Allahuma salli ala Muhammadin wa – ala – Ale Muhammad
O God! Shower thy blessings on Muhammad and the descendants of Muhammad
Introduction: Eid-e-Milad is celebrated in the memory of Prophet Muhammed. The Holy Prophet was born on the twelfth day of Rabi-ul-Awwal in 570 C.E Saudi Arabia, Mecca. Rabi-ul-Awwal is the third month of the Muslim year. Eid-e-Milad is both, a time to rejoice and a time to mourn, since the Prophet passed away on the same day.
History of Celebration: The tradition of celebrating the Holy Prophet’s birthday on a large scale began in Egypt by the Prophet’s descendants, through his daughter Fatima. It was celebrated mainly by religious scholars and religious establishments. They gathered to hear sermons, distributed sweets, alms and particularly honey, the Prophet’s favorite.
Maulid: Eid-e-Milad is also called Maulid, since it is Prophet Muhammed’s Eid andthe song sung in praise of the Prophet’s birth is called a Maulud. From the Middle Ages, it was believed that, listening to the recitation of Maulud has not only worldly but heavenly rewards too.The earliest accounts for the observance of Mawlid can be found in eighth-century Mecca, when the house in which Muhammad was born was transformed into a place of prayer by Al-Khayzuran (mother of Harun al-Rashid, the fifth and most famous Abbasid caliph). The early celebrations included elements of Sufic influence, with animal sacrifices and torchlight processions along with public sermons and a feast. The practice spread throughout the Muslim world, assimilating local customs, to places such as Cairo, where folklore and Sufic practices greatly influenced the celebrations. By 1588 it had spread to the court of Murad III, Sultan of the Ottoman empire. In 1910, it was given official status as a national festival throughout the Ottoman empire. Today it is an official holiday in many parts of the world.
Barah Wafat: This festival is also referred to as, ‘Barah Wafat’ which stands for the twelve days of sickness of the Prophet, before he passed away. The day is for both mourning and celebrating. The Sunni sect and the Shia sect have a different take on the ways of celebrating of this day.
Celebrations by Shia Muslims: Shia Muslims celebrate this day to remember that Prophet Muhammed chose Hazrat Ali as his successor at Gadhir-e-Khumm. This occasion symbolises the Habillah (the chain of imamat or the next leader). Eid-e-Milad and Eid-al-Gadhir are two names for marking the same day, for two different reasons.
Eid-e-Milad or Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi – This name is used to mark the Prophet’s birth and death anniversary.
Eid-al-Gadhir – This name is used to mark the handing over of the spiritual rein to Hazrat Ali at Gadhir-e-Khumm. (The route between Syria and Yemen)
On this day, believers gather to recite special prayers for thanksgiving to Allah for his favours and sending Prophet Muhammed to the world, with his message to guide the people. People attend lectures and recitations on the Life and Instructions of the Holy Prophet. Poetry or Naats are recited after prayers and sweets are distributed amongst the poor.
Shia Muslims also mourn on this day as it is also the day when the Holy Prophet passed away.
Bohra Muslims: a part of the Shia sect, too celebrate the twelve days of Rabi-ul-Awwal with prayers and by listening to recitals. Prayers are conducted in mosques for all twelve days. Many Bohras perform Zyarat (a form of prayer that is performed as a meeting with the one you are praying to).
Celebrations by Sunni Muslims: Prayers are held throughout the month. On the twelfth day of the month Muslims remember the Holy Prophet and his teachings. Mourning on this day is not practiced at all because according the Sunni Muslims believe that mourning for the dead beyond three days hurts the departed soul.
In South Asia, people carry out processions chanting praises of the Holy Prophet and Imam Hazrat Ali. These processions are decorated with fruits, flowers or even scenes depicting religious sites, episodes and figures. The sweet dish ‘Kheer’ (sweet porridge made of rice) is prepared as a tradition in Muslim homes. Among non-Muslim countries, India is noted for its Mawlid festivities. The relics of Muhammed are displayed after the morning prayers in the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir at Hazratbal shrine, on the outskirts of Srinagar. Shab-khawani night-long prayers held at the Hazratbal shrine are attended by thousands. In Pakistan’s Mawlid celebration, the national flag is hoisted on all public buildings, and a 31 gun salute in the federal capital and a 21 gun salute at the provincial headquarters are fired at dawn. The cinemas shows religious rather than secular films on 11th and 12th Rabi-ul-Awwal. Whereas in Saudi Arabia & Middle – east prayers are held, sweets are prepared and the Prophet is remembered through his words. Saudi Arabia is the only Muslim country where Mawlid is not an official public holiday. Participation in the ritual celebration of popular Islamic holidays is seen as an expression of the Islamic revival.
(imo.thejakartapost.com / 07.07.2011)