The auspicious occasion of Eid Milad-un-Nabi (S.A.W.W) is being celebrated with great religious zeal and fervour across the world including Pakistan.
Every year the birthday of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.W) brings in its train thousands of blessings and mercies not only for the Muslims but for the whole world.
THE HOLY QURAN SAYS: “The Prophets we commissioned were ordained so that people may obey them and that is the will of God.” The same point is elaborated in another way; “Whosoever obeys the Prophet, (SAW) obeys God.”
After the Holy Qur’an, the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.W) and descriptions of his way of life (sunna) are the most important Muslim texts. Let’s take an in-depth review of the life and the teachings of Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W).
Arab before Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.W)
Religion in pre-Islamic Arabia was a mix of polytheism, Christianity, Judaism, and Iranian religions. Arab polytheism, the dominant belief system, was based on the belief in deities and other supernatural beings such as djinn. Gods and goddesses were worshipped at local shrines, such as the Kaaba in Mecca.
Arabia was a male-dominated society. Women had no status of any kind other than as sex objects.The number of women a man could marry was not fixed. When a man died, his son “inherited” all his wives except his own mother.
A savage custom of the Arabs was to bury their female infants alive. Even if an Arab did not wish to bury his daughter alive, he still had to uphold this “honorable” tradition, being unable to resist social pressures.
Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.W) was born into the most powerful tribe in Mecca, the Quraish, around 570 A.D. The power of the Quraish derived from their role as successful merchants. Several trade routes intersected at Mecca, allowing the Quraish to control trade along the west coast of Arabia, north to Syria, and south to Yemen.
After working for several years as a merchant, Muhammad (S.A.W.W) was hired by Khadija, a wealthy widow, to ensure the safe passage of her caravans to Syria. They eventually married.
When He (S.A.W.W) was roughly forty, Muhammad (S.A.W.W) began having visions and hearing voices. He (S.A.W.W) would sometimes meditate at Mount Hira, near Mecca.
On one of these occasions, the Archangel Gabriel (Jibra’il in Arabic) appeared to him and instructed him to recite in the name of [your] lord. This was the first of many revelations that became the basis of the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam. These early revelations pointed to the existence of a single God.
Muhammad (S.A.W.W) found unflinching support in His wife and slowly began to attract followers. His strong monotheistic message angered many of the Meccan merchants.
From that point forward, Muhammad (S.A.W.W) was ostracized in Mecca. For a time, the influence and status of his wife and his uncle, Abu Talib, the chief of the clan, protected Muhammad from persecution. After they died, however, Muhammad’s situation in Mecca became dire.
In 622, Muhammad (S.A.W.W) and His followers headed to Medina, another oasis town, where they were promised freedom to practice their religion. The move from Mecca to Medina is known as the hijra—the flight—and marks year 1 of the Islamic, or hijri, calendar.
In Medina, Muhammad (S.A.W.W) continued to receive divine revelations and built an ever-expanding community around the new faith. The conflict with the Quraish continued, but after several years of violent clashes, Mecca surrendered. Muhammad (S.A.W.W) and his followers soon returned and took over the city, destroying all its pagan idols and spreading their belief in one God.
Necessity of Loving Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W)
Allah says, “The Prophet is more worthy of the believers than themselves” [Saheeh Intl 33:6] and the Prophet (S.A.W.W) said, “None of you will be a true believer until I am more beloved to you than yourself”. [Bukhari]
To explain the verse, Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah (radi Allahu `anhu – may God be pleased with him) explains that the Prophet (S.A.W.W) has a ‘higher claim’ on the believers than they have on themselves. That is, he is more important to them and more loved by them than anyone else, including their own self.
According to a Hadith Narated By ‘Abdullah bin Hisham, “We were with the Prophet and he was holding the hand of ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab. ‘Umar said to Him, “O Allah, You are dearer to me than everything except my own self.” The Prophet said, “No, by Him in Whose Hand my soul is, (you will not have complete faith) till I am dearer to you than your own self.” Then ‘Umar said to him, “However, now, by Allah, you are dearer to me than my own self.” The Prophet said, “Now, O ‘Umar, (now you are a believer).”
This is an erroneous representation and manifestation that we need to challenge. We need to reclaim and rekindle the narrative of love and mercy that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.W). taught us. We need to revive the sunnah through expressing tenderness and mercy, in manifesting our faith.
Lessons of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.W)
Forgiveness over revenge: As part of the Prophetic mission to disseminate His message of submitting to One God, Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.W) went to Ta’if to call on them to Islam. His message was not only rejected, but he was also humiliated.
The children were instructed by their elders to throw stones at the Prophet (S.A.W.W) and he was driven out of the city. However, the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W) chose mercy over retaliation, hope over despair
Seeing the best in others: The Prophet (S.A.W.W) also taught us that through love and mercy, one can be drawn to the beauty of Islamic faith. Prior to Sayyidina Umar (R.A) accepting the message of Islam, he was a powerful adversary that had challenged the Prophetic message. However, the Prophet (S.A.A.W) prayed to Allah to soften his heart.
Prophet (S.A.W.W) showed that love trumps hate. Hate should be challenged with love and mercy, not enmity and violence.
Love for Fellow Humanity: One of the teachings of love from Prophet Muhammad s.a.w is for us to love one another. The Prophet s.a.w taught us that what we love for ourselves should also be what we love for others.