Mawlid, Mawlid an-Nabi ash-Sharif or Eid Milad un Nabi (Arabic: مَولِد النَّبِي, romanized: mawlidu n-nabiyyi, lit. ‘Birth of the Prophet’, sometimes simply called in colloquial Arabic مولد, mawlid is commemorated in Rabi’ al-awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar. 12th Rabi’ al-awwal is the accepted date among most Sunni scholars, while most Shia scholars regard 17th Rabi’ al-awwal as the accepted date, though not all Shias consider it to be this date.
The history of this celebration goes back to the early days of Islam when some of the Tabi‘un began to hold sessions in which poetry and songs composed to honour Muhammad were recited and sung to the crowds.
It has been said that the first Muslim ruler to officially celebrate the birth of Muhammad in an impressive ceremony was Muzaffar al-Din Gökböri (d. 630/1233).
HISTORY OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD’S BIRTHDAY
Abdullah was the favorite son of Abdul Muttalib. When he was seventeen years old, he was married to Amina, a high-born lady of Yathrib, a city in the north of Makkah. He was not, however, destined to live long, and died only seven months after his marriage.
Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) was born in Mecca on the 12th day of Rabi’ al-Awwal of the Year of the Elephant in 570 A.D. He is believed to be a descendant of Ishmael, one of the two sons of Abraham. His midwife was the mother of Abdur Rahman ibn Auf. His mother, Amina, sent the tidings of the auspicious birth to his grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, who came, took him in his arms and gave him the name Muhammad.
It was a custom among the Quraysh to send their children into the desert to spend their early years in a climate that was more salubrious than that of Mach. Children built up stronger bodies in the wide open spaces and pure air of the desert than they could in the stifling and noisome air of the City.
There was one more reason why the Arab aristocrats sent their children to live in the desert. They were purists in speech and were great “aficionados” of words. They were fascinated by the Arabic language, its words, their meanings, and the various nuances of their meaning; and they took great pride in their own eloquence. In fact, the upper classes in Makkah predicated their authority on their rhetorical power. Makkah was the meeting-place of many caravans and its Arabic had become corrupted into a kind of “pidgin Arabic”.
The Arab aristocrats did not want their children to learn and speak the pidgin Arabic of Makkah; they wanted them to speak only the pure and uncontaminated language of the desert. They, therefore, sent their children away from Makkah to protect them from all such deleterious effects during the early years of their lives.
Amina gave her child, Muhammad, to Halima, a woman of the tribe of Banu Asad, living in the east of Makkah, for nursing. The infant Muhammad spent the first four years of his life in the desert with his wet nurse. Sometime in the fifth year of his life, she is reported to have brought him back to his mother in Makkah.
Muhammad was six years old when Amina, his mother, died. He was then taken by Abdul Muttalib, his grandfather, to his home. But only two years had passed when Abdul Muttalib also died.
Just before his death, Abdul Muttalib called all his sons together and told them that he was leaving two “bequests” for them; one was the leader of the clan of Banu Hashim, and the other was Muhammad ibn Abdullah, their nephew, an orphan of eight.
He then asked them who among them wanted his power and authority as the leader of the tribe, and who among them would take charge of the boy who had lost both parents. Most of his sons showed much eagerness to be named the leader of the tribe but no one volunteered to take charge of Muhammad.
As Abdul-Muttalib surveyed the assembly and contemplated the future of the boy, Muhammad, an uneasy silence fell over the scene. But it didn’t last long. Abu Talib, one of his sons, stepped forward and said that he wanted the son of his late brother, Abdullah, and that he had no interest in authority and power.
Abu Talib’s forthright declaration clinched the matter for Abdul Muttalib. He decided to make Abu Talib not only the guardian of Muhammad but also the guardian of the clan of Banu Hashim.
Abdul Muttalib announced on his deathbed that his son, Abu Talib, would succeed him as the new chief of Banu Hashim, and that he would also be the guardian of Muhammad. He then ordered the assembly to acknowledge Abu Talib as the new leader of Banu Hashim. The latter complied, and was then dismissed.
History ratified the judgment of Abdul Muttalib. His son and successor, Abu Talib, discharged both duties most honorably.
The Prophet ﷺ was born on a Monday
When the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was asked about fasting on Mondays. He replied, “That is the day on which I was born and the day on which I received Revelation.” Sahih Muslim
He was born in the year of the elephant (Approx 570CE)
This year was named after the event whereby Allah protected the Kabaah from an invading Abyssinian army. This incident is related in the Chapter of the Elephant (Quran Ch. 105). Al-Muttalib bin ‘Abdullah bin Qais bin Makhramah narrates from his father, who narrates from his grandfather, that he said:
“I and the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, were born in the Year of the Elephant” Tirmidhi (Sahih)
Many miracles happened at his birth
A 1000-year-old fire, which was being worshipped, was extinguished in Persia. (Al Raheeq Al Maktum) The lake of Sawah, which was also worshiped, dried up at the Prophet’s birth. (Hani al-Makhzumi) His mother, Aminah, mentioned that she did not suffer any of the usual pains of pregnancy as with other women. (Ibn Ishaq) Prior to his birth, she also dreamt that she gave birth to a tremendous light that extended to the Palaces of Busra in Syria. (Ibn Ishaq) On the night he was born it was reported that an immense light immersed from her lit up the entire house. (Ibn Hajar Fath Al-Bari)
May Allah send His peace and blessings upon the noble Prophet, Muhammad ﷺ, and allow his light to shine across the globe.