Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, to Him belong the endowments and proper commendations. May Allah increase the honour and raise the rank of our Master Muhammad sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam and his kind Al and Companions and protect his nation from what he fears for it.
On the 12th of Rabi^ ul-‘Awwal of every year an honoured and glorified memory shines over the whole world, and is commemorated by the entire Muslim world. Every honest Muslim participates in celebrating such an honourable memory to praise Allah for the blessing and endowment of Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him.
This occasion is the Honourable Birth of Prophet Muhammad sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam. How can one not celebrate a birth that has changed the face of history. This birth was one of the best gifts that one can ever receive.
It is because of this Prophet may Allah raise his rank that we became Muslims. What is better than becoming a Muslim, remaining steadfast to Islam and dieing as a Muslim. We thank Allah for this birth and for making us among the followers of this great Prophet.
Only those who have darkness in their hearts deny the permissibility of celebrating such a birth, and forbid others from doing so. It is absolutely not unlawful (haram) to celebrate the birth of the Prophet sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, rather it is a rewardable deed.
In fact it is the habit of hundreds of millions of Muslims all over Asia, Africa, Europe, India, Bangladesh, Fiji, Indonesia, Yemen, Turkey, Pakistan, and America. Only those who do not love the Prophet say that such celebrations are unlawful (haram).
The Year of the Elephant:
Their lived once a king of both Yemen and Habashah who was a non-believer. His name was ‘Abrahah. When he realised that the people were visiting Makkah rather than his countries, and that good things were happening in Makkah, he decided to destroy the Ka^bah.*
* The Ka^bah is the cubic structure in the Holy Mosque of Makkah, originally built by Prophet ‘Adam peace be upon him in obedience to Allah.
‘Abrahah built a huge temple in order to divert the people from the Ka^bah. He tried to glorify this new temple by decorating it with lots of jewels and precious stones. After that, the king of Yemen and Habashah prepared a vast army with huge elephants led by his men. When the Arabian tribes heard about ‘Abrahah’s plan to destroy the Ka^bah, they fought to the best of their abilities.
The tribes however could not prevent the elephants or the army. The huge army kept going until they reached the borders of Makkah. When ‘Abrahah was ready to destroy the Ka^bah, he directed his elephants towards it so that they would demolish it, the elephants refused to move and sat idly.
They tried to force the elephants to move but they did not succeed. When they changed the direction of the elephants to south and away from the Ka^bah they obeyed. They tried the north, the elephants again obeyed. When they turned the elephants again towards the Ka^bah, it would not move an inch. The huge elephant refused to destroy the Ka^bah.
Allah then sent birds from the sea with rocks placed between their legs and in their beaks. Each and every rock had imprinted the name of the person it was going to strike. They dropped them on that army until they killed them all. Al-Qurtubiyy said that the army was of 60,000 soldiers. Due to this significant incident people named that year “The Year of the Elephant”.
In that year Prophet Muhammad sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam was born. He was born in a place called “Suqul-Layl” in Makkah. According to the Roman calendar it was during the 6th century.
His Mother and Father:
‘Aminah Bintu Wahb was the name of the Prophet’s mother. Many good things happened to ‘Aminah during her pregnancy with the Prophet:
She never felt the weight of the fetus, which resulted in an easy carriage.
She dreamt of a star falling in her lap, and when she sought interpretation, they told her that she will give birth to the master and leader of the people.
If she ever sought water from a well, the water itself would rise up to her out of honouring the fetus inside her.
One time she said: “While I was half asleep, someone came to me and asked me if I felt pregnant. I answered that I did not. Then he told me that I am pregnant with the master and the Prophet of this nation.” That incident assured ‘Aminah that she was pregnant.
It was also said that when the Prophet’s mother gave birth to him a light came out with him, illuminating what is between the East and West. The Prophet sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam landed on the ground resting on his hands, with his eyes opened and looking towards the sky.
^Abdullah Ibn ^Abdul-Muttalib, the Prophet’s father, did not live to see his son Muhammad. He died while ‘Aminah was still pregnant. His father did not get the opportunity to see the best and the last of all Prophets.
His Name and Lineage:
As for the name of the Prophet, many people do not realise how important it is to memorise his name and the name of his grandfathers. In Islam, it is considered an important issue to memorise the lineage of the Prophet up to 20 grandfathers.
He is Muhammad sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, the son of ^Abdullah, the son of ^Abdul-Muttalib, the son of Hashim, the son of ^Abdu Manaf, the son of Qusayy, the son of Kilab, the son of Murrah, the son of Ka^b, the son of Lu’ayy, the son of Ghalib, the son of Fihr, the son of Malik, the son of an-Nadr, the son of Kinanah, the son of Khuzaymah, the son of Mudrikah, the son of Ilyas, the son of Mudar, the son of Nizar, the son of Ma^add, the son of ^Adnan,
and after that his lineage goes back to Prophet Isma^il the son of Prophet Ibrahim peace be upon them.
On the Day of his Birth:
On the day Prophet Muhammad sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam was born, the huge fire of the fire worshippers which had been lit for 1000 years to that day died out. The water of Lake Sawah dried out. Also, the palace of the arrogant dictator Kisra trembled, and 14 of its balconies fell to the ground.
It was the habit of the Arab women to breast-feed other than their own children. It is important to know that when a woman breast-feeds a child a certain amount of milk she becomes his foster mother and her children would become siblings of that breast fed child.
The story of how Halimah became the breast-feeding mother to the prophet is ironic and as told by Halimah as-Sa^diyyah herself: “It was the year of drought when I travelled to Makkah with other women from the tribe of Sa^d seeking to breast-feed babies.
I was riding a donkey. Our camel hardly produced any milk, and my child kept us awake crying out of hunger. Even my breast hardly produced any milk for my child. We had nothing but hope.
We reached the city of Makkah. When the breast-feeders realised that baby Muhammad was an orphan, none of the women accepted to breast-feed him. The breast-feeders were hoping for the financial generosity of the child’s father and Muhammad was an orphan.
Each of us thought that his mother would not be as helpful. We kept refusing to take Muhammad, until all of the other women found children to breast-feed except me. Hating to return empty handed, I told my husband that I will take that orphan Muhammad.
I swear by Allah, the moment I put him on my lap, my breast became full with milk. He took my breast for as much as he needed and my child did the same.
That night my husband went out to check on our camel, and to his surprise its udder was full of milk. Soon we were both full and satisfied. My husband looked at me and said: “I swear by Allah, you have picked a blessed soul.””
Halimah raised the Prophet until he was 2 years and 2 months old, after which she returned him to his mother. The Prophet’s growth was unlike any other person’s. He used to grow in one day as much as a regular child would grow in a whole month. He would grow in one month as much as a regular child would grow in a whole year.
One day while the Prophet was playing with his brothers (sons of Halimah) behind the house, an extraordinary thing happened. The Prophet’s brother ran terrified to his parents and said: “Help my brother, two men came to him and opened his Chest.” Halimah and her husband ran out to the Prophet.
They found him standing with a pale face. Halimah hugged him and so did her husband who asked: “What’s with you son?!!” The Prophet replied that two men wearing white clothes came to him, laid him down and opened his abdomen, but he did not know what they did.
The fact is that those two men were the angels Jibril and Mika’il who came in the shape of men. It was said that they opened his abdomen and washed it with Zamzam water, hail water, and snow water. Then they stitched it by the Will of Allah and stamped him on his back between his shoulders with an oval mark, which was the seal of Prophethood.
Even as a growing child, Prophet Muhammad displayed particular habits. If he ever wanted to urinate or defecate, he would go so far where no houses are in sight. When he used to go through the valleys and the mountains every tree and stone he would pass by would say: “Peace be upon you O Messenger of Allah.” The Prophet would look left and right, but he would not see anyone.
After Halimah returned the Prophet to his mother ‘Aminah, he stayed with her till the age of five. ‘Aminah then took him to see his uncles in al-Madinah. She stayed there for one month. On her way back she died leaving the Prophet to be raised by his grandfather ^Abdul Muttalib.
It was said that when the Prophet’s mother died his grandfather hugged him and showed feelings towards the Prophet that he never showed towards his own son.
When his grandfather ^Abdul-Muttalib was dying, he recommended to the Prophet’s uncle Abu Talib to take care of the Prophet. The Prophet’s uncle used to love Prophet Muhammad sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam very much, and he used to favour him over his own children.
His First Wife Khadijah:
Prophet Muhammad stayed with his uncle Abu Talib and went out with him to trade caravans. When the Prophet became 25 years old, he was offered to marry lady Khadijah. She was the owner of some caravans and at that time the Prophet used to work for her.
The Prophet accepted to marry Khadijah who became his first wife. Lady Khadijah Bintu Khuwaylid was highly respected, honourable and a patient woman. She was the richest amongst her people. Lady Khadijah was presented with many suitors for marriage but she refused in spite of all generous offers she had.
Some of the Miracles of Prophet Muhammad:
– The Holy Qur’an – The crying of the tree trunk – The camel speaking and seeking refuge in him – The speaking of the wolf and his testimony – The water coming out from between his fingers – Returning Qatadah’s eye – The testification of the tree and its speaking up.
The Prophet was not extremely tall, nor was he short. He had a white complexion and black hair. The Prophet’s hair was not straight rather it was slightly curly and long down to his shoulders. His aroma was nicer than the pure musk itself. He had a clear forehead, long eyelashes, broad shoulders and a firm stomach. The Prophet was fast in his walk, and it was narrated that seeing his face one would think that the sun is rising from it.
Prophet Muhammad sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam immigrated to al-Madinah in compliance with the orders of Allah and he lived there for ten years after which he died at the age of sixty three. He was buried there in the chamber of his wife ^A’ishah, may Allah reward her greatly and raise her rank. Muslims all around the world believe that it is highly rewardable to visit him at his grave and send their salam (salutations) to him.
And Allah knows best.