Rabi' al-Awwal

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Rabi' al-Awwal
Indian Muslims with green flags for Mawlid
Native nameرَبِيع ٱلْأَوَّل  (Arabic)
CalendarIslamic calendar
Month number3
Number of days29-30 (depends on actual observation of the moon's crescent)
Significant days

Rabiʽ al-Awwal (Arabic: رَبِيع ٱلْأَوَّل, Rabīʿ al-ʾAwwal) is the third month in the Islamic calendar. The name Rabī‘ al-awwal means "the first [month] or beginning of spring", referring to its position in the pre-Islamic Arabian calendar.

During this month, majority of Muslims celebrate Mawlid - the birthday of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. Other Muslims do not believe the celebration is evidenced as necessary or even Islamically permissible in the Quran or authentic Hadith and has evolved as an innovation. Although the exact date of the Mawlid is unknown,[1][2] some Muslims believe the date of birth of Prophet Muhammad to have been on the twelfth of this month.

In the Ottoman Empire days, the name of this month in Ottoman Turkish was Rèbi' ulèvvèl,[3] with the abbreviation Ra.[4] In modern Turkish, it is Rebiülevvel.


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 name 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 Rabīʽ 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.[5]


Indian Muslims with green flags for Mawlid

Although historians and scholars disagree on the exact date of Muhammad's birth,[6] it is celebrated by some Muslims on the 12th or 17th of Rabi' al-awwal.

However, many Muslims do not celebrate the Prophet's birthday as neither the Prophet himself nor any of his Companions of the Prophet observed any such birthday celebrations and they do not consider it an Islamic obligation nor an act of any religious merit with any basis in the Quran or in any authentic Hadith.

Where the celebration of the Mawlid is done by some Muslims, it 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.


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[7]):

Rabī' al-Awwal dates between 2020 and 2024
AH First day (CE/AD) Last day (CE/AD)
1442 18 October 2020 15 November 2020
1443 07 October 2021 05 November 2021
1444 27 September 2022 25 October 2022
1445 16 September 2023 15 October 2023
1446 04 September 2024 03 October 2024

Islamic events[edit]

Other events:


  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. ^ Youssof, R. (1890). Dictionnaire portatif turc-français de la langue usuelle en caractères latins et turcs. Constantinople. p. 479.
  4. ^ Youssof, R. (1890). Dictionnaire portatif turc-français de la langue usuelle en caractères latins et turcs. Constantinople. p. 476.
  5. ^ "المنجد في اللغة - المكتبة الوقفية للكتب المصورة PDF". waqfeya.net.
  6. ^ "mysticsaint.info". ww1.mysticsaint.info.
  7. ^ "The Umm al-Qura Calendar of Saudi Arabia". webspace.science.uu.nl.
  8. ^ Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Institute of Islamic Studies. Days on viewpoint of Imam Khomeini. Tehran: Islamic research center. p. 176.

External links[edit]