THE MONTH OF Rabi al Awwal
Rabīʽ al-Awwal (Arabic: رَبِيع ٱلْأَوَّل, Rabīʿ al-ʾAwwal) is the third month in the Islamic calendar. The name Rabī‘ al-awwal means “the first [month] or beginning of spring“, referring to its position in the pre-Islamic Arabian calendar.
During this month, majority of Muslims celebrate Mawlid – the birthday of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. Other Muslims do not believe the celebration is evidenced as necessary or even Islamically permissible in the Quran or authentic Hadith and has evolved as an innovation. Although the exact date of the Mawlid is unknown, Sunni Muslims believe the date of birth of Muhammad to have been on the twelfth of this month, whereas Shia Muslims believe him to have been born on the dawn of the seventeenth day.
The word “Rabi” means “spring” and Al-awwal means “the first” in Arabic language, so “Rabi’ al-awwal” means “The first spring” in Arabic language. The name seems to have to do with the celebration events in the month as “spring” is the end to winter (symbol of sadness) and consequently the start of happiness. The Arabic calendar being lunar calendar, the month is naturally rotating over years and Rabī‘ al-awwal can be in spring or any other season every now and then, so the meaning can not be related to the actual season.
Although historians and scholars disagree on the exact date of Muhammad’s birth, it is celebrated by some Muslims on 12th or 17th of Rabi’ al-awwal.
However, many Muslims do not celebrate the Prophet’s birthday as neither the Prophet himself nor any of his Companions of the Prophet observed any such birthday celebrations and they do not consider it an Islamic obligation nor an act of any religious merit with any basis in the Quran or in any authentic Hadith.
Where the celebration of the Mawlid is done by some Muslims, it is done differently depending on the country. In some areas celebrations begin as early as the first of the month and can continue till the end of the month. Muslims generally put coloured lights on roads, streets, and their homes and put green flags as well to celebrate.
In many countries a procession is also conducted on 12th or 17th of Rabi’ al-awwal night and day. On these occasions sweets and drinks are also distributed widely from home to home and to the general public. In some areas Muslims also exchange gifts.
For the first time in 457 years, both the 12th Rabi’ al-awwal and Christmas shared the same date on December 25, 2015 although this co-incidence has no significance given many Muslims, while noting the historic importance of the Prophet’s birth date, do not recognize the annual Mawlid to have any Islamic relevance.
- Rabī‘ al-Awwal 897 AH, the fall of the Emirate of Granada, the final Muslim kingdom of al-Andalus
The Emirate of Granada (Arabic: إمارة غرﻧﺎﻃﺔ, romanized: Imārat Ġarnāṭah), also known as the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada (Spanish: Reino Nazarí de Granada), was an Islamic realm in southern Iberia during the Late Middle Ages. It was the last independent Muslim state in Western Europe
Muslims had been present in the Iberian Peninsula, which they called Al-Andalus, since the early eighth century. At its greatest geographical extent, Muslim-controlled territory occupied most of the peninsula and part of present-day southern France.From the ninth to the tenth century, under the Caliphate of Córdoba, the region was one of the most prosperous and advanced in Europe. Conflict with the northern Christian kingdoms was recurrent, while mounting civil strife led to a fragmenting of Muslim states in the early eleventh century. This marked a precipitous decline in Muslim power and facilitated the centuries-long Christian Reconquista.
By 1230, the Almohad Caliphate in Morocco ruled the remaining Muslim territories in southern Iberia, which roughly corresponded to the modern Spanish provinces of Granada, Almería, and Málaga. Exploiting the Almohad’s dynastic strife, the ambitious Muhammad ibn al-Ahmar rose to power and established the Nasrid dynasty over these lands. By 1250, the emirate was the last Muslim polity in the peninsula. Although effectively a vassal of the rising Crown of Castile, for over two centuries, Granada enjoyed considerable cultural and economic prosperity; much of the famed Alhambra palace complex was built during this period, and the Nasrids would be the longest-lived Muslim dynasty in Iberia.
Nascent Christian power in Iberia meant that Granada’s existence was always precarious. In 1491, after a decade of intermittent warfare known as the Granada War, the emirate was forced to capitulate to the Catholic Monarchs. The following year, Muhammad XII, the last Nasrid ruler of Granada, formally relinquished his sovereignty and surrendered his territories to Castile, eventually moving to North Africa in exile. This marked the end of independent Muslim rule in Iberia.
- 12 Rabī‘ al-Awwal, the birth of our Prophet Muhammad (SAW)
Before the Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) was born, people were living in a state of ignorance and darkness. They worshiped different deities. They were deviating from the path of Allah. As the Prophet (S.A.W.) was born, he brought with him the Message of Truth, the Message of Allah, His Oneness. This message led the people towards the path of enlightenment, helping them distinguish between right and wrong.
One of the most important merits of our Prophet (S.A.W.) is that he is the last of all Prophets (A.S.) and no Prophet will come after him. Mohammad (S.A.W.) will remain the Prophet for all mankind till the end of days. As Allah says in Quran:
“…. He (S.A.W.) is the Messenger of Allah and the last (end) of the Prophets. And Allah is Ever All Aware of everything.” (Surah Ahzab 33:40)
The Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) is the epitome of perfection. He is the role model chosen for us by Allah and we are to follow his Sunnah in order to lead an ideal lifestyle which is not only defined to us by religion but is in fact beneficial for all mankind if we were to follow it. Allah Says in Quran:
“Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad S.A.W.) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.” (Surah Ahzab 33:21)
Without any doubt, life of Prophet (S.A.W.) is the most important source of guidance for all the Muslims and Prophet (S.A.W.) is a mercy not only upon us but all worlds and creations of Allah. As Allah Says in Quran:
“And We have sent you (O Muhammad S.A.W.) not but as a mercy for the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists).” (Surah Anbiya 21:107)
So every Muslim should learn and follow the practical examples set by him in every aspect of life.
May Allah direct us all to the blessings of the Glorious Quran and the Sunnah of His Messenger (S.A.W.).
- 13 Rabi al-Awwal, Death of Bibi Rabab ( Beloved Wife of Imam Hussain)
Hazrat Rabab (s.a.) also known as Umm Rabab (a.s.) , was the wife of the King of Martyrs, Imam Hussayn (a.s.) and the mother of the “ Princess of Karbala”, Hazrat Sakina (s.a.) and the ” Little Victor of Karbala”, Hazrat Ali al-Asghar (a.s.).
She was the daughter of the chief of the tribe of Bakr bin Wael, Imru’al Qays. It is reported that she was a learned woman. She and her father both were fond of poetry.
She had an exceptional faith in Imam Hussayn (a.s.). Her sacrifice and dedication is note worthy in the tragedy of Karbala. When she left Madinah, along with the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), Hazrat Ali al-Asghar (a.s.) must have been about one month old. Although, Hazrat Fatima al-Sughra insisted that the little Ali al-Asghar (a.s.) may be left with her in Madinah.
The travelling from Madinah to Karbala was very difficult and one can imagine how painful it must have been to a mother of two children aging one month and four years; Hazrat Sakina (s.a.) was about four years old.
Even at Karbala, when water supply was cut-off by the brutal Yazidi forces from 7th of Muharram, there is no report of any narration in the books, of any complaint from Umm Rabab (s.a.) about an infant’s thirst in the desert of scorching heat.
On the Day of Ashura, when Imam Hussayn (a.s.) asked Umm Rabab to bring Hazrat Ali Asghar (a.s.) so that he may get some water for the infant, Hazrat Umm Rabab’s trust in Imam Hussayn (a.s.) is unimaginable. The barbaric people, who had mercilessly slaughtered the family and friends of Imam Hussayn (a.s.) in one day, would be kind enough to quench the thirst of the infant. Umm Rabab was the symbol of reliance, confidence, dedication, patience and sacrifice. In this action, Hazrat Umm Rabab was no less than Hazrat Hajira (a.s.) when she was left alone in the desert of Makkah with her little son, Hazrat Isma’eel (a.s.). She must have given the benefit of doubt about the so called Muslims and thought that a slight ray of humanity must have been left in them. But in a matter of few minutes that apprehension was shattered when Hurmalah (l.a.) released a three-pronged arrow towards the delicate neck of Hazrat Ali Asghar (a.s.) which pierced through the infant’s throat and injured Imam Hussayn (a.s.)’s hand. When Imam Hussayn (a.s.) brought the infant and Hazrat Umm Rabab (s.a.) witnessed the slaughtered baby, she said: “Does infants are slaughtered like camels!” Because such three pronged arrows were used to slaughter (Nahar) camels. After some time, when she witnessed the tiny head of Hazrat Ali Asghar (a.s.) on the top of a spear, her heart must have been shattered. But she remained a symbol of patience!
It is reported that when the caravan of Ale Muhammad (a.s.) returned to Karbala, she refused to go back to Madinah and did not sit in a shade. We can imagine the state of her mind; her husband, the King of Martyrs Imam Hussayn (a.s.) was brutally slaughtered and his body remained without being covered or properly washed and buried! Her “Little Victor of Karbala” Hazrat Ali Asghar(a.s.)’s tiny body was exhumed by the barbaric Yazidi army from the fresh grave prepared by Imam Hussayn (a.s.) and his tiny head was severed and raised on top of a spear like other martyrs. Her “Princess of Karbala” Hazrat Sakina (s.a.) was brutally fastened on the back of a camel on way to Damascus.When the camel ran fast, she was bleeding along the route to Damascus. The blood dried on her dress and when she died in the dungeon of Shaam (Syria), Imam Zayn al-Abedin (a.s.) had to bury her beloved sister in the same dress because it was completely attached to her skin! Can we imagine the enormity of atrocities, opressions and shameful behavior of the people who paid back the “Compensation of Prophet Hood” to the Chief of Prophet’s Progeny!
The famous poet Aale Raza had written about Hazrat Umm Rabab (s.a.) on the eve of “Shaam-e-Ghareeban”:
“Na Is Tarah koi Kheti Hari Bhari Ujri; Tumhari Mang Bhi Ujri Hai Kokh Bhi Ujri – Meaning no harvest has ever been destroyed like the destruction of the Garden of Hazrat Fatima Zahra (s.a.); Your sacred husband was martyred and your both children were also martyred!”
- 18 Rabī‘ al-Awwal, birth of Umm Kulthum bint Ali
Zaynab al-Sughra (Arabic: زَيْنَب ٱلصُّغْرَىٰ, lit. ’Zaynab the Younger’), also known by her kunya Umm Kulthum bint Ali (Arabic: أُمّ كُلْثُوم بِنْت عَلِيّ), was the granddaughter of Prophet Muhammad SAW and the daughter of Ali. Whether or not she married Umar is a controversial topic between Sunnis and Shia. She is given the epithet ‘the Younger’ to distinguish her from her older sister, Zaynab the Elder (Zaynab al-Kubra).
Ali wanted his daughters to marry his brother Ja’far’s sons, but Umm Kulthum’s hand in marriage was requested by the Caliph, who promised, “No man on the face of the earth will treat her better than I will.”
Ali protested that she had not yet reached puberty, but Omar commanded that she be presented to him. Ali gave his daughter a striped garment and instructed her: “Take this to the Commander of the Faithful and tell him: ‘My father says, “If you like this garment, keep it; if you don’t like it, return it.” When Umm Kulthum brought this message to Omar, she reported, “He did not undo the garment nor look at anything except at me.” He told her that he was pleased, and so Ali consented to the marriage. Omar gave his bride a dower of 40,000 dirhams, and the marriage was consummated in November or December 638 (Dhu’l-Qaada 17 AH).
They had two children, Zayd and Ruqayya. Ruqayya later married Ibrahim, a son of Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, by whom she had a daughter.
One story from their married life tells how Umm Kulthum sent a gift of perfume to the Empress of Byzantium. The Empress sent back a “superb” necklace for Umm Kulthum. Omar believed that his wife should not have conducted a private correspondence at the expense of the state postal service, so he reimbursed her for the cost of the perfume and placed the Empress’s necklace in the state treasury. Nevertheless, it was said that Omar treated Umm Kulthum “with extreme honour and respect” because she was Muhammad’s granddaughter.
She is reported to have been present at the Battle of Karbala, during which her earrings were taken from her by an attacking soldier. Afterwards, Umm Kulthum is said to have given a eulogy condemning the people of Kufa for abandoning her brother Husayn, who was killed in the battle.
Tomb of Umm Kulthum bint Imam Ali at Bab al-Saghir
Umm Kulthum and her son Zayd died at the same time, in Abdullah’s lifetime. Eighty people attended their funeral where Sa’id ibn al-‘As conducted the prayers, and the congregation included Abdullah ibn Omar and Abu Hurairah.
Umm Kulthum is buried in Baab Sagheer cemetery in Damascus, Syria. The Mausoleum of Umm Kulthum is located in Arrawiya village in Damascus
Fatimids believe that she is also known as “Zaynab the Younger” and that she is buried at Sayyidah Zaynab Mosque, Damascus; whereas Zaynab the Elder lived at the end of her life in Cairo and was buried there at Al-Sayeda Zainab Mosque.
- 26 Rabī‘ al-Awwal, death of Abu Talib ibn Abdul Muttalib:
Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib (Arabic: أَبُو طَالِب ٱبْن عَبْد ٱلْمُطَّلِب ʾAbū Ṭālib ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib; c. 535 – c. 619) Abu Talib means; The father of Talib, born ʿImrān (عِمْرَان) or ʿAbd Manāf (عَبْد مَنَاف), was the leader of Banu Hashim, a clan of the Qurayshi tribe of Mecca in the Hejazi region of the Arabian Peninsula. He was an uncle of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and father of the Rashid Caliph Ali. After the death of his father Abd al-Muttalib ibn Hashim ibn Abd Manaf, he inherited this position, and the offices of Siqaya and Rifada. He was well-respected in Mecca, despite a declining fortune.
Abu Talib was born in the city of Mecca in the Hijaz region in 535 CE. He was the son of the Hashimite chief, Abd al-Muttalib. He was a brother of Muhammad‘s father, Abdullah, who had died before Muhammad’s birth. After the death of Muhammad’s mother Aminah bint Wahab, Muhammad as a child was taken into the care of his grandfather, Abd al-Muttalib. When Muhammad reached eight years of age, Abd al-Muttalib died. One of Muhammad’s uncles was to take him in. The oldest, Al-Harith was not wealthy enough to take him in. Abu Talib, despite his poverty, took in Muhammad because of his generosity. Another tradition states that, Abdul Muttalib, the father of Abu Talib on his death bed, chose Abu Talib amongst his sons to entrust them to take the task of raising Muhammed. Although Abu Talib was responsible for Siqaya and Rifada (Food and Beverages) of Hajj pilgrims, he was poor. For this, he had to borrow the amount from his uncle Abbas, which he failed to return and had to give up and let Abbas undertake the duty, as it was pre-conditioned to do so. Although this did not harm his position.
Muhammad loved his uncle, and Abu Talib loved him in return. Abu Talib is remembered as a gifted poet, and many poetic verses in support of Muhammad are attributed to him. Once, as Abu Talib was about to leave for a trading expedition, Muhammad wept and could not bear to be separated from him. To this Abu Talib responded, “By God I will take him with me, and we shall never part from each other.”
Later in life, as an adult, Muhammad saw that Abu Talib was struggling financially after a severe drought. Muhammad decided to take charge of one of Abu Talib’s children and he convinced Al-‘Abbas to do the same. They discussed this matter with Abū Ṭālib, who asked that his favorite child ‘Aqīl be left with him. Al-‘Abbās chose Ja’far, and Muhammad chose ‘Alī.
In tribal society, a tribal affiliation is important, otherwise a man can be killed with impunity. As leader of the Banu Hashim, Abu Talib acted as a protector to Muhammad. After Muhammad began preaching the message of Islam, members of the other Qurayshite clans increasingly came to feel threatened by Muḥammad. In attempts to quiet him, they pressured Abū Ṭālib to silence his nephew or control him. Despite these pressures, Abu Talib maintained his support of Muḥammad, defending him from the other leaders of the Quraysh. Leaders of the Quraysh directly confronted Abu Talib several times. Abu Talib brushed them off and continued to support Muhammad even when it put a rift between him and the Quraysh. In one account, the Quraysh even threatened to fight the Banu Hashim over this conflict. In a particular narration of one such confrontation, Abu Talib summoned Muhammad to speak with the Quraysh. Muhammad asked the Quraysh leaders to say the shahada and they were astounded.
The Quraysh even tried to bribe Abu Talib. They told Abu Talib that if he let them get hold of Muhammad, then he could adopt ‘Umarah ibn al Walid ibn al Mughirah, the most handsome youth in Quraysh.When this also failed, the Quraysh elicited the support of other tribes to boycott trading with or marrying members of the Banu Hashim lineage. This boycott started seven years after Muhammad first received revelation and lasted for three years. The goal was to put pressure on the Hashimites and even starve them into submission. For the sake of security, many members of the Banu Hashim moved near to Abu Talib (Encyclopedia of Islam), and the place became like a ghetto.This didn’t cause undue hardship because many had family members in other tribes that would smuggle goods to them.Abu Talib’s brother, Abu Lahab, sided with the Quraysh on this issue; he moved to a house in the district of Abd Shams to demonstrate support for the Quraysh.[ He thought Muhammad was either mad or an impostor.
Protecting Muhammad put considerable pressure on Abu Talib and the Banu Hashim. In one instance Abu Talib exclaimed to Muhammad, “Save me and yourself, and do not put a greater burden on me than I cannot bear.” Muhammad responded, “Oh uncle! By God Almighty I swear, even if they should put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left that I abjure this cause, I shall not do so until God has vindicated it or caused me to perish in the process.Seeing his nephew’s emotion, Abu Talib responded, “Go, nephew, and say what you like. By God, I will never hand you over for any reason.”
Abū Ṭālib died around 619 AD, at more than 80 years of age, about 10 years after the start of Muhammad’s mission. This year is known as the Year of Sorrow for Muhammad, because not only did his uncle Abu Talib die, but also his wife Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, within a month of Abu Talib.
Before Abu Talib died, Muhammad asked him to pronounce the Shahadah. In another tradition Abu Talib was dissuaded from saying the Shahadah by the Quraysh.According to the historiographer Fred McGraw Donner, both of these traditions have very old isnads but the first variation has two different isnads which might suggest that the second variation is a modification of the older, first variation.
In yet another variation of Abu Talib’s death, his brother, Al-‘Abbās, who was sitting next to Abu Talib as he died, saw Abu Talib moving his lips. Al-‘Abbās claimed that Abu Talib had said the shahada but Muhammad replied that he had not heard it.
After Abu Talib’s death, Muhammad was left unprotected. Abu Talib’s brother and successor as the Chief of the family, that is Abu Lahab, did not protect him, as he was an enemy of Muhammad, so Muhammad and his followers faced incredible persecution. Muhammad is quoted as exclaiming, “By God, Quraysh never harmed me so much as after the death of Abu Talib.The early Muslims relocated to Abyssinia and then to Medina in order to escape persecution by the Quraysh.
Abu Talib was married to Fatimah bint Asad. They had four sons:
- Ṭālib ibn Abī Ṭālib
- ‘Aqīl ibn Abī Ṭālib (Abu Muslim), married Fatima bint Al-Walid and had many children: Abu Sa’id, Muslim, Musa, Abdullah, Ramla, Ja’far, Muhammadand Abd al-Rahman
- Ja’far ibn Abī Ṭālib (Abu Awn), married Asma bint Umaysand had 3 sons: Abdullah, Muhammad and Awn also had a daughter: Na’mi.
- ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib (Abu Hasan), married a number of women, including Fatimahbint Muhammad. He had many children like Hassan, Hussain, Abbas, Zainab, Umme Kulsum
and three daughters:
- Fākhitah bint Abī Ṭālib (Umm Hani), married Hubayra ibn Abi Wahb and had four sons: Umar, Fulan, Yusuf, Amr and two daughters: Hani and Ja’dah
- Jumānah bint Abī Ṭālib (Umm Sufyan), married Abu Sufyan ibn al-Harithand had two sons, Sufyan and Ja’far, Ali
- Rayṭah bint Abī Ṭālib (Umm Talib), married Awn ibn Umaysand had a son, Talib.
By another wife, Illa, he had a fifth son:
- Tulayq ibn Abī Ṭālib
Education to his children
- Muhammad and his wife, Khadija bint Khuwaylid, educated Ali
- Al-‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib and his wife, Lubaba bint al-Harith, educated Talib
- Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttaliband his wife, Salma bint Umays, educated Ja’far
- Az-Zubayr ibn ‘Abd al-Muttaliband his wife, Atika bint Abi Wahb, educated Aqil
- Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib and his wife, Fatimah bint Asad, educated Fakhitah, Jumanah and Raytah
- The Hijra(migration) took place in this month
- Marriage of Muhammadto Khadijah bint Khuwaylid
- Building of the Quba Mosque(first mosque in Islam)