Me and my community

Mawlid al-Nabi

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.

Watch Haseeb as he celebrates the Islamic festival of Mawlid al-Nabi with his friends, family and the local community.

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.

Haseeb's copy of the Islamic holy book, the Qur'an. The book is treated with great respect and is stored in a cloth cover to keep it clean.

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.

Men and women pray separately at the mosque, so they are only concentrating on Allah.

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.

Islamic festivals in pictures

Ramadan in Italy


Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. During Ramadan, all adult Muslims who are able to do so must refrain from eating or drinking during the hours of daylight. Ramadan remembers the month that the Qur'an (the Muslim holy book) was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad by the angel Jibril.

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