What is Mawlid al-Nabi?
Mawlid al-Nabi is the annual celebration to commemorate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It occurs in Rabi ul-Awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar, known as the first spring, in which the Prophet (PBUH) was born in Makkah. Most Muslims believe he was born on the 12th day of this month, but there is a difference of opinion regarding this, as some say it was the 17th.
This month acts as a reminder of the sacrifices made by the Prophet (PBUH), and many Muslims use it to learn about and reflect on his life, as well as maximise good deeds. This can be a means of feeling closer to the Prophet (PBUH) and understanding him better, who was the best of creation.
When is Mawlid al-Nabi?
This year, the Mawlid al-Nabi will fall on Saturday 8 October 2022.
How is it celebrated?
Mawlid al-Nabi is celebrated with feasts, family, and community gatherings, by reading stories about the life of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and processions. Some Muslims also decorate their houses with coloured lights and flags to celebrate this event. These are ways in which Muslims reflect on the life of the Prophet (PBUH), including his birth, his childhood, his orphanhood, his marriage to Khadijah (RA), the Hijra (migration), and his death.
The Month of Rabi ul-Awwal
Rabi ul-Awwal is the third month in the Islamic calendar. The Islamic calendar consists of 12 months, four of which are sacred. The sacred months are Muharram, Rajab, Dhul Qadah, and Dhul Hijjah, but Rabi ul-Awwal is also an important month due to the events that took place during it.
The month of Rabi ul-Awwal will begin on 26 September and is expected to end on 25 October 2022.
Events During Rabi ul-Awwal
In this month, the Prophet (PBUH) was born. There were several miracles surrounding his birth, including that his mother, Aaminah, saw light within her when she was pregnant with him, and his wet nurse, Halima Sa’diyah, was blessed for many years after caring for him. Halima Sa’diyah’s frail donkey had become stronger and faster than the others, and her goat produced more milk than normal, which fed her and her family. These were just some of the miracles she experienced after caring for the Prophet (PBUH).
The Hijrah also took place in the month of Rabi ul-Awwal, in the year 622 (CE). This refers to the migration, where the Muslims moved from Makkah to Yathrib, known today as Madina, which enabled Islam to grow.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) passed away in the 11th year of Islam during Rabi ul-Awwal, making this month more significant. He was ill for a few days beforehand, but his death still shocked the Muslims. Abu Bakr (RA) was able to calm and console the Muslims with his words: ‘O people! If it was Muhammad whom you worshipped, then know that he is dead. But if it is Allah (SWT) whom you worshipped, then know that He does not die’. His words reminded the Muslims that the Prophet (PBUH) was, but a messenger and that Allah (SWT) does not die, so worship Him.
What To Do on Mawlid al-Nabi
Whilst there are no specific recommendations or requirements to fast, pray or complete certain acts, the events that took place on this day, as well as in this month, encourage Muslims to increase their good deeds and follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH), in ways such as visiting the sick and elderly, giving charity and by smiling more. Many Muslims choose to study the Seerah (the biography of the Prophet (PBUH)) to reflect on and learn about his life, which is a good way to learn about his character, too, with the intention to implement it ourselves.
Giving charity on this day and in the month of Rabi ul-Awwal can be very rewarding. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “The believer's shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
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