In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate
All praise to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. And salutations and greetings upon our Master Muhammad and upon his family and companions.
Rabi’ al-Awwal: the Month of Love
Islam. What a gift is Islam! Light upon light. Event after event. For many of us, Ramadan is an intense and spiritually unique month, because it is of course the most favourable month to get closer to Allah. The openings and the blessings are endless. The ninth month is a rebirth. However, it is not the only month of the year where such is the case, there are others, with the month of Rabi’ Al-Awwal being one of them.
Rabi al-Awwal is the third month of the Islamic year. For many it is the month of light and love. True love, as in the one which will stay, whatever the tests and circumstances. There are several types of love: those which are intense for a certain time and then disappear, those which are long lasting however diminish over time, those that remain over time, love which is painful, those which require a lot of effort and finally those which grow with time and harvest a lot of fruits. The love for the Prophet ﷺ does not hurt, on the contrary, it only brings goodness and it is a love which is not difficult for one to experience. Who cannot love the Prophet ﷺ when they have learnt to know him? The love for our Prophet ﷺ is the seed of our existence. He taught us everything and guided us to the light with patience. He exuded love and wisdom, smile and softness. He did not push away nor harm. He forgave the faults of others with patience, he consoled and he had the ability to converse and understand men, women and children. He is a loving father, our spiritual teacher, our root and our link to Allah. It is a love that we must maintain whatever happens. All who have embraced this religion can say that life with the Prophet ﷺ has a whole other dimension. It becomes soft even in bitter moments. It becomes the oxygen for which one breathes purpose of life for this existence and is the means of obtaining proximity with Allah. By virtue of him ﷺ we are able to finally hold onto the rope of truth. The light of Islam is spread by the efforts of the Ummah, alhamdulillah. However we are as much in need of the light of the Prophet ﷺ to live Islam in the purest way.
What is a mawlid*? They are melodious verses encompassing the life of the Prophet ﷺ often accompanied by tambourines. The mawlid is a very ancient practise. Imam as-Suyuti from Cairo (fifteenth century) رحمه الله had already spoken about it in his work and had even written a fatwa in favour of this commemoration. The famous poetess and erudite scholar of the Arabic language, ‘Aisha al-Ba’ounyia from Damascus (sixteenth century) رحمها الله wrote mawalid and many praises in honour of the birth of Allah’s Messenger ﷺ. It is also interesting to know that she mentions in one of her works (al-Mawrid al-Ahna), that when she was at Mecca, she overheard a man recite a mawlid one Friday night in front of the Haram, and she had a vision of the dear Mustafa ﷺ just afterwards. These are just a few of plenty more examples.
In the Muslim world, Rabi’ Al-Awwal is a month of happiness and festivities. In Tarim, there are mawalid several times a day, be it day or night. It feels like you are plunged in an ocean of love and wellbeing. There is nothing else to worry about than being wrapped by the light of the mawlid! The Prophet ﷺ is truly among us, and the heart feels uplifted. We are granted particular joys and happiness which do not compare with other occasions. In Jordan, there are mawalid every day, in the centres, the houses and the mosques all over the country. There are also activities for children. The centre al-Hawra in ‘Amman organises hospital visits and on the 12th they distribute gifts to mothers and babies born that day. They also organise charity events in favour of the orphans, the widows, the underprivileged, etc…it continues until Rabi’ ath-Thani. In Indonesia, the mawalid do not stop during these two months, in schools or in centres overspilling into the outdoors etc…they are huge!
There are always enough actions available to do good and spread the love that Islam gives us, but too often we fall short in giving this love and good to the world. Alone or accompanied, we can all read or listen to the Sira, make mawalid, salawat, nasheed, competitions of poems. We can give, help, offer presents regularly, make a checklist of sunan to be performed daily, avoid arguments, forgive, etc… It is our healing and wellbeing month. The salawat do miracles, cure and ease. They bring us inner peace. This peace that we invoke on the Prophet ﷺ comes back to us.
It is so beautiful…the internal pollution disappears to make room for the light. The last Messenger ﷺ has reached the highest level whether we remember him or not. The love that Allah has for him ﷺ is not in our hands. However, we, are dependent on the supply of love that Allah gives us through His Prophet ﷺ.
May Allah enlighten our hearts with this light and improve our character. May Allah grant us entry to His Firdaws and share the majalis of the Prophet ﷺ and Sahaba رضي الله عنهم. Amen. What a wonderful company! We crave to be amongst him ﷺ and his Companions in this dunya despite its unattainability. What a formidable gift it would be to receive this in our akhira. Yes… to be in the presence of the best of creation is priceless, and yet only our love is required.
*There are many books. Habib ‘Umar has written several mawalid but there are plenty of others and from many centuries ago.
Maryam Szkudlarek started her studies of the Arabic Language seven years ago. She has studied the Arabic Language in London, Yemen and in Jordan, where she continues her studies. She also teaches adults and children. She has written a book, entitled Les Perles du Ciel de Tarim, about her experience in Tarim whose second edition is going to be published in French soon.