rabbi ul awwal

Blessed Rabbi ul-awwal Mubarak! 💚

May the love of our Beloved Prophet ﷺ never leave our hearts! May we seek comfort with him in this life and the Akhirah, may he be our companion in hardships and ease and may we sincerely humble ourselves in thanks to Allah (swt). Ameen ya Rabb!

Just like the month of Ramadan is a time to renew our deen, the month of Rabbi ul Awwal is a time to refresh our love for RasoolAllah ﷺ

Dont forget to send Durood and Salaam on our Beloved Master Rasulullah ﷺ in abundance this month إن شاء الله

“Celebrate Mercy…”

Bismiʾllahi ʾr-Raḥmāni ʾr-Raḥīm wa ʾṣ-ṣalātu wa salām ʿalā Rasūlihi ʾl-Karīm:

We give thanks to Allah and we greet all Muslims wherever they may be, and we also greet all creatures because Allah ﷻ created Sayyidinā Rasūluʾllahﷺ to be a mercy to all of creation.

“And we have not sent you except as a Mercy to the entirety of creation.” | Qurʾān 21:107

In fact, the Universe is composed of all that exists except Allahﷻ Himself. This ayah is part of the evidence showing that Sayyidinā Rasūluʾllahﷺ is not only the Best of creation, but also the first because one cannot show mercy to something that is not within its time nor realm. In other words, Sayyidinā Rasūluʾllahﷺ even “preceded his predecessors” as he was a mercy for them, as well. Thus, to gather to celebrate the Mawlid al-Nabīʾ amounts to gathering to remember Sayyidinā Rasūluʾllahﷺ and to rejoice in the Divine Mercy of Allahﷻ. Allahﷻ says:

“Say, ‘In the Bounty of Allah and in His Mercy, let them rejoice therein.’ That is better than what they amass.” | Qurʾān 10:58

If we have reason to rejoice, let us revel in the benefits of Allah’s mercy. This is a better reason than any other matter or cause for gathering.

So we gather to celebrate the birth of the Seal of Humanity, Sayyidinā Rasūluʾllahﷺ, the man whose birth was a catalyst for the release of the slave of Abū Lahab, the Prophet’sﷺ uncle, whom Allahﷻ curses for criticizing the Revelation:

“Perish the hands of Abī Lahab! Perish!” | Qurʾān 111:1

Suhaybah, Abū Lahab’s slave, was the one who informed him of Sayyidinā Rasūluʾllah’sﷺ birth. Out of sheer joy, he granted her emancipation. After Abū Lahab died, ʿAbbās saw him in a dream and inquired about the condition in the Hereafter. He replied that every Monday he is taken out of the Fire and favoured with suckling milk from middle finger as a reward for the joy and good he expressed on the day of the Prophet’sﷺ birth.

One scholar put forth this argument, “As it was that this disbeliever was a source of unmitigated distress, him and “his hands” will be destroyed in Jaḥīm for eternity. Yet every Monday, he is singled out and given relief from his punishment, out of the elation he expressed for Aḥmadﷺ. So what do you think the reward would be of the slave who delights in the Prophetﷺ all their life, and strives to affirm the Divine Unity in their belief and actions?”

This is an illustration to show that the Mawlid may very well be a source for obtaining forgiveness from Allahﷻ. Shaykh Ibrāhīm Niāsse said that the Mawlid (Wolof: Gamou) is clearly endorsed and necessitated in the Qurʾān. He argues that Allahﷻ says in the Book to Sayyidinā Rasūluʾllahﷺ:

“And all that We relate to you of the news of the Messengers is so that by them We may make strong and firm your heart by them…” | Qurʾān 11:20

Shaykh Ibrāhīm said that if the Best of Prophetsﷺ can strengthen his faith from some references in the lives of those who preceded him, it is obvious that we can cultivate our faith from some of the passages in the life of the Best of Prophets, Sayyidinā Rasūluʾllahﷺ.

The Mawlid is nothing more than an opportunity to learn about the path of Sayyidinā Rasūluʾllahﷺ and extoll praises on him as the believers have been commanded to do. So I hope that no one is ignorant enough to suggest that learning is not a duty. Despite Sayyidinā Rasūluʾllah’sﷺ comprehensive and balanced knowledge of the outward and inward matters, Allahﷻ still addresses him in the Qurʾān and says:

“And say, ‘My Lord! Increase me in knowledge!” | Qurʾān 20:114

We acknowledge this momentous occasion and to learn about Sayyidinā Rasūluʾllahﷺ, whom Allahﷻ has showered with praise and special favour, and to improve our knowledge of His Dīn. Shaykh Ibrāhīm said, “The Prophetﷺ received his first praise from Allahﷻ, so we are not wrong if we imitate Allahﷻ in this action.” Likewise, we commemorate the Mawlid to give mutual respect to one another [ziyāra] with the intention of seeking Divine blessings and revitalising our friendships.

Allahﷻ praises the character and behaviour of the Prophetﷺ where He says:

“And assuredly you are upon immense character.” | Qurʾān 68:4

Heﷻ even praises Sayyidinā Rasūluʾllah’sﷺ eyes during the Night Journey and Ascension:

“His sight did not waver nor exceed limits.” | Qurʾān 53:17

This is to say that even when beholding all the Signs and wonders of the heavens and seeing His Lord, he did not even blink. Allah ﷻ has exalted his heart, saying that heﷺ did not reject the Reality of the journey:

“Nor did the heart deny what it saw.” | Qurʾān 53:11

Heﷻ even assigns His own Names to Sayyidinā Rasūluʾllahﷺ when describing hisﷺ inward disposition:

“Indeed a Messenger has come from amongst yourselves; It grieves him that any injury or difficulty should befall you. He is eager for you; for the believers [he is] full of pity, kind, and merciful.” | Qurʾān 9:129

Allahﷻ gives Sayyidinā Rasūluʾllahﷺ two of His Most Beautiful Names, al-Raʾūf and al-Raḥīm. Although He created himﷺ, he attaches great importance to him and never abases himﷺ.

According to Shaykh Ibrāhīm Niāsse, this reverence towards the Prophet of Allahﷺ is a sign showing us the way in which we must behave towards himﷺ at al times.

In his poem “He The Prophetic Seal”, found in Majmuʿ al-qasāʾid al-mawlid al-nabawī, the Shaykh wrote:

“He who sealed the Prophets | Led all of them by the letter ‘Yā’”

Never in the entirety of the Qurʾān does Allahﷻ directly address Sayyidinā Rasūluʾllahﷺ with “Yā Muḥammad”, as he does with other prophets. Heﷻ only addresses him ﷺ as “Yā ayyuha ʾn-Nabī” or “Yā ayyuha ʾr-Rasūli”.

Sayyidinā Muḥammadﷺ is called by name only four times in the Qurʾān:

“And Muḥammad is but a messenger…” | Qurʾān 3:144

“Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allah…” | Qurʾān 48:29

“…and those who believe in what was revealed to Muḥammad…” | Qurʾān 47:2

“Nor is Muḥammad the father of any of you…” | Qurʾān 33:40

I must reiterate that if Allahﷻ the Creator respects the Prophetﷺ so much that he does not hail him by name, it is a subtle invitation to us to love an respect himﷺ in like fashion. Shaykh Ibrāhīm added:

“If the people knew the meaning of Muḥammad | Knowing the Reality they would honour and glorify him.”

As for us, we gather to understand this dimension of the Prophetﷺ because to know the true immensity of himﷺ will cause us to love him totally. When we love himﷺ, we will certainly follow himﷺ. Following himﷺ grants us forgiveness from Allahﷻ. However, none of the disciples [muridīn] will benefit from salvation except the ones that follow Sayyidinā Rasūluʾllahﷺ. Shaykh Ibrāhīm Niāsse, in his lessons during the Mawlid, said that he read the Qurʾān from beginning to end and has noted seven groups of disciples who followed their masters well. But the only group that benefitted from the salvation of Allah ﷻ is the group that followed Sayyidinā Rasūluʾllahﷺ.

“Say: Indeed if you love Allah, then follow me and Allah will love you and forgive you your wrongdoings.” | Qurʾān 3:31

Allahﷻ calls those who followed their own instincts “deeply regretful”, as was the case with the brothers Abel and Cain, the sons of Adam:

“Then he persuaded himself to kill his brother; so he then killed and realised he was of the losers.” | Qurʾān 5:30

Following Iblīs and the shayṭān also leads to Hellfire and eternal contrition:

“As for My slave, you will have no authority over them except for the one who follows you from the evil-doers.” | Qurʾān 15:42

Regarding those who give in to whims and desires, Allahﷻ says that their actions are “carnally canine”:

“…he followed his base desires; so his similitude likens to that of a dog, whose tongue lolls out when attacked or left alone…” | Qurʾān 7:176

“And after them came the unworthy successors who abandoned prayer and pursued their own wants; they will soon come to know the Ghay (the deepest level of Hell).” | Qurʾān 19:59

Those who submitted to Pharaoh did not receive positive benefit from their guidance, either:

“…But they followed the command of Firʿawn, and the command of Firʿawn was not [at all] discerning.” | Qurʾān 11:97

“Then would those who are followed distance themselves of those who followed (them); they would see the penalty, and all relations between them would be cut off. Those who followed will say, ‘If only we had another turn so we could disassociate ourselves from them as they have disassociated themselves from us.’ Thus will Allah show them their deeds as regrets upon them. And they are never to emerge from the Fire.” | Qurʾān 2:166-167

All in all, the only group that has benefited from Divine salvation is the one who followed Sayyidinā Rasūluʾllahﷺ. Then the primary indication that proves our love for something is the dedication we show in following it. Such were the teachings of Shaykh Ibrāhīm at the Mawlid.

Indeed, Shaykh Ibrāhīm Niāsse was not only one to call and point people towards Allahﷻ, but he was also a teacher who gained and mastered guidance from Allahﷻ, and then reciprocated it to his disciples. When discussing the theme of love for the Prophetﷺ, he said in a poem:

“When the Best of Creationﷺ is walking, I am stepping behind him so closely | As soon as heﷺ stops, I stop.”

Such a walk will never cease because the Prophet ﷺ is ever en route returning to Allahﷻ. Any way that is not of the Prophetﷺ, Baye Niāsse regards it as stagnant water. How unhappy the one will be who, when faced with an ocean is concerned with a stale puddle! Baye Niāsse said:

“O you! Go and drink at the ocean | and turn away from the stagnant water that cannot satisfy your thirst.”

Anything which is of consequence after the arrival of Sayyidinā Rasūluʾllahﷺ owe its importance to the latter. I present the lessons of Shaykh Ibrāhīm “Baye” Niāsse as the reasons we are gathered here together from all different backgrounds and walks of life. Even if we confine ourselves only to mutual respects, there is good in such because we gain from learning and helping each other. Moreover, Baye exhorts us to glorify Sayyidinā Rasūluʾllahﷺ, to send copious amounts of ṣalawāt upon himﷺ, and spend out of our wealth and provision for himﷺ.

Baye said, “For all I know, I do not see anything more important than working with an open heart for Sayyidinā Rasūluʾllahﷺ on the night of the Mawlid, and relating hisﷺ noble habits to the believers for them to emulate and remain steadfast in.”

— Shaykh Muḥammad al-Māḥī bin Sayyid ʿAlī Cissé
-Saliou Niang (trans. WLF-FRA) [©2010 Medina Baye - Kaolack, SN]
- Ryan-Yusuf Hilliard (trans. FRA-ENG) [©2010 Chicago - IL, US]

O Allāh, shower blessings, peace and mercy on our master and chief - Muḥammad, the best of creation, and his family, with every glance and every breath, as many times as the number of all things encompassed within the knowledge of Allāh


“Let us learn from the signs that occurred at your blessed birth.

Let our souls witness that at the time of your birth the fire of the Magicians was extinguished. Let the fire of hatred thus be extinguished in our souls.

Let our souls witness that at the time of your birth the stone idols which surrounded the Ka’bah fell flat, in spite of the fact that they were held in place by lead. Let the constrictive idols of our own selfishness which are held in place by arrogance thus fall.

Let our souls witness that at the time of your birth the thrones of the tyrants were shaken. Let the thrones of our selfishness also shake so that we stop justifying wronging others.

Let our souls witness that when you came forth from your mother’s belly you prostrated and then raised your eyes to the heavens. Let our hearts thus realise the secret of prostration in a state of humility and brokenness in front of Allah. Let us raise our spiritual vision so that we prefer Allah over our own selves and over the creation.”

—  Shaykh Habib Ali al-Jifri

Faslon ko takalluf hai hum se agar
If distances prove themselves to be pretentious towards us

Ham bhi bebas nahin, besahara nahin
We are neither helpless, nor are we without support

Khud unhin ko pukarenge hum dur se, Raaste mein agar paun thak jaaenge
We shall entreat Him ourselves, Should our feet grow weary along the path

Hum madine mein tanha nikal jaaenge
We will go out in Madina, bereft of familiar company

Aur galiyon mein qasdan bhatak jaaenge
And deliberately lose our way in its streets

Hum vahaan jaake vaapas nahin aaenge
Having reached there, we shall not return

Dhundte dhundte log thak jaaenge
Be it that looking for us, people grow weary

Jaise hi sabz gumbad nazar aaega
The moment the green dome becomes visible

Bandagi ka qarina badal jaaega
Slave hood shall manifest itself differently

Sar jhukane ki fursat milegi kise
Who will have respite to bow their heads

Khud hi palkon se sajde tapak jaaenge
Prostrations, of their own accord, shall trickle from the very eyes

Naame aaqa jahaan bhi liya jaaega
His name, wheresoever it shall be mentioned

Zikr unka jahaan bhi kiya jaaege
His remembrance, wheresoever it shall be made

Nur hi nur sinon mein bhar jaaega
Light, and yet more light, shall fill up the breasts of those gathered

Saari mehfil mein jalve lapak jaaenge
Spiritual manifestations shall leap out upon the entire gathering

Ae madine ke zaair khuda ke liye
O Visitor of Madina, for God’s sake

Dastaan-e-safar mujh ko yun mat suna
Do not thus share your journey’s narrative

Baat badh jaaegi. Dil tadap jaaega.
The heart will grow restless, anxious; the matter shall exceed all bounds

Mere mohtat aansu chhalak jaaenge
My guarded tears shall spill forth

Unki chashm-e-karam ko hai iski khabar
His magnanimous insight is well informed

Kis musafir ko hai kitna shawq-e-safar
As to which traveler harbours how much aspiration for his journey

Hum ko Iqbal jab bhi ijazat mili
Whensoever it may be that we be granted permission, O Iqbal

Hum bhi aaqa ke durbar tak jaaenge
We too shall pay a visit unto the court of the Liege-lord