The Prophet Muhammad`s (PBUH) Blessed Birth
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the Final and the Master of Prophets, was born in Makkah al-Mukarramah at dawn on Monday, 50 or 55 days after the event of [the people of the] Elephants. The accepted view is that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was born in the month of Rabi` al-Awwal.
Furthermore, there is a difference of opinion in regards to the exact date of his blessed birth. Though there are several opinions expressed including 1st, 2nd , 3rd , 10th , 17th , 22nd and the famous view amongst the people of 12th, the most preferred opinion according to many is that he was born on the 8th or the 9th of Rabi` al-Awwal, corresponding to 20th or 22nd of April, 571 A.D.
There were various significant occurrences which accompanied his birth:
• The Prophet Muhammad`s (PBUH) mother, Aminah, and grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, both saw pious dreams, before his birth, denoting the sanctity and brilliance of this blessed child.
• While the Prophet (PBUH) was in the womb, “there was a light that issued out of the pudendum [of his mother] and lit the palaces of Sham”;
• The Prophet`s (PBUH) mother did not experience the travails of pregnancy in any way;
• At his blessed birth, “the whole house lit up … [and] the stars stooped so low down that [it was thought] they would come crashing down [on to those in the house];”
• When the Prophet (PBUH) was born, he did not resemble a newly born or have any dirt on his blessed body; rather, he was exceptionally clean and pure. His astonished grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, remarked, “Verily, this child is bound to grow into a man of high status;”
• A Jewish businessman, residing in Makkah, came to Quraish and insisted that they investigate if any child was born that night. He explained that the last Prophet “was born tonight. This child would have a symbol (seal) of Prophethood between his shoulders.” This man eventually saw the Prophet and fell down unconsciousness; after regaining consciousness, he foretold the account of the Prophet (PBUH);
• He was born circumcised. However, some scholars believe that he was circumcised by his grandfather on his seventh day as was of the Arabian custom. It may well be that he was born circumcised and the it was customarily perfected again on the seventh day;
• 14 galleries of Chosroes` palace collapsed and crumbled;
• The Magians` sacred fire in the Persian fire-temple that was continually blazing for over a thousand years unexpectedly died down;
• Adding to Chosroes` agony, a man from amongst his ministers relayed his dream, “… powerfully built camels are dragging some Arabian horses … They then cross over the Tigris River and spread out to all the different lands.” The interpretation was sought from Abdul Masih Gassani who expressed his lack of knowledge and enquired from his well-versed maternal uncle, Satih, in Sham. These were all signs of the blessed birth of the last Prophet and the imminent elapse of fourteen kingdoms in Persia followed by Arab dominance. Hence, all the fourteen kingdoms were reduced to nothing by the time Uthman (RA) became the Caliph.
• Lake Sawa mysteriously dried up.
The Prophet`s (PBUH) mother immediately informed his grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, of the auspicious birth. He came excited, carried him to the Ka`bah and praised and thanked Allah. On the seventh day of his birth, Abdul Muttalib slaughtered some animals (performed the aqiqah) and invited the Quraish to a meal. He then named him Muhammad, a name not them common amongst the Arabs.
Naming the Prophet (PBUH)
In the interpretation of his dream, Abdul Muttalib was told, “a boy will be born from amongst your descendants who will be followed devotedly by people from the west and the east. His praises will be sung by the beings in the skies as well as the earth.” Abdul Muttalib thus named him Muhammad, and explained, “I want Allah in the sky and His creation on earth to praise him.”
The Prophet (PBUH) thus became known as Muhammad and even Ahmad (both of which are found in the Qur`an) whose origin is from the root letters h-m-d (to praise).
The word Ahmad means, `the one who praises and glorifies the most, ` as there was no-one who praised, glorified and thanked Allah more than he did. The word Ahmad could also mean, `the most praiseworthy person, ` since in the entire creation there is nobody who is and will ever be more praiseworthy than him.
The word Muhammad means, “a person whose exemplary attributes, practical virtues, indisputable achievements and outstanding character is repeatedly praised and glorified.” It could also mean, “a person who possesses perfectly faultless character and commendable attributes.”
The name Ahmad was unique to the Prophet and was not held by anyone before him. As for the name Muhammad, a little before the birth of the Prophet it had become known that a Prophet by this name will be born and thus, in the hope of prophethood, only six individuals were ever called Muhammad (prior to the Prophet PBUH).