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07 February, 2011

Date of Birth and Date of Death of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم

- Was Prophet Muhammad Born on 12th Rabi ul Awwal ر بيع الاول ?

- Why is 12th Rabi ul Awwal famous ?

- Can we Rely on the Astronomical Calculation?

- When did Prophet Muhammad die?

Peace be upon him

 

Date of Birth

From the very beginning, historians and writers of Seerah have differed on the date of birth of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم. There are disagreements even for the ‘year’ of birth of Prophet Muhammadصلى الله عليه وسلم so, naturally we have different views regarding his ‘month’ of birth and ‘date’ of birth. Considering the fact that a wide majority of the historians have mentioned the ‘month’ to be Rabi ul awwal, one can safely assume that the month was Rabi ul awwal. Furthermore, it is proven from Authentic Narrations that his ‘day’ of birth was ‘Monday’.

Abu Qatada Ansari رضى الله عنه reported that Allah's Messenger صلى االه عليه وسلمwas asked about fasting on Monday, whereupon he said: It is (the day) when I was born and revelation was sent down to me.

(Sahih Al Bukhari – Kitab As Sawm)

The different views regarding the date of birth are:

2nd Rabi ul Awwal: Ibn Abd al-Barr

5th Rabi ul Awwal: Ameer ud din

8th Rabi ul Awwal: Ibn al Qayyim, ibn e Hazm, Az Zuhri , Ibn e Dihya

9th Rabi ul Awwal : Muhammad Suleman Mansurpuri, Mubarakpuri , Shibli Nomani, Mahmud Pasha Falaki, Akbar Shah Najeeb Abadi, Moeen ud din Ahmed Nadvi, Abul Kalam Azad

12th Rabi ul Awwal: Tabari, ibn e Khuldoon , Dr hameedullah , ibn e hisham, ‘Allama Abu’l-Hasan ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al- Mawardi, ibn e ishaaq

10th Rabi ul Awwal: Abul Fida, Abu Jaafar al Baaqir, Al Waqadi , Al Sha’bi– 10

17th Rabi ul Awwal: Shia view; and they also believe that it was Friday

22nd Rabi ul Awwal: Also attributed to ibn e Hazm

10th Muharram: Abdul Qadir Jilani

Now, how can one find the true date out of the numerous opinions? The only sure-shot information that we have is that it was the Monday and the month Rabi ul Awwal. Few biographers of the Seerah have mentioned that a person named Mahmud Pasha Falki proved through astronomical calculations that the Monday falls on 9th Rabi ul Awwal in the year when Rasulullah was born. People who have written biographies in the past century have accepted his research and they normally quote the date of birth to be 9th Rabi ul Awwal. Furthermore, Allama Qastalani writes that the people of Zaych are in agreement that the eighth of Rabi ul Awwal was the Monday.

The presence of such disagreements on the exact day of his birth proves that birthdays were not important to the Arabs. Arabs were very well known for their great memorization skills. They used know the lineage of their families and other Arabs by heart; they used to know hundreds of verses of poetry by heart, a great feat of memorization. Documentation wasn’t very common. Hence, it is very difficult to conclude when exactly Rasulullah was born.

Why we cannot find the Exact Date Even from Astronomical Calculations

The pagan Arabs would play with the calendar and amend it according to their wishes; which is referred to as Nasi. The pagan Arabs practiced Nasi in two ways.

1- Whenever it suited them, they would declare a prohibited month to be an ordinary month in which fighting, robbery and murder in retaliation were lawful for them. Then they would declare an ordinary month to be a prohibited month instead of this month in order to make up for the deficiency caused in the number of the prohibited months. Earlier writers of Seerah like Ibn e Hisham and commentators like Mujahid quoted that one year the Arab made Muharram as Halal, and they would consider Safar to be sacred (Haram), and the next year they’ll take Muharram to be sacred. They did so because three sacred months Dhul-Hijj, Dhul-Q’ada and Muharram were consecutive. `Abd al-Raĥmān ibn Zayd ibn Aslam, another leading commentator says that they would make two Safar one year and two Muharram next year.

2- The other way of Nasi was the addition of a month in order to harmonize the lunar year to the solar year so that the Hajj should always fall in the same season and they should be saved from the botheration and inconveniences that are experienced by its observance according to the lunar year. Due to the lunar calendar, the months shifted 11 days earlier each successive year, thus the people wished to perform the hajj (pilgrimage) ceremony - which coincided with different seasons - not on certain days of Dhu al-Hijjah, but on other days and months when the weather was mild and trade environment was suitable.  In order to ensure this, they used the nasi (adjustment) method. So, the way out was to add a month after every three years. In this way Haj was observed for 36 years on dates other than the actual dates. Then in the thirty seventh year it was again observed on the 9th and 10th of Zil-Hajjah, as they should have actually fallen according to the lunar calendar. It so happened that on the occasion when the Holy Prophet performed Hujjatul-Wida' (Farewell Haj). These dates by rotation coincided with the actual dates of Haj according to the lunar calendar

Abu Bakra reported that (in the Farewell Address) Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: Time has completed a cycle and come to the state of the day when Allah created the heavens and the earth. The year is constituted of twelve months, of which four are sacred; three of them consecutive, viz. Dhu'l-Qa'da, Dhu'l- Hijja and Muharram, and also Rajab the month of Mudar which comes between Jumada and Sha'ban.

(Sahih Muslim - Al-Kitab Al-Qasama wa'l-Muharaba wa'l-Qisas wa'l-Diyat)

Qur’an also mentions this act of delaying months in Surah At Tawbah.

Nasi (Postponing of the sacred month) is only an addition in unbelief, wherewith those who disbelieve are led astray, violating it one year and keeping it sacred another, that they may agree in the number (of months) that Allah has made sacred, and thus violate what Allah has made sacred; the evil of their doings is made fair-seeming to them; and Allah does not guide the unbelieving people.

(Surah At Tawbah 9:37)

Moreover, before the annunciation of prophet-hood, there was not any official calendar in force in the Arab land. The Arabs were accustomed to changing and altering the months as they pleased, and hence, sometimes they would make thirteen and fourteen months in one year. It is mentioned in Diya’ al-Qur’an that in a lunar year one extra intercalary month would be added to the existing twelve months. It is quite clear that before the annunciation of prophethood, such additions were made, however, we can never know in which specific year or years additions were made. (Diya’ al-Ummat, Justice Shaykh Muhammad Karam Shah al- Azhari (ra), Diya’ al-Qur’an, volume 1, page 202, note 60.)

Conclusion

Considering the above mentioned facts, we can never be sure about the date of birth of Prophet Muhammad. The exact birthdate of the Prophet Muhammad has always been the subject of dispute amongst classical scholars. Nothing authentic has been reported in the standard source books of tradition, and this fact in itself shows that it was not held in the significance that later authorities did. The astronomical researches are invalid considering the practice of Nasi. The only way we could have been absolutely sure about it was if Prophet Muhammad would have told us that himself, which he actually didn’t. If we consider this fact we would be forced to leave all bid’aat (innovations) attached with 12th of Rabi ul Awwal.

Why 12th Rabiulawwal is famous?

1- The two famous books authors of Seerah Ibn e Hisham and Ibn e Ishaaq both have mentioned it to be 12th Rabi ul Awwal.

2- Perhaps those who decided to start milad took this day:  This also explains why Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, writing before the conception of the mawlid in the fifth century of the hijrah, stated that the most common opinion amongst historians was in fact the 8th of Rabīʿ al-Awwal, and yet Ibn Kathīr, writing three centuries later, after the mawlid had been introduced as a public festival, stated that the 12th of Rabīʿ al-Awwal was the most common opinion. Earlier historians like Ibn e S’ad didn’t even put 12 Rabi ul Awwal in the list of candidates for Birthday of Prophet Muhammad. In the earlier days 8th Rabi ul Awwal used to be accepted as the date of Birth.

Date of Death

What we know for sure is that day of his death was ‘Monday’, as for the date we have different narrations. The famous one is 12th rabiulawwal.

Narrated Hisham's father: Aisha said, "I went to Abu Bakr (during his fatal illness) and he asked me, 'In how many garments was the Prophet shrouded?' She replied, 'In three Sahuliya pieces of white cloth of cotton, and there was neither a shirt nor a turban among them.' Abu Bakr further asked her, 'On which day did the Prophet die?' She replied, 'He died on Monday.' He asked, 'What is today?' She replied, 'Today is Monday.' He added, 'I hope I shall die sometime between this morning and tonight.' Then he looked at a garment that he was wearing during his illness and it had some stains of saffron. Then he said, 'Wash this garment of mine and add two more garments and shroud me in them.' I said, 'This is worn out.' He said, 'A living person has more right to wear new clothes than a dead one; the shroud is only for the body's pus.' He did not die till it was the night of Tuesday and was buried before the morning."

(Bukhari – Kitab al Janaiz)

13th Rabi ul Awwal: Muhammad Suleman Mansurpure

12th Rabi ul Awwal: Mubarakpuri

2nd Rabi ul Awwal: Ibn e Hajr

1st Rabi ul Awwal: Ibn e Jareer

28th Safar: Sh’ia Historians (They also mention the day to be Monday)

From the books of Hadith we can be sure that the year Prophet Muhammad died:

9th Dhil Hijjah was Friday (Bukhari – Prophetic Commentary on the Qur’an)

“….It was Friday and the Prophet was standing at 'Arafat (i.e. the Day of Hajj)"

(Narrated by Umar bin Al-Khattab)

We have four possibilities:

1- If Dhil Hijjah, Muharram and Safar all were of 30 days, Rabi ul Awwal starts on Wednesday and Mondays fall on 6th, 13th and so on.

2- If Dhil Hijjah, Muharram and Safar all were of 29 days, Rabi ul Awwal starts on Sunday and Mondays fall on 2nd, 9th, 16th and so on.

3- If any two months were of 29 days and one of 30 days, Rabi ul Awwal starts on Monday and Mondays fall on 1st, 8th, 15th and so on.

4- If any two months were of 30 days and one of 29 days, Rabi ul Awwal starts on Monday and Mondays fall on 7th, 14th and so on.

As for 28th Safar:

1- If Dhil Hijjah and Muharram are 30 days it is Sunday.

2- If Dhil HIjjah and Muharram are 29 days it is Friday

3- If one is 29 and the other is 30 it is Saturday.

You can verify the results on Microsoft Excel, you can mail me if you want the file I made.

Conclusion

Hence, the view of Ibn e Hajr (2nd Rabi ul Awwal) , view of Ibn e Jareer (1st Rabi ul Awwal) and Suleman Mansurpuri (13th Rabi ul Awwal) are the only possibilities and the common views of 12th Rabi ul Awwal and 28th Safar have been proven to be incorrect.

 

May Allah Make Us follow the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad and His Rightly Guided Companions !!

 

muhammad-saw

 

Author: Muhammad Awais Tahir

Send your comments and suggestions at Muhammad.Awais.Tahir@gmail.com

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33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Alhamdulillah a great article. The innovators should learn from it that 12 Rabiawwal is not confirmed. But Monday is confirmed, so if anyhow if they really have to celebrate then they should celebrate on every monday.

Anyways the date of birth of the Prophet PBUH doesn't have any importance to Companions otherwise there must be a authentic narrattion stating the date of birth.

The priorities of the companions was to obey the Prophet PBUH unconditionally and sacrifice their lives for being in Hizbullah. Our priorities have changed completely.

Anyways great article Awais bhai.

Jazak Allah

Anonymous said...

Assalaamu ‘Alaikum waRahmatullaahi waBarakaatuh
May Salaam(Peace), Allaah’s Rahmah(Mercy) and His Barakaat(Blessings) be upon you

I found a relevant article here:
http://xeniagreekmuslimah.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/mawlid-al-nabi-the-prophet%E2%80%99s-birthday/

Anonymous said...

JAZAKALLAH KHAIR
Goog effort, i think u must mention the attitude of SAHABA KARAM رضى الله عنه , wat they do on these occasions n our attitude on these occusions is rite????????
what ever v do is enough??????????

Amatul Wadood said...

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh!

JazakAllah Khair! this is a very timely article!

By the way...there's an error under the topic "DATE OF DEATH"
You mentioned:
"..we know for sure is that day of HER death..."

Muhammad Awais Tahir said...

Wa alaiakum As Salam Ukhte !

I've corrected it.

JazakiLLAH

Anonymous said...

As salam walaikum.
many books, for instance "the sealed nectar" says that MOHAMMAD SAW was born on 9th Rabbiul awwal, whereas 12th Rabbiul awwal is when he passed away. This can really not be confirmed?Of course as anewly born kid, none can expect Him to have said this, but some written account that could advocate this very fact???

Muhammad Awais Tahir said...

Wa 'alaikum As Salam wr wb!

The written accounts do not terminate at reliable sources (Sahaba) and the written accounts differs a lot in regards to the date, as mentioned above. So, we can't conclude with certainty on which date RasuluLLAH was born.

Wallahu A'alam !

Salman Neshapuri said...

That is interesting.

Anonymous said...

are you sure it should be 39 in the last line of your post?

Muhammad Awais Tahir said...

It had to be 30, a typo, I've corrected it, JazakAllah.

Anonymous said...

Awais, I did the same calculation in 2005, but don't rememer the address of the forum I shared it on.

Anonymous said...

anyway, I avoided the follow-up due to its potential of fanning sectarian hatred among muslims. May Allah bless you for spending time on it, but keep an eye on its negative aspects.

Muhammad Awais Tahir said...

It had to be 30, a typo, I've corrected it, JazakAllah.

Salman Neshapuri said...

That is interesting.

Muhammad Awais Tahir said...

Wa 'alaikum As Salam wr wb!

The written accounts do not terminate at reliable sources (Sahaba) and the written accounts differs a lot in regards to the date, as mentioned above. So, we can't conclude with certainty on which date RasuluLLAH was born.

Wallahu A'alam !

Muhammad Awais Tahir said...

Wa alaiakum As Salam Ukhte !

I've corrected it.

JazakiLLAH

Muhammad Awais Tahir said...

Ibn-Kathir says in his book al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah when discussing the death of Allah's Messenger and favoring the opinion of 12th Rabi ul Awwal that there is a possibility of different dates of Makkah and Madinah because of different moon sightings. And hence the Friday 9th Zilhajj of Makkah, might not be 9th Zilhajj in Madinah, and including the possible difference 12th Rabi ul Awwal of Madinah can fall on Monday and Allah Knows best.  

Ansar said...

Brother I found your article informative, could you provide a reference that According to Abdul Qadir Gilani the Date of Birth is 10th Muharram...
Regards
Ansar

Jaugajug said...

Jazakallahu khair! Very informative and fair!!

Aqeel Khan. said...

This is Aqeel Khan. In my opinion celebration was never impotent to the companions and direct relatives of our prophet Mohammad PBUH. So, making this an issue for the sake of TAFARKA
(is a great sin. As Al-mighty God has disliked any tafarka among the muslims. (Al-Quran) Let all muslims celebrate according to their faith. This is no issue to argue or create hate rate.    

Ayan noor said...

it is  good  alhamdulillah you have done a good at
article  jazak allah

khamis said...

thank you very much brother

UZAIR said...

ANSAR YOU CAN FIND THIS DATE ON GUNAITUT TALIBEEN VOLUME 2.
Abdul Qadir Gilani'S BOOK

Saqib Yousuf Salafi said...

Can I get a screen shot please

Akbar said...

The Prophet Muhammad(Pbuh), he himself during his lifetime, did he celebrated his birthday? No. Did his companions celebrated his birthday? No. So should we celebrate it? I think you got the answer. As regards to his birthday it very difficult to know the exact date because the during early time of his birth, writing materials were not available and everything were just memorized and the chain of transmission might differed. Same for the date of his death, nothing can pe proved whether it a Monday or a Friday on the Arafat. One of the point that is misguided is to associate or to perform certain rituals to commemorate the date of his birth or death day.

It is better to cultivate Taqwa in one heart, do righteous deeds according to Quran and sahih hadith and be accountable for every actions. This is the best things to do than to indulge in certain innovation with lots of doubts.

abe parker said...

even if the prophet sawa et al did not celebrate the day he found it important enough to fast on etc, the quran at several places makes the DAY of birth of anbiya BLESSED in the presence of our almighty creator etc, in islam the one overruling rule is that everything is halaal unless expressly made haraam by almighty allah and or prophet sawa or it leads to haraam, those bid'a bid'a bid'a folk should desist from sitting on chairs etc not wear "western" dress not use modern banking not watch tv not use internet not use satellite not drive cars etc, they are more worried about what brings muslims together on the ONLY creation that the cause of our being in allah swt deen but say NOTHING about their salafi wahabi taliban alqaeda boko haram etc mentality that kills more muslims than even the non-muslims do, witness afghanistan iraq pakistan west africa north africa syria, they are so despicable even killing in masajid and destroying masajid churches and shrines, shame and curses on them

Ali said...

If Rasool Allah peace be upon him did not celebrates His(P.B.U.H) then why ProphetP.B.U.H celebate HAQIQA, secrefice Camal and Goats on the date of birth after annoucment of Prophethood?
Why we do Haqiqa ? We need to secrifise goats on the birth of child and inviye guest to serve them a food with secrifised animals. Is it not a thanks giving?

Muhammad Awais Tahir said...

Dear Ali,

Thanks for your comment. That is at the time of one's birth not commemorating the birth the following year. There's a difference.

The argument presented here is whether or not it was a practice of the companions of Prophet to commemorate his day of birth by celebration and whether or not such a celebration is rational. Thanksgiving is an all together different subject.

queen said...

I have the same name as propht muhammad wife name and his mother name

syedibrahim said...

Jazakallah

Fazal Karim said...

Great article. Thought provoking. جزاک اللّہ خیر

Just another non-aalim said...

"Should" is imperative. Can is another matter.
For example, should we use a loudspeaker for adhan & can we.


Making the halal as haram is as bad as vice-versa.
Another matter is regarding the boundaries of what is "Deen" & what is allowable customs to do with hasanah acts.

Just another non-Aalim said...

Where does it say that Thanksgiving is temporally limited?

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