Mawlid al-Nabi

Birthday of the Prophet Muhammad

By Alison Rutyna, Joanna Koshy, and Naomi Park

Next Date of Celebration

Starts at sundown on January 2nd,2015 and ends at sundown on January 3rd,2015.

Muslim Calendar: twelfth day of the third month (Rabi' al-Awwal).

The story:

The Muslim holiday Mawlid al-Nabi is the celebration of the birth of Muhammad. Muhammad is seen as the creator of the Islamic belief system, which guides the Muslims in a certain way of living. Muhammad was born in A.D. 570 in Mecca, but his parents died when he was only six years old, so he was raised by his grandfather and uncle. He became a trader when he grew up, which caused him to travel, but as Muhammad traveled from place to place, he was unhappy about the way people acted around him. Then one day, as he was wandering through the desert, he went into a cave and the Angel Gabriel brought him messages from God. Angel Gabriel told Muhammad to recite the words God had given. Later, the words he was told were written down to become the Qur’an, the Holy Book of Islam. He also preached and created the five pillars of Islam, which all Muslims have to obey. The five pillars are:

  1. There is only one universal God, Allah.

  2. Muslims should pray at least five times a day facing Mecca.

  3. Muslims must give to support the needy.

  4. Muslims must fast during the month of Ramadan.

  5. Muslims have to visit Mecca for Hajj at least once in their lifetime if they are able.

In addition, Muhammad also preached the six pillars of faith, which is the belief in Allah, Allah’s angels, the Holy Books of Islam, the prophets and messengers, the Day of Judgment, and the belief in the Qadr. In the thirteenth century, Mawlid-al Nabi became an official holiday for the Muslims to celebrate. Some Muslims consider this holiday to be a celebration worthwhile praising for, while others, like modern fundamentalist Muslims (Wahhabi sect), view it as a conflicting day to the Islamic law, which is called the Shari’a (meaning path or way) because the Shari’a states that you can only worship one God.

How Mawlid al-Nabi is celebrated:

People from far away cities come to Mecca to celebrate Mawlid-al Nabi. Two days before Mawlid-al Nabi, oxes, sheeps and camels are sacrificed, and on the eve of this holiday, a torchlight walk is done through the town. Different Muslims celebrate this day different ways. On Mawlid-an Nabi, one will see streets filled with large parades that consists of musicians, jugglers, dancers, singers, and homes and mosques will be decorated. While some people spent their time outside, others prefer the comfort and peace of their home to spend some time reading the Qur’an. Other Muslims celebrate this day by donating goods to others in need. However, all Muslim children recite poems or stories involving the life of Muhammad to their families. One of the famous poems written by Arabic Sufi-Busuri in the thirteenth century called the Qasida al-Burda. Although many books of the life of Muhammad are revisited during this day, the Khutbah (a book used many times in Islamic preaching) is an important book that is thoroughly recited by the Caliph (the ruler of the Muslim community).

Whether some Muslims celebrate Mawlid-al Nabi by rejoicing, spending some quiet time alone, or just being a friendly neighbor to others, this is a special occasion for many, because they are recognizing the importance of the Prophet Muhammad, who made Islam to what it is today.

Did you know?

The name Mawlid al Naji comes from two arabic words. Mawlid means the birthday of a holy figure, while al- nabi means prophet, making the phrase Mawlid al Nabi, meaning the birthday of a holy figure or prophet.


Works Cited

Ahsan, M. M. Muslim Festivals. Vero Beach, FL: Rourke Enterprises, 1987. Print.


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