Fifteen hundred years ago, in the pre-Islamic era, the Arab lands were sinking in the quagmire of stagnation. They were radiating heats of blistering sands, heavy with burden of sins and the air was thick in toxicity with ignorance; filled with all the symptoms of barbarity, called Ayum-e-Jahiliyyat.
The term Jahiliyyat is used to describe the period of ignorance and darkness that precluded the arrival of Islam. In such a prevailing situation in Arab lands where social injustice, deprivation, cruelty, idolatry and other vices including dehumanizing woman and burying girl child's alive were rampant; with inexhaustible blessing from Allah, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was born on 12th day of Hijree month of Rabiul Awwal........corresponding to 29th August 570 A.D in Makkah to a prestigious Quraish clan of Arabia.
Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) birth on the day 12 of Rabiul Awaal makes the day very auspicious and glorious which is widely observed as Eid-e-Miladunnabi all over the Islamic world with due religious fervor and solemnity. Born a posthumous heavenly child five months after the death of his father Hazrat Abdullah- bin- Abdul Muttalib, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) glorified the cuddly lap of Mother Amina and grew up with equal care and endearment of Milk-mother Bibi Halima in his infancy.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was reared up under the great care and affection of Grandfather Abdul Muttalib and following death of grandfather, was brought up under the tender care and affection of uncle Abu Talib. Prophet (PBUH) passed his childhood days, till 5 years of age, under the motherly care of Milk-mother Bibi Halima of Bony Saad clan, who later handed over Muhammad (PBUH) to mother Amina at age 5. After the passing of Mother Amina when the boy Muhammad (PBUH) was only 7 years of age, Prophet (PBUH) in fact came under the direct mercy and benediction of Allah though visibly he was seen reared by his grandfather for some time and uncle Abu Talib for long time.
The more Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was growing up with the pace and rhythm of nature under Allah's Mercy, the more he was emitting radiance in his characteristic feature for his elegance and unflinching truthfulness and honesty and soon became an epitome of all such virtues. At his early age, he was crowned by his community as Al-Amin for rare qualities of truthfulness and honesty.
A self built man who, side by side with his in-born spiritual excellence, practiced all the worldly affairs with peerless diligence, honesty and devotion. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was duly chosen by Allah as His Messenger and anointed him as Rahmant ullil-Al-Amin for mankind to kindle the light of truthfulness and ward-off the darkness filled with barbarity from the world.
Allah revealed the glorious Holy Quran....the holy scripture of truthfulness and a complete guide for mankind through Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) over the period of 23 years phase by phase on occasions since Prophet (PBUH) was duly crowned by Allah and gave him the Prophethood by a first revelation of Quran reading: "Read: In the name of thy Lord who creatheth. Creatheth man from clot. Read: And thy Lord is the most bounteous. Who teacheth by pen" (Surah Alaq. verses: 1-4).
It is clear and evident from the above Holy verses, how importantly Allah stressed upon reading and acquiring knowledge against the ignorance of divine guidance. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: "the ink of a wise man is costlier than the blood of a martyr". Prophet (PBUH) further said: "seek knowledge from cradle to grave".
On accomplishment of great mission bestowed upon him by Allah, his departure from the fragile world, in 11 Hijree on a day equally falling on 12th Rabiul Awaal corresponding to 7th June, 632 A. D. In Bidai Hajj (Farewell Sermon) in the plain of Arafat on the 9th day Zilhajj, 10.A.H (6th March, 632 A.D), Muhammad (PBUH) proclaimed that : "Verily your blood, your properly are as sacred and inviolable as the sacredness of this day of yours, in this town of yours. Behold! Everything pertaining to the Day of Ignorance is under my feet completely abolished. Abolished are also the blood revenges of the Days of Ignorance".
On women and their rights, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) proclaimed in Farewell Sermon: "Fear Allah concerning women! Verily you have taken them on the security of Allah and live with them has been made lawful unto you by words of Allah. You too have the rights over them, that they should not commit any indecency. ......." "Their rights upon you are that you should provide them with food and clothing in fitting manner"
"O, People in deed, your Lord is one and your father is one. Indeed, there is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab or of a non- Arab over an Arab, or of a white over a black, or a black over a white, except by taqwa". "I have left among you the Book of Allah (Holy Quran) and if you hold fast to it, you would never go astray".
We can find from the texts of Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) Farewell Sermon that the Prophet of Allah spoke categorically over the women's right that we often talk about these days. Prophet (PBUH) of Islam is the person who spoke openly 1428 years ago to grant women's rights which no other existing religion on earth could ever emphasize upon, before Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) declared.
Whatever we often now talk tall of human rights; women's rights in fact had their roots anchored deeply in the teachings of Islam by its prophet in essence and spirit. Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) sayings candidly emphasize upon interfaith and international fraternity of human race with adequate compassion, tolerance and respect to each other irrespective of race, color and faith.
Tapestry of life and teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is so vast and widespread that with millions of pages and river-full of inks, dare I not to write an eulogy of his greatness even in miniscule proportion, at this point, I simply focus on some great Western thinkers' viewpoint on Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), expressed on different occasions.
Britain's most famous writer and critic, George Barnard Shaw said about the personality of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). "I have always been respectful of Muhammad's religion due to its fabulous living characteristics.
In my opinion Islam is the only religion which has some features that make it capable of absorbing different changes and adaptable to every era's figures. I have anticipated that Muhammad's creed will be acceptable for the future Europe as it has been stated to be accepted in today Europe. I am of the conviction that if a man such as Islam's Prophet takes the absolute lead of the new world era, he will be successful in solving world's problem in such a way that meets the deep need of human being for peace and prosperity".
Johan Wolfgang Goethe, the most prominent German poet of the world, has an astonishing encounter with Islam. Goethe's love for Islam is internal and out of normal rules. He has showed this love for Islam during different parts of his life. Goethe eulogized Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) at the age of 23 and at the age of 70, he asserted openly that he had in mind to vigil all the Ghadr night in which the Holy Quran has been revealed.
Leon Tolstoy, the prominent Russian writer said: "Religion of Islam and Muhammad's teachings are more valuable and have a higher position compared to Christian teachings. Islam and Muhammad's teachings seem to be more complete and valuable than Christian teachings. Islam is far from the abnormal matters."
French thinker Voltaire wrote: "The Holy Prophet Muhammad indubitably was a great man. He was a mighty conqueror, a wise legislator, a just king and a pious prophet. He fulfilled the greatest possible role in front of ordinary people on the earth".
Karl Marx expressed: "Muhammad was the man who rose with an iron-will among people who worship idols. He invited them to monotheism and plant the immortality of psyche in the souls. So, not only he has to be included among the prominent men of the history, but also we have to confess by all of our hearts that he has been God's prophet."
German Philosopher Earnest Hegel stated that "Islamism is a novel at the same time undamaged design of monotheism."
English historian Edward Gibbon wrote: "From Atlantic ocean to Ganges river in India, Quran is not only known as the religious jurisprudence but also the constitution including judiciary, civil and criminal rules to manage all humankind's financial affairs and these affairs will be fulfilled by the fixed laws administered by God."
Mahatma Gandhi said: "The great Islam's Prophet is deserved to being respected and honored. His religion will pervade the world thanks to its agreement with wisdom and intellect. Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru also said: "Religion publicized by Islam's prophet was welcomed by the neighboring countries due to its simplicity, honesty and tasteful of democracy and equivalent".
American writer and historian Professor Will Durant commented on charismatic personality of Islam's Prophet as follows: "If we evaluate this great man's effect on people, we have to say that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is one of the greatest men in human history. He sought to raise the knowledge level and ethic of people who had become barbarized due to highly intensive warmth and drought of desert. He attained such a success that is more than any other world reformers' success.
We can hardly find a man who has fulfilled all of his religious causes. He succeeded since he believed in religion. He unified the infidel outspread tribes to organize the Ummah (a unified nation).
He revealed a simple, vivid and strong creed with spiritualities based on bravery and self-esteem, more valuable than Judaism, Christianity and an old religion of Arabia. The next generation of the Ummah triumphs over enemies in 100 battles, created a great emperor during a century and in the contemporary age is a strong force that dominates half of the world".
The above are just some parts of West's thinkers about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Despite these undeniable facts and, of the most importance, rightfulness of such a religion that persevered itself against all enmities, difficulties and deviations during the 1450 years and it has not only remained active and dynamic in front of the world's anti-religions and dominance-seekers but unfortunately some pseudo-intellectuals in different parts of the world including Bangladesh who write Blogs with vulgar and derogatory comments insulting Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the name of so called 'freedom of expression' and 'free thinking' in a way like what Abu Jahel, Abu Lahab and idol worshippers of Makkah did in Arab's absurdity era.
'Say, the origin of such on extremist absurdity is infinite'. As Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clark showed in 2011: A Space Odyssey', "there are no differences between the ignorance of monkeys of millions years ago and today's so called civilized man.
The only difference is that old stony armament has been replaced by technologic advanced weapon." Any smear campaign against the glory of Prophet (PBUH) simply returns as boomerang and paints the faces of those infidels of darkness with smears darker and darker. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has constructed the house of Islam 1450 hundred years ago with such strong foundation of faith, where 1.5 billion Muslims have now been living across the world and will continue to live till the world comes to an end.
It is not humanly possible to praise and salute the glory of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his works to its right earnest, the canvas of which is as vast as the immensity of the skies. Allah taught humans how to salute Prophet (PBUH) by a revelation in the Holy Quran: "Lo! Allah and his angels shower blessings on the Prophet (PBUH). O ye who believe! Ask blessing on him and salute him with a worthy salutation" (Surah: Al-Ahzab. Verse: 56).
As stated, the auspicious day of Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) birth anniversary on 12 Rabiul Awaal, apart from observing in due religious fervor and solemnity as Eid-e-Miladunuabi, the day is equally observed across the country in social festivities with pomp and grandeur. Big rallies are brought out in day time on the occasion followed by Milad mahfil, discussion and seminars on Prophet's (PBUH) life and teachings.
Eid-e-Milladunnabi is preceded by a day of Akheri Chahar Sombah, commemorating the last bath Prophet (PBUH) had, after recovery from illness, before his demise on 12 Rabiul Awaal. Devotees across the world having unfettered veneration and unwavering love for Prophet (PBUH), observe the day of Akheri Chahar Sombah which falls on last Wednesday of the Hijree month of Safar preceding Rabiual Awaal; by taking bath in water, mixed with essence of Doa specially prepared for the occasion.
In Chittagong, the festivities centering on Eid-e-Milladunnabi are eye-catching, splendid and gives different flavor altogether. Grand feasts are organized in every areas with slaughtering cows as many in numbers next to number of animals sacrificed in Qurbani festival. The festivities, in fact, extend whole month of Rabiual Awaal in equal charm and splendor.
On the occasion of observing the birth and death anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on 12th day of the month of Rabiul Awaal what is called Eid-e-Milladunnabi, for seeking divine guidance, let all the Muslims across the world sing in chorus with utmost devotions:
"Balaghal-ula be- kamaal-e-hi,
(He attained exaltation by his perfection)
(He dispelled darkness by his beauty)
Hasunat jamee'u Khisaal-e-hi.
(Beauteous are all his qualities,)
Sallu 'ale-hi wa aal-e- hi.
(Benediction be on him and on his family)
-Hazrat Sheikh Saadi (Rh).
The writer is a former civil servant
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