Transcript of the speech prepared by Paul Salahuddin Armstrong, for the Grand Mawlid at Bingley Hall, 18. December 2016.


As salam wa alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuh
(Peace be with you, and Allah’s Mercy and Blessings)

Bismillah al Rahman al Raheem
(In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, most Kind)

As salatu wa salam alaika ya Rasul Allah
wa alaika wa sahabika ya Habib Allah
As salatu wa salam alaika ya Rasul Allah
wa alaika wa sahabika ya Nabi Allah
As salatu wa salam alaika ya Rasul Allah
wa alaika wa sahabika ya Rahmatul-Lil-Alamein

(salutations on the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him)

In the Quran, Allah (SWT) refers to his Beloved, the Chosen One, as the Mercy To All The Worlds (Rahmatul-Lil Alamein) emphasising the loving, compassionate character of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

During this holy month, we celebrate the life of the Holy Prophet (SAW) through events such as this blessed gathering, Mawlid marches (juloos), singing beautiful naats and nasheeds, and reading the Seerah (biography) of the Holy Prophet (SAW). All of which are good and blessed things to do, but if we forget the divinely ordained message that Allah (SWT) gave to his Chosen One; that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) along with his blessed family and companions (sahabah), sacrificed so much for, in order to bring this precious guidance to us today, how are we honouring the Beloved of Allah (SAW)?

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) brought a message of love and kindness to all, to honour every son and daughter of Adam (AS). Instead, what do we see today, reported everyday in the media; Muslim media as well as the mainstream media, and also on the web… Muslims today are far to quick to call each other ‘kafir’ because of the group to which they belong, or the way they approach Islam, this is so far from the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the Beloved of Allah, who taught us in his last sermon to, “Harm no one, that no one harms you.”

In the Holy Quran, Allah (SWT) states in Surah Al Anbiya (21), ayah 92, “Verily, this people of yours is a single people, and I am your Lord and Cherisher.” i.e. We are One Human Family – whatever religion we follow, or nation we come from, we are all members of the same Human Family!

The next ayah (93), points out that many people have forgotten this and have broke their relations with one another. But Allah (SWT) ends the ayah by reminding us, “… but they will all return to Us.” In other words, we must all return to Allah and will have to explain ourselves before the Almighty, if we haven’t been treating people well in our lives.

“Your Lord knows best what is in your hearts; if you do good deeds, He is Most Forgiving to those who turn to Him again and again (in true repentance) and honour the rights of their relatives, and those in need, and the traveller. But do not waste your wealth senselessly.” (Quran: Al Isra 17:25-6)

The blessings of Allah come to those who remember to take care of their families, communities, and those in need, like the work that Shaykh Muhammad Naqeeb-ur-Rehman has dedicated his life to; feeding those in need, educating those who cannot afford an education, and especially girls and women; who all too often are forgotten and denied their rights.

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW), honoured women and raised their station in society. He married a successful businesswoman, Lady Khadijah (RA) and later in his life married Lady Ayesha (RA), who became one of the first scholars of Islam, and even a political leader. In the early years of Islam there were so many prominently women held in high esteem; immensely respected by the early Muslims; they knew well, as Malcolm X said in more recent times that, “If you educate a man, you educate one person. When you educate a woman, you educate and liberate an entire generation.”

Women are half the community, we absolutely must make provision for them in our mosques and in all aspects of our communities; the Holy Prophet (SAW) wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. The education of girls undertaken by Eidgah Sharif in Pakistan is an excellent start in this direction, but we mustn’t stop there; so much more is still to be done, in order to create the kind of Muslim community the Prophet (SAW) would want us to bring about.

The first part of being Muslim is being a decent Human Being; someone who other people, whether Muslim or otherwise, feel comfortable with. The real Muslim is someone who people can trust and feel safe around, knowing they will not be robbed or harmed in any way, as indeed the Holy Prophet (SAW) himself said.

We all to often forget this and forget ourselves, this is something we must watch in in our day to day lives. We honour the Holy Prophet (SAW) when we treat people well, are honest in our dealings, and don’t over criticise people (or worse), because of the Muslim group they belong to, or if of another religion, the religious group they belong to, or for having no religious beliefs.

The Holy Prophet (SAW) respected all people, and didn’t treat people badly because they followed a different religion. Even the pagans (mushrikeen) who didn’t attack the Muslims were treated with kindness and compassion; while the Holy Prophet’s relations with Jews and Christians were even better. Today, Muslims don’t even get on with each other, never mind with people of other faiths, or none.

We must respect all people if we are to honour the memory of the Chosen One, the Messenger of Allah (SAW), something we must remember and remind ourselves each and every day of our lives; as we, each and every one of us Muslims, are ambassadors for Islam, ambassadors of the Messenger of Allah, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

My salams and blessings to you all on this most auspicious Eid al Mawlid an Nabi.

(AS) = alayhi as salam; peace be upon him

(RA) = radhi Allahu anha; may Allah be pleased with her

(SAW) = salla llahu alayhi wa sallam; peace and blessing be upon him

(SWT) = subhanahu wa ta’ala; the Most Glorified and Exalted

kafir = often translated as ‘disbeliever’, but its true meaning is more along the lines of a ‘rejecter of manifest truth’.

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