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Maulid, a grandeur most-deserving

Today, Saturday, October 8, 2022, is the 12th day in the month of Rabiul Awwal, 1444AH. It was in this month, the third in the…

Today, Saturday, October 8, 2022, is the 12th day in the month of Rabiul Awwal, 1444AH. It was in this month, the third in the Islamic lunar calendar, that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was born in Makkah; precisely on Monday 12th Rabiul Awwal, 570CE. In Islamic literature, the year of his birth is referred to as “Aamul Fil” meaning the “Year of Elephant”. The historic hijrah (migration) of the Prophet (SAW) from his birthplace to Madinah was to take place 52 years later in 622CE. 

It’s been a long-standing practice in Muslim communities around the world including Nigeria where public lectures, symposia, feasts and street walks are organized throughout the month of Rabiul Awwal to commemorate the birth of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). After years of controversy, it is evident that Muslims in Nigeria have mutually put the argument over whether or not the celebration of Prophet’s birthday (Maulid un-Nabiyy) is a worthy innovation. 

The controversy probably fizzled out because of how the annual celebration by Muslims of their own birthdays had become a norm; with hard-liner critics of the practice looking the other way. It is in furtherance of the understanding of the spiritual rank, status and disposition of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) that today’s discourse intends to showcase the bearer of glad tidings, the city of knowledge, a witness and a warner, Muhammad (SAW), as the best of men on earth.

Some people say it is wrong to address the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) with the epithet “Sayyidina” meaning “Our Leader”; an appellation meant to denote respect. Yet, the same people who hold this opinion find nothing wrong with the use of titles used to signify respect for worldly authorities. Such titles include “Your Excellency” for presidents, governors and ambassadors; “Your Eminence” for the sultan and other revered personalities; “Your Highness” or “Your Royal Highness” for emirs and chiefs”; “Honourable” for ministers, commissioners, state lawmakers, and LG chairmen; “Alhaji”, “Alhaja” or “Hajiya” for a Muslim who has performed pilgrimage to Makkah; and “Malam” for erudite scholars. Several other appellations exist in Nigeria; being a country where most people hunt for relevance and recognition by all means possible. If people use these titles for fellow men and women without seeking any revealed text to rationalize it, one wonders why are we then bothered by the use of “Sayyidina” to express respect and reverence for Prophet Muhammad (SAW)?

If we feel we deserve, as members of the Prophet’s Ummah, to be addressed with titles prefixed to our names even though we may not, Allah knows best, be more than ordinary Muslims; what then makes us think that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is not qualified to be called or addressed as “Sayyidina”; being the dearest and beloved person to Allah? Imam Bukahri, Muslim and An-Nasai all relate on the authority of Annas bn Malik (RA) that the Prophet (SAW) said, “None of you believes until I become more beloved to him than his son, his father and every other person”. Umar bn Al-Khattab (RA) once said to the Prophet (SAW), “I love you more than I do love myself”. Amr bn Al-As (RA) said, “No one is more beloved to me than the Messenger of Allah (SAW)”.

Who should be more beloved to us than the one whom Allah and His entire creation of Angels give blessings; and for whom Allah (SWT) commands believers to do same. Allah affirms in Qur’an 33:56 “Allah and His Angels send blessings to the Prophet; O ye that believe! Send ye blessings on him and salute him with all respect”. Note the last statement in the verse under reference where Allah charges believers to “Salute him (the Prophet) with all respect”. 

Allah’s blessings and those of his Angels on the greatest man in humanity is the highest honour attainable by any personality on this planet. Allah is asking us to honour the Prophet (SAW) because he is the conveyer of the universal message of Islam who endured humiliations and attacks in the hands of his fellow Quraysh natives “in order to guide us to Allah’s mercy”. One, thus, wonders how the adoption of the title “Sayyidina” constitutes an exaggerated phrase for a personality on whom Allah Himself sends blessings?

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is the most valued character in the entire human race; so dignified that his name is mentioned along with Allah (SWT)’s exalted name in the creed statement (known as ‘Kalimatu s-Shahadah’ in Islam), which affirms a person’s belief as a Muslim. The Prophet’s name is equally mentioned in the call (Adhan) to the five daily prayers and in the proclamation of the start of every obligatory prayer (Iqamah). Ahmad and Ibn Majah report from Jabir (RA) that the Prophet (SAW) said, “One prayer in my mosque is better than a thousand prayers elsewhere except Al-Masjid al-Haram where one prayer in it (Al-Masjid al-Haram) is better than one hundred thousand prayers elsewhere”. What reverence and fulfilment can be more than these distinctions?

Imam At-Tirmidhi relates on the authority of Ibn Mas’ud (RA) that the Prophet (SAW) said, “Majority of those that will be with me on the Day of Judgement are those that sent blessings on him”. Imam At-Tirmidhi further relates on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (RA) that the Prophet (SAW) said “(That person) is despised, who when my name is mentioned to his hearing, would refuse to send blessings on me”. Ali (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAW) said, “A miser is one who after my name had been mentioned would refuse to send blessings (and salutations) on me”. All these special recognitions, indeed, accord Prophet Muhammad (SAW) a matchless dignity in human history. May Allah guide and inspire us to give the Leader of all Prophets of Allah, Muhammad (SAW), the respect proportionate and most-deserving to his grandeur, amin. 

2022 World Teachers Day:

Wednesday October 5, 2022 was globally observed few days ago as World Teachers Day (WTD). While we congratulate Nigerian teachers on the occasion of this year’s event, we pray that the trustworthy among them would make it to heaven to receive that special reward, which many people believe, is exclusively reserved there for teachers alone. 

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