By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
Today the 12th of Rabi al-Awwal marks the start of the Islamic Unity Week initiated in 1979 by that Sage of the Age, Imam Khomeini (RA), following the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, in order to bring Muslims of all denominations on a common platform.
The birth anniversary of the Almighty’s Last and Greatest Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), is an occasion of joy. It is an event to celebrate in order to promote the dynamism of fraternity and brotherhood transcending the superficial divisions of ethnicity, lineage, social status, language, skin colour, geography, and nationality, by focusing on the immaculate personality of the Prophet of Peace, who bequeathed to humanity practical precedents that ensure harmony and development – if diligently followed.
He was born in the monotheistic Hashemite clan that adhered to the path of his illustrious ancestor Abraham the Iconoclast, and was entrusted with the universal mission of Islam to unite people.
Foretold by all Prophets of the past, he excellently accomplished his mission, and during the 23 years that he discharged his duties, he transformed fratricidal tribes into the fraternal Ummah that soon became torchbearer of science and civilization.
Unlike the numerous sects and castes that Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and other creeds are divided into watertight compartments, Muslims, whatever their jurisprudential affiliations, follow the same fundamental tenets of Islam.
For instance, they believe in the One and Only God as the Creator of the universe, face the same focal point (the holy Ka’ba in Mecca) for the daily ritual prayers; recite the same single Qur’an as the Revealed Word of God (as opposed to the different versions of the Christian Gospels); fast in the blessed month of Ramadhan; perform Hajj in the same days of Zilhijjah; and unanimously regard Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) as the Seal of all Divine Messengers.
So, where are the points of difference about which the enemies of Islam brag about in order to sow seeds of discord amongst Muslims?
Only the devilish elements who masquerade as Muslims, but whose hearts are devoid of faith, bite the Zionist-Imperialist bait and turn into Takfiris to terrorize and slaughter innocent Muslims.
Now we understand why these deviated elements consider celebration of the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) as “bid’ah” or innovation, because they are fearful that Islamic unity will sound the death knell for their creators in the West.
Thus, in view of these facts, the difference of dates in the birthday of the Prophet is not a matter of fundamental difference. It could be a scribal error in those days when paper was not yet available and the Arabic numerals had not yet been standardized.
Another explanation in this regard is the chain of authorities of transmitters of hadith. For example, the Sunnis on the narrations of the Sahaba – or Salaf who before becoming Muslims from decades of idol-worship were not much familiar with the Prophet – believe the 12th of Rabi al-Awwal to be his birthday.
The Shi’ites, for their part, holding family accounts of the Ahl al-Bayt to be more reliable, consider the 17th of the same month as the auspicious day the “Mercy unto the creation” was born.
It is worth noting that for the Infallible Imams of the Prophet’s Household the account of the life of their ancestor was a household affair. It is also on their authority that we have come to know of so many events of the Prophet’s life, beginning from the miracles at his birth and details of the forty years he spent before being entrusted with the Divine mission, including his marriage to the Immaculate Lady Hazrat Khadija (SA), with whom he spent over 25 years of marital bliss.
Didn’t the Prophet said in explicit words in the famous Hadith Thaqalayn?
“I am leaving among you the Two Weighty Things; the Book of God (the Qur’an) and my progeny the Ahl al-Bayt. Hold fast to them and you will never go astray for the two will never part with each other even when they return to me at the Pool (of Kowthar on Judgement Day).”
Doesn’t God say in the holy Qur’an?
“Hold fast, all together, to Allah’s cord and do not be divided; and remember Allah’s blessing upon you when you were enemies, then He brought your hearts together, so you became brothers with His blessing.”
In view of these undeniable facts, there is no obvious discord, and there ought not to be any dispute amongst Muslims regarding the Prophet of Peace and his universal message.
As Muslims of various denominations join together these days to celebrate the birthday of God’s Greatest Creation – no matter if the heretical Takfiris seethe in anger and threaten to kill Shi’a Muslims – we indeed feel indebted to the foresight of the Father of the Islam Revolution for taking the commendable step 39 years ago of declaring Islamic Unity Week to span these two dates of Rabi al-Awwal, so that the plots of the enemies of Islam, especially the Americans and the Zionists, and their agents – Daesh and other terrorist outfits – could be nipped in the bud.