During the month of Rabi-ul-Awwal there are lots of lectures on the life of Prophet Muhammad (SAS) to incite people to follow his footsteps. There is no celebration or anything during these programs. Can we attend these programs? Also, since we fast on the 10th of Muharram to signify Prophet Musa (AS) birthday, why not the 12th of Rabi-ul-Awwal for Prophet Muhammad (SAS) ? According to a Hadith in Sahih Muslim, Prophet Muhammad fasted every Monday because he was born on Monday, is it Sunnah to fast on the day of the week one is born? Is it Sunnah to fast on every Monday?
One is allowed to attend programs which are held in the month of Rabi-ul-awwal as long as there are no celebrations during these programs. We should not celebrate the 12th day of Rabiul awwal. If we look into the Sahaabas time you will not get a single occasion in their lives on which they ever celebrated the 12th day of the month of rabi ul awwal or held special gatherings in this month to celebrate the Prophet’s birthday. Instead every moment of their life reflected a remembrance of the Prophet’s beautiful biography. When we attend Serat lectures we should be sincere in our intentions and not just go by thinking it as a celebration. Also you will not find that a Sahaaba fasted on the 12th of Rabiul awwal because it was the Prophet’s birthday. If a person starts fasting on the 12th and thinks it is a sunnat act then he has put himself in danger because this will become a bidat. One should remember to fast on this day is not farz, wajib, sunnat and nor is it mustahab.
Secondly we do not fast on the 10th of Muharram to signify Prophet Musa (as) birthday. Therefore the question of why don’t we celebrate Rasoolullah sallahu alaihe wasallams birthday shouldn’t arise. Also if the Sahaba’s and Rasool sallahu alaihe wasallam didn’t order us to fast on the 12th then we shouldn’t question about it.
Although the month of Muharram is a blessed month as a whole, yet, the 10th of Muharram is the most sacred among all its days. This day is called ?Ashurah?.
This day dates back from the time of Moosa (AS). The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) when migrated to Madinah, found that the Jews of Madinah used to fast on the 10th day of Muharram. They said that it was the day on which the Holy Prophet Musa (moses) alayihis salaam and his followers crossed the Red Sea miraculously and the Pharaoh was drowned in its water. On hearing this from the Jews, the Holy Prophet(peace be upon him) said, ?We are more closely related to Musa than you? and directed the Muslims to fast on the day of ?Ashura?.
In short, it is established through a number of authentic ahadith that fasting on the day of ?Ashura? is Sunnah of the Holy Prophet ( peace be upon him) and makes one entitled to a great reward.
According to another hadith, it is more advisable that the fast of Ashura should either be prefixed or suffixed by another fast. It means that one should fast two days: the 9th an d 10th of Muharram or the 10th and 11th of it. The reason of this additional fast as mentioned by the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) wanted to distinguish the Islamic way of fasting from that of Jews. Therefore, he advised the Muslims to add another fast to that of ?Ashura?.
Hazrat Abu Qatada (RA) narrates that our Prophet (peace be upon him) has said that I have hope in Allah Ta’aala that who ever keeps the fast of Ashurah his one year past sins will be forgiven. ( Muslim, Nasai)
In this hadith it is meant that all the small sins from the past year will be forgiven Inshallah.
It has also been mentioned that on the day of Ashurah even the wild animals do not graze on the grass.
In view of all the above it is highly desirable to keep fast on the day of Ashurah. Also we come to know that this day is not celebrated to signify Hazrat Musa (as) birthday.
Hazrat Abu Qatadah (ra) has narrated that Rasoolullah sallahu alaihe wasallam was asked about why he fasted on monday’s and he replied because I was born on that day. (muslim hadith#1978)
Hazrat Abu Hurairrah (ra) has narrated that Rasoolullah sallahu alaihe wasallam said that deeds are raised on mondays and thursdays. Therefore I want that my deeds are presented while I am fasting. (tirmidhi hadith # 1678)
There are many more ahadith which say that Rasoolullah sallahu alaihe wasallam fasted on Monday and Thursday because deeds are raised on those days.
From the above ahadith we come to know that Rasooullah sallahu alaihe wasallam fasted on monday’s and thursday’s. Mondays because he was born and also because deeds are raised on that day. Therefore it is Mustahab to fast on mondays and thursdays. It is mustahab because there were some mondays and thursdays in which Rasoolullah sallahu alaihe wasallam did not fast in.
To fast on your birthday is not a sunnat because the Sahaaba’s did not do this. Some of Rasoolullah salallahu alaihe wasallam’s actions are specific for him and not the ummat, which is why we also look at the Sahaaba’s and the ummul Mumineen’s actions. Sahaaba’s lives were in accordance to what ever the Prophet sallahu alaihe wasallam had ordered them to do. If Rasoolullah sallahu alaihe wasallam had ordered them to fast on their birthday’s they would have done so.
and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Mufti Ebrahim Desai