Monday, January 13, 2014

Mawlid An-Nabiy or Rabi Al-Awwal

Having just celebrated my own birthday a few days ago, and recognizing that today we are celebrating the birthday of Prophet Mohammad, and also knowing in a few days we will also celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it’s important to understand why we celebrate birthdays.

As a black man, as a Muslim, and as a believer in the Quran’s inclusive philosophy, I am able to celebrate all of these aspects of my being over these several days.

Dr. King’s birthday celebration, which in the United States is an actual National Holiday, is a way for us to remember a great man, who contributed to a great cause in his community, his society, and the world at large. His message for equality is remembered on that day and lives in all of us as human beings.   

I celebrate my birthday because I celebrate my life, because the Divine has given us a great opportunity by being human beings and being born in this awesome world. My birthday is a time for me to pause and remember all the good things that are just part of my life simply because I was born.

Today, Monday, January the 13th, which corresponds to the 12th day of the month of Rabi Al-Awwal in the Islamic Calendar, is the traditional celebration of Prophet Mohammad’s birthday, a practice by Muslims of all backgrounds around the globe.

It’s considered special this year because of the Prophet’s birthday falls on a Monday, as it was on Monday that Allah created the tree of life that has given humankind food, medicine and the promise of renewal and rebirth. The Prophet’s birthday celebration reminds us of our covenant with Allah that brings rapture and joy to all of humankind. 

It’s also a reminder that Prophet was born on a Monday, and the Black stone in the Ka’aba was placed on a Monday, making Monday’s celebration an extra special one. If you ever visit the Muslim World you will note that many people actually fast on Mondays because they are celebrating such important day.

This day of celebration is considered an accurate reflection of early Islamic history, where Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet, celebrated her father’s birthday on this day. By the way, Fatima also celebrated her husband’s birthday, her own birthday, and the caliphs’ birthdays of her time, thus reminding us that birthday celebrations are joyous times for one and all in the Muslim community.

I am reminded as a man of multiple talents that I must continue to work for the uplift of my sisters and brothers of all faiths and backgrounds worldwide, whether it is through a day of community service, attending a religious service or celebration, or remaining cognizant that all of us have one thing in common, our Creator, and that brings me joy and celebration.

Mawlid Mubarak!