What does commemorating mawlid (the Prophet’s birthday) mean to us

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(This article was translated from original article written in Malay at http://haniff.sg/pesanan/memperingati-maulid/ . Apology for less-than-ideal translation work. May this still benefit readers.)

Muslims all over the world commemorate the birth of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the month of Rabi `ul Awwal (the third month of Islamic calendar) every year.

The arrival of this month is a good “stop point” for us, Muslims, to reflect on our faith – “…we bear witness that Muhammad is a messenger of Allah” with the hope it will increase our strength and commitment to fulfilling our responsibilities and duties to the Prophet.

Here are some points of reflection on our duties and responsibilities to the Prophet in conjunction with the month of mawlid:

1. Follow the Prophet’s sunnah in all aspects of our life

2. Strive to spread and share the Prophet’s sunnah to all, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. This can be done by actively involve ourselves in dakwah mission, to get people to practice the teachings of Islam based on the Qur’an and the sunnah of the Prophet.

3. Defend the Prophet’s sunnah from abuse and attack by involvement in dakwah work collectively.

4. Read books of hadith because we will not be able to practice, spread and defend the Prophet’s sunnah if we do not know it.

5. Study the history of the Prophet because it is rich with lessons that will guide our dakwah mission.

Reading hadith and the Prophet’s history must be our life-long effort due to the tremendous size of resources on hadith and the history of the Prophet.

A continuous reading of hadith and the history of the Prophet will also maintain and renew our love for him and reaffirm our commitment to dakwah mission.

6. Offer selawat to the Prophet. Reciting selawat is a sign of our love to him. It is also part of our daily zikr that will purify and strengthen us spiritually. A person who claims to love the Prophet but his daily selawat does not exceed the number of fingers on hi shands is not truthful to his claim because reciting selawat is a simple act. It can be done almost anywhere and at any time – whether a person is driving, in the MRT or taking a break from work at the office.

7. Cultivate strong yearning for the Prophet in us – longing to meet him, shake and kiss his hand and embrace him like a lover who misses his beloved one after a long travel.

A good Muslim must feel sad, if such feeling to the Prophet is absent from him while at the same time the thought of the beloved one – wife, children, parent, lover – lingers in his mind all the time.

Cultivating this feeling is important also because it will create a strong impetus to continue the Prophet’s dakwah mission because this longing will not heal until we meet the Prophet in heaven and meeting him in heaven is not possible without following his sunnah and continuing his dakwah mission.

“O Allah! Please deliver our selawat to the beloved Prophet. Instill in us sense of longing for him all the time. Heal this longing in us with an immediate meeting with him.”