Me and my community
Mawlid al-Nabi is the celebration of the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. Many Muslims celebrate on the 12th day of the month of Rabi al-Awwal, although it is not known when the Prophet was born. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, some Muslims celebrate on a different day, and others chose not to celebrate at all.
Islam has followers all over the world; therefore, the celebrations are different depending on the culture where they are being celebrated.
What does Mawlid al-Nabi celebrate?
As the founder of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad is significant to all Muslims. Muslims believe Prophet Muhammad received the Qur’an (the Islamic holy scriptures) from the angel Jibril. After Prophet Muhammad received the word of Allah, he encouraged the people of Makkah to worship only one God rather than the many gods of their old religions.
Due to the importance of the Prophet Muhammad, as Allah’s final prophet who received the revelation of the Qur’an, many Muslims like to take time to remember his birth and express their gratitude to God. Some Muslims believe that Muhammad also died on his birthday, so take the opportunity of Mawlid al-Nabi to look back over the life of the Prophet, remembering his teachings and sharing important stories.
How is Mawlid al-Nabi celebrated?
While many Muslims choose to celebrate Mawlid al-Nabi, other Muslims do not consider it appropriate to celebrate and instead prefer to mark the day with quiet reflection and prayers. However they spend the actual day of Mawlid al-Nabi, all Muslims show the greatest of respect to the Prophet Muhammad.
There are many ways in which Muslims mark the occasion of Mawlid al-Nabi. Some Muslims choose to remember the event quietly in their own home or their mosque community. For many other Muslims, Mawlid al-Nabi is a time of great celebration. In some communities you might see public processions, decorations of homes and streets, reading of poetry in praise of Allah, and special times of fasting.
Mawlid al-Nabi is a public holiday in many countries around the world where Muslims live (although in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Muslims chose not to celebrate this festival). In cities around the UK where there is a sizeable Muslim community, there are often processions to mark religious festivals, which help bring communities together in celebration.
Other Islamic celebrations
Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha on the last day of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Makkah in Saudi Arabia. All Muslims who are fit and able to travel should make the trip to Makkah at least once in their lives.
Eid al-Adha remembers the prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son Isma'il as an act of obedience to God. Allah stopped Ibrahim before he killed his son, and gave him a lamb to sacrifice instead. Sheep or goats are sacrificed in many Muslim countries, although in the UK, the animal will usually be killed in a slaughterhouse. The meat is shared with friends, family and the poor.