For many Muslims, the Hijri Islamic calendar is more than identifying days and months but also invites us to connect with the significance of the months and meaningful traditions that shape our cherished faith. Amidst the significant months in the calendar, the month of Rabi Al-Thani radiates with its deep and rich history. This month was given this name around 412 AD during the reign of Kilab bin Murra, the fifth grandfather of the Messenger.
Second Spring reflects a season of new beginnigs and revival.
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Described as the “Second Spring,” it reflects a season that brings revival and fresh beginnings. However, beyond its symbolic meaning, Rabi Al-Thani is marked by key historical events from the days of Prophet ﷺ, including eminent personalities such as Islamic scholars who have left unforgettable imprints in the hearts of Muslims. From defining moments under the Prophet’s ﷺ leadership to towering figures like Habib Ali Al-Habsyi, this month serves as a gateway to Islam’s illustrious heritage.
Celebrating Islamic Saints and Scholars
Muslims attend a knowledge class led by a scholar in modern day.
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Rabi Al-Thani is a time of remembrance, where the life journeys of esteemed Islamic figures are celebrated. The illustrious Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jailani Al-Qadri, who became a beacon of knowledge from the 12th century, is central to this reverence. His birth and eventual passing, observed this month, lend it a unique significance. For many believers, Rabi Al-Thani is like a spiritual library, each narrating tales of individuals whose journeys have added depth and wisdom to our Islamic faith for our ummah.
Habib Ali Al-Habsyi: A Pillar of Inspiration
Habib Ali Al-Habsyi moved to Say’un in Hadramaut where he founded a school attracting students from diverse regions.
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Within this rich narrative, Habib Ali Al-Habsyi’s story shines brightly. Born in the picturesque valleys of Yemen’s Hadhramaut in 1843 and he is remembered for his devout commitment to Islam and the miracles attributed to him. He started his religious pursuits in Qasam, where he was born, before moving to Say’un. In his youth, he journeyed to Makkah, studying under the guidance of his father and other eminent scholars. Habib Ali’s devotion and teachings, especially his connection to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, were insightful. He founded a Ribat (school) in Say’un, attracting students from diverse regions. He was also widely recognized for his mawlid gatherings, particularly for introducing “Simt al-Durur,” his poetic masterpiece celebrating the Prophet ﷺ. Habib Ali’s extensive poetic contributions and prayers reflect his deep spiritual connection. He passed away in 1915, leaving behind a rich legacy that continues to inspire and is celebrated annually in Hadramaut and other parts of the Muslim world. While his passing left an irreplaceable void, it also inspired a resurgence of dedication among his disciples, driving them to continue and uphold his teachings.
The Tradition of Haul Habib Noh
The concept of ‘Haul’ in the Islamic tradition is a touching tribute commemorating the passing anniversaries of respected figures. The Haul Habib Noh, deeply woven into the traditions of Singapore and Indonesia, brings together believers at his mausoleum or maqam at Haji Mohd Salleh Mosque@Habib Noh at Palmer Road, or even in other mosques locally, every Rabi Al-Thani. In Singapore, these gatherings are moments of reflection, filled with recitations and remembrances, culminating in celebrations that honor Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ life.
However, Singapore isn’t the sole keeper of this tradition. In Indonesia, a similar sentiment resonates among our ummah there, with pilgrims visiting spiritual sanctuaries, including those linked to Habib Noh, in their quest for blessings and enlightenment.
Commemoration Beyond Borders
The teachings of Habib Ali Al-Habsyi and the essence of the Haul tradition, though rooted in Southeast Asia, have resonated far and wide. This ripple effect has connected believers from diverse geographies, weaving them into a cohesive reverence, unity, and shared spiritual lineage. Thus, Rabi Al-Thani is not merely a chapter in the Hijri calendar; it symbolizes Islam’s lasting legacies and spiritual foundations.
Historical Milestones from the Prophet’s ﷺ Era
Rabi Al Thani represented several pivotal events during the Prophet’s time (Image Credit: Shutterstock)
Looking back on the historical milestones of Rabi Al Thani, it serves as a backdrop for several pivotal events during the Prophet’s ﷺ time and lessons we can learn from them. They include:
- Battle of Bahran: Upon receiving intelligence of the Sulaym tribe’s gathering, the Prophet ﷺ led 300 men to Bahran during the month’s early years. The tribe, however, dispersed upon learning of his advance. The Battle of Bahran reminds us on the importance of acting on intelligence promptly. While being well-prepared and ready to respond is crucial, it is also important to verify the credibility of the intelligence. In this case, despite the readiness to engage, the Sulaym tribe dispersed, emphasizing the unpredictability of situations.
- Expedition of Zaid bin Haritha to Jamum: Due to the Bani Salim tribe’s known hostility, an expedition was organized to al-Jumum during the sixth Hijrah year. This mission bore fruit in terms of interactions, captures, and the subsequent conversion of the Sulaym tribe to Islam. This incident serves as a testament to the value of engaging even hostile parties. While confrontation is sometimes inevitable, the eventual conversion of the Sulaym tribe to Islam signifies the triumph of patience, dialogue, and diplomacy over aggression.
- Detachment of Abu Ubaidah Ibn Al-Jarrah: To retaliate against the loss of nine companions, Abu Ubaidah was commissioned to lead a force against the Banu Tha’labah, resulting in confrontations, conversions, and significant success. This underlines the importance of addressing wrongdoings and seeking justice, even when the odds might be challenging. The mission’s success illustrates that commitment to justice and strategic planning can lead to favorable outcomes.
- Expedition of Ali Bin Abi Talib: Aimed at uprooting idolatry, Ali ibn Abi Talib led a successful campaign to dismantle the idol, fils, during the ninth Hijrah year. This victory also demonstrates the unwavering commitment to faith and principles. Ali’s campaign against idolatry was not merely a physical act but symbolized the essence of monotheistic Islam, emphasizing the importance of always upholding one’s beliefs and values.
As the “Second Spring” of the Hijri calendar, Rabi Al-Thani is more than just a period of renewal; it’s a vibrant testament to Islam’s deep-rooted heritage. As we approach the anniversary of Habib Noh Al-Habsyi’s passing, this month becomes a time for reflection and celebration. Let’s gather in reverence and gratitude, cherishing the teachings, sacrifices, and blessings bestowed upon our scholars to our Muslim ummah. Join us as we commemorate Habib’s Ali’s passing and haul on 11 November at Masjid Sultan. May Allah SWT send his blessings to all our Islamic saints and scholars and all of us at this coming event. Insya Allah.