For the last couple of months, we have talked about the demise of the Prophet Muhammad(s) and martyrdom of Imam Husayn(a). They were sad occasions, nevertheless important ones.
This month, however, we will be marking a happy occasion and that is the birth of our beloved Prophet. Different groups of Muslims report different dates for his birth. Sunni Muslims believe the Prophet was born on 12th Rabi ul-awwal but Shi‘a Muslims believe the date to be 17th Rabi ul-awwal.
Many years ago a very wise man decided to take advantage of this difference of opinions and use them as tools to unite Shi‘i and Sunnis. Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, tried to bridge the gap between the 12th and 17th by making the days in between ‘Unity Week’. Ever since this week has been celebrated among Shi‘i and Sunnis as a sign of unity and solidarity. If you ask around in the mosques or Islamic Centres, you will find that there are many programmes organised to celebrate the birth of the Prophet, who was and forever will be the Prophet of Mercy for the community of Muslims and Humanity as a whole.Celebrating the birth of Prophet, even on different days, shows that we, Muslims believe in God, His religion and His Prophet, and there is nothing that can divide us.
Ghazaleh Kamrani, our illustrator, has captured a scene from one
of these celebrations in an Islamic Centre when both Shi‘i and Sunnis
pray in one congregation. (image 1)
In image 2, she has shown the end of the prayer when all worshipers
hold their hands together to pray and praise God. They are reciting
a very important and exciting supplication called ‘Dua Vahdat’.
Let’s read this supplication together.
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
There is no creature or entity worthy of worship except for Allah, the (true) God, the One, and we submit to Him (alone).
There is no creature or entity worthy of worship except for Allah, and we do not worship anyone or anything other than Him, being sincere in our faith (to Him) even though the polytheists detest this!
There is no creature or entity worthy of worship except for Allah, our Lord and the Lord of our fore-fathers.
There is no creature or entity worthy of worship except for Allah, the One, the One, the One, the One who kept His promise and helped His servant and granted esteem to His army.
And who left the other parties alone and abandoned (them). So then to Him belongs the Kingdom and (to Him belongs) the Praise.
He gives life and causes to die, and He causes to die and He gives life.
And He is the Ever-Living and shall never die and in His power is the goodness and He has power over all things.