Eid Milad-un-Nabi: a time for Muslims to reflect on obligations

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The anniversary of the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is a timely reminder to a Muslim of his obligation (to himself and the society around him) to continue to fulfill the requirements of the Faith and its practice in the prevailing situation and condition. The birthday of the Prophet (PBUH) is called Maulid which denotes the festivities organised on this auspicious day. The alternative term Milad, which means ‘birthday anniversary’ is also commonly used.
Thus in this case, the day is referred to as Milad-un-Nabi, the birthday anniversary of the Prophet (PBUH). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was born on the night of 12 Rabi’ al-Awwal, the third lunar month. This date is also remembered with sadness, as it is also the day of his demise.
In the late eighth century, the house in Mecca in which he was born was transformed into a place of private worship by the mother of the Caliph Harun ar-Rashid and the pilgrims, who came to Mecca to perform Hajj (pilgrimage), visited it to offer special prayers. This practice has a parallel to day in that, after the completion of the various rites associated with the performance of the Hajj, many pilgrims visit the Prophet’s (PBUH) Mosque in Medina to offer prayers.
The practice of making a visit (ziyirah) to the Holy Shrines e.g. those of the Prophet (PBUH) and in the case of the Shi’a, also the shrines of the Holy Imams (A.S.), is looked upon as acts to derive spiritual benefits by supplicating and seeking forgiveness from Allah.
It appears that the tendency to commemorate Milad-un-Nabi on a grand and festive scale emerged first in Egypt during the Fatimid Era (969 – 1171 A.C) This is quite logical, for the Fatimid Caliphs were descendants of the Prophet (PBUH) through his daughter Hazrat Bibi Fatima (A.S.) married to the Prophet’s (PBUH) cousin, Hazrat Murtaza Ali (A.S.). The Egyptian historian Maqrizi (d. 1442 AC) describes one such celebration held in 1122 AC basing his account on Fatimid sources.
It is interesting to note that at that celebration, the gathering included prominent scholars and officials of the religious hierarchy. They listened to sermons (khutba) and were given sweets, particularly honey, a favourite of the Prophet (PBUH). On that occasion, the poor received alms. The tradition of Milad-un-Nabi in Egypt was continued from the Fatimid days by all subsequent dynasties. The way in which the birthday anniversary was celebrated varied in different countries.
In Turkey, the mosques were decorated with lights, whereas in other Islamic lands, the occasion was marked by recitations of Na’ats and other devotional songs in praise of the Prophet (PBUH). In some countries like Morocco, the celebration, after its inception, became an important part of the religious life to such an extent that, for example, in Iraq, the birthday came to be considered in the hierarchy of festive days second only to Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha.
Throughout the Middle Ages, the Prophet’s (PBUH) birthday was lavishly celebrated in Mecca, the city of his birth. In India, celebrations included large exhibitions of paintings, lectures and a funfair of activities ending with lavish feasts in which everybody participated.
More recently, in this century 12 Rabi’ al-Awwal was declared a public holiday in the Ottoman Empire, as it is in Pakistan today. In Pakistan the whole month is devoted to the remembrance of the Prophet (PBUH) and his ethical, political and social role.

3 COMMENTS

  1. 1- Jisne hamare deen main koi nai cheez ejad ki jo iss deen se nahi wo mardood hai(Bukhari).
    2- jisne koi aisa amal kiya jiske karne ka hamari taraf se hukam na ho wo mardood ho
    ga(Muslim).

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