The Birth of the Prophet
وَبَرَكَاتُهُ اللهِ وَرَحْمَةُ عَلَيْكُمْ السَّلاَمُ
Now the birth of the prophet Muhammad (SAW) was truly a blessed moment in history, however before coming onto the events surrounding it we must first understand why Allah chose Arabia as the place of the last prophet:
The du’a of the prophet Ibrahim (AS) determined so – This can be considered the main reason. Allah told Ibrahim (AS) that there would be prophets from the progeny of his son Ishaaq (AS), but he also wanted prophets from his other son Ismail (AS) and so he made a du’a: ‘From our progeny send forth one prophet or messenger who will recite to them your signs and will purify them, clean them and teach them the book and wisdom.’
Arabia was between the Byzantine and the Sasanians – These were the two major superpowers of the time, the Roman and Persian empires which had been warring for over 400 years. And so Arabia is in the perfect position geographically to conquer these two empires, and that is exactly what happened during and after the death of the prophet.
The Arabs were the people least expected to become a superpower – They had no history of violence against any outside peoples as they were always engaged in civil conflicts, and had not reached many benchmarks of civilisation. They were considered a backwards and weak people – and it true that they were always divided – so when they began marching on the nearby empires they were underestimated and even laughed at. This led their conquest to being a surprise for the neighbouring civilisations, allowing them to take over them easier.
They did not have a strong unified civilisation – They had no government, law, art, architecture or literacy. All the nearby civilisations had societies and social constructs, with large unified governments, armies and all manner of buildings and architecture. So if Islam had come to these people it would have had to compete with this culture and the status quo, and the prophet would have been persecuted by a large, unified government. Arabia, on the other hand, had a cultural vacuum, allowing Islam to come and bring its own teachings and give the Arabs their own honour and legacy. In fact, it wasn’t until the prophet came that the Arabs had ever been united before.
Mecca was the first place of worship built for Allah – As well as that, it was the land of Ibrahim (AS) and Ismail (AS), meaning it was perfect for the revelation of a universal religion. All other prophets had come with a message specific for their people, such as Isa (AS) coming for the Bani Israil, however Islam was meant for the whole world, and so Mecca was the perfect place for it to originate.
The Arabs had certain qualities – First of all they were a simple people; this meant that they had no philosophical and societal ideas already in place, and so were unpolluted and perfect recipients of the truth. On top of that they were used to hardship as they lived in a desert, and so on their conquests – while the Romans and Persians needed armour and supply trains and the such – they had the stamina to travel long distances and fight gruelling battles in the heat, with no armour and little supplies. This was compounded by the fact that they were the best horsemen of the ancient world, with the most agile horses even till this day. They were also extremely brave, honest and always followed through with an oath. And they had a sematic language – Arabic – which was perfect for the revelation of the Quran as it was extremely beautiful and complex, with many deeper meanings to simple words.
Now let’s look at the birth of the prophet himself. So Abdullah, the favourite son of Abdul Muttalib, married Aminah binti Wahab and stayed with her for only a week before he had to leave on a trading trip. On the way back he fell severely ill and died, and so Aminah was now a widow at a very young age. And soon after Muhammadﷺ was born.
So when was the birth of the prophet? Well the Arab’s didn’t have a calendar like we do, and so years were named after big events that happened in them. Now the year that the prophet was born in was called the Year of the Elephant, after the incident of Surah Al-Feel which we looked at in the life of Abdul Muttalib, and this corresponds to about 570CE. We also know for certain that he was born on a Monday – as the prophet himself told us so – however the date and month are not so certifiable. Most scholars have the opinion that he was born in Rabbi-al-awal, but some say he was born on the 2nd, some say the 8th, some say 10th and some say 12th. The 12th is the most popular opinion, however it is actually the least certified with only the opinion of Ibn Ishaaq behind it (which is actually why it is the most popular). Unfortunately, there is no way to know for certain.
A few events surrounded the birth of the prophet. Although there are many legends of miracles taking place, there is only one authentic hadith. The prophet narrated, ‘When my mother gave birth to (or was carrying) me, she saw a light emanate from her that cast all the way to the city of Busra (A city in Syria at the time, near the Arab border).’ What are the symbolisms of this? There are a few, but the main one is that when the Muslim conquest first started, the very first country to be taken was Ash-Shams (Syria), and the very first city was Busra. And indeed, it was narrated that Ash-Shams is a blessed land, and will forever be a fortress for Islam.
Another popular opinion is that the birth of the prophet was when the jinn were no longer allowed entry into Jannah, however this actually took place when Muhammad ﷺ was given the prophethood. Before then the jinns had free passage into and out of Jannah.
So we see now some of the miracles of the birth of the prophet, and how even the very people and place that Islam was given to was in itself a blessing and miracle of Allah. Before Islam descended upon the Arabs they were a backwards, weak nation, however this faith gave them their culture and legacy, without which we would barely have even known about their existence and they would have never had their legendary empire. Truly, the birth of the prophet and the gift of Islam changed the world forever.
Dr.Yasir Qadhi’s Seerah of The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 006