Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education

The Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education (NFIE) is a non-profit, tax exempt, religious and educational organization dedicated to serve Islam with a special focus on Tasawwuf(Sufism),

Monday, February 16, 2009

Milad-un-Nabi,Q-News,April 2004

Q-News, April, 2004
Fuad Nahdi Editor in Chief

During such times of violence, ignorance and hatred – of duplicity, bestiality and inhumanity – it is perhaps more difficult but even more necessary to talk about the healing, loving and inspirational nature of the Mawlid – celebration of the birth of the Noble Prophet.
This year the Milad un-Nabi, which falls on the twelfth of Rabi al-Awwal, will be celebrated on May 1. Throughout most of the Muslim world it is an occasion of joy – a time to reflect and celebrate, to recite poetry and sing songs; a time to renew and regain our compassion through reminiscing, admiring and learning about his perfect example.
The depth and breadth of the Mawlid celebration is one way of measuring the Islamicity of a society. The more veneration and love a community shows for the Prophet, upon whom be blessings and peace, the more likely it is a community guided by authentic Islamic principles.
It is obvious to any objective observer that groups which fanatically oppose the Mawlid tend to always be those who are violent, irresponsible and reductionists. People who have lost touch with the essence of the faith and, basically, their humanity.
The Mawlid is an exercise in pure love. For centuries it has been the basis of training hearts in the art of loving and adoration. A heart that has learnt to love the Noble Prophet will never be seduced by hatred or anger.
From the Muslim point of view, the Prophet is the symbol of perfection of both the human person and human society. He is the prototype of the individual and the collectivity. As such he bears certain characteristics which can only be discovered by studying the traditional accounts of him. The many Western works on the Prophet, with very few exceptions, are useless from this point of view no matter how much historical data they provide for the reader. The same holds true in fact for the new type of biographies of the Prophet written by modernized Muslims who would like at all cost to make the Prophet an ordinary man and neglect systematically any aspect of his being that does not conform to a rationalistic framework they have adopted a priori, mostly as a result of either influence from or reaction to the modern Western point of view.
The profound characteristics of the Prophet which have guided the Islamic community over the centuries and have left an indelible mark on the consciousness of the Muslim cannot be discerned save through the traditional sources and the Hadith (Prophetic traditions), and of course, the Quran itself which bears the perfume of the soul of the person through whom it was revealed.
The universal characteristics of the Prophet are not the same as his daily actions and day to day life. They are, rather, characteristics which issue forth from his personality as a particular spiritual prototype. Seen in this light there are essentially three qualities. Prof Seyyed Hossein Nasr describes them as thus: “First, the Prophet possessed the quality of piety in its most universal sense, that quality which attaches man to God. The Prophet was in that sense pious. He had a profound piety which inwardly attached him to God that made him place the interest of God before everything else including himself.
“Secondly, he had a quality of combativeness, of always being actively engaged in combat against all that negated the Truth and disrupted harmony. Externally, it meant fighting wars, either militarily, political or social ones, the wars which the Prophet named the “little holy war” (al-jihad al-asghar). Inwardly this combativeness meant a continuous war against the carnal soul (nafs), against all that in man tends towards the negation of God and His Will, the “great holy war” (al-jihad al-akbar).
“Finally, the Prophet possessed the quality of magnanimity in its fullness. His soul displayed a grandeur which every devout Muslim feels. He is for the Muslim nobility and magnanimity personified.”
During the Mawlid, when one thinks of the Prophet who is to be emulated, it is the image of one who is severe with himself and with the false and the unjust, and charitable towards the world that surrounds him. On the basis of these virtues of strength and sobriety on the one hand and charity and generosity on the other, he is serene, extinguished in the Truth. He is that warrior on horseback who halts before the mountain of Truth, passive towards the Divine Will, active towards the world, hard and sober towards himself and kind and generous towards the creatures about him.
The love of the Prophet – and celebration of the Mawlid – is incumbent upon all Muslims and especially upon those who aspire towards the saintly life. This love must not be understood in an individualistic sense. Rather, the Prophet is loved because he symbolizes that harmony and beauty that pervade all things, and displays in their fullness those virtues, the attainment of which allow man to realize his Godly nature.
“Lo! Allah and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet, O ye who believe! Ask blessings upon him and salute him with a worthy salutation.” [33:56]


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