Rabi ul Awal is the month in the lunar Islamic calendar when our beloved Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) was born. An event that is commemorated in different ways by Muslims around the world. One of the most beautiful memories I have from this month is the event of Milad. These are gatherings held to remember and pay respect to the Prophet (P.B.U.H). Sharing some of my favorite Naats and Qawaalis in this post along with memories from the month.
While I’m Muslim, I attended a Christian school in Pakistan, one of the many set up by missionaries during the British rule of the Indian subcontinent. The population of Pakistan is predominantly Muslim with a very small percentage of Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and Parsis. Attending a Christian school in Pakistan gave me a unique opportunity to observe another religion closely and witness how comfortable co-existence can be. We sang Hymns at morning assembly praising the same God. Our school had breaks for Eid, Moharram, Easter and Christmas. During our Islamiyat (Islamic studies) class our Christian friends would head over to their Scripture one.
The highlights of the school calendar were the Christmas Play and the Eid Milad un Nabi event. There was enthusiastic and equal participation in both events by muslim and christian students. During december the school would buzz with excitement for preparations, rehearsals and anticipation for the Christmas play. Before the annual Milad, the corridors would echo with the sounds of naat, as every class prepared to be the best. I was always touched with the way my christian friends respected the decorum of the Milad by covering their heads, participating in the naats and listening respectfully. This only increased our enthusiasm to make the Christmas play a success every year. The school environment was a perfect model to teach respect, tolerance and co-existence.
As the day of the annual school Milad would arrive, the hall would be decorated with fresh flowers and white sheets were spread on the floor to sit on. We would file into the hall with our heads covered in respect and wearing white. The school prefects would be responsible for showering the audience with rose petals and itar and would stand on the sides ready with baskets of fresh petals and long bottles of arqe-gulab. As the Milad would start, there would be enthusiastic recitation of the darood by the audience. One by one groups and individuals would come forward for Naats. These were devotional recitations expressing the love for the beloved Prophet (P.B.U.H). The Milad would end with a group prayer lead usually by the Islamiyat teacher.
These Milads were held not just at school but at home also during the month of Rabi ul awal and on special occasions like a new house, a new baby or before starting the wedding festivities. Special paper flowers would be made sprayed with itar and placed in baskets to be passed around during the Milad. There would also be trays of saunf passed around for the audience to refresh their mouths. I was always amazed with how elderly women would both smile and cry as they listened, frequently expressing their pleasure by loud “Subhan ul Allah, Beshak, Wah Wah, Shabash“.
Whenever I listen to Naats especially in the month of Rabi ul awal, these memories come back to me! Sharing some of my favorite ones with you all. Would you add any more to the list?
Zahe Muqaddar by Qari Waheed Zafar
Faslon To Takkaluf by Qari Waheed Zafar
Shah-e-Madina by Salim Raza
Jo Na Hota Tera Jamal by Sabiha Khanum
Nabi Yun Nabi by Umme Habbiba
Mere Janab Bhi Ho Eik Nigah e Karam
Amna Bibi Ke Gulshan Mein
Qasida Burda Shareef
Tajdar-e-Haram by Atif Aslam
And while these are not Naats but Qawwalis, I just love these expressions of devotion:
Tajdar-e-Haram by Sabri Brothers
Bhar Do Jholi Mere Ya Mohammad by Sabri Brothers
Balaghal Ula Be Kamalehi by Sabri Brothers
Hope you enjoyed this list and the Milad memories. Wishing for peace and blessings around the world. Do let me know your favorite Naats and Qawaalis for the Prophet (P.B.U.H). And I would love to hear your memories from the month of Rabi ul awal.