Farewell O Blessed Rabiʿ al-Awwal

By Abdul Samad Ali

“Love”, according to Shibli, “is what obliterates everything from the heart except the Beloved.” Al-Hajweri then explains,

But what Love is, in reality, cannot be described by the word ‘love’, for love is a feeling and feelings cannot be expressed by words. Love is a Divine Gifted and cannot be achieved by effort. Man is finite but love is infinite, and the finite has no control over the infinite.”

The point is, we try to express this love for our Master Muhammad ﷺ in the month of His Blessed Birth – Rabiʿ al-Awwal – but between one Rabiʿ al-Awwal to the next, we do everything that offends “our Beloved”. God knows how weak we are, even “our Beloved” knows. He ﷺ is the one to whom our deeds are presented every morning and evening; He ﷺ is the one who asks God to forgive us for our transgressions and praises God upon seeing the little good that we do.

Were it not for his concern, his enemies would have been crushed by the very mountains that surround them. Were it not for his solicitude towards us, we would not have been blessed with the light of guidance. But we still don’t know and can’t comprehend who “our Beloved” is. He ﷺ is the Beloved of God. God did not love anyone like He loved him nor did He bring anyone as close to His presence as He brought him. What is this rank before the Divine Presence? What Sayyidna ʿUmar and Sayyidna ʿAli saw was nothing but the shadow of “our Beloved”, then what about us? What we know of him is nothing compared to what our Lord has given to our Master Muhammad ﷺ. He is the Beloved of the Great Lord.

O God allow us to realise! O God grant us the ability to love our Master Muhammad ﷺ as he should be loved. You know our sinful states, but we hope that by loving Your Beloved, our Master Muhammad ﷺ, we attain salvation. And by loving His Family (Ahlul Bayt) our loved ones will attain eternal bliss. Allahumma Ameen!

اللهم صل على سيدنا محمد عبدك ونبيك ورسولك النبي الامي وعلى آله وصحبه وسلم تسليماعدد ما احاط به علمك وخط به قلمك واحصاه كتابك والرضاءعن ساداتنا ابي بكر وعمر وعثمان وعلي وعن الصحابة اجمعين وعن التابعين وتابع التابعين لهم باحسان الى يوم الدين

Farewell O Blessed month of Rabiʿ al-Anwar.

29 Rabiʿ al-Awwal, 1436

The Intentions for Attending Mawlid Gatherings

  1. To attend a gathering to invoke blessing and prayers upon the Prophet ﷺ.
  2. To attend a gathering which the scholars encourage people to attend.
  3. To listen to an account of the life of al-Mustafa – The Chosen One ﷺ.
  4. To attend a gathering of counsel and guidance.
  5. To implement what you have heard of the Muhammadan characteristics.
  6. To occupy your time in what is good.
  7. To increase the number of people of truth.
  8. So that Allah may grant you the Prophet’s ﷺ character and qualities, as described in the mawlid.
  9. So that through your attendance you are able to fulfil some of your duties towards the Envoy ﷺ.
  10. So that you will be ennobled by Allah with a vision of the Prophet ﷺ.

[Al-Habib Muhammad bin Alawi al-Aydarus, al-Kitab al-Niyyat (The Book of Intentions) Chapter 19]

What is Manhood (Rujūlah)?

Image Courtesy of Time4Thinkers

The definition of manhood (Rujūlah) has been endlessly discussed and dissected in scholarly tomes. For many ancient cultures, manhood was rooted in being a warrior. But it was a battlefield-specific manhood ill-prepared for life during peacetime. In early American history, manhood was connected with being a yeoman farmer or independent artisan. But when the Industrial Revolution moved men from farm to factory, men wondered if true manliness was possible in the absence of the economic independence they once enjoyed. In the 20th century, manhood meant being the familial breadwinner. But during times of Depression and Recession, and when women joined the workforce in great numbers, men felt deeply emasculated.

When manhood is connected to such cultural, and ultimately ephemeral guideposts, and times change, a crisis of manhood results. Some men then cling stubbornly to a past that cannot be recreated while others seek to redefine manliness in ways that while well-intentioned, end up stripping manhood of its unique vitality. Thus, the definition of manhood clearly needs to be rooted in a firm and immovable foundation. One that works across time, place, and culture and is attainable for any man, in any situation.

So how do we define manhood (Rujūlah)?

For Aristotle and many of the ancient Greeks, manhood meant living a life filled with eudaimonia. What’s eudaimonia? It is living a life of “human flourishing,” or excellence. Aristotle believed that man’s purpose was to take actions guided by rational thought that would lead to excellence in every aspect of his life. Thus, manhood meant being the best man you can be.

For the ancient Romans, manliness meant living a life of virtue. In fact, the English word “virtue” comes from the Latin word virtus, which meant manliness or masculine strength. The Romans believed that to be manly, a man had to cultivate virtues like courage, temperance, industry, and dutifulness. Thus for the ancient Romans, manliness meant living a life of virtue.

For us, Muslims, the Prophet ﷺ is al-Insān al-Kāmil (The Perfect Man); manhood can therefore be defined as the imitation of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in ethical, spiritual and moral behaviour. A man should try his best to be what the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was, and those perfect characteristics and exalted qualities and magnificent ethics are innumerous:

  • His ﷺ Vigilance
  • His ﷺ Wisdom
  • His ﷺ Knowledge
  • His ﷺ Eloquence
  • His ﷺ Courage
  • His ﷺ Physical Strength
  • His ﷺ Generosity
  • His ﷺ Shyness
  • His ﷺ Loyalty
  • His ﷺ Patience
  • His ﷺ Perfect Resilience
  • His ﷺ Asceticism; Reliance upon God
  • His ﷺ Responsibility
  • His ﷺ Forgiveness
  • His ﷺ Military Leadership
  • His ﷺ Justice
    His ﷺ Integrity
  • His ﷺ Perfect Care for Cleanliness
  • His ﷺ Humility
  • His ﷺ General Manners and Etiquette
  • His ﷺ Kindness to His Family and Relatives
  • His ﷺ Kind way of Covering with Others
  • His ﷺ Excellent Way of Rebuking and Censuring
  • His ﷺ Perfect Way of Teaching and Guiding
  • His ﷺ Perfect Method of Directing People to Higher Aspirations
  • His ﷺ Mercy with Animals
  • His ﷺ Amiability in Social Settings

Both genders are capable of and should strive for virtuous, human excellence. When a woman lives these virtues, that is womanliness; when a man lives the virtues, that is manliness. Which is to say that women and men strive for the same virtues, but often attain them and express them in different ways. The virtues will be lived and manifested differently in the lives of sisters, mothers, and wives than in brothers, husbands, and fathers.


– Sayyid Muhammad ibn ‘Alawī al-Mālikī (2013). Muhammad ﷺ the Perfect Man. UK: Visions of Reality Books. Contents.
– Brett & Kate McKay. (2010). What is Manliness. Available: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2010/05/16/what-is-manliness/. Last accessed 12th Aug 2014.
– Harvey C. Mansfield (2007). Manliness: Yale University Press. 304.
– Image courtesy of Time4Thinkers.

Rabi’ al-Awwal | The Noble Birth of Our Master Muhammad ﷺ | A narration of His ﷺ birth by Abu Nuaym al-Isfahani

[Ibn Abbas] said: [Lady Amina] used to say:

“I began to have labour pains (lit. “there befell me what befalls women,” la-wad akhadhanī mā ya ‘khudhu ‘l-nisā’), and no one, male or female, knew about my situation; I was alone in the house, and Abd al-Muttalib was circumambulating [the Kabah]. She said: I heard a great crash and a mighty sound (sami’tu wajba shadīda wa-amran azīman) and it struck me with terror – that was on a Monday. I saw [a vision] as if the wing of a white bird stroked my heart, and then all the alarm, panic, and suffering that I had felt left me. Then I turned, and there was a white drink; I thought that it was milk. I was thirsty, so I took it and drank it, and a bright light radiated from me. Then I saw women like lofty palm-trees, resembling the daughters of Abd al-Muttalib[1], surrounding me. As I was wondering [over this] and asking myself, “Woe is me, how did these women know about me?” my labor became intense. I heard the crashing becoming louder and more fearsome all the time. Suddenly I saw a piece of white brocade stretched between the heavens and the earth, and a voice saying (idhā qā‘il yaqul), “Take him where no one can see him.” [Lady Amina] said: I saw men standing in the air, holding silver ewers in their hands; I was dropping sweat like pearls, sweeter smelling than fragrant musk. I was saying, “If only Abd al-Muttalib had come to me” – but Abd al-Muttalib was far away. She said: I saw a flock of birds that had come without my noticing from whence they came, until they covered my chamber. Their beaks were made of emerald and their wings of rubies. The veil was lifted from my sight (fa-kushifa lī ‘an basarī) and at that moment I saw the eastern and western horizons of the earth. I saw three banners raised, a banner in the east, a banner in the west, and a banner on top of the Ka’bah. The labor pains seized me and I was in great distress. I felt as if I were leaning against the limbs of women; they became numerous, to the point that it was if there were many hands in the house, but I did not see anything (kuntu ka’annī mustanida ilā arkān al-nisā‘ wa-kathurna ‘alayya hattā ka’anna al-aydī ma’ī fī‘l-bayt wa-anā lā arā shay’an ). I gave birth to Muhammad; when he came out of my womb I turned and looked at him, and lo and behold, I saw him prostrating himself, with his finger raised like one who was pleading and supplicating. Then I saw a white cloud that had come from the sky come down until it covered him and he was concealed from my sight; I heard a voice call out, “Take Muhammad around the east and west of the world; take him into all the oceans, so that they will know his name, his description, and his form, and they will know that in [the oceans] he is called ‘al-Māhi’ (‘the Effacer’), because there is no polytheism but that it will be effaced by him in his time.” Then [the cloud] revealed him again in the twinkling of an eye, and lo, he was clothed in a woollen robe that was whiter than milk, and underneath him was a piece of green silk. He was grasping three keys of brilliant white pearl, and a voice said, “Muhammad has grasped the keys of victory, the keys of the wind, and the keys of prophecy.” Then another cloud, from which the whinnying of horses and the fluttering of wings could be heard, approached until it covered him and he was concealed from my sight. I heard a voice call out, “Take Muhammad around the east and the west, and the birthplaces of the prophets; present him to every being with a spirit (kull ruhānī), whether jinn, human, bird or beast. Give him the contentment (safā) of Adam, the tenderness (riqqa) of Noah, the friendship (khulla) of Abraham, the tongue (lisān) of Ishmael, the good tidings (bushra) of Jacob, the beauty of Joseph, the voice of David, the patience of Job, the renunciation (zuhd) of John, and the magnanimity (karma) of Jesus. Immerse him in the moral qualities of the prophets.” Suddenly a voice said, “Good! Good! Muhammad has grasped all the world, and none of its people remain but that they have entered his grasp.” Then I saw three people, in the hand of one of whom was a silver ewer, in the hand of the second a basin of green emerald, and in the hand of the third a piece of white silk. He unfolded it and took from it a seal that dazzled the eyes of its beholders. He washed it [with water] from that ewer seven times, then sealed between [Muhammad’s] shoulders with the seal and wrapped it in the silk. Then he picked him up and held him between his wings for a while, then returned him to me.”

[1] Other narrations read “the daughters of Abd Manaf. Transmitted from Abu Nu’aym al-Isbahānī in Jalāl al-Din al-Suyutī, al-Khasā‘is al-kubrā aw kifāyat al-tālib al-labīb fī khasā‘is al-habīb, ed. Muhammad Khalīl Harās [Cairo]: Dār al-Kutub al-Hadīthīya, n.d., 1:120-1.

Rabi’ al-Awwal | The Noble Birth of Our Master Muhammad ﷺ | Recommended books on His ﷺ Sirah

As-Salamu ‘Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh,

Below is a short list of books on the life and character of the Beloved Prophet ﷺ, that I have either personally read and recommend or have been recommended to me by others.

This being the blessed month in which so many great events in the life of the Beloved Prophet ﷺ took place, in particular his ﷺ noble Birth, which was a source of guidance and pleasure for all creation. Truly, feeling pleased and honoured at his ﷺ noble Birth is a sign of faith. This is not to say that anyone who does not take part in celebrations of Mawlid/Meelad is not from amongst the Muslims. He may not choose to express  his love in this manner, but through other means and that is fine – as we accept the valid difference of opinions.

Indeed true feelings manifest as actions, and the greatest way to show love for the Beloved Prophet ﷺ is to follow and obey Him ﷺ.

اللهم صل و سلم على سيدنا محمد مفتاح باب رحمة الله، عدد ما في علم الله، صلاة و سلاما داءمين بدوام ملك الله، و على آله و صحبه عدد كل ذرة ألف مرة

Allāhuma salli wa sallim ‘alā Sayyidinā Muhammadin miftāhi bābi rahmatillāh, ‘adada mā fī ‘ilmillāh, salātan wa salāman da’imayni bi-dawāmi mulkillāh wa ‘alā ālihī wa sahbihi ‘adad kulli dharratin alfa marrah.

[Oh Allāh send your salutations and blessings upon our Master Muhammad (ﷺ) , the key to the door of Your Mercy, the amount that which is in the Knowledge of Allāh, salutations and blessings forever continuing with the Dominion of Allāh, and upon His (ﷺ) family and His (ﷺ) companions; equal to the number of every atom a thousand times.]

Recommended books on the Life and Character of our Master Muhammad ﷺ: 

The Sealed Nectar (Al-Rahīq al-Makhtūm) – al-Mubarakpuri

Muhammad: The Perfect Man – Al-Sayyid Muhammad ibn Alawi al-Maliki

Shama’il al-Tirmidhi – Mawlana Zakariyyah Kandehlawi

– Ash-Shifa – Qadi Iyad al-Maliki

The Jurisprudence of the Prophetic Biography – Shaykh Ramadan al-Buti

Prophet Muhammad and His Miracles – Said Nursi

Provisions for the Hereafter – ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

The Prophet’s Night Journey and Heavenly Ascent – Al-Sayyid Muhammad ibn Alawi al-Maliki

The Life of The Messenger – An-Nawawi

Bidayat as-Sul Fi Tafdil ar-Rasul – Imam Izz ibn Abdassalaam

Muhammad: His Life based on the Earliest Sources – Martin Lings

Our Master Muhammad: Volumes 1& 2 – Imam Abdullah Sirajjudin al-Husayni

– The Mawlid: Blessed Birth of the Prophet – ibn Kathir

Seeratul Mustafa – Mawlana Idris Kandehlawi

The Life of the Prophet Muhammad – ibn Kathir

Seerah of the Final Messenger – Mufti Muhammad Shafi Usmani

Sirat un Nabi – Allama Shibli Nomani/Allama Syed Sulayman Nadwi

The Perfect Paragon Muhammad – Thaqib Mahmood

Special Du’ā for Sidi Salman