Mawlid 2021

Today’s blog is from Afzal Shah, Deputy Chief Executive of Wellspring Settlement in Barton Hill. Afzal was previously Cabinet Member for Climate, Ecology, and Inclusive Growth
and Labour Councillor for Easton ward.

The 12th day of Rabi`Al-Awaal, which is the third month of the Islamic lunar calendar, known as Mawlid, is a day celebrated by Muslims the world over, marking the birth of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him). As a Muslim, I believe the Prophet was sent a mercy to humanity, and even as a young man was known as, “Al Amin”, or “The Trustworthy”.  

Born in the city of Makkah, in what is now Saudi Arabia, in 570AD, in the backdrop of an austere society, he promoted social justice, equality, charity, and women’s rights. After the Holy Qur’an (“the book that must often be recited”), the Hadith (based on his sayings), and Sunnah (his way of life), are the key Islamic text, reminding us all that his, was a life immersed in assertively promoting social justice. He openly called out racism in Arabian society, stating, “There is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, or of an Arab over a non-Arab, and no superiority of a white person, over a black person, or a black person over a white person, except on the basis of piety”. These words continue to have immense significance, especially in the context of the current civil rights movement.

In the Prophet’s last Sermon, made in front of the largest audience he ever had, he also spoke about social justice. Addressing humanity, “O people!” before sharing his message – a sign that his message really needed every human being to understand, he spoke about the rights of children, particularly orphan’s, the rights of women, economic inequality, and the responsibilities of the state. 

It is heart warming to have witnessed the charitable actions of our communities in Bristol, and in particular how Bristol’s Muslim community rallied for the welfare of humanity during the pandemic. We are reminded of the saying of the  Prophet, “A person’s true wealth is the good he does in this world”. Befitting then, how numerous individuals and groups, from every corner of our great city, cooked, processed, and delivered food, and other essentials for the most needy and vulnerable.

Note: Tomorrow, Saturday 23 October, the Children’s Procession commemorating the birth of the Prophet Muhammad will take place between Eastville Park and the left-hand side of Fishponds Road from 11:30 to 13:30. There will be likely be some minor traffic delays.