Today I introduce you to another religious event in my “Celebration Today” series. It is Milad Ul Nabi in many countries of the world.
I think it is more important than ever to learn more about Islam and to remember that the religion itself is something else than what terrorists make of it. After all, Christianity isn’t the Crusades!
I have to say I found it tough to find links and information about the topic. It either was written in Arabic, or the tone of the pages was rather anti towards anything non-Islamic. Also, there seems to be a huge variety in the Islamic faith, so religious festivals differ immensely. I hope I can give you a small insight in a celebration that is important to many of our fellow humans.
I would be grateful if you can tell me more about how you experience Milad Ul Nabi/Mawlid or how you consider it if you are a Muslim. Thank you very much!
(The Prophets Birthday was called Milad Ul Nabi on the Interfaith Calendar but most links I have found call it Milad Un Nabi. I assume both spellings are correct)
Milad Ul Nabi is the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed and is celebrated on two different days depending on which form of Islam you are following.
Shia Muslims celebrate it today; Sunni Muslims celebrated it on the 12th. However, “ Nizari Ismaili Shi’a Muslims who are followers of the Aga Khan celebrate this on the same day as the Sunnis, whereas Dawoodi Bohra Ismaili’s celebrate at the same time as other Shi’a” (cited from Interfaith Calendar (the page wasn’t under construction when I researched this post).
The dates change in the western calendar as they are observed on the 12th and 17th day of Rabi Al Awal the third month in the Islamic calendar which is a lunar calendar. It is also known as Mawlid, and Wikipedia says about it: Most denominations of Islam approve of the commemoration of Muhammad’s birthday; However, some denominations including Wahhabism/Salafism, Deobandism and the Ahmadiyya (Qadiyani) disapprove its commemoration, considering it an unnecessary religious innovation (bid’ah or bidat). Mawlid is recognised as a national holiday in most of the Muslim-majority countries of the world except Saudi Arabia and Qatar which are officially Wahhabi/Salafi.”
I have to admit I am already a little confused but I think it is safe to say that the Prophets birthday is an important religious event for most Muslims even though the date is disputed. But so is Christmas which is celebrated in January by most Orthodox churches.
So what do Muslim’s do on Milad Ul Nabi/Mawlid?
It says on InterfaithCalendar:
“In the sub-continent of India and certain Arab countries like Egypt, the celebration starts with reading from the Qur’an, followed by poetry and songs in praise of the Prophet. There are also lectures and story telling. In some big cities of the Muslim world the day is marked with processions and flag waving under a huge decoration of lights. In the UK many Muslims celebrate at the mosque, but some refuse to celebrate the Prophet’s birthday, claiming it is a non-Islamic innovation introduced more than 600 years after the life of the Prophet. Tradition is not clear as to the exact date of the Prophet’s birth.”
According to MuslimCanada.org the birthday of the Prophet is mainly an event of remembering, discussing, observing and celebrating the advent of Mohammed’s birth.
BBC Religions explain that Muslim parents tell their children stories about the Prophets life. Apparently, not all Muslim’s celebrate birthdays or death anniversaries as there is no historical evidence that the Prophet did this.
His birthday (according to BBC Religions Milad Ul Nabi is also regarded the day of the prophets passing away) though is celebrated because it is regarded as a huge blessing for all humanity.
According to “The Ismaili” “Prophet Muhammad’s life established a paradigm which Muslims have looked to over the past 1 400 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.”
And according to IndiaParenting, it is also a time of prayer and thanksgiving for the blessings the Prophet has bestowed on us.
This is all that I could find so far about the Prophets birthday. I think it is interesting that MuslimCanada.org says it is a day of discussing the life of the Prophet. It doesn’t seem to be usual to me that religious people discuss their religious founder’s life. I suspect if we take away the political assumptions and the image groups like IS want to paint Islam in we could find a rather interesting religion.
I also have to say I am rather surprised how similar the ideas of the Prophet were from what The Ismaili says compared to the ideas of Christ and how similar humans changed it into a power game or a way of making money.
I am looking forward to getting a deeper understanding of the religions of this beautiful world throughout 2017!
Resources and further reading:
Mawlid on Wikipedia
Milad Un Nabi on MuslimCanada.org
Milad Un Nabi on BBC Religions
Milad Un Nabi on The Ismaili
Milad Un Nabi on IndiaParenting
Shi’a Islam on Wikipedia
Sunni Islam on Wikipedia
Islamic Calendar on Ramadan-Islam.org