Eid-E-Milad un Nabi : The world Commemorates Prophet Muhammad
Eid Milad un Nabi or Mawlid al-Nabi al-Sharif is being observed by people across the country on November 20 and 21st, this year. The festival marks the birthday of Prophet Muhammed, the founder of Islam, also believed to be a messenger of God by Muslims. His birth anniversary is commemorated in the month of Rabi’ al-awwal- the third month in the Islamic calendar.
Milad un-Nabi is a gazetted holiday in India and is also known as Nabi Day, Mawlid, Muhammad’s Birthday or the Prophet’s Birthday.
Sunni Muslims observe the Prophet Muhammed’s (also known as Mohammed or Muhammad) birthday on the 12th day of the Islamic month of Rabi’ al-awwal, while Shi’a Muslims mark it on the 17th of this month. Muhammed is believed to be the last prophet. Prophet Muhammad was born in Mecca in the year 570 CE and grew up to be a respected merchant, known for his honesty, integrity and trustworthiness. At the age of 40, he received his first revelation from Allah, marking the commencement of his mission as Allah’s last and final messenger.
The term Mawlid is used in Egypt and Sudan to refer to the birthdays of both Muhammed and local Sufi saints. The birthdays of about 3000 Sufi saints are marked or celebrated. The word Mawlid, or Milad, depending on the method of transliteration used, comes from the Arabic word for birth and usually refers to the anniversary of Muhammed’s birth. This observance is also known as Mevlid Serif in Turkish, Mawlūd Sharīf in Urdu and Maulidur-Rasūl in Malay.
What India Does on this day
Those who observe Milad-un-Nabi gatherings remember, discuss and celebrate the advent of the Prophet Muhammad’s birth and his teachings. Some people send Milad-un-Nabi e-cards to friends and family. Many Sunni Muslims celebrate this event on the 12th of the Islamic month of Rabi’ al-awwal, while the Shi’a community celebrates it on the 17th of Rabi’ al-awwal.
Many activities include:-
- Night-long prayer meetings.
- Marches and parades involving large crowds.
- Sandal rites over the symbolic footprints of the Prophet Muhammad.
- Festive banners and bunting on and in homes, mosques and other buildings.
- Communal meals in mosques and other community buildings.
- Meetings to listen to stories and poems (nats) about Mohammad’s life, deeds and teachings.
- Exhibitions featuring photos of mosques in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
- Many people carry green flags or banners or wear green ribbons or items of clothing when taking part in these events.( The color green represents Islam and paradise)
Many Kashmiri Muslims gather at the Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar, which is in the Indian province of Jammu and Kashmir. It houses a hair that is believed to have come from the Prophet Mohammad. Thousands of people attend prayers at the shrine on the night before Milad un-Nabi. The relic is displayed in the mosque after the morning prayers. It was paraded through the town in previous years.
What does the rest of the Islamic world do?
There are mixed beliefs on how one observes Muhammed’s birthday. Some people see the Prophet’s birthday as an event worthy of praise. Others view the celebration of birthdays as contradictory to Islamic law. Both sides cite the Hadith (narrations originating from the words and deeds of the Prophet Muhammed) and events from Muhammed’s life to support their views.
Mawlid, or Milad, is celebrated with large street parades in some countries. Homes and mosques are also decorated. Some people donate food and other goods for charity on or around this day. Others listen to their children read out poems about events that occurred in the Prophet Muhammed’s life. Mawlid is celebrated in this way in many communities across the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, or Australia.
However, many Muslims also do not participate in celebrations on this day. Instead, they may mark the occasion by spending more time to read the Koran. Muhammed is said to have been born on a Monday and some scholars see fasting during the hours of daylight on Mondays as another way to celebrate his birth.
Prophet Muhammad’s life established a paradigm which Muslims have looked to over the past 1400 years. While he led the ummah through the interpretation of faith, his leadership also brought about a new ethical outlook – an Islamic social conscience inspired by Allah’s revelation. He emphasised the dignity of humankind through care for the poor and marginalised, the importance of justice and equity in building a peaceful society, and he cultivated a pluralist outlook in which human diversity was valued and cherished.
The Prophet faced considerable social and cultural challenges, given the prevailing norms and customs in Arabia. He was able to overcome these through his own example of tolerance, trustworthiness and compassion, and, above all, because of the manifest justice of the message he delivered. Many Muslims came forward to share their material resources, as well as their time and talent, to help the Prophet stabilise and strengthen the institutions of din and dunya – faith and society.