Mostafa Kamal Majumder
Eid-e-Miladunnabi, the birthday of Prophet of Islam Muhammad (sm) is being celebrated by the Muslims in Bangladesh as elsewhere in the world with religious fervor and solemnity. The day is of special significance to Muslims who know Muhammad (sm) as the last Prophet revealed to earth by Almighty Allah, who has professed the religion of Islam for earthly as well as heavenly peace. Prophet Muhammad’s preaching laid emphasis on earthly life at a time when in the rest of the civilized world pursuing of heavenly life was being preached as the only goal of temporal life. In Europe philosophers like St Thomas Aquinas were the ones who spearheaded the thought upholding the importance of earthly life, about one thousand years later. Reformation and renaissance in Europe thus got roots.
Muslims fondly call Prophet Muhammad as the Messiah of the two Worlds –temporal and eternal. To celebrate his birthday, Muslim devotees organise religious discussion meetings on the Prophet’s life, works and teachings. Milad and doa mohfils are also organised in mosques and religious schools like madrasahs. Some devotees fast on the day as a mark of respect to the Prophet. Some devotees prefer staying at homes on the day and read the Holy Koran seeking divine mercy, peace and prosperity for the Muslim Ummah, and the world at large. Muslim devotees seek Allah’s blessings to steer clear of commission of sins and divine providence to guide wrongdoers to chart the righteous path.
Muslims who take pride in telling others, theirs Islam being a religion on peace, cannot condone violence or terrorism. Even at war they are prohibited from doing harm to the enemy out of personal grudge. Viewed from this premise it’s not difficult to discern why average Muslims, all over, are opposed to terrorism as well as militancy. Wrong policies of the world powers that be should take a part of the blame for the present state of affairs that have followed the series of Afghan and Iraq wars in the last three decades; the of uprooting of Palestinians from their ancestral homes and the denial of statehood to the refugees in their own homeland for nearly seven decades. To heal the visible wounds and effectively stop misguided responses, something more than former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s admission of mistaken Iraq war is now seen as quite urgent.
At this time of Islam-phobia even in the powerful democratic countries of the world, it serves little purpose to speak of the greatness of Prophet Muhammad (sm) and Islam that he preached. Yet one cannot help point to the unity of mankind that the holy book Koran reflects. It traces the origin of man including the Muslims from the divine scriptures and messages, that believers devoutly follow, revealed right from the Time of Adam and Eve, more pointedly form the creed of Abraham whom Muslims call Ibrahim (pbuh). By faith Muslims have and do observe great respects for other prophets including Moses (Musa) and Jesus (Issa) – peace be upon them. This in turn explains why Muslims only protest critical cartoon depiction or caricature of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) but never seek of berate the other prophets in some form or the other in revenge. Faith does not debar Muslims from marrying Christians or Jews. What the followers of earlier divine scriptures do not want to believe is what the Muslims profess that through the Koran the religion of Islam has taken a final shape. But the spirit of accommodation is inherent in Islam. Those who seek to give other interpretations have been marked by Islami scholars for an unholy move to derail a faith that has led or nurtured the human civilisation for 1500 year.
This year the birthdays of the Prophets of Islam and Christianity have fallen on the same date – a rare symbolic unity or just a coincidence. This coincidence makes Muslims and Christians celebrate their Prophets separately but simultaneously. Believers can only pray that this would strengthen message of unity of mankind, help overcome hatred and intolerance, which is most needed, to build a ‘common future’ in the planet facing mortal threats due to unscrupulous and unsustainable activities of all.