Rabi` al-Awwal – The First Spring & The Mawlid
A collection of important knowledge gleaned from the Qur’an and Prophetic Traditions [hadith] about the most auspicious month of the whole year – the month in which the Most Beloved of God’s creation was born, our Master and Liegelord, Muhammad, the son of `Abd Allah – God’s peace and blessings be upon him, his Family and Companions until the end of time.
Translated from Shaykh al-Khatib al-Baligh `Abd al-Hamid ibn Muhammad `Ali ibn `Abd al-Qadir Quds al-Makki ash-Shafi`i’s text, “The Treasure of Triumph and Delight” [kanz un-najah was-surur]:
Know that, that which is required for us to perform in this month is an increase in the deed of fasting, and most especially in sending prayers of peace and blessings [ṣalawāt] upon our Prophet, the Master of Creation, God the Exalted’s peace and blessings upon him and may He increase him in honour and grace, because it was within this great month that an immense goodness was manifested, and the heights of utmost felicity were attained with the dawning of our sublime Prophet ﷺ upon existence.
Within (this month) is the time of:
- commemorating the birth of the Master of all created things, and the most honourable of all the inhabitants of the earth and the heavens, the coolness of our eyes, our intercessor on our behalf with our Lord, the most purest of all Ma`add (Ancestor of the Prophet ﷺ, son of `Adnān), our Master and Liegelord Muhammad, God the Exalted’s blessings and peace upon him and his Family and Companions and all who belong to him,
- and the gathering of those who declare God’s Unity, to hear of the events occurring around his noble birth,
- and to seize the opportunity to gain blessings and his ﷺ lofty favour,
- and to recite prayers of blessings and peace and salutations [ṣalāt wat-taslīm] upon the bearer of a great disposition [khuluq],
- and the People of Islām will continue to celebrate the month of his ﷺ birth, by preparing feasts,
- and giving out charity [ṣadaqāt] during its nights with a variety of charities,
- and show happiness and delight within it,
- and increase in acts of goodness and obedience to God,
- and delve deeply into the story of his noble birth.
The blessings of such an event will manifest itself upon them from all types of all-encompassing favours.
The first person to celebrate (the Mawlid) in such a manner was the King al-Muẓaffar Abū Sa`īd, the owner of the province of Erbil (God have mercy on him). He used to celebrate it in the month of the First Spring [Rabī` al-Awwal] with a huge festival and he was chivalrous, courageous, valiant and just. When al-Ḥāfiẓ ibn Diḥya entered Erbil in 604 AH, and saw the great care that the King took with the Noble Mawlid, he wrote for him a text with which to use during the celebration and recited it to him personally. The text was called, “Illumination through Celebrating the Birth of the Luminous Lamp”. As a reward, King al-Muẓaffar gave him one thousand dīnārs.
This above mentioned text was the first one to ever be written specifically for the Mawlid, and thereafter other people wrote longer and shorter versions, whether sparsely detailed or condensed the main events are recounted within. The people continued to recite it on the night of his ﷺ birth, with a sense of veneration, sending prayers of blessings and peace upon the coolness of the eyes and the Master of the Two Abodes, reciting Odes [anāshīd] in praise of him ﷺ in Masjids and Mosques. They expanded upon this, avidly seeking its blessings, and began to recite it within their own dwellings and homes on any day of the month of the First Spring, even within any day of the year. They sought blessings from such a glorified event, out of pure love for the one to whom it is about ﷺ, relying on him for his intercession – God’s blessings, peace, honour, ennoblement, veneration and glory be upon him and his Family and Companions.
The act of putting together a celebration of the Mawlid and gathering people to it is recommended and approved; it is a good innovation [bid`a ḥasana].
Imām Abū Shāma, the Shaykh of Imām an-Nawawī (upon them be peace) said, “The most excellent of acts which have been innovated in our times is that which is performed every year on the day in which there is scholarly consensus that it is his ﷺ day of birth: (deeds such as) charity, known acts of goodness, bringing out decorations and delight. Within such a thing is showing excellence towards to the poor, who has a great sense of love for the Prophet ﷺ, and increasing the veneration one has for him ﷺ in their heart, and thanking God for the blessings that arrived with the existence of His Messenger ﷺ, the one He sent as a mercy to everything.”
Imām ibn al-Jawzī (God have mercy on him) said, “From its special blessings is that one will be protected for the entire year, and speedy glad tidings with the fulfilment of one’s aspirations and wishes.”
Al-Ḥāfiẓ ibn Ḥajar was able to deduce the deeds to be performed during the Mawlid on a firm basis within the Tradition [sunna], and it can be found in the Two Authentic Books [saḥīḥayn] (1), “(That) the Prophet ﷺ entered Madīna and found within it the Jews fasting the Day of `Āshurā’, so he asked them (regarding it). They replied: It is the day in which God drowned the Pharaoh and saved Moses [Mūsā], and we fast it out of gratitude. So, he said, “We are more entitled to Moses than you are.””
He (Imām ibn Ḥajar) said (regarding this narration), “It is obviously beneficial to perform a deed out of gratitude for that which God had favoured us with that occurred on a special occasion, and which blessing is greater than the appearance of the Prophet of Mercy, God the Exalted’s blessings and peace be upon him?”
Gratitude can be performed with a variety of acts of worship, such as prayer, fasting, charity, reciting the Book of God, and not by encouraging to perform the forbidden deeds, and God the Transcendent and Most High is more knowledgeable.
We have presented this research out of seeking its blessings. I do not know of a specific supplication to recite within it, however, I preferred that this book was not finished without mentioning including it with the months.
1. Books of Prophetic Narrations [ḥadīth].