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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2585

Meelad-un-Nabi and its relevance

By Dr. T. Kamal Sheriff, M.D.

The historical origin of Islam revolves around the life of Prophet Muhammad (MPBUH) who was born in the city of Mecca ( which today is an important city of Saudi Arabia) in 570 A.D., his migration termed Hijra (which marks the start of the muslim calendar) to city of Madina and his subsequent death in the same city in 632 AD. During his life time Arabia was an impoverished country in all aspects i.e. politically, economically and also culturally. The Arabs were largely divided into tribes which consisted of number clans and held together by shared ancestry. The eldest member of the family was recognized as the leader of the clan and the clan leaders together constituted the ruling council of the tribe.

Into one such clan viz the Hashimite was born Prophet Muhammad (MPBUH). This particular clan was respected and had considerable influence in Mecca and the surrounding areas. Though not a very powerful tribe it was a very important merchant tribe. The tribe to which the Hashimate clan belonged was known as the Quraysh and they were the custodians of the KABA which even in those days was considered as a holy and a major shrine.

Prophet Muhammad was an orphan having lost his father Abdullah, who died shortly before he was born. His mother was Amina and was brought up by his grand father Abdal Muttablib. Very little is known about his early childhood except that Halima was his foster mother. He lived with his foster family during his childhood and he was very much attached to Halima. There is a legend which is worth mentioning here that during one of his days out herding the sheep, he was visited by two angles who laid him down and opened his chest and washed his heart and closed his chest which probably symbolizes the removal of all sins and making him pure. After this incidence his foster mother afraid of his safety, returns him to his family. After his grandfather’s death, his parentral uncle Abutalib takes charge of him and takes him along on his business trips. Later when he grows up he himself becomes a merchant and gains a wide reputation as a trustworthy person. This quality earns him the name of Al-Amin or the trust worthy. A rich widow BiBi Khadija comes to know of his qualities and sends a marriage proposal which he accepts. This starts Prophet Muhammads (MPBUH) married life with a widow aged forty years, when he himself was just twenty five years of age. The years spent with her were most fruitful. This lays the foundation of widow re-marriage in Islam.

During his adulthood Muhammad (MPBUH) develops the habit of retiring to a cave on Mount Hira just outside the city of Mecca and spend his time meditating in private. During one such periods of meditation he falls asleep only to be awakened by an angel who commands him to ‘Recite’. Muhammad(MPBUH) being an unlettered person is not able to do so but is again commanded to ‘Recite’. After the third time the angel commands him.

Recite! In the name of your lord who created.
Created man from a Clot!
Recite! and your lord is Most Bountiful-
He taught by the pen-
Taught man that which he know not!

This event marks the beginning of revelations, which he continued to receive through out his life through the angel identified as Gabriel and thus started the life of Muhammad (MPBUH) as the messenger and Prophet of Islam.

First when Prophet Muhammed(MPBUH) started preaching, people were curious to know as to what he was saying but later as it gained momentum, more and more Meccans became his followers, and their persecution started. Prophet Muhammad (MPBUH) and his followers had to meet with a lot of hardship and misery but yet they stood fast and never sacrificed the principles and teachings of Islam. Ultimately unable to bear the torture inflicted upon them by the Meccans, Prophet and his followers decide to move over to yathrib, at the invitationof the people of yathrib. This is an important event, not only in the life of Prophet Muhammad (MPBUH)but also in the history of Islam and is known as ‘Hijra’ or ‘Great’Emigration’. The Hijra marks the start of the Islamic calendar which is followed by muslims through out the world.

‘Hijra’ also marks the beginning of Islam as a religion, for during his life in Mecca after the first revelation, the message preached by the Prophet was of monotheism (belief in one God), and during the rest of his life in yathrib which was later renamed as ‘Medinat-un-nabi’(city of Prophet) Islam the religion began to evolve into a social phenomenon developing a history of its own with a set of laws which were revealed to him by Allah. The status of Prophet Muhammad (MPBUH) was not only that of a reformer but that of a social, religious and a political leader of the entire community of muslims. Those opposed to his doctrine fought wars but failed to arrest the growing influence of Islam under Prophet Muhammad (MPBUH). Finally, in 630 A.D. the city of Mecca surrenders and Prophet Muhammed (MPBUH) once again enters it, not as a victor but as a saviour of Meccans who had persecuted him, by guaranteeing the life and property of the Meccans. All idols from the Kaba are removed as there is no place for idol worship in Islam. After performing a pilgrimage to the Kaba, Prophet Muhammad (MPBUH) returns to Madina.

He makes one more pilgrimage to Mecca which is also known as his ‘Farewell Pilgrimage’ and to this day muslims all over the world follow this ritual which is popularly know as ‘Hajj’. After his return from the Farewell pilgrimage Prophet Muhammad (MPBUH) falls ill, and breathes his last around midday on 8th June 632 A.D. in the house of his wife Aisha and is buried in the same place which is today within the Masjid-un-Nabvi(Prophet Mosque).

Islam continues to flourish and will do so till the end of the world as its message is pure and simple. In short it is a way of life, simple and easy to follow and appealing to the mind. It does not distinguish one from another and stands for Equality, Justice and Brotherhood among all the human beings. Muslims all over the world have great love for their Prophet and his birth is celebrated through out the world not just as a birthday in the modern concept but as a day of reaffirming the faith in their religion and also remembering, restating and recalling the life and teaching of their great and beloved Prophet.

Dr. J. Kamal Sheriff former Vice Chairman of the State Minorities Commission, Government of Tamil Nadu.

- Asian Tribune -

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