By now you must have heard a lot about the celebration of the birth of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In some countries, the celebration is as big as having a parade, award-giving ceremony and food festive. The masjid would be filled with talks and activities related to the life and time of the Prophet..
And then you saw some of these articles, posters, talks or campaigns about how all these celebrations are plain bid‘ah (Arabic: بدعة; English: heresy), that the Prophet wasn’t really born on the 12th of Rabiul Awwal, the year of Elephant as most born-Muslims had been taught.
What’s with all these confusion?
Why are the born-Muslims having different views about when Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was born?
The benefit of the differing of opinions
Some scholars suggested that the reason why there’s no proper documentation of when the Prophet was born was that people at that time didn’t know he was going to be someone great. They treated him like they would treat other children in those days. Their culture was not to celebrate birthdays, and so it doesn’t seem important to mark the date of when he was born.
So what is the authentic source of information regarding his birth?
The scholars have listed these information from an authentic hadith about his birth:
- It was Monday
It was narrated that Abu Qataadah al-Ansaari (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) was asked about fasting on Mondays and he said: “That is a day on which I was born and on it my mission began – or Revelation came to me.” (Narrated by Muslim, 1162).
- The month was Rabiul Awwal
This is as agreed by the majority of scholars.
- The year was the year of Elephant
It was the Year of the Elephant. Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “There is no difference of opinion concerning the fact that he (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) was born in Makkah, and that his birth was in the Year of the Elephant. “ (Zaad al-Ma‘aad fi Hadiy Khayr al-‘Ibaad, 1/76).
Muhammad ibn Yoosuf as-Saalihi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Ibn Ishaaq (may Allah have mercy on him) said: (It was) the Year of the Elephant. “ – Ibn Katheer said: This is the well-known view of the majority.
Was it on the 12th?
Prof. Muhammad al-Khudari (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “The Egyptian astronomer Mahmoud Basha (d. 1885 CE) who was well-versed in astronomy, geography and mathematics, and wrote several books based on his research stated that it was on the morning of Monday 9th. Rabee‘ al-Awwal, which corresponds to 20th April 571 CE. That corresponds to the first year following the elephant incident. He was born in the house of Abu Taalib in Shi‘ab Banu Haashim.“ (Noor al-Yaqeen fi Seerat Sayyid al-Mursaleen (p. 9). See also ar-Raheeq al-Makhtoom (p. 41).
There are many opinions on the exact date of birth of the Prophet: from 2nd to 9th to 12th. But the most popular and majority opinion is indeed on the 12th.
Ibn Katheer (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
It was said that he was born on the twelfth of the month. This was stated by Ibn Ishaaq. It was narrated by Ibn Abi Shaybah in his Musannaf from ‘Affaan from Sa‘eed ibn Meena’ that Jaabir and Ibn ‘Abbas said: “The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) was born in the Year of the Elephant on Monday 12th Rabee‘ al-Awwal; on Monday his mission began, on Monday he was taken up to heaven, on Monday he migrated, and on Monday he died” (As-Seerah an-Nabawiyyah, 1/199).
Not only is there an authentic hadith to support the fact that he was born on Monday, other authentic sources also support the factuality of the following events that happened on Monday to our beloved Prophet:
- He began his mission on Monday
- He was taken to heaven (Isra’ Mikraj) on Monday
- He migrated from Makkah to Madinah on Monday
- He passed away on Monday
It was narrated that Abu Qataadah al-Ansaari (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) was asked about fasting on a Monday and he said: “That is a day on which I was born and on it my mission began – or Revelation came to me” (Narrated by Muslim, 1162).
Now, knowing that so many positive and important things had happened on Mondays, it seems that we can’t possibly say ‘Monday Blues’ anymore, can we?
Yes, Monday had indeed been a momentous day for the Prophet of Islam. But to save ourselves from descending into yet another form of superstition of old and modern ignorance (jahiliyah), please always remind ourselves that all the days of the week are great in so far as they are created and willed by the same Almighty Allah SWT. Share this!