The 12th of Rabi-al-Awal, a very special date to every Muslim. It is on this date that Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, the last Prophet sent by Allah for man's guidance, was born and died. We remember the day with reverence, love and gratitude. But we can benefit ourselves enormously if we also make it a day of reflection.
In the life of an individual or a community there are some special moments, dates and occasions when even the most wayward and obdurate of hearts tends to sober and soften. The 12th of Rabi-al-Awal is such a day for the Muslim.
While reflecting on our state as Muslims, on what Muhammad (saws) taught us and what we are, individually and collectively, we would do well to keep in mind these words of Allah subhanahu wa tala:
"We sent thee not but as a mercy for all creatures." (Surah Al- Anbiya 21:107)
"Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the praise of Allah." (Surah Al-Ahzab 33: 21)
Perhaps it would help to imagine this situation. Suppose that Muhammad (saws) suddenly appeared among us. How would he feel? Looking at us, looking at the communities we have built, the organisations we have set up, at the kind of life we live, how would he feel?
Each one of us can begin with himself by asking these questions: "How would Muhammad (saws) like me?" "Would it please him to see me the way I am?" "Would he like the life I live?" "Would he like my company?" "Would he like my home?" "If Muhammad (saws) entered my home and stayed for a day, would he approve of what he found there?"
In the silence of our hearts, we should search for a truthful answer to these questions.
Next, we can try to think of how Muhammad (saws) would feel if he were to walk in our streets, visit our marketplaces, enter our government offices, schools, colleges and universities, meet our political and business leaders. Would he be happy?
And what about that thing so dear to us, our many forms of entertainment? Would our dear Prophet (saws) be entertained?
Muhammad (saws) would certainly like to visit our masjids and centers of Islamic education. What would he think of them?
How would he like the present glossy and glittering Makka and Madina, looking very much like the ostentatious and vulgar modern cities of the non-Musim world? And what about the systematic wiping out of all historical evidence of early Islam? How would he feel if he were to make Hajj with us today, the divided and segregated Hajj, in which people of different nationalities are carefully separated from each other, and the privileged and non-privileged separated and treated very differently ?
One final thing. If Muhammad (saws) wished to tell us something, how many of us would there be who would have the time and inclination to listen to him?
We can ask these and many other questions. The list would be endless.
But let each of us try to ask himself as many of these questions as he can and see what answers he finds in his heart. The reward may be incalculable. It may transform one's life and put him on the path of salvation and lead him to the eternal abode of peace and rest, Jannah.
Let no one try to deceive himself by thinking that Muhammad (saws) is long dead and gone and can never again come to meddle with what we are doing here now. We would do well to remember this Hadith recorded in Sahih Al-Bukhari (Hadith 568, Book 55) about a scene from the most terrible Day of Judgment . Muhammad (saws) pleads on behalf of some of his people, and Allah (swt) replies "You do not know what they did after you left them." So he will know everything about us on that most grim day. So there is no comfort in the thought that he is dead and gone forever, and has no more business with us. Our transactions with Allah's Messenger (saws) are not over yet.
A. K. M. Mohiuddin is a retired university professor of English literature living in Bangladesh. He can be reached at this address: akmm45 [at] yahoo [dot] com
Related posts from similar topics: