Many customs have been accepted without question primarily because they have been passed onto us from our ancestors. But to question these practices is not only to challenge, but to understand, learn and guide those around us, Bi’ithnillah.
Mashayekh explain that ‘celebrating’ the Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) birthday does not originate from his (SAW) Sunnah or that of the companions after his (SAW) death. What is crisp and clear, is the reason the Messenger (SAW) was sent and the powerful legacy he left.
يا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنّا أَرسَلناكَ شاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذيرًا
وَداعِيًا إِلَى اللَّهِ بِإِذنِهِ وَسِراجًا مُنيرًا
“O Prophet, indeed We have sent you as a witness and a bringer of good tidings and a warner. And one who invites to Allah, by His permission, and an illuminating lamp.”
[Qur’an 33: 45-46]
Muhammad (SAW) was born into the Banu Hashim clan of the Quraysh – the tribe that dominated the Meccan city and much of its trade. Living much of his (SAW) teenhood as a merchant, he (SAW) was recognised for his character and was nicknamed ‘As-Sadiq’ (The Truthful One) and ‘Al-Amin’ (The Trustworthy One). He (SAW) received Prophethood at the age of forty, and a few years following began preaching the message of Islam in Mecca. As the strong monotheistic messages challenged the traditional pagan idolatry, the persecution from the Meccans forced Muhammad (SAW) and his followers to emigrate to Madinah. There, the Prophet (SAW) continued to preach, transforming a tortured and ostracized minority into a strong evergrowing community. Conquering the countless instances of dehumanising treatment, our Prophet’s (SAW) struggle led to Islam dominating not only Mecca but the entire Arab Peninsula. Following economic, social, and political reforms, our faith was eventually accepted as a way of life.
But that’s not all. It would be unfair to say that the Messenger’s (SAW) efforts only aided the Muslims. Rather, the message he (SAW) tirelessly spread continues to benefit all humanity. Sent as “a mercy to the worlds”, the light that Muhammad (SAW) radiated, by Allah’s permission, continues to pull people out of darknesses [Qur’an 21:104]. The darknesses of misery, oppression, injustice, and ignorance. And as his Ummah, you and I are entrusted to, with Allah’s Aid and Permission, protect this light with whatever means we have. To try and embody his (SAW) ‘great moral character’ and invite people to the Deen [Qur’an 68:4]. And to instil this light in the hearts of our youth. The youth that will lead the nations to come, In Shaa Allah.