The virtues, rules, customs, and innovations of the month of Rabi’ al-Awwal
The meaning of “Rabi” is “spring,” and “Awwal” means “first.” So, “Rabi-ul-Awwal” translates to “Rabi-ul-Awwal,” which is the third month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
The date of birth of the Prophet, peace be upon him
The date of the Prophet Muhammad’s (ﷺ) birth is a matter of some debate among scholars. Various dates, including the 2nd, 8th, 10th, and 12th of Rabi-ul-Awwal, have been mentioned by different scholars. Most scholars tend to prefer the 12th of Rabi-ul-Awwal as the date of the Prophet’s birth. However, there is some disagreement on this issue, and definitive historical records are not available to confirm a specific date.
In summary, “Rabi-ul-Awwal” is the Arabic name for the third month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and it is the month in which the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) is celebrated, with some variation in the exact date among scholars.
وُلِدَ رَسُولُ اللهِ عامَ الْفِيلِ يَوْمَ الْإِثْنَيْنِ الثَّانِي عَشَرَ مِنْ شَهْرِ رَبِيعِ الْأَوَّلِ وَفِيهِ بُعِثْ وَفِيهِ عُرِجَ بِهِ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ وَفِيهِ هَاجَرَ وَفِيهِ مَاتَ . ( البداية والنهاية : ٣٧٥/٣)
Although Ibn Kathir has described its chain of narration as “disconnected,” its wording remains.
وَفِيهِ هَاجَرَ وَفِيهِ مَاتَ
While looking at it, historians of the republic have recognized the 12th of Rabi’ al-Awwal as the day of demise. [Islamic Calendar: 391/1] Many scholars have also favored the statement of the early Rabi’ al-Awwal.
Why is there a difference in the dates of the birth and the demise of the Prophet (ﷺ)?
In fact, there was no specific command associated with the happiness or prominence for the Ummah with the determined dates of the birth or demise of the Prophet (ﷺ), therefore, no special arrangement was made by Allah Almighty for the preservation of these dates in a calendrical manner. Consequently, if after the Prophet (ﷺ) or during his time, celebrations like the Birthday of the Prophet or other customs were established, then certainly there would not have been this discrepancy in the dates. Even though it was possible to declare the birthdate through revelation, by God and by the Prophet himself, it did not happen, and it is also not possible that the Prophet PBUH mentioned it but the companions of the Prophet (ﷺ) did not remember it. The virtue of the month of Rabi’ al-Awwal is indeed honored and respected and it is the month of dignity, blessing, and virtue due to the birth of the Prophet (ﷺ). The poet has rightly said:
The blessings of Allah are there, the second meaning refers to the season of spring, and the third refers to the month of Rabi’ al-Awwal. Meaning: The birth of the Prophet PBUH is also like the season of spring, the era was indeed in spring and it was the month of Rabi’ al-Awwal, in this way, three springs, i.e., three seasons of spring were combined. Regardless, due to being virtuous this month.
ربيع في ربيع في ربيعAnd light upon light upon light.
In one spring, there is another spring, and within the second is the third, and above light is more light, and yet above it, is further light. In this poem, the first Rabi denotes the Prophet(ﷺ), despite no specific act being designated in this month.
Method to Attain the Virtue of Rabi-ul-Awwal
To obtain the virtue and honor of this month, the method is to, especially in this month, intend to follow the life of the Prophet (ﷺ) abandon sins, and not that even more sins are committed in this month, as observed especially on 12 Rabi-ul-Awwal.
Traditions and Superstitions of Rabi-ul-Awwal
Arranging collective Quran recitation sessions on the 12th of Rabi-ul-Awwal is illegitimate due to it being inclusive of many evils. For the conveyance of reward (Esaal-e-Swaab), gathering at one place to read the Holy Quran is not essential; however, at this occasion, this gathering is considered obligatory and is regularly arranged for this purpose. It is incorrect to specify a particular day or date on one’s behalf for conveying rewards through reciting the Quran or any good deed. The Quran read for the conveyance of reward needs to be read with sincerity. After this Quran recitation, some kind of food is considered necessary. Distributing food and setting up Sabeels (free water distribution points) on 12 Rabi-ul-Awwal, visiting graveyards, putting covers on graves, etc., during Rabi-ul-Awwal, are observed. (Fasting on 12 Rabi-ul-Awwal is neither Sunnah nor Mustahabb, albeit fasting on Monday is proven, but it has no relation to 12 Rabi-ul-Awwal.) Conducting business on 12 Rabi-ul-Awwal is not forbidden. Celebrations on this day resemble Christians’ Christmas. Cakes are cut, Eid Milad-un-Nabi prayers are offered. The entire night, different music and non-music programs are presented with large speakers on cars. Now, models of the Holy Kaaba and the Prophet’s Mosque are made, resembling them. Young boys and girls, without observing veil, come out wearing beautiful but Shariah non-compliant dresses. Mixing of men and women happens at the procession sites. Music is used. 12 Rabi-ul-Awwal is considered a day of Eid, despite there being a difference in the two Eids. The legitimacy of Eid day is proven by our religion and sacred Shariah,
Indeed, fasting on the two Eids, Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr, is not permissible
Performing fasting during these two Eid festivals is not allowed. Offering the Eid prayer is prescribed on both Eids, while on the occasion of Eid Milad-un-Nabi, the Eid prayer is not an established practice. There are several recommended acts prescribed in Shariah for the two Eids, but there are no such specific acts in Islamic law for Eid Milad-un-Nabi. Considering this day as an Eid is equivalent to introducing a new ordinance in comparison to the Prophet’s tradition. Then, what is the significance of celebrating in this month? It means that celebrating the birthday of the Prophet every year and neglecting his demise in the same month cannot be considered rational.
The colorful lights are used to decorate streets and neighborhoods, resembling a bride. The objections to this practice are as follows:
- In some places, stolen electricity is used for this purpose, making the person responsible a criminal in the eyes of the law.
- In some instances, charity (chanda) is collected for this purpose.
- It involves extravagance and wastefulness, which is considered a sinful act.
- All of this is done in the name of religion and earning rewards.
Reciting Naats (Islamic poems praising the Prophet (ﷺ)) by children, both boys and girls, without facial hair, can have some drawbacks. However, it is not a problem if the following conditions are considered:
- The content of the Naats should be accurate and in accordance with Islamic teachings.
- The reciters should be minors or prepubescent, without reaching the age of puberty.
- The Naats should be recited without musical accompaniment.
- The recitation should not resemble singing or music.
- Naats should not be recited for fame, showmanship, or any malicious intent.
- The content of the Naats should not involve exaggeration when praising the Prophet, such as claiming attributes or powers beyond what is appropriate.
What is there beyond Allah’s control? Whatever we have, we have it through Muhammad. O Owner of the Day of Judgment, You are the ultimate judge, and mercy is your special place. You are indeed unique in your position.