By popular scholarly agreement, today is the birthday of Ar Rahman and Ar Rahim’ s favourite man, the prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings be upon him always). I feel my heart ache when I think of the times I was able to be with him just outside his tomb in the grand mosque in Medina al Munawarrah. I would like to go and visit him again and again every year if possible. But if I can’t, may my tongue find its way to keep on making salawats upon him so that we will be together in the hereafter. Insya Allah. Ameen.
Growing up in the late 70s and early 80s, Maulidur Rasul or celebrating the birthday of the prophet (this was long before Wahhabism infiltrated the minds of Singaporean Muslims), for us kids, Maulidur Rasul was a lot of fun! We had nasyid performances, story telling competitions, syarahan competitions, ‘perarakan’ where we, in our full traditional outfits would walk say from one end of the neighborhood to another loudly singing the ‘Thola’al Badrul Alaina’ with the kompang boys doing their thing, supposedly a mini reenactment of the Prophet’s journey of Hijrah from Makkah to Medina. Of course as a child, I was thinking, hmm, if this was the distance the Prophet and all the believers had to travel for Hijrah, it ain’t so bad. Just from one end of the neighborhood to another. At the end of the walk, we kids would be rewarded with goodie bags and the yummilicious briyani eaten from the big ‘dulang’ with 3 or 4 other friends. It would be the annual affair we all looked forward to.
My first time ever visiting the Prophet in Medina, the super-comfortable coach we took from Makkah to Medina took 6 long hours on the highway-without any traffic jams. When the distance of the migration finally sank into me, on how far they migrated on foot, leaving their homeland, their families who didn’t believe, their jobs, their farms, their businesses etc, I literally sobbed in the darkness of the night in the coach.