Rabi' al-awwal (ربيع الأوّل) is the third month in the Islamic calendar. During this month, Muslims around the world celebrate Mawlid - the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Sunni Muslims believe the exact date of birth of Muhammad to have been on the twelfth of this month, whereas Shi'a believe him to have been born on the dawn of the seventeenth day. The name Rabī‘ al-awwal means the first [month]/beginning of spring, referring to its position in the pre-Islamic Arabian calendar before the practice of intercalation was abolished.
The celebration of the Mawlid is done differently depending on the country. In some areas celebrations begin as early as the first of the month and can continue till the end of the month. Muslims generally put coloured lights on roads streets and their homes and put green flags as well to celebrate. In many countries a procession is also conducted on 12th or 17th of Rabiul Awal night and day. On these occasions sweets and drinks are also distributed widely from home to home, and to the general public as well. In some areas Muslims also exchange gifts as well.
The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, and months begin when the first crescent of a new moon is sighted. Since the Islamic lunar calendar year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year, Rabī‘ al-Awwal migrates throughout the seasons. The estimated start and end dates for Rabī‘ al-Awwal are as follows (based on the Umm al-Qura calendar of Saudi Arabia):
|AH||First day (CE / AD)||Last day (CE / AD)|
|1431||15 February 2010||16 March 2010|
|1432||4 February 2011||5 March 2011|
|1433||24 January 2012||22 February 2012|
|1434||13 January 2013||10 February 2013|
|1435||2 January 2014||31 January 2014|
|1436||23 December 2014||20 January 2015|
|1437||12 December 2015||10 January 2016|
|Rabī‘ al-Awwal dates between 2010 and 2015|
- 06 Rabī‘ al-Awwal 1404 AH, death of Hazrat Khwaja Allah Bakhsh Abbasi Naqshbandi
- 08 Rabī‘ al-Awwal, death of Twelver Imām, Hasan al-‘Askarī (see: Chup Tazia)
- 09 Rabī‘ al-Awwal, Eid e shuja
- 12 Rabī‘ al-Awwal, traditional Sunni's observe Mawlid in commemoration of the Prophet Muhammad's birthday
- 17 Rabī‘ al-Awwal, Shi‘ah Muslims celebrate the birthday of Muhammad and the Shī‘ah Imām, Ja‘far al-Sādiq.
- 18 Rabī‘ al-Awwal, birth of Umm Khultum bint Ali
- 26 Rabī‘ al-Awwal, death of Abu Talib ibn Abdul Muttalib
- 26 Rabī‘ al-Awwal 1333 AH, death of Khwaja Sirajuddin Naqshbandi, a Naqshbandi Sufi shaykh
- The Hijra (migration) took place in this month
- Eid-e-Zahra (a.k.a. Eid e shuja), a celebration of Shi‘ah Muslims
- Marriage of Muhammad to Khadijah bint Khuwaylid
- Building of the Quba Mosque (1st mosque in Islam)