hopes for the Meeting with Allah and the Last Day, (read Al-Ahzaab 33:21). Since he was a human being like me and you, his humane attributes must be emulated. For instance, his honesty, truthfulness, forbearance, cleanliness, care for his family, patience, love for his followers, respect of everyone, rigorousness for the obligatory prayers, leadership skills etc. But emulating his ways calls for another vital step; reading his biography to get exposed to how he dealt with all matters of life. We ought to take part in reviving his sunnah. He observed once; “Whoever revives my Sunnah at a time when they will be forgotten, he/she is striving in the cause of Allah.” Let us love his companions and family members. The former, he considered them to be his starts that must illuminate our way. Finally, in order to get his intercession on the Last Day, we must pray for him or salute him ten times (x10) every morning and evening, and make special supplication for him after every Azaan.

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