Islam is a religion of love and peace. Islam teaches its followers to live in a state of peace and harmony by eliminating the differences and finding out the commonalities. However, the followers of Islam like others are Humans, and where there are humans there are differences of opinion. One such prevalent difference of opinion is on the celebration of 12 of Rabiul Awal.
Across the world in different Muslim countries, 12th of Rabiul Awal is celebrated as the day of birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). There are two opinions regarding the celebration of 12th of Rabiul Awal, one group is in favor while the other opposes its celebration. However, both these groups do it out of love and respect for Prophet (PBUH), and not out of personal likings or disliking.
The lines below give the importance of love of Prophet (PBUH) for a Muslim and the arguments put forward by both the sides regarding the celebrations of 12th of Rabiul Awal.
The Love of Prophet:
For a Muslim, the love of Prophet (PBUH) is the essence of faith. A Muslim cannot complete his faith without the love of Prophet (PBUH). The hadith of Prophet (PBUH) in this regard is:
“None of you believes until he loves Me more than he loves his children, his parents, and all people.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
This hadith shows that for a Muslim to be a true believer, he needs to love Prophet (PBUH) more than anything else in the world. Therefore, there are no two opinions regarding the love for Prophet (PBUH). In Quran, Allah Almighty also emphasizes on the love of Prophet (PBUH) by saying:
“So fear Allah and set things right between you, and obey Allah and His Messenger if you are (in truth) believers.” (8:1)
In this ayah, Allah Almighty makes the obeying of Prophet (PBUH) equal to obeying Him. Therefore, for a Muslim it is imperative to love and obey Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
After establishing the roots, let us now move on to the topic of the opinion of two groups regarding celebration of 12th of Rabiul Awal. Let us first consider the group that opposes its celebration and their arguments.
The first argument put forward by the opposing group is that as there is no sound historical consensus on the date of birth of Prophet (PBUH). Some think of it to be in different months of lunar year, while if the month be Rabiul Awal, there is still a contradiction on the 12th of the month. So, when there is no proven date then there is no point in accepting 12th as a date of the birth of Prophet (PBUH).
The second argument put forward by the opposing group is that the celebration of 12th Rabiul Awal has no roots in hadith of Prophet (PBUH) and none of His Sahaba celebrated it therefore, it is a Bidah (innovation) therefore, one cannot celebrate it. The hadith to support this argument is the following:
“…The people of Israel were divided into 72 sects, my Ummah will divide into 73 sects, all of them will be in the hellfire, and one of them will be in paradise.” The Companions asked “Which one is saved?” The Prophet (PBUH) replied: “The one that is with Me and my Companions.”” (Tirmidhi)
Another hadith put forward by the opposing group is:
Anas bin Malik (RA) said: “The Messenger of Allah came to Madinah and the people had two days when they would play and have fun. He said, ‘What are these two days?’ They said, ‘We use to play and have fun on these days during the Jaahiliyyah. The Messenger of Allah said, ‘Allah has given you something bettern than them, the da of Adhaa and the day of Fitr.” (Abu Dawood)
Therefore, according to the opposing group, as there is no evidence of either Prophet (PBUH) commending the celebration of his day of birth, celebrating it Himself, or any of the Sahabaas of Prophet (PBUH) celebrating it after His passing away. Basing on this argument, the opposing group detests the celebration of 12th of Rabiul Awal.
Moving on to the arguments of the group who celebrate the 12th of Rabiul Awal as a day of Birth of Prophet (PBUH), the following arguments are given by the favoring group in support of celebration:
Arguments in Favor:
The first argument is regarding the birth of Prophet (PBUH), and the following hadith of Prophet
(PBUH) is quoted as a reference:
“Iblis cried loudly four times, first when Allah declared him as cursed, second when he was thrown out, third When Prophet (PBUH) was born and fourth when Surah al-Fatiha was revealed.” (Ibn Al Kathir)
Therefore, the celebrating groups says that it was satan who was disturbed and in anguish upon the birth of Prophet (PBUH), meaning that the day of His birth is of importance for Muslim, because it brought anguish to Satan. Therefore, such a day is worth celebrating.
The second argument given by the favoring group is in the light of Quran. The 12th Rabiul Awal celebrating group refers to the following ayah in which Allah Almighty says:
“Say: in the bounty of God. And in His Mercy, in that “Let Them rejoice”: that is better than the (wealth) they hoard.” (10:58)
In this ayah, Allah Almighty commends the Muslims to rejoice the Mercy and bounty of God. Further, in Quran Allah Almighty calls Prophet (PBUH) as Mercy:
“We have not sent you but as a ‘Mercy to the worlds’. (21:107)
So when joining these two verses, Allah Almighty says to Muslims to rejoice His Mercy and Prophet (PBUH) is the Mercy of Allah Almighty upon mankind. Therefore, in light of these verses, it is allowed to celebrate the birth of Prophet (PBUH) as the Mercy was revealed to Mankind on this day.
The 12th Rabiul Awal celebrating group also puts forward a hadith of Prophet (PBUH) that indirectly supports the celebration. The hadith is:
“Abu Qatada Ansari (RA) reported that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) was asked about fasting on Monday, whereupon he said: It is (the day) when I was born and revelation was sent down to me.” (Sahih Muslim)
From this hadith it is evident that Prophet (PBUH) would fast on Monday in remembrance of His birth. Fasting is a kind of worship and worship represents the gratitude of a person, therefore, Muslims must also show gratitude on the day of Birth of Prophet (PBUH).
In short, both these groups hold their opinion just because of the love for Prophet (PBUH) and Islam. Both these groups have numerous arguments in support of their stance. Therefore, no final verdict can be given in this regard, and only Allah Almighty can be asked for guidance to the right path.
May Allah Almighty guide us towards the right path and keep the love of Prophet (PBUH) alive and throbbing in our hearts! Ameen!