Muslim Events

Milad Shareef/ProphetMuhammad’sBirthday

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[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ admin_label=”section” _builder_version=”3.0.47″][et_pb_row admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” _i=”0″ _address=”0.0″][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.76″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” _i=”0″ _address=”″] Birth of Prophet Muhammad

Prophet Muhammad was born in the city of Makka, which is located in the Hijaz region on the western part of the Arabian Peninsula. His exact date of birth is not known. The reason for this is that no particular calendar was used among the Arabs at that time. According to common opinion, he was born 50 to 55 days after the Incident of the Elephant in the month of Rabi’ al-awwal on a Monday. Different estimates state that the date of birth of Prophet Muhammad was April 20, (Rabi’ al-Awwal 9) 571 or June 17, (Rabi’ al-Awwal 12) 569 Monday. The first was suggested by the Egyptian astronomer Mahmud Pasha al-Falaki (1302/1885), and the second by the famous Muslim scholar of our time Muhammad Hamidullah (2002).

Prophet Muhammad’s father was ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, from the Banu Hashim branch of the Quraysh, and his mother was Amina, the daughter of Wahb ibn ‘Abdumanaf, who was a member of the Banu Zuhra branch of the Quraysh tribe. The Prophet was their only child.

‘Abd Allah, was a handsome young man admired by his friends. He had a beauty and brightness in his face that the other young men lacked. This is considered to be the “light of nubuwwa” (the light of Prophethood, Nur al-Muhammadi) that belongs to Prophet Muhammad. Some accounts state that when ‘Abd Allah’s father (the Prophet’s grandfather) ‘Abd al-Muttalib found the zamzam well and repaired it, some of the prominent members of the Quraysh tried to ridicule and humiliate him. At that time, ‘Abd al-Muttalib had only one son, Harith, and he was defenseless against them. He vowed that if he had ten sons he would sacrifice one. His supplication later being accepted, he had ten sons and thereupon saw a dream in which he was reminded of what he had sworn; ‘Abd al-Muttalib decided to draw lots among his sons to determine which one would be sacrificed. ‘Abd Allah, his youngest, was chosen. ‘Abd al-Muttalib decided to sacrifice him but many people opposed him, especially his daughters. While deciding how to perform his sacrifice, he received some advice that he should draw a lot between ‘Abd Allah and ten camels, which were sacrificial animals at that time. But again ‘Abd Allah was chosen. ‘Abd al-Muttalib continued to draw lots, each time increasing the number of camels by ten. When the number of camels reached 100, the camels were chosen and ‘Abd al-Muttalib sacrificed these 100 camels. In this way, he saved his beloved son ‘Abd Allah. Prophet Muhammad once said, “I am the son of two sacrifices” referring to the sacrifices of his father ‘Abd Allah and his ancestor Ishmael, son of Abraham, both of which were prevented.

‘Abd Allah refused many marriage proposals in his adolescence and eventually, upon his father’s advice, he married Amina, the daughter of Wahb. ‘Abd Allah was eighteen years old when he married. While on his way back from Syria, where he had gone for purposes of trade, he stopped in Yathrib (Madina) and visited ‘Adi ibn Najjar, his father’s uncle. However, ‘Abd Allah became ill, thus having to stay with relatives for a month, and died thereafter. He was buried in Yathrib. When ‘Abd al-Muttalib learned of ‘Abd Allah’s condition, he sent his elder son Harith to Yathrib, but ‘Abd Allah died before Harith’s arrival in the city. The Prophet was thus born without a father. Holding the view that ‘Abd Allah will not suffer any pain in the afterlife, the majority of Islamic scholars maintain that he will be granted deliverance as he did not live to see the Prophethood of his son.

Prophet Muhammad’s mother, Amina, held a position of respect among the young women of the Quraysh. Her father Wahb was a prominent member of the Zuhra tribe. ‘Abd al-Muttalib and his son ‘Abd Allah asked for Amina’s hand from her father, or according to another account, from her paternal uncle Wuhayb. Upon a response in the affirmative, the marriage was conducted. According to the custom of the times, the couple stayed in Amina’s house for the first three days of the marriage. It is accepted that after the marriage took place, the light of Prophethood on ‘Abd Allah’s forehead was transferred to Amina. There are accounts in Islamic sources pertaining to supernatural incidents which took place throughout Amina’s pregnancy. According to one account, Amina had a dream during her pregnancy and she was told in this dream that she would give birth to an important person and she was told to name this child Muhammad or Ahmad. The accounts which assert that Amina felt no pain during delivery, are also among these. Again, according to another famous account, Prophet Muhammad was born already circumcised. What is more, he had been washed by the angels and the Seal of Prophethood had been stamped on his back. Upon receiving the glad tidings that his grandson had been born, ‘Abd al-Muttalib held a banquet in his grandson’s honor, during which he named the newborn Muhammad. ‘Abd al-Muttalib said that he named him as such so that people would remember him with kindness.

The Night Journey Prophet Muhammad’s Meeting With Allah AL Isra Wal Miraj

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Israa and Miraj

The Israa and Miraj refer to, two parts of a miraculous journey that Prophet Muhammad took in one night from Makka to Jerusalem and then an ascension to the heavens. Israa is an Arabic word referring to Prophet Muhammad’s miraculous night journey from Makka to Jerusalem – specifically, to the site of al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem – as referred to in Surah Al-Israa in the Quran. It is believed to have been followed by the Mi’raj, his ascension to heaven. According to some of the Hadith scholars this journey is believed to have taken place just over a year before Prophet Muhammad migrated to from Makka to Madina, on the 27th of Rajab. Muslims celebrate this night by offering optional prayers during this night, and in many Muslim countries, by illuminating cities with electric lights and candles.

Following is the translation of the first verse of chapter 17, Al-Israa, from the Quran that refers to this journey, followed by a detailed explanation of the verse by Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi.

Holy is He Who carried His servant by night from the Holy Mosque (in Makka) to the farther Mosque (in Jerusalem) – whose surroundings We have blessed – that We might show him some of Our signs 1. Indeed He alone is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. (Quran 17:1)

1 This is a reference to the event known as Mi’raj (Ascension) and Isra’ (Night Journey). According to most traditions – and especially the authentic ones – this event took place one year before Hijrah. Detailed reports about it are found in the works of Hadith and Sirahand have been narrated from as many as twenty-five Companions. The most exhaustive reports are those from Anas ibn Malik, Malik ibn Sa’sa’ah, Abu Dharr al-Ghifari and Abu Hurayrah. Some other details have been narrated by ‘Umar, ‘Ali, ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud, ‘Abd Allah ibn Abbas, Abu Sa’id al-Khudri, Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman, and ‘A’ishah among other Companions of the Prophet .

The Quran here only mentions that the Prophet  was taken from the Ka’bah to the mosque in Jerusalem, and specifies that the purpose of the journey was such that God might “show him some of His signs”. Beyond this, The Quran does not concern itself with any detail. However, according to Hadith reports, Gabriel took the Prophet  at night from the Ka’bah to the mosque in Jerusalem on a buraq.* On reaching Jerusalem the Prophet  along with other Prophets offered Prayers. (Al-Nasa’i, Sunan, K. al-Salah, ‘Bab Fard al-Salah wa Dhikr Ikhtilaf al-Naqilin…’ -Ed.) Gabriel then took him to the heavens and the Prophet  met several great Prophets in different heavenly spheres. (See al-Nasa’i, Sunan, K. al-Salah, ‘Bab Fard al-Salah’ – Ed.) Finally, he reached the highest point in the heavens and was graced with an experience of the Divine Presence. On that occasion the Prophet  received a number of directives including that Prayers were obligatory five times a day. (Al-Bukhari, K. Manaqib al -Ansar, ‘Bab al-Mi’raj ; K. al-Tawhid, ‘Bab Kallama Musa Taklima’ – Ed.) Thereafter, the Prophet  returned from the heavens to Jerusalem, and from there to the Holy Mosque in Makka. Numerous reports on the subject reveal that the Prophet  was also enabled on this occasion to observe Heaven and Hell. (Al-Bukhari, K. al_Salah, ‘Bab Kayfa Furidat al-Salah fi al-Isra’ and Ibn Hisham, Sirah, vol. I, p. 404 – Ed.)

It may be recalled that according to authentic reports when the Prophet  narrated the incidents of this extraordinary journey the following day to the people in Makka, the unbelievers found the whole narration utterly amusing. (Muslim, K, al-Iman, ‘Bab Dhikr al-Masih ibn Maryam’ – Ed.) In fact, even the faith of some Muslims was shaken because of the highly extraordinary nature of the account. (See Ibn Hisham, Sirah , vol. I, p.398 and al-Qurtubi, comments on verse 1 of the surah – Ed.)

The details of the event provided by the Hadith supplement the Quranic account. There is no reason, however, to reject all this supplementary information on the grounds that it is opposed to the Quran. Nevertheless, if someone is not quite convinced and hence does not accept some of the details concerning the Ascension mentioned in the Hadith as true, he should not be considered an unbeliever. On the contrary, if someone were to clearly deny any part of the account categorically mentioned in the Quran, he would be deemed to have gone beyond the fold of Islam.

What was the nature of this journey? Did it take place when the Prophet  was asleep or when he was awake? Did he actually undertake a journey in the physical sense or did he have a spiritual vision while remaining in his own place? These questions, in our view, have been resolved by the text of the Quran itself. The opening statement: “Holy is He Who carried His servant by night from the Holy Mosque to the farther Mosque… ” (verse 1) itself indicates that it was an extraordinary event which took place by dint of the infinite power of God. For quite obviously, to be able to perceive the kind of things mentioned in connection with the event, either in a dream or by means of intuition, is not so wondrous that it should be prefaced by the statement : “Holy is He Who carried His servant by night…” ; a statement which amounts to proclaiming that God was free from every imperfection and flaw. Such a statement would make absolutely no sense if the purpose of it was merely to affirm that God had the power to enable man to have either visions in the course of a dream, or to receive information intuitively. In our view, the words of the experience or a dream vision, was an actual journey, and the observation in question was a visual observation. All was contingent upon God’s will that truths be revealed to the Prophet  in this fashion.

Now, let us consider the matter carefully. The Quran tells us, in clear terms, that the Prophet , went from Makka to Jerusalem and then returned to Makka during the night (obviously, without the use of anything resembling an aircraft), owing to God’s power. Now, if we believe this to be possible, what justification can there be to reject as inherently impossible the additional details of the event mentioned in the traditional sources? Statements declaring certain acts to be possible and others to be beyond the range of possibility are understandable if these acts are deemed to have been performed by creatures in exercise of the natural powers with which they are endowed.

However, when it is clearly stated that it is God Who did something out of His power, any doubts about the possibility of these acts can be entertained only by those who do not believe God to be all-powerful.

Those who reject the Hadith as such raise several objections against the traditions concerning this incident. It seams that only two of these objections are worth of any consideration.

First, it is claimed that the contents of the traditions relating to the Ascension imply that God is confined to a particular place. For had that not been the case, it is argued there would have been no need to transport the Prophet  in order for him to experience the presence of God. Second, it is questionable whether the Prophet  was enabled to observe Heaven and Hell and to see people being chastised for their sins even though they had not yet been judged by  God. How is it that people were subjected to punishment even before the coming of that Day when all will be judged?

Both these objections, however, carry little substance, The first objection is to be rejected on the grounds that although the Creator is infinite and transcends both time and place, yet in dealing with His creatures He has to have recourse to the means which are finite and are circumscribed by time-space limitations. This is because of the inherent limitations of man. Hence when God speaks to His creatures, He employs, of necessity, the same means of communication which can be comprehensible to the latter even though His Own speech transcends the means employed in the speech. In like fashion, when God wants to show someone the signs of His vast kingdom, He takes him to certain places and enables him to observe whatever he is required to observe. For it is beyond the power of man to view the universe in the manner God can. While God does not stand in need of visiting a certain place in order to observe something that exists there, man does need to do so. The same holds true of having a direct encounter with the Creator. Although God is not confined to a particular place, man needs to experience His presence at a defined place where the effulgence of His Being might be focused. For it is beyond man’s power to encounter God in His limitlessness.

Let us now consider the second objection. That too is fallacious for the simple reason that the objects shown to the Prophet  represented , in symbolic form, certain truths. For instance , a mischievous statement has allegorically been represented by a fat ox that could not return via the small hole through which it had come. (See Ibn Kathir, Tafsir, comments on Bani Isra’il 17:1 – Ed.) Or the other allegory relating to those who indulge in fornication – that they prefer to eat rotten meat when fresh, clean meat is available to them. (Loc.cit ; see also Ibn Hisham, vol. 1 p. 406 – Ed.) The same holds true for the punishments to which sinners will be subjected in the Next Life – they are anticipatory representations of the sufferings to which they will be subjected in the Life to Come. The main point which needs to be appreciated regarding the Ascension is that it belongs to a genre of experience through which each Prophet is enabled to observe- consonant with his standing and mission – aspects of God’s dominion of the heavens and the earth. Once the material barriers to the normal vision of human beings are removed, it becomes possible to view physically, the realities which the Prophets are required to summon others to believe in as part of faith in the Unseen. This is done in order to distinguish the Prophets from mere speculative philosophers. For a philosopher’s contentions are based on speculative reason and hence are essentially conjectural. Were a philosopher to recognize his true position – the position of a philosopher – he would shrink from testifying to the truth of his contentions. In contrast, what the Prophets say is based on their direct knowledge and observation. They can testify before others with full conviction that whatever they expound are realities which they themselves have directly perceived.


*Buraq was the name of the heavenly steed on which the Prophet  rode on his nocturnal journey from Makka to Jerusalem, and then to the heavens (For this nocturnal journey q.v. Mi’raj.)