Prophet Mohammed’s (PBUH) Birthday Celebrations (1)

By: A. S. Alkoronki
Most Sunni Muslim countries, annually celebrate Prophet Mohammed’s (PBUH) Birthday or (Mawlid-al-Nabi) on the12th of Rabie Al Awal. Mawlid is a public holiday in many Islamic countries, but Saudi Arabia is the only Muslim country where Mawlid is not an official public holiday
Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was born on the 12th of Rabie Al Awal (the third Month of the Muslim Hijri year), corresponding to the 20th of April (some say the 22nd, others the 26th of April) 570 AD in Makkah. Some historians suggest different days for his birth before the 12th of Rabie Al Awal, but all in the same month, so most Muslims begin their celebrations on the 1st of Rabie Al Awal to end on the 12th of it, while Shi’a Muslims mark it on the 17th of this month (They also believe that the 17th day of Rabi’ al-Awal commemorates the birth of the sixth Shi’a Imam, Ja’far al-Sadiq.)
This year (2013) the first day of Rabie Al Awal 1434 corresponded to Sunday the 13th of January, so the Mawlid celebrations continue till the 24th of this January.
Usually Mawlid is celebrated in a carnival manner, with street processions (called Zaffa in Sudan), homes or mosques decorations, and Charity and food distribution. But most important stories about the life of Muhammad are narrated with recitation of poetry (Madeeh). From Rabat in Morocco to Delhi, Tehran to Timbuktu, Cairo to South Africa, there will be sweets, music, poetry and celebration In some countries like Pakistan Mawlid celebration see the national flag hoisted on all public buildings, and gun salutes are fired at dawn.
. In Non-Muslim countries where Islam has a considerable presence, such as India, Britain, Russia and Canada, Muslims also celebrate the occasion. In the UK the “OnIslam.com” wrote: “With prayers and speeches highlighting his teachings and traits of his character, mosques across the British city of Sheffield are planning to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him)… The celebrations will include prayers and recitation of verses of the Noble Qur’an. Speeches will also be delivered by Muslim scholars about the Prophet’s life and traits of his character.”
Other non-Muslim countries noted for their Mawlid festivities are India, Kenya and Tanzania where it is known as “Maulidi”. In Tanzania the largest celebrations are observed on the island of Zanzibar where the majority of Muslims in that country live.
(Continues next Insha’Allah)

Filed Under: Today’s column

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