By Zeeshan Rasool Khan
We are in blessed month of Rabi-ul-Awwal , which according to many Islamic historians, is the birth month of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the last messenger of Allah, the leader of the ummah, in particular, and an ideal for humans, in general, the teacher and preacher of love, peace and harmony, torchbearer of human and even animal rights and the person whose comparison is impossible to be made. Even non-Muslims acknowledge Prophet Muhammad (SAW) as a unique, matchless personality that cosmos produced. Michael H. Hart’s, in his master piece, ‘The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History’, described Prophet Muhammad (SAW) as the most influential person in history. Hart asserted that the Holy Messenger(SAW) was “supremely successful” in both the religious and the worldly realms.
In this month, Muslims round the globe express their love towards the Prophet (SAW); processions are taken with hymns on lips and conferences are organized to highlight his magnificence. However, having the right to have different opinions which is a form of blessing when it is between ummah, some religious ideologues do not celebrate the advent of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and have their own point of view. Having said this, whether to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet (SAW) or not is not the question to mull over but what is of significance is the importance it holds and what message it conveys .
The month of Rabi-ul-Awwal is in the nature of a reminder to Muslims to imbibe all those principles that the Prophet SAW) taught. It is reminder of what the Messenger of Allah (SAW) propagated and stressed upon. It asks a Muslim if he or she is on the track shown by the Prophet (SAW). It is a caution to Muslims to hold on to their roots and become the practical form of what Quran and the beloved Muhammad (SAW) imparted. It refreshes memories of the pre-Islamic era, when humans had no idea about their purpose of birth, humanity and social life. All of which were taught by Allah’s Apostle.
That we have lost the track is inarguable. We, repeatedly, escape from the truth that we ought to adopt. Materialism has occupied us and moral bankruptcy is on the rise. We all are sailing in same boats and results are discernable. However, we have no right to judge each other; we can’t question each other’s belief .No one has the prerogative to declare other as infidel. However, at the same time, we cannot turn a blind eye to the major challenges and evils that have become a trend in society- all contradictory to the essence of the Prophet’s(SAW) message. There are many such issues, however, the one which anguishes most is dehumanized approach towards female gender.
Today almost every nation claims to be standard-bearer of female rights but history is testimony the Prophet (SAW) is the first in the universe who not only defended but also espoused rights of women. In pre- Islamic era, the women were not more than serfs and experienced every sort of discrimination. People even practiced female infanticide by burying them female children the alive. After advent of the Prophet (SAW),a prohibition was enforced on this despicable practice. The Prophet (SAW) denounced the practice of female infanticide, safeguarding the reputation and rights of women. The teacher of humankind(SAW) preached the Holy Qur’an which condemns the practice like any other murder. It says in Surah al-Takweer (81:8-9): ‘When the female (infant) buried alive is questioned for what crime she was killed?” Indicating that the parents, who buried their daughters alive, would be so contemptible that they would not be asked: Why did you kill the innocent infant? But disregarding them, the innocent girl will be asked: For what crime were you slain? Likewise, in order to wipeout all traces of female infanticide in the Muslim community Prophet (SAW) said: ‘He, who brought up two girls properly till they grow up, he and I would come (together) (very closely) on the Day of Resurrection, and he interlaced his fingers (for explaining the point of nearness between him and that person)’(Sahih Muslim). The status of women was raised to the position where even “paradise lies under her feet” (Ibn-e-majah and Nissae). Furthermore, the Prophetic message is not meant for Muslims only but all the people irrespective of religion, caste and creed, for the Prophet(SAW) is a blessing for the entire universe.
But , unfortunately in present times, we are crushing the boundaries of shame by our inhuman approach. Society has been engulfed by the barbaric practice called female foeticide. In many places globe ,this insensate practice is on the rise. The United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) claims at least 117 million girls around the world demographically go missing due to sex selective abortions, with India witnessing highest female infanticide. The female child population in age group of 0-6years declined from 78.83 million in 2001 to 75.84 million in 2011.It has been found that during the period of 1991-2011, the child sex ratio (0-6yrs) declined from 945-914. According to the Population Research Institute, lacs of sex-selective abortions had taken place in India between 2000 and 2014 taking the daily average of sex-selective abortion to thousands .Disappointingly, this practice is not restricted to non-Muslims (perhaps for whom it is not religiously restricted) but Muslims who claim tall of being followers of the Prophet (SAW) have also made a name in this reprehensible practice. Reports at Edhi Foundation show more than 1,200 new borns were killed and dumped in Pakistan in the year 2011.It further said the number of dead bodies its ambulances found up has increased by almost by 20% each year since 2010. In terms of J &K, the region is not an exception. According to reports, in 1981, the child sex ratio in Jammu and Kashmir was better off with 963.It gradually dropped to 941females in 2001, dipping further to 862 females in 2011.Though the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPDT) Act 1994 is in place to deal with this problem but due to weak law enforcement it has failed to curb this act. First, for humans , there should not have been need of such laws. We must have realized the importance of girl child but, unfortunately after having the need of law and subsequently its non-implementation, it seems impossible to stem this loathsome exercise. There is, however, a solution which lies in getting back to the track shown by THE Prophet of Islam (SAW), particularly for Muslims. Though , for others, female foeticide may not be religiously evil but Muslims need to take lead (as ummah) of the defender of women rights, in refraining from practicing the odious practice of female foeticide and thereby serve as a beacon for all. Through this, we can present the real face of Islam and debunk stereotypes portrayed by the detractors of Islam. So, let’s pledge , during this Rabi- al- Awwal, to be faithful to our Leader(SAW) and act upon his teachings in life. If we do so individually, its impact would extend to our family, in neighborhood, its effect can be visible, then in community and finally entire society will certainly witness change.
The author serves in the Department of Education. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org