For Muslims, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the best creature ever. He is the last messenger and prophet sent by the Almighty Allah to guide people from the darkness of ignorance to light of Divine guidance. At any human scale, he (PBUH) is a man of extraordinary achievements. This is a fact admitted not only by Muslims, but by non-Muslim thinkers and philosophers also. Having put Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on top of the list of the most 100 most influential people in history in his The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, Michael H. Hart states, “My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular level.”
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) succeeded to be an embodiment of perfect attributes and values. He called upon all people to have good manners and promote higher values of peace, mercy, respect of others, etc. He succeeded to turn an uncivilized nation into a nation of prime civilization that taught the whole world how to get civilized. So, how can we celebrate the birth anniversary of a man of such character and a great prophet?
The fact of the matter is that celebrating the birth of this beloved Prophet (PBUH) cannot be by chanting songs that enumerate his excellent qualities and lib servicing only. Rather, this opportunity should be seized to the full to preach his (PBUH) message and values. Celebration should have different aspects.
First of all, we shall take him as our role model, i.e. to follow in his footsteps and have the morals he had. Qatadah reported, “I said to ‘Aisha, ‘O mother of the believers, tell me about the character of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH).’ ‘Aisha said, ‘Have you not read the Quran?’ I said, ‘Of course.’ ʿAisha said, ‘Verily, the character of the Prophet of Allah was the Quran.’” (Sahih Muslim) In another version of the hadith she replied, “He was a walking Qur’an,” i.e. he was an embodiment of the values of the Qur’an. Accordingly, the first manifestation of celebration should be following the Prophet’s (PBUH) message, obeying his legislation, observing good deeds and abstaining from bad deeds and ill manners, and applying his merciful approach when dealing with women, children and any vulnerable group of people.
Another aspect of celebration is to disseminate these good values throughout the world in all means possible in order to introduce the true image of this great prophet extraordinary human being to all humankind. The world in the present time is in dire need for the values of Islam and the character of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as it goes though continued crises and disasters at all levels. The example of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the way of salvation for humankind in this difficult epoch of history; where the world is void any moral code, where the super powers manipulate weak countries, where some people spoil natural resources and waste food and beverages and some others die out of hunger.
Furthermore, we need to reinvestigate and reread the biography and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in order to come out with new lessons learned and new methods to overcome the challenges facing us today. The month of Rabi I, when the Prophet was born, should be made a month of reviving the character of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in our lives and the lives of the whole mankind. Let it be an opportunity to correct the course of humankind.