Eid Milad-un-Nabi or Barah Wafat is celebrated on the twelfth day of Rabi-ul-Awwal, the the third month of the Islamic calendar. It is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alihi Wassalam (SAW), peace and blessings be upon him. This day also happens to be the day he died.
Muslims on this day celebrate the birth of Prophet Muhammad and how his message of love, peace, unity, and tolerance is still relevant in today’s world.
Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, the last messenger of God, is believed to have been born in the year 570 AD into a Meccan tribe called the Quraish, which practiced a polytheistic religion.
Orphaned at birth, he was always particularly solicitous of the poor, the needy, the widows, the orphans, the slaves and the downtrodden.
At twenty he was already a successful businessman of Makkah, and soon became in-charge of trade caravans for a wealthy widow named Khadijah. When he reached the age of twenty-five, Khadijah, recognizing his merit, made a proposal to marry him. Even though she was fifteen years older than him, he married her, and as long as she lived, he remained a devoted husband.
He is considered to be a comprehensive symbol of morality. The glorious Holy Quran presents him as the manifestation of divine mercy on the people of the world and regards his tenderness, kindness and his good behavior as God`s infinite favor unto mankind. Addressing him, the Holy Quran states, “And had you been rough, hard hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around you, pardon them therefore and ask pardon for them and take counsel with them in the affair.” (Chapter: the family of Imran/verse 159).
He was the messenger of mercy and in the face of rancor and enmity he would respond with affection and kindness. With sweet odor and fragrance of friendship, he spread the wing of mercy over his faithful followers.
Muhammad (SAW) didn’t only talk about peace and love, but at each and every step of his life set an example for peace, love and fraternity.
Let me state categorically and unambiguously at the outset that the message of Islam is peace, tranquility and unity. If one concentrates on the meaning of the word “Islam,” it appears that this word takes its origin from saluma (safety) or slim (peace).
Etymologically and literally the word “Islam” means peace, tranquility and harmony. The word “Imaan” can be translated into or more clearly to mean faith. Every religion is based on faith. Faith is known as Imaan in Islamic terminology. Imaan has its own root-word and that is Amn. Amn again means peace, tranquility and harmony. The difference between the two is that faith is known as Imaan and the practical order is known as Islam.
Continuing with Prophet Isa’s (Jesus) universal massage, Muhammad (SAW) invited humanity towards a message of co-existence in tranquility, harmony, and peace. However, of course for stopping the spread of mischief in the land, he kept the option of using force in self-defense. Even a caged bird will use its beak to defend itself when a mischievous child attempts to annoy it.
Those who have difficulty in understanding the defensive Jihad (struggle) should know well that the Muslims will never seek a fatwa, when they are constantly assaulted in their besieged countries. Resisting illegal occupations is a natural instinct in all human beings. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has shaped Muslim conduct during peace and war.
In brief, the Creator has sent Prophet (SAW) as a mercy for mankind. Highlighting his status in the minds of those who believe in his message, Allah has ordered His angels and believers to salute him and come to him in total submission.
Contrary to popular belief, the Prophet’s message has spread in the world by peaceful means because it is about peace. Early Muslims, morally upright, led by example and invited natives of foreign lands to Islam. No sword was used.
Mahatma Gandhi’s statement published in “Young India” 1924 stated: “I wanted to know the best of the life of one who holds today an undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind … I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle.”
While this Prophet lives in the hearts of at least one fifth of the world`s population, the entire humanity has a lot more to learn from him. The Creator has shaped him as a perfect model for others to emulate.
The Prophet’s migration to Medina, as a consequence of persecution in Makkah, is proof for his nonviolent approach in spreading his message.
The terrible rise in murder, corruption, suicide and other crimes clearly points to this very fact. If morality, which is a significant part of the teachings of divine prophets, does not prevail and govern in human societies, surely not only will science and technology fail to ensure human peace and prosperity, but they will add to our problems and miseries. For the exploiters and colonialists utilize advance technology and science for their own selfish purposes. They murder or make homeless millions of human beings as they have always done and trample upon the rights of the weak and defenseless.
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has said, “You cannot treat people by means of your wealth, therefore, you should treat them by means of your moral conduct.”
He gave the teaching of tolerance through his own life. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) never attempted to retaliate against the insult and disrespect of anybody, and forgave people`s mistake or their misconduct. His reaction to the torment and disregard of the ignorant people was forgiveness and tolerance. In spite of all tortures and torments that the Quraish had inflicted upon Muhammad (SAW), after conquering Makkah, he forgave them and set them free.
In the battle of Uhud, a Wahshi killed Hamza ibn Abd Al-Muttalib, the beloved uncle of Muhammad (SAW). But he still forgave his sin. He also forgave the many torments and troubles inflicted by his uncle Abu Sufyan ibn Harb and his wife, Hind bint Utbah, and did not take revenge.
However, for all his tolerance and mercy, he did not take pity on those who violated the threshold set by Allah and punished the violators in accordance with divine rule.
In his last sermon delivered to the believers, the Holy Prophet (SAW) eliminated the unjust order imposed upon mankind. That unjust order at that time was based on human degradation, social injustice, economic exploitation and political suppression. The Prophet (SAW) inaugurated a new world order based upon four concepts, namely, respect for humanity, social equality, economic justice and political freedom.
[Muhammad Irfan is a postgraduate student in the Department of Political Science. He can be reached via email at: busy.arsh2k9[at]gmail.com]