For today’s Muslim population, estimated at around 1.9 billion people, Mawlid al-Nabi is a day to celebrate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad and his role in their religion. When Mohammed was about forty years old (around A.D. 609 or 610), he usually began to retreat into a cave to meditate in solitude. On one such occasion, the angel Gabriel came to him and informed him that he was a messenger of the prophets and that he had been chosen by God to receive his word. Through Gabriel, God orally gave revelations of his word to Mohammed and pressed them into his heart. Mohammed, who was illiterate, communicated these impressed revelations orally to his followers, and his followers immediately memorized them.
These revelations carried a strong message of monotheism into the Arabia of the 7th. Mohammed received these revelations over a period of 22 or 23 years, up to the year of his death (632 AD). In the years after Muhammad’s death, these revelations were written down and compiled to form the Holy Quran, the sacred text of Islam. Today Islam is the second largest religion in the world; it is also currently the fastest growing religion in the world.
While the exact date of birth of the Prophet Mohammed is not known, Mawlid al-Nabi is celebrated by Sunni Muslims on the 12th day of Rabi al-Awwal, the third month of the Islamic calendar. Shiite Muslims believe that the Prophet’s birthday was on the 17th day of the month. Mawlid al-Nabi is an important public holiday in many countries and is celebrated with various festivals and devotions, such as the greeting of the Prophet and the recitation of the Koran.
To name this day:
Memories of Mohammed: Why the Prophet Matters by Omid Safi is a well developed, rounded, and insightful portrait of the life, work, and legacy of the Prophet Mohammed.
Ayat Jamilah: Beautiful Signs by Freda Crane and Sarah Conover is a world-class collection of Islamic stories and folk tales that families can read aloud and answer with heart. It contains the following story:
“As a deliberate insult, a neighbor emptied her trash in front of Mohammed’s house every day and verbally insulted him at every opportunity. When Mohammed did not see her for two days and there was no garbage on his doorstep, he asked someone about her. Mohammed was told that she got sick. So he immediately went to visit to ask what he could do to help her. ”
In Sacred Energies, Daniel C. Maguire tells the following story and commentary on the Prophet Muhammad:
“When a funeral procession passed near the place where the Prophet was gathering with some of his friends, he respectfully stood up, as did the others. After the procession was over, a person in the crowd said, ‘O Messenger of God, did you know that this was a Jew’s funeral?’ The Prophet replied, “Wasn’t he human and had a human soul? Wasn’t he a man made and created by God? Wasn’t he a being with dignity? ‘
“In the same vein, the instruction given to a Muslim ruler was: ‘Fill your heart with compassion and love for your subjects, as they are of two kinds: a sibling in faith (i.e. a Muslim) or a man created by God as well how you were. ‘ Muslims and non-Muslims have the same human rights. ”
Explore the sayings of Prophet Muhammad on a variety of topics including Islam, a Perfect Muslim, God, Faith, Service to Humanity, Words to Remember, and General Advice in A Collection of Sound Hadith on Peace and Justice by Dr. M. Hafiz Syed and Kabir Helminski.
“Mohammed was a philosopher, speaker, apostle, lawgiver, warrior, general and statesman. He is a role model that all sincere Muslims want to emulate. “
– Robert Frager, The Wisdom of Islam
Salawat offers opportunities to pray blessings for the Prophet Mohammed.
True faith encourages us to do our best to embody a hadith (saying of the prophet) about faith.
You can also attend a Mawlid celebration in your area or through Zoom. Islamic centers around the world, like the Islamic Center at NYU, will celebrate the life, teachings, and legacy of the Prophet Muhammad.
The Wisdom of Muhammad by Kabir Helminski and Camille Helminski is an inviting study of the compassionate, flexible, and noble character of the Prophet Muhammad.
Beauty and Wisdom in the Quran by Jamal Rahman offers timeless insights and practices derived from reflections on verses of the Quran.
The Essence of the Quran by Jeremy Henzell-Thomas and Shaikh Kabir Helminski presents commentaries on passages from the holy book of Islam on universal spiritual principles that can guide our hearts.