By Sadia Dehlvi
Jan 21, 2014 –
This is the blessed month of Prophet Mohammed’s birth, known as Rabi-ul-Awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar. Muslims believe Mohammed is Habib Allah, the beloved of God, His most perfect creation and a seal on all prophets and messengers.
Although born in a noble home, the Prophet grew up in poverty as an orphan. He worked as a shepherd and later joined the merchant caravans to Syria. At the age of 25, he married Khadija, an older businesswoman and a widow, who proposed to him.
Mohammed’s call to prophecy came when he turned 40. He had come to be called Al Amin, the trustworthy. The Prophet was chosen for the revelations, which began at the cave of Hira while meditating during the year 610 AD.
According to Islamic traditions, Allah created Mohammed as Rahmat-ul-Alameen, mercy for all the worlds. During the entire month of Rabi-ul-Awwal, Milads — spiritual assemblies celebrating the birth — are held at homes and in public. These are occasions to remember the message of peace.
The Prophet said, “I have come to perfect character”. The Quran praises his conduct as “the kindest and most merciful”. Mohammed’s wife Ayesha said, “His character was the Quran. He approved of what the Quran approved and disapproved of what the Quran disapproved”. He taught how to love one God and emphasised that the path leading to Him consists of kindness, compassion and moderation. Prophet Mohammed was brave, just and generous. He was also modest, sincere and pious. An eloquent speaker, he did not speak unless necessary and preferred silence to speech. He was kind to women, children and animals. Women gained status, legal rights and dignity as daughters, wives and mothers. He famously said, “Paradise lies at the feet of the mother.”
The Prophet called upon people to serve the poor and the needy saying, “The best of Islam is to feed the hungry.” He served his family, milked his goats, mended his clothes and helped the women in his house with chores. He never sought ease or comfort and slept on a reed mat.
Over 1,400 years ago, Prophet Mohammed warned of extremism and called for moderation. He said, “My way is the middle way”, and “beware of extremism for it was extremism that destroyed the people before you”. Despite all the glories bestowed upon him as the beloved of Allah, Mohammed remained in prostration before Him, calling himself His slave.
Sadia Dehlvi is a Delhi-based writer and author of Sufism: The Heart of Islam.