Prophet Mohammad’s Birth Anniversary: A Pragmatist Perspective, By Mohammed Akmal Pasha

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Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w) a penniless and unschooled orphan remains godly for might forty years, whereby he is persistently pious, righteous, honest, fair and impeccable. Ultimately, pioneers in inscribing the first ever charter of human rights, unchains the ‘chained men’ from slavery and from the property-like ownership of the hapless men by the breed of their own specie albeit wealthy and influential. Promotes women from mere commodification to an acme of grace and graciousness, establishes property rights but wrings lust and avarice of mundaneness from the hearts of his followers, and then teems those with altruism. Condemns all sorts of human-exploitations and renders each type of personal superiority as illegitimate; except that one founded upon serenity of conscience and sublimity of character. Above all, vectors human souls towards a single God, liberates them from bowing for the objects (idols) they imaginatively sculpture in their own conception, or physically with their own hands; essentially inferior to their own selves and then vie for their supremacy and shed and lick blood of the ones who resist. Resultantly, by virtue of his consistently virtuous predisposition, within a short span of twenty three years of his preaching, scores of lands start slipping-in for him and men continually swarm to seek pride under his subjugation and accumulate to 1, 25,000 as Muslims only. Lo! The state of Arabia is inadvertently established and Mohammad (s.a.w) is its first commander; a commander with a without-oath, aloof of pompous designation and carefree of any stipends. ‘Through his breath pastures crop, under his footsteps mountains feel at ease, cities rejoice his conquering, he renames them and progresses with grace and humility’ (Goethe: A Song To Mohamet).
The Muslims, stuffed with pomp, pride, grace and ecstasy fan out to celebrate the holy birth anniversary of their prophet whom they probably take as god, and they conduct ceremonies subject to their individual or sectorial philosophies and degrees of reverence. However it’s pity that a huge majority of Muslim community fails to internalize the true spirit of Islam and radiate the same through their everyday life. To carry on, they decorate buildings, flag flags, raise slogans, recite rhymes praising prophet, move processions, fill the hearts with the substance of love and thrill the souls through the wave of piety. Yet there are others who celebrate the same by engaging in activities not similar to these, they either remain unperturbed or redouble their preaching. Celebrating otherwise they reckon Bid’aa (an unorthodox and illegitimate act in Islam promulgated after the death of prophet of Islam). In that, they assert that there is no evidence that prophet of Islam or any of the first four caliphs ever celebrated the birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w), to their own right they are absolute right. But the debate does not end here; it rather starts from this point.
In fact, the Muslim community over the centuries has drawn several inferences from some small and diverse incidences which pertain either to the life of prophet of Islam or to the thirty-year span of caliphate or the centuries-long Imamat that stemmed from the family of prophet of Islam (Ahl-e-Bait). Unfortunately, a handful of all these inferences is considered objectionable not only by the non-Muslims but by the various sects of Muslim community as well. Hence, the pendulum of do’s and don’ts swings vastly, depending upon the manner of conceptualizing, philosophizing, legitimizing, rationalizing and above all the degree and perspective of sensitizing own self and also the others’ selves with respect to reverence (Eshq) with prophet of Islam.
Interestingly, the arguments that are inferred by the celebrators have connection with small and diverse incidences as stated already, which pertain either to the life of prophet of Islam or to the thirty-year span of caliphate or the centuries-long Imamat (Ahl-e-Bait). For example, in favor of decorating buildings on religious grounds this is cited that one of the companions of prophet of Islam named Salman Farsi (R.A) brought a huge lantern from Syria and erected it in the Masjid-e-Nabavi. Later on, on seeing it prophet of Islam expressed great delight and that incidence has rightly become evidence. By the same token, flags and slogans have perennially been part of Muslim community indisputably. Rhymes in erudition of prophet are innumerable chiefly from companions of prophet named Hassaan bin Saabit and also Arjuni (R.A), a couple form Bibi Ayesha (R.A) and Umer (R.A). Again rhymes and processions have been blended altogether severally, mainly at the time when prophet of Islam entered Macca (634 A.D) with his categorical victory. Here the innocent Maccan girls recited rhymes at the beat of a tambourine that equally pleased the prophet of Islam. The victory was marked with a sublimity of peace, where not a single drop of blood was shed. Finally, on the issue of Bid’aa, the celebrators posit one of the several arguments like that one of the companions of Islam and the second caliph Umer (R.A) during his own reign (after the death of prophet of Islam) inserted one additional line in Azaan and when challenged, he labeled it Bid’aa-e-Hassanah (change but a good one).
Apart from these, the celebrators argue on social, cross-cultural and empirical grounds. They plead that in these times when anti-Islamic forces are leaving no stone unturned in negating, undermining and undercutting Islamic theologies and precepts, such celebrations manifest the lively spirit of Muslims and their passion for sacrificing everything for Islam and the prophet. Finally, the followers of Ahl-e-Bait (distinct from other sects of Islam) have one solid ground, they follow the traditions of Ahl-e-Bait and of prophet of Islam as quoted by Ahl-e-Bait and that’s it.
Having said all this, nevertheless it’s pity that the Muslim community by and large is hollow of the spirit of Islam and the message of prophet of Islam that he inscribed at the expense of mammoth sacrifice. He underwent huge sufferance viz., have-not, haplessness, physical injuries, threats, lives of his companions and relatives; compounded all together in social, economic and psychological costs. Muslims at the same time take pride in being certified, they quote from Quran ‘kuntum khaira ummat………..wa tanhona anil munker’ (you are the best nation and you have been specified for the mankind to direct others for good and forbid them from bad).Though the context of this verse is debatable, to some scholars this is meant for the companions of prophet only, but a vast majority is of the opinion that this is applicable to whole Ummah till the Day of Judgment. By and large, the companions of prophet undoubtedly qualified for that certification, but since almost last five hundred years the Muslim community has been unable to demonstrate visible symptoms of being the best nation. Today the plight is at its worst stage where the moral and ethical decay is just deplorable. Thus mere ceremonial commemorations and celebrations would tend to cast rather a degenerative effect if not substantiated by good moral character. Today, the Muslim community is engaged in a plethora of social, moral and ethical misdeeds, as actions speak louder than words (than ceremonial demonstrations also), the Muslim community is justifiable looked down upon by other nations because it has been unable to prove as best nation as acclaimed by them through Quran. The Muslim community today has nothing to do except that it demonstrates Islamic injunctions and the precepts and the life of prophet of Islam through the canvas of their daily life. Today, our rulers have commercial mindsets, they invest in the election campaigns and then rush for an exponential fructification and that also within a minimum possible pay-back-period. the masses on the other hand have sheer worldly approach; which is perverse to the philosophy of Islam and unreflective of life of prophet of Islam. To quote Goethe, ‘life is action, not contemplation’. It’s pity anyways:
Khudawanda ye teray saada dill banday kidher jayn,
Keh derveshi bhee ayyari hay sultaani bhee ayyari (Allama Iqbal)
‘O God whither to escape your simpletons, since dervish is cunning, so is the ruler’.

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