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Sallallahu 'Alaihi Wa Sallam

An Appreciation by Siddiq Osman Noormuhammad


On the last Thursday of the month of Rabi' al-Awwal every year, Mawlid u'n Nabi Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam is ceremonially recited in five places: in Hadhramaut (Arabia); on the island of Java (in Indonesia); and in the towns of Lamu, Mambrui and Mombasa (in Kenya). The kitab (book) that is recited is Simtud-Durar (A Necklace of Pearls) by Sayyidina al-Habib 'Ali bin Muhammad al-Habshi, may we continue to benefit from his baraka (blessings), Aameen. It is a 15 chapter history of the beloved Prophet Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam in poetic prose. As the muhibbeen (loving disciples) recite it, they sway to and fro as if in spiritual ecstacy, much like tall grass swaying in a light breeze. These majalis (spiritual gatherings) of mawlid are known to be so spiritually surcharged that they draw non-Muslims to Islam in thousands. The seventh chapter deals specifically with the birth of the sweet beloved Prophet Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam, on completion of which the congregation rises in standing ovation, reciting:

Sallallahu 'alaa Muhammad
Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallim

Allah's blessings be upon Muhammad
Allah's blessings and salutations be upon him.

The salaam by Imam al-Habshi Rahmatullahi 'alaih rhymes in the letter "daal". An interesting way this salaam is recited is for the congregation to offer the following dua after the recitation of each verse by the munshid (reciter):

Rabbi Ighfirlee Zunubee
Barkati'l Haadee Muhammad

O my Lord forgive me my sins
With the blessings of my guide Muhammad

The last two verses of the salaam are:

Wa Salaatu'llahi Taghshaa
Ashrafa'r Rusli Muhammad

Wa Salaamun Mustamirrun
Kulla Heenin Yatajaddad

And all-enveloping salaams of Allah be upon
Muhammad, the most noble Messenger of Allah

And continuous salutations that are
Renewed and revived every moment

Imam al-Habshi Naf'anAllahu Bih also composed salaams with the rhyme and rhythm of "Yaa Nabi Salaam Alaika" but its more popular chorus is:

Marhaba Marhaba Yaa Nura 'Ainee Marhaba
Marhaba Marhaba Jadda'l Husaini Marhaba

Welcome! Welcome! O the light of my eyes. Welcome!
Welcome! Welcome! The grandfather of Imam Husain. Welcome!

These salaams are given in Qutufu'r Rabi' Fee Qasaaid Mad'h Taahaa'sh-Shafi' (The Harvest of Rabi' al-Awwal in the Hymns in Praise of Taahaa the Intercessor) compiled by Ustadh as-Sayyid Muhammad Sharif Said al-Beidh of Kenya. Its more popular verses are:

Rabbi Faj'al Mujtama'naa
Ghaayatuh Husnu'l Khitaami
Wa'tinaa Maa Qad Sa'alnaa
Min 'Ataayaaka'l Jisaami

Wa'krimi'l Arwaaha Minnaa
Biliqaa Khairi'l Anaami
Wablighi'l Mukhtaara 'Annaa
Min Salaatin wa Salaami

O Lord! Let the aim of our gathering
Be to achieve a felicitous end
And fulfil all our wishes
From Your immense bounties

And honour the souls of those who belong to us
With a meeting with the best of mankind
May our blessings and salutations
Reach the Chosen One.

Imam al-Habshi Rahmatullahi 'alaih was a kaamil murshid (accomplished spiritual master) who not only composed the mawlid eulogy and the salaams in Simtud-Durar, but he also composed a whole kitab of salawaat (blessings) titled Lataaif i'l 'Arshiyyah (which has already been referred to), as well as about a hundred or more qasaaid (hymns), most of which are in praise of the beloved Prophet Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam. Indeed, he produced all the spiritual ingredients for a Mawlid u'n Nabi celebration intended to gain the love of Allah Sub'hanahu wa Ta'ala and the love of the blessed Prophet Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam.

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