Dates of the blessed birth and demise of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him)

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What is the date of birth and the date of demise of our beloved Prophet Muḥam­mad ﷺ?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

This issue has been addressed in my Ara­bic arti­cle Matā Wul­i­da ar-Rasūl Ṣal­lāl­lāhu ʿAlay­hi Wa Sal­lam Wa Matā Tuwuf­fiya.1 A sum­ma­ry is out­lined below.

Blessed birth of the Prophet ﷺ

Accord­ing to the major­i­ty of schol­ars, the Prophet ﷺ was born in Rabīʿ al-Awwal in the Year of the Ele­phant, which cor­re­sponds to 571 CE. This was 53 years before the migra­tion of the Prophet ﷺ to the blessed city of Madī­nah. There is gen­er­al agree­ment among schol­ars that the Prophet ﷺ was born on Mon­day, as affirmed by a Prophet­ic state­ment trans­mit­ted in Ṣaḥīḥ Mus­lim (1162). How­ev­er, there is a dif­fer­ence of opin­ion regard­ing the pre­cise date of birth. The fol­low­ing are some of the views:

  1. The pre­cise date of birth is unknown.
  2. The blessed birth occurred on a Mon­day in Rabīʿ al-Awwal and the date is unknown.
  3. 1st Rabīʿ al-Awwal – This view is attrib­ut­ed to ʿAbd Allah ibn ʿAb­bās (d. 68/687–8) (May Allah be pleased with him).
  4. 2nd Rabīʿ al-Awwal – This is the view of Imam Abū Maʿshar Najīḥ ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān (d. 170/787) and Ḥāfiẓ ʿAbd al-Ghanī al-Maqdisī al-Ḥan­balī (d. 600/1203). Ḥāfiẓ Mughalṭāya al-Ḥanafī (d. 762/1361) is inclined towards this.
  5. 3rd Rabīʿ al-Awwal.
  6. 8th Rabīʿ al-Awwal – This is the view of most experts includ­ing Imam Muḥam­mad ibn Jubayr ibn Muṭʿim (d. cir­ca 100/719), Ḥāfiẓ Muḥam­mad ibn Mūsā al-Khuwārizmī al-Ḥanafī (d. 403/1012), Imam Ibn Ḥazm (d. 456/1064), Ḥāfiẓ Abū al-Khaṭṭāb ibn Diḥyah (d. 633/1235), Shaykh Idrīs Kand­hel­wī (d. 1394/1974) and Mufti Rashīd Aḥmad Ludyān­wī (d. 1422/2002). This view is also attrib­ut­ed to ʿAbd Allah ibn ʿAb­bās (d. 68/687–8) (May Allah be pleased with him).
  7. 9th Rabīʿ al-Awwal – This is the view of the famous Mus­lim astronomer Maḥmūd Pashā (d. 1302/1885) who con­duct­ed detailed research on this sub­ject and con­clud­ed that the Prophet ﷺ was born on the morn­ing of 9 Rabīʿ al-Awwal, which cor­re­sponds to 20 April 571 CE. This view has been endorsed by Mawlānā Shi­blī Nuʿmānī (d. 1332/1914), Shaykh Muḥam­mad ibn ʿAfifī al-Bājūrī (d. 1345/1927), Qāḍī Sulaymān Manṣūr­pūrī (d. 1349/1930), Sayyid Sulaymān Nad­wī (d. 1373/1953) and Mawlānā Ṣafī al-Raḥmān Mubārakpūrī (d. 1427/2006).
    10th Rabīʿ al-Awwal – This is the view of Imam ʿĀmir ibn Sharāḥīl al-Shaʿbī (d. cir­ca 104/722), Imam Abū Jaʿ­far al-Bāqir (d. 114/732–3) and Ḥāfiẓ Dimyāṭī al-Shā­fiʿ ī (d. 705/1306).
  8. 12th Rabīʿ al-Awwal – This is the view of Imam Ibn Isḥāq (d. 150/767–8), Imam Ibn Ḥib­bān (d. 354/965), Imam Abū al-Ḥasan al-Māwardī (d. 450/1058), Imam Ibn Khaldūn (d. 808/1406) and oth­ers. Although this is a com­mon­ly held view, it is worth not­ing that from an astro­nom­i­cal per­spec­tive, this date in the Year of the Ele­phant does not coin­cide with a Mon­day in any way. This is why many experts have ques­tioned this view and deemed it incor­rect.
  9. Fri­day 17th Rabīʿ al-Awwal – This has been refut­ed by Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Kathīr (d. 774/1373).
  10. 22nd Rabīʿ al-Awwal.

Thus, the pre­ferred view is that the Prophet ﷺ was born on 8th or 9th Rabīʿ al-Awwal (19 or 20 April 571 CE)2  although 1st or 2nd Rabīʿ al-Awwal (12 or 13 April 571 CE) are pos­si­ble dates. The dif­fer­ence of opin­ion clear­ly sug­gests that, con­trary to pop­u­lar belief, there is no unan­i­mous or fixed posi­tion regard­ing the pre­cise date of the blessed birth of our beloved Prophet ﷺ.

Demise of our beloved Prophet ﷺ

There is gen­er­al agree­ment among schol­ars that the Prophet ﷺ passed away on a Mon­day in Rabīʿ al-Awwal in the 11th year after migra­tion. How­ev­er, there is a dif­fer­ence of opin­ion regard­ing the pre­cise date in Rabīʿ al-Awwal. The fol­low­ing are the prin­ci­pal views:

  1. 12th Rabīʿ al-Awwal – This is the most famous opin­ion and is the view of Imam Ibn Isḥāq (d. 150/767–8), Imam Wāqidī (d. 207/823), Imam Ṭaḥāwī (d. 321/933), Imam Ibn Ḥib­bān (d. 354/965), Imam Ibn Ḥazm (d. 456/1064), Ḥafiẓ Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr (d. 463/1071), Imam Ibn al-Jawzī (d. 597/1201), Imam Nawawī (d. 676/1277), Ḥāfiẓ Dha­habī (d. 748/1348), Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Dimishqī (d. 842/1438), Imam Ibn Ḥajar al-Makkī (d. 974/1567), Qāḍī Sulaymān Manṣūr­pūrī (d. 1349/1930), Mawlānā Ṣafī al-Raḥmān Mubārakpūrī (d. 1427/2006) and many oth­ers. This view is also attrib­ut­ed to ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib (d. 40/661), ʿĀʾishah (d. 58/678) and ʿAbd Allah ibn ʿAb­bās (d. 68/687–8) (May Allah be pleased with them) and Ḥāfiẓ Ibn al-Ṣalāḥ (d. 643/1245). How­ev­er, many experts such as Imam Suhaylī (d. 581/1185) have ques­tioned this view based on the fact that 9th Dhū al-Ḥij­jah (the day of ʿArafah) in the 10th year after migra­tion was a Fri­day. Accord­ing­ly, it is impos­si­ble for 12th Rabīʿ al-Awwal, three months lat­er, to have fal­l­en on a Mon­day even after con­sid­er­ing all the pos­si­ble vari­a­tions in the num­ber of days of Dhū al-Ḥij­jah, Muḥar­ram and Ṣafar. The only pos­si­ble way of rec­on­cil­ing 12th Rabīʿ al-Awwal with Mon­day is to assume that Dhū al-Ḥij­jah start­ed a day lat­er in the blessed city of Madī­nah. How­ev­er, this rec­on­cil­i­a­tion is only valid if all four months, Dhū al-Qaʿ­dah, Dhū al-Ḥij­jah, Muḥar­ram and Ṣafar, were all com­plete months of 30 days. This is extreme­ly rare, espe­cial­ly if Makkah was already a day ahead in Dhū al-Ḥij­jah. For this rea­son, experts such as Ḥafiẓ Ibn Ḥajar ʿAsqalānī (d. 852/1449), Mufti Rashīd Aḥmad Ludyān­wī (d. 1422/2002) and oth­ers argue that this view is wrong and is based on a tran­scrib­ing error of 2nd Rabīʿ al-Awwal becom­ing 12th Rabīʿ al-Awwal.
  2. 2nd Rabīʿ al-Awwal – This is the view of Imam Abū Isḥāq Saʿd ibn Ibrāhīm ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn ʿAwf al-Zuhrī (d. 125/742–3), Imam Muḥam­mad ibn Qays (d. cir­ca 126/743–4), Imam Sulay­man al-Taymī (d. 143/761), Imam Khal­i­fah ibn Khayyāṭ (d. 240/854–5), Imam Ṭabarānī (d. 360/971). Schol­ars who are inclined to this view include Imam Abū al-Yumn ibn ʿAsākir (d. 686/1287), Imam ʿIzz al-Dīn ibn Jamāʿah (d. 767/1366), Imam Ibn Khaldūn (d. 808/1406), Ḥafiẓ Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī (d. 852/1449), Imam Qasṭalānī (d. 923/1517), Mufti Rashīd Aḥmad Ludyān­wī (d. 1422/2002) and oth­ers.
  3. 1st Rabīʿ al-Awwal – This is the view of Imam ʿUr­wah ibn al-Zubayr (d. 94/712–3), Imam Ibn Shi­hāb al-Zuhrī (d. 124/742), Imam Musā ibn ʿUqbah (d. 141/758–9), and Ḥāfiẓ Muḥam­mad ibn Mūsā al-Khuwārizmī al-Ḥanafī (d. 403/1012). Imam Suhaylī (d. 581/1185) is inclined towards this view although he sug­gests that the sec­ond view is also plau­si­ble. Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Sayyid al-Nās (d. 734/1334) sug­gests that both this and the pre­vi­ous view are pos­si­bil­i­ties. It is worth not­ing that both views are sub­stan­ti­at­ed via a nar­ra­tion trans­mit­ted by Imam Ibn Jarīr (d. 310/923) from ʿAbd Allah ibn ʿAb­bās (d. 68/687–8) who sug­gests that the Prophet ﷺ remained alive for 81 days after the verse “Today, I have com­plet­ed for you your faith” was revealed. The major­i­ty of the schol­ars are of the view that this verse was revealed on 9th Dhū al-Ḥij­jah, as explic­it­ly men­tioned in the nar­ra­tion of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī (45, 4407, 4606, and 7268).
    13th Rabīʿ al-Awwal – This is the view of Ḥafiẓ Badr al-Dīn ibn Jamāʿah (d. 733/1333) and Shaykh Muḥam­mad ibn ʿAfifī al-Bājūrī (d. 1345/1927). The lat­ter adopt­ed this view based on the research of the Mus­lim astronomer Maḥmūd Pashā (d. 1302/1885), who also appears inclined towards this view. Apart from the astro­nom­i­cal pos­si­bil­i­ty of this date coin­cid­ing with a Mon­day, there is no evi­dence to sub­stan­ti­ate this posi­tion.

Thus, sim­i­lar to the date of birth, there is no schol­ar­ly con­sen­sus on the pre­cise date of the demise of our beloved Prophet ﷺ. The strongest view, how­ev­er, appears to be that the Prophet ﷺ passed away on Mon­day 1st or 2nd Rabīʿ al-Awwal 11 AH, which cor­re­sponds to 27 or 28 May 632 CE.

Allah knows best

Yusuf Shab­bir, Black­burn, UK

Approved by: Mufti Shab­bir Ahmed Sahib

19 Ṣafar 1438 AH

  1. For more infor­ma­tion in Arabichttps://nawadir.org/2016/11/20/dates-of-the-blessed-birth-and-demise-of-prophet-muhammad-arabic/
  2. This is in accor­dance with the old Gre­go­ri­an cal­en­dar. The equiv­a­lent in the new Gre­go­ri­an cal­en­dar is 21 or 22 April.