Rabi' al-awwal

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Rabi' al-awwal (ربيع الأوّل) is the third month in the Islamic calendar. During this month, majority of the Muslims celebrate Mawlid - the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Although the exact date is unknown,[1][2] Sunni Muslims believe the date of birth of Muhammad to have been on the twelfth of this month, whereas Shi'a Muslims believe him to have been born on the dawn of the seventeenth day. The name Rabī‘ al-awwal means the first [month] or beginning of spring, referring to its position in the pre-Islamic Arabian calendar. Hence this is considered to be a very blessed month.

Meaning[edit]

The word "Rabi" means "spring" and Al-awwal means "the first" in Arabic language, so "Rabi' al-awwal" means "the first spring" in Arabic language. The names seems to have to do with the celebration events in the month as "spring" is the end to winter (symbol of sadness) and consequently the start of happiness. The Arabic calendar being lunar calendar, the month is naturally rotating over years and Rabī‘ al-awwal can be in spring or any other season every now and then, so the meaning can not be related to the actual season.[3]

Celebrations[edit]

Main article: Mawlid
Indian Muslims with green flags for Mawlid

Although historians and scholars disagree on the exact date of Muhammad's birth,[4] it is commonly celebrated on 12th or 17th of Rabi' al-awwal. The celebration of the Mawlid is done differently depending on the country. In some areas celebrations begin as early as the first of the month and can continue till the end of the month. Muslims generally put coloured lights on roads, streets, and their homes and put green flags as well to celebrate. In many countries a procession is also conducted on 12th or 17th of Rabi' al-awwal night and day. On these occasions sweets and drinks are also distributed widely from home to home and to the general public. In some areas Muslims also exchange gifts.It is the month of blessings.

However not all Muslims celebrate the birth of Muhammad due to the celebration of birth dates not being conclusively evidenced in either the Qur'an or Hadith and thus consider that to celebrate any other occasion than the two Eid days of al-Fitr and al-Adha (which are clearly evidenced) is an addition of simply tradition and not of the true teachings of Islam.

Timing[edit]

The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, and months begin when the first crescent of a new moon is sighted. Since the Islamic lunar calendar year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year, Rabī‘ al-Awwal migrates throughout the seasons. The estimated start and end dates for Rabī‘ al-Awwal are as follows (based on the Umm Al-Qura calendar of Saudi Arabia[5]):

AH First day (CE / AD) Last day (CE / AD)
1431 15 February 2010 16 March 2010
1432   4 February 2011   5 March 2011
1433 24 January 2012 22 February 2012
1434 13 January 2013 10 February 2013
1435   2 January 2014 1 February 2014
1436 23 December 2014 20 January 2015
1437 12 December 2015 10 January 2016
Rabī‘ al-Awwal dates between 2010 and 2015

Islamic events[edit]

Masjid al-Quba, the first mosque, was built in this month.

Other events:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Annemarie Schimmel (1994). Deciphering the signs of God: a phenomenological approach to Islam (illustrated ed.). Edinburgh University Press. p. 69. 
  2. ^ Eliade, Mircea, ed. (1987). The Encyclopedia of religion, Volume 9 (illustrated ed.). Macmillan. p. 292. ISBN 9780029098004. 
  3. ^ َAl-Monjed dictionary and encyclopedia - the word Rabi' al-awwal
  4. ^ Authentic Date of Prophet Muhammad's Birth and Death
  5. ^ Umm Al-Qura calendar of Saudi Arabia
  6. ^ Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Institute of Islamic Studies. Days on viewpoint of Imam Khomeini. Tehran: Islamic research center. p. 176. 

External links[edit]