1e month of Rabi al-Awwal, the month chosen by Allah for the birth of His Messenger, has arrived, and I find myself contemplating: how can I serve Allah’s Beloved, our Messenger ﷺ?
Several years ago, I had the privilege of visiting Tarim during the final week of Rabi al-Awwal. 1e city buzzed with Mawlid gatherings from dawn till dusk. While I wholeheartedly embraced these gatherings of remembrance and salutation, gained wisdom from the discourses, and marvelled at the overwhelming love for Allah and His Messenger ﷺ that emanated from the young and old alike in that luminous city, I could never have imagined replicating such an atmosphere back home in our beloved city of Cape Town.
However, a year or two later in the month of Safar in 2017, I spent some time in Amman, Jordan. I was graciously hosted by Shaykh Awn Al-Q_addoumi and the Ma’arij Institute for a few days. I had the opportunity to attend a meeting with the scholars of the Ma’arij Institute and other esteemed scholars from Jordan, most of whom were students of our beloved Shaykh, Sayyidi al-Habib Umar bin Hafiz. 1e focus of the meeting was the planning of Mawlid gatherings throughout Jordan for the upcoming month of Rabi al-Awwal. It was during this meeting that it struck me: if our brothers in Jordan could, to some extent, replicate the Mawlid gatherings that took place in Tarim, could we not do the same in Cape Town? After all, is Cape Town not a city of saints? And were the Mawlid gatherings of old not initiated by the founders of Islam in Cape Town?
With these lofty intentions, upon returning home, I convened a gathering with some of our gifted local munshids1, and in that same year, we commenced our daily Mawlids in Rabi al-Awwal. It was a modest start, with no sound systems and a very limited number of attendees. Initially, most of the daily Mawlid gatherings were only attended by myself and two munshids. 1ere were no decorations or feasts to speak of. But Allah’s decree was that the situation would change. Soon, numerous Mashayikh2 began actively participating in the daily Mawlids. Mashayikh3 from different neighbourhoods also assumed the duty of hosting daily Mawlids in their respective communities.
Fast forward six years, and our gatherings now overflow every evening. Hosts adorn their homes out of love for Allah’s Messengerﷺ, erecting marquees and tents to accommodate the lovers of RasuluLlah ﷺ that overflow from their homes. Today, my heart is filled with joy as the Mawlid gatherings in our city have become more widespread than ever before. 1e love for Allah and His Messengerﷺ permeates the air we breathe. Rabi al-Awwal has truly transformed into a month dedicated to celebrating the life of our Beloved Prophet ﷺ.
But it’s a new year, and the question I ask myself again is: the month of Rabi al-Awwal has arrived, how I can serve Allah’s Beloved, our Messenger ﷺ?
As I contemplate this question, the only answer that resonates in my mind and heart is to spread awareness about him.
Muslims have become increasingly disconnected from his teachings and his path. 1e lack of knowledge about Allah’s favours upon him, his exalted status, and the profound miracles associated with him have regrettably led some Muslims to disrespect him. Others have raised doubts about the extraordinary abilities bestowed upon him by Allah. Some persistently proclaim from their platforms that he was merely an ordinary human being, misinterpreting Q_uranic verses and Prophetic traditions to support their claims.
My intention, therefore, is to write about his virtue, to raise awareness about his greatness, and to deepen our understanding of him so that we may love him more. Loving him is not just a desirable act; it is an obligation. Our faith and belief in Allah remain incomplete and imperfect unless our love for the Messenger ﷺ surpasses our love for our parents, children, and all of humanity.
If Allah wills, I aim to publish a series of short papers, each exploring a different aspect of his lofty station, every other day. Despite my tight schedule due to my responsibilities at our institute, Dar al-Turath al-Islami (DTI), at the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), and at the Taronga Road Masjid, along with daily gatherings of the Mahabbah Foundation, this endeavour is a labour of love.
I pray that Allah facilitates my efforts to fulfil this intention of service in the best possible way. May Allah use me as a means to serve Him and His Messenger ﷺ, and when this humble effort is presented to our Beloved, may it find acceptance and bring joy to his heart. Amin.
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