Today is the 8th day in the Islamic lunar month of Rabiul Awwal, the third month in the Muslim calendar and the month in which the best of human race was born. It is time again for Muslims to reminisce the birth of the only bearer of Allah’s universal message, Muhammad, Sallallahu Alayhi Wasalam (SAW). He was born on Monday 12th of Rabiul Awwal, 570AD. The words “Maulid” and “Maulud”, both of which derive from Arabic, are the other names adopted for this month especially by non-Arabic speaking people of the Muslim world including Nigeria.
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) though an orphan, was not hindered from self-fulfillment. He struggled to earn a living. He did not make himself a liability to anybody. Rather, he empowered himself to become a valuable asset to himself and to his people. He never went in to begging simply because he had lost his father and mother. Muhammad (SAW) said in this respect: “Verily, it is better for you to take your rope and bring a bundle of woods on your back and sell than to go and beg from others”. He (SAW) also said: “Whoso opens unto himself the door of begging, Allah will open unto him the door of poverty”.
Today, able-bodied men prefer to beg even when they are far from being described as orphan. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) worked hard to earn a living. Khadijah, a widow and wealthy merchant in Makkah, employed him to undertake business trips for her. Khadijah soon discovered Muhammad’s honesty, trustworthiness and transparency in all his dealings. Scarcely today do you find a sales manager or cashier with these qualities. Nowadays, many business managers embezzle funds entrusted in their care. This year’s Maulid celebration should be an event for people to reflect and emulate the manner in which the Prophet (SAW) upheld every trust and confidence reposed in him without a breach of any. Contentment is worth all the riches in this world. According to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), “Riches are not from abundance of worldly goods but from a contented mind”. Allah (SWT) loves those who are content.
Khadijah was impressed by the excellent attributes she found in Muhammad (SAW). She thus decided to offer herself for marriage to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and the latter mutually accepted it. Khadijah thus became the Prophet (SAW)’s first wife. Khadijah who then was 40 years of age was 15 years older than Muhammad (SAW). The age factor in the marriage between the prophet (SAW) and Khadijah reveals the humility in both of them. The Prophet (SAW) once said that: “Humility and courtesy are acts of piety”.
Even in the height of his glory, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) led, as he did in his early days, an unpretentious life in a clay-built house consisting of a few rooms opening into a courtyard and accessible only therefrom. He was often seen mending his own clothes and was at all times within the reach of his people. Regrettably, many of us today are far from living the simple kind of life lived by the Seal of Prophethood, Muhammad (SAW). Even at over 70 years of age, some of us busy seeking for ways and means to live ostentatious life as if they have been assured that they would live for as long as their minds anticipate.
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is an embodiment of divine virtues. Over 14 centuries after his death, the Prophet (SAW) yet lives on. His way of life remains a reference point for resolving all the socio-political, ethnic and religious challenges confronting us today as a people and a nation. His beautiful pattern of conduct leads us every now and then from darkness to light. Allah (SWT) states in Qur’an 33:21 “Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for those whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day, and who engages much in the remembrance of Allah.”
Muhammad (SAW) lived a life of mercy, compassion, care, understanding, perseverance, kindness, and tolerance. His sayings and deeds bear testimony to this. His care for those around him and even for those who caused him harm provides shining examples of a perfect model. His love for orphans was deep. The kindness he exhibited to the needy, the poor and the vulnerable knew no bounds. He taught Muslims to demonstrate a character that would inspire others to feel safe and secured.
Unfortunately, today’s world is rather full of envy, hatred, hypocrisy, betrayal, sadism, mistrust, intolerance, religious bigotry, crass materialism and brazen transgression of all the bounds set by Allah. Virtues and ethical values including honesty, integrity, modesty, justice, kindness, sympathy, selflessness, are daily becoming rare commodities in the world of human character. Man’s only assured saving grace from this troubling world is his recourse to the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). But because of what the eyes of today’s men and women covet, they rather find role models in unworthy characters who are, at best, moral vacuums.
Our perfect role model is truly the Last Messenger of Allah (SWT). His life, his management of human resources and animals, friends and enemies, have remained an inspiration for our present and future generations. Let us therefore learn and also teach our children about the life of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) with a view to becoming better individuals. Let us be more tolerant, more forgiving and more compassionate to humanity regardless of gender, race or religion. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon the ‘City of Knowledge’ Muhammad (SAW), his household, and his companions, amin. Happy Maulid!