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We are in blessed month of Rabi-ul-awal which according to many Islamic historians is birth month of prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the last messenger of Allah, the leader of ummah in particular and ideal for humans in general, the teacher and preacher of love, peace and harmony, torchbearer of human and even animal rights and the person whose comparison is impossible to be made. Even non-Muslims acknowledge Muhammad (PBUH) as a matchless personality that cosmos produced. Michael H. Hart’s in his masterpiece ‘The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History’, described Muhammad (PBUH) as the most influential person in history. Hart asserted that Muhammad was “supremely successful” in both the religious and secular realms.

In this month, Muslims around the globe express their love towards Prophet (PBUH), processions are taken with hymns on lips and Conferences are organized to highlight his magnificence. However, right to have a different opinion is the one that constitutes a form of blessings when it is between ummah. Some religious ideologies don’t celebrate the advent of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and have their own point of view. .Genuinely, whether to celebrate the birthday of Prophet (PBUH) or not is not the question to chew over but what importance it holds and what message it conveys must be a concern for all of us.

The month of Rabi-ul-Awal comes to remind the Muslims all those principles that prophet (PBUH) taught. It is a reminder of what Messenger of Allah (PBUH) propagated and stressed upon. It asks a Muslim if he is on the track shown by Prophet (PBUH). It comes to caution a Muslim to hold on to his roots and become the practical form of what Quran and beloved Muhammad (PBUH) imparted. It refreshes memories of the post-Islamic era when humans had no idea about their purpose of birth, humanity and social life. All of which were taught by Allah’s Apostle.

We have lost the track; there is no denial of this fact. We, again and again, escape from the truth that we ought to adopt. Materialism has occupied us and moral bankruptcy is on rise. We all are sailing in same boat and results are discernable.However, we have no right to judge each other; we can’t question each other’s belief.No one has the prerogative to declare other as an infidel. However, at the same time, we cannot turn blind eye to the major challenges and evils that have become a fashion in the society, contradictory to the essence of Prophet’s message. There are many such issues, however; the one which anguishes most is the dehumanized approach towards the female gender.

Today almost every nation claims to be a standard-bearer of female rights but history is testimony the Prophet (PBUH) is first in the universe defending rights of women. In pre- Islamic era the women was not more than a serf and experienced every sort of discrimination. Taking them as a mark of contempt people even practiced female infanticide by burying them alive. After the advent of Prophet (PBUH), prohibition was enforced on this despicable practice. Prophet (PBUH) denounced the practice of female infanticide, safeguarding the repute and rights of women. The teacher of humankind preached Holy Qur’an: which condemns it like any other murder. It says in Surah al-Takweer (81:8-9): ‘When the female (infant) buried alive is questioned for what crime she was killed?” Indicating that the parents, who buried their daughters alive, would be so contemptible that they would not be asked: Why did you kill the innocent infant? But disregarding them the innocent girl will be asked: For what crime were you slain? .Likewise In order to wipe out all traces of female infanticide in Muslim community Prophet (PBUH) said‘He, who brought up two girls properly till they grow up, he and I would come (together) (very closely) on the Day of Resurrection, and he interlaced his fingers (for explaining the point of nearness between him and that person)’(Sahih Muslim). The status of women was raised to the position where even “paradise lies under her feet” (Ibn-e-majah and Nissaie). Furthermore, the Prophetic message is not meant for Muslims only but all the people irrespective of religion, caste and creed, for the Prophet is a blessing for the entire universe.

But sorrily, presently we are crushing boundaries of shame by our inhuman approach. People of post-Islamic era used to bury female infants after their birth but we do not let them born. Yes, the society has been engulfed by the barbaric practice called female foeticide. All around the globe this insensate practice is on rise. United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) claims at least 117 million girls around the world demographically go missing due to sex-selective abortions with India witnessing highest female infanticide. The female child population in age group of 0-6years declined from 78.83 million in 2001 to 75.84 million in 2011.It has been found that during the period of  1991-2011 the child sex ratio (0-6yrs) declined from 945-914. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has acknowledged that illegal abortions still outnumber legal abortions and thousands of women die every year due to complications resulting from unsafe abortions. According to the Population Research Institute, lacs of sex-selective abortions had taken place in India between 2000 and 2014 taking the daily average of sex-selective abortion to thousands.Disappointingly, this practice is not restricted to non-Muslims (perhaps for whom it is not religiously restricted) but Muslims who claim tall of being followers of Prophet (PBUH) has also made a name in this reprehensible practice. Reports at Edhi foundation shows more than 1,200 new born were killed and dumped in Pakistan in year 2011.It further said the number of dead bodies its ambulances pick up has increased by almost by 20% each year since 2010.Panicking, J&K is not the exception in this case. According to reports, in 1981 child sex ratio in Jammu and Kashmir was better off with 963.It gradually dropped to 941females in 2001, dipping further to 862 females in 2011.Though Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPDT) Act 1994 is in place to deal with this problem but due to weak law enforcement, it has failed to curb this act. Firstly for humans, there shouldn’t have been need of such laws. We must have realized the importance of girl child but unfortunately, after having need of law and subsequently its non-implementation, it seems impossible to bridle this loathful exercise. There is, however, a solution which lies in getting back to track shown by Prophet of Islam (PBUH), particularly for Muslims. Though for others female feticide may not be religiously evil but Muslims need to take lead as ummah of defender of women rights, in refraining from practicing it and must serve as a beacon light for all. By this, we can present real face of Islam that is being portrayed as threatening to mankind and this will be the best tribute to Prophet (PBUH) and in true senses actual celebration of his birthday.

So, let’s pledge to be faithful to our Leader and act upon his teachings in life.If we do so individually, its impact would extend to our family, in neighborhood its effect can be visible then in the community and finally entire society will certainly observe a change.

Zeeshan Rasool Khan is working in the department of Education

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