Study Sirah this month as a tribute to Muhammad (saw)

Study Sirah this month as a tribute to Muhammad (saw)

The Muslim population is approaching the two-billion mark that makes up almost 25% of the total world population. Despite such a huge number, the Muslim populace is greatly beset with poverty and illiteracy. More than 40% of the Muslim population doesn’t know how to read and write! The rest who are educated disappoint in other ways. They have not developed the habit of book reading. They either read specific study material that fetches them a job or do away with the reading after attaining a certain educational degree. While the people of other faiths set goals of reading and self-improvement every year, the Muslims, with few exceptions, cut a sorry figure.
In the sphere of studying religious literature, Muslims are even more disappointing. The first verses of the Qur’an revealed to Prophet Muhammad (saw) contained the imperative verb ‘Iqra’ (‘Read’) twice. The command of Allah in such verses points to the centrality of reading in knowing and understanding the Qur’an. Reading is emphasised as the key to knowledge and the understanding of God and His creation. It is not a surprise that the Qur’an is derived from the same root that refers to read, repeat, and/or recite. Consequently, the act of reading becomes an act of worship. Allah has referred to the Qur’an as Al-Kitab (The Book). The Qur’an is the source and primary means of preservation of Ilm (knowledge), but it has to be accessed and engaged with through the act of reading. Muslims these days can hardly be seen reading the Qur’an with attention and care. It has been well observed that Muslims think of the Qur’an only on the birth or the death of a person; the life spent in between mostly remains ignorant. Even those who have a habit of reciting the Qur’an hardly read the verses with translation (Tarjuma) and exegesis (Tafsir). The same applies to the Sirah (The record about the life, teachings, and character of the Prophet). The Muslims claim to love the Prophet the most but few try to know about the life, qualities, and character of the Prophet through authentic Sirah literature. They are few and far between who have read the authentic Sirah. Sometimes it really hurts when many among us could be seen sharing a quote on social media platforms attributing it to the Prophet though in reality that never existed in the record.
When it is established that Prophethood (Nabuwah) has culminated with Muhammad (saw), how important it becomes to know about him! We could know better about Muhammad only when we begin to read his Sirah. I suggest that all the events, seminars, conferences, congregations that may be held in the honour of the Prophet during this month of Rabi-ul-Awwal, they be graced with the distribution of Sirah literature among the participants and attendants. That would go a long way in making the occasion meaningful. Or some quiz competitions may be organised based on any of the authentic Sirah books and later the participants not only be rewarded but given a chance to share their thoughts on the life of Muhammad (saw) and the implications of Sirah for the development of an upright society. Let all our events held this Rabi-ul-Awwal assume the nature of a workshop aimed at training our youth in the proper understanding and comprehension of Sirat-i-Rasul (saw). That would be a real tribute to Muhammad (saw) on his blessed birthday.
—ashrafamin121@mail.com

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