Salaam and Greetings of Peace:
“You have indeed in the Messenger of God a beautiful pattern of conduct for anyone whose hope is God and the Final Day.” (Al-Ahzab 33:21).
Alhamdulillah! This is Rabi a-Awwal, by the Lunar calendar the month of the blessed birthday (Milad Un-Nabi) of the Prophet Muhammad (the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
According to Sunni scholars, the Prophet’s birthday is observed on 12th Rabi al-Awwal, which falls this year on Thursday, January 24, 2013, and 17th Rabi al-Awwal (January 29th this year) according to Shia scholars.
Since the best historical estimate is that the Prophet (saw) was born in March or April of 570 CE, he would be 1443 years old this year.
It is celebrated as a time to read the Qur’an, fast, pray, and remember the life, teachings, and example of the Prophet (saw) with good deeds.
When praising the Prophet (saw), we are warned, however, not to exaggerate in his praise. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Do not overpraise me as Christians overpraised Jesus, son of Mary. Say [when referring to me], ‘Servant of Allah and His messenger.’”
Servant of Allah and His messenger!
Surely that is a title that needs no embellishment. And so, may Allah bless you all, gentle readers, and guide you to the best of his noble qualities on the straight path of love, compassion, mercy, generosity, and kindness. Amin!
The Names of the Prophet (saw)
In the same way that Muhammad(un) rasul Allah (Muhammad is the Messenger of God) follows La Ilaha ill Allah, the names of the Prophet (saw) flow from those of God and are a ladder that leads to Him. The Prophet (saw) has even been honored by God by having some of the Divine Names such as Ta Ha and Nur also bestowed upon him. The chanting of the litanies of the names of the Prophet (saw) is an important practice in Sufism and on a more external level in the everyday activity of many pious Muslims.
Not only is the Prophet (saw) called Muhammad, the most praised one, but he is also Ahmad, the most praiseworthy of those who praise God. He is Wahid, the unique one; Mahi, the annihilator of darkness and ignorance; and Aqib, the last of the prophets. He is Tahir, the pure and clean one; Tayyib, he who possesses beauty and fragrance; and Sayyid, prince and master of the universe. He is, of course, Rasul, messenger, but also Rasul al-Rahmah, the messenger of mercy; and Khatim al rusul, the seal of prophets. He is Abd Allahl, the perfect servant of God, but also Habib Allah, the beloved of God; and Safi Allah, the one chosen by God. He is both Nasir, the victorious helper of men, and Mansur, the one who is made triumphant in this world.
The Prophet (saw) is Muhyi, the vivifier of the dead hearts of men, and Munji, he who delivers man from sin. He is Nur, light, as well as Siraj, the torch that illuminates the path in man’s life; Misbah, the lamp that contains the light of faith, and Huda, the guide to God and paradise. He is Dhu quwwah, the possessor of strength; Dhu hurmah, possessor of sacred reverence; and Dhu makanah, the possessor of integrity. He is both Amin, trustworthy, and Sadiq, truthful. He is Miftah, or key to paradise, and Miftah al-rahmah, the key to God’s mercy. The love of the Prophet (saw) is in fact both a sign of the love of God and the gate to that Mercy from which the very substance of the universe was created.
- From Islamic Spirituality, edited by Seyyed Hossein Nasr