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Celebrating the Prophet's (peace be upon him) birthday on an incorrect date
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 10 - 02 - 2012

Traditionally, the twelfth of Rabi Al-Awwal is considered to be the birth date of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). And on this day deviated groups indulge together in this innovation with all pomp.
However, from a historical perspective this seems to be an incorrect day and the scholars of Islam have differed as to the birth date of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).
The Sirah of Ibn Ishaq mentions that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was born in the year of the elephant that is when the army of Abraha comprised of elephants attacked the Kab'ah, and were then incurred with Allah's anger.
Imam Suhaili said, “Elephants came to Makkah in the month of Muharram and the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was born 50 days after this event.” This also seems to be the opinion of the majority of the scholars according to Imam Suhaili and Muhammad Ibn Ishaq.
The famous historian Hafiz Ibn Katheer wrote in his well-known book of history, Al-Bidayah Wan-Nihayah that the majority of the people of knowledge believe that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was born in the month of Rabi Al-Awwal.
However there are varying statements pertaining to the exact date, that is whether it was in the beginning of the month, at the end or during the middle. Some believe it is second of Rabi Al-Awwal, some say its eighth Rabi Al-Awwal, some say its tenth, some seventeenth, some eighteenth, and some have even said 21 of Rabi Al-Awwal.
The dates that have precedence are the eighth of Rabi Al-Awwal and the twelfth of Rabi Al-Awwal. Ibn Katheer himself has given precedence to the eighth Rabi Al-Awwal. Imam Humaidi has transmitted from Imam Ibn Hazm and many other scholars have supported this date.
Imam Tabari and Ibn Khaldoon have favored twelfth of Rabi Al-Awwal. Imam Ibn Al-Jawzee has favored the opinion that the Messenger of Allah's (peace be upon him) date of birth was on the tenth of Rabi Al-Awwal in his book ‘Al-Wafaa Bi-Ahwaal Al-Mustafaa'.
In recent years two well-known biographers, Allamah Qadhi Suleiman Mansoorpoori in his Rehmatul Lil-A'alameen and Allamah Shibli in his Siratun-Nabi, both opined the date of the birth of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was the ninth Rabi Al-Awwal corresponding to April, 20 and 571 CE. The same date has been endorsed as correct by Muhammad Tala'at in ‘Tarikh Duwal Al-Arab.' __


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