On the 12th day of the Islamic month of Rabi’al-awwal, Sunni Muslims celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed while Shiá Muslims celebrate the holiday on the 17th of that month. In Nigeria, the holiday is known as Id el Maulud.
|2019||11 Nov||Mon||Id el Maulud|
|2020||29 Oct||Thu||Id el Maulud|
History of the Holiday
The Prophet Mohammed was born in Mecca, in what is now Saudi Arabia in the Georgian calendar year of 570. The actual day of his birth is unclear which is why Shiá and Sunni Muslims celebrate on different days. Maulud refers to birth and is used to describe the Prophet’s birth.
Traditions and Celebrations
Many believe that the Prophet’s birthday is worth of praise while others believe that celebration of birthdays is against Islamic law. In most cities, id el Maulud is celebrated with large street parades with homes and mosques decorated in honour of the Prophet. In fact, entire cities are often decorated with sweets and candies handed out during the celebration. Many people donate food and other items to charity while others listen to children reading poems about the Prophet. For those who do not believe in celebration, more time is spent reading the Koran while others see fasting during the daylight hours of Monday, which is said to be the day of the week Mohammed was born on, as a way to honour him. Many sing devotional songs in order to open a divine channel into the world of the Prophet.
There are many Muslims who object to lavish celebrations in honour of Mohammed’s birthday. There are some who also believe that celebrating is against the practices of Mohammad himself. They feel that Muslims are supposed to emulate Mohammad and the fact that he did not celebrate his own birthday, they should not either. It is similar to a Christian who does not celebrate Christmas because Jesus did not celebrate his own birthday.