Rabee` al-Awal is the third month in the Islamic lunar calendar.
The name Rabee` al-Awal means “the first [month] or beginning of spring”, referring to its position in the pre-Islamic Arabian calendar.
The month is very special for Muslims, being the month of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) birthday.
Sunni Muslims believe the date of birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to have been on the twelfth of this month.
The Hijri calendar is a lunar calendar, and its months begin when the first crescent of a new moon is sighted. Since the lunar year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year, Rabee` al-Awal migrates throughout the seasons.
The Astronomical New Moon (conjunction) is on October 28, 2019 (Monday) at 3:38 UT. On that day, the moon may be seen in the Americas with difficulty and in Hawaii and Polynesian Islands easily. On October 29, it may be seen in almost the whole world, according to Moonsighting.com.
Origins of Mawlid Festivity
Historians agree that Prophet Muhammad was most probably born on the 12th of Rabi’ Al-Awwal around the year 570, as marked by the Gregorian calendar.
The history of the celebration goes back to the early days of Islam when some of the ‘Tabi‘un’ – the 1st successor generation of Muslims who followed the Sahaba or the companions of Prophet Muhammad- began to hold sessions in which poetry and songs composed to honor the Prophet were recited and sung to the crowds.
The Ottomans were the 1st Islamic Caliphate to declare Mawlid as an official holiday in 1588. Thus, the festival is recognized as a national holiday in most of the Muslim countries of the world except Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Most denominations of Islam approve of the commemoration of Muhammad’s birthday. However, some denominations disapprove of its commemoration, considering it an unnecessary religious innovation (bid’ah).
Nevertheless, it is by no means commendable to fast on 12 Rabi` Awwal in celebration of the Prophet’s birthday. This is because it is not completely agreed that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was born on that day. Rather, some people say that he (peace and blessings be upon him) was born on 9 Rabi` Awwal or even in Rajab, and there are still different views in this regard.