On the 9th-10th November this year, across the world Muslims will come together to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad.sa. Known as Mawlid an-Nabi, the celebrations take place on the twelfth day of the third month of the Muslim calendar. This date always changes, as the Muslim lunar calendar advances 11 days each year in relation to the solar calendar.
The Prophet (sa) is one of the most influential people to have ever lived, his teachings impacting billions of people for generations after his death. Labayk, a new social media platform dedicated to upholding the tenets of Islam, aims to continue his messages of peace.
Many of these values are known, but how much do you know about this illustrious figure himself? Read on for the top 10 things to know about the Prophet Muhammad (sa) on the celebration of his birthday.
1. The Prophet was an orphan
The Prophet Muhammad’s father died before he was born and his mother then passed away shortly after. Raised by his paternal uncle, the young Prophet-to-be worked as a shepherd to help make ends meet. Remember – big things can have humble beginnings.
2. The illiterate literate
Despite being the deliverer of the word of God (Allah) in the form of the Qur’an, the Prophet Muhammad was in fact illiterate. Akin to the vast majority of people in the 6th century, he was unable to read or write and had received an education that was far below the standards of today. Literacy was a luxury of the elite. Hence when the angel Gabriel bequeathed to him the word of God in the form of the Qur’an, it was somewhat of a miracle. The Prophet Muhammad lived during the ‘Golden Age’ of Arabic, and still scholars were in awe of the beauty of the words of the Qur’an. Who needs literacy lessons, eh?
3. Many wives and monogamy
In his twenties, the Prophet was employed by a merchant woman in Mecca named Khadījah. Due to her status, she proposed to him and they were wed. The two were in a monogamous relationship for 25 years, until her demise (she was around 15 years his senior).
The Prophet Muhammad’s (sa)relationships henceforth were organised for status and by way of example, as he became more of a prominent religio-political figure. He is thought to have had a further 13 wives. Polygamy was common in his time, so the number of relationships he had is no surprise – largely this was due to him marrying a number of widows that had lost their husbands in wars. However, his and Khadijah’s dedication to one another is something of an inspiration.
4. Most popular name in the world
Owed to the reverence of the prophet throughout history, Muhammad — and variations of spelling thereupon — has become the most common male name in the world.
Looks like there’s a high chance that the Prophet will be sharing his birthday celebrations with a few other the Muhammads.
5. Messenger, not Messiah
Unlike Jesus Christ, who claimed and is believed by many to be the son of God, the Prophet Muhammad never professed to his own divinity. Instead he said that he was a messenger of God’s word – his role as the prophet was to be a mediator between God and humanity.
Hence, the Prophet Muhammad is a human role model for Muslims. He is a manifestation of the goodness a person can achieve when following the teachings of God.
6. No pictures, please
It is common knowledge that it is deemed inappropriate to depict the Prophet Muhammad, or to name other objects or animals (other than human beings) after him. However, it is lesser-known that that sentiment stemmed from the Prophet himself. One of the Prophet Muhammad’s core values was the denouncement of the worship of idols, as it was seen as blasphemous behaviour.
There were no sculptures or paintings created of him during his time. The Prophet Muhammad feared that people would start to worship him and not God as they should. An example of humility in a leader that should be heeded by today’s politicians.
7. One of the first feminists
Far ahead of his time, the Prophet was an advocate for the rights of women during a time where this was almost unheard of. As the curator of Islamic doctrine, he laid down rules regarding the respect of women in a culture and time that cleaved solely to patriarchal values.
The Prophet Muhammad instituted the banning of ‘honour killings’, providing women with the right to own private property, affording women the chance to approve of her marriage and also get a unilateral divorce if the husband was abusive. He also advocated for widows and divorcee women to remarry. While there was still a long way to go in terms of women’s rights, the Prophet was certainly instrumental at such an early stage.
Labayk is a platform that adheres to these values of the Prophet Muhammad, closely. Everyone is welcome on Labayk, regardless of your gender, race, religion or any other discriminating factors.
8. A colourblind man, with perfect vision
Not only was the Prophet ahead of his time in his support for women, but also in the advocacy of racial equality. He saw self-imposed superiority as a lack of humility before God, and so the superiority of one race over another he deemed wrong. The Prophet Muhammad is thought to have decreed, “An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab … a white person has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have any superiority over white except by piety and good action.”
Labayk’s values reflect those of the Prophet and the teachings he imbued within the religion of Islam. Encouraging people, and users of Labayk, across the globe to adhere to such values of equality is held close to its ethos.
9. The founder of the Hajj
In the year 629 CE, the Prophet Muhammad undertook a pilgrimage with his followers (deemed ‘The Muslims’) back to Mecca after they had been ousted from the area. This so-called ‘Farewell Pilgrimage’ has since become a symbol of the Muslim right to faith and is repeated each year in the form of Hajj.
Founder of a Labayk, Tanweer Khan, has shared his Hajj story. As a right of passage for all Muslims, who are able, Hajj is an extremely personal and spiritually uplifting experience. The Prophet Muhammad is the root of this tradition: a testament to his valorisation as a figurehead of Islam.
10. His place of rest is known
Unlike many figures of religious prominence, the final resting place of the Prophet is known. He is buried in Medina, in a tomb above which The Green Dome was built. This is now part of the Prophet’s Mosque, a site that is regularly visited by Muslims across the world. The Prophet Muhammad’s birthday will see many visitors travel here to pay their respects.
Source: The Labayk Team: