India has always been a land of diverse cultures and traditions, and more so in religious festivals that are celebrated with great enthusiasm and gusto throughout the nation.
Each day brings in a special occasion that is a true manifestation of our appreciation and love for each festival.
Likewise, today the air is filled up with the sweet fragrance of the auspicious Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi. One of the precious days for Muslims, it is celebrated as the birthday of Prophet Muhammad. The festival is commemorated in the third month of holy Rabi’ al-awwal as per the Muslim calendar.
The day is observed with huge merriment, with people offering earnest prayers and wishing goodwill to all the near and dear ones.
Backpedaling in Time- A Historical Overview!
The celebrations of Eid-e-Milad could be traced back to the early four Rashidun caliphs. According to them, Prophet Muhammad was born on the twelfth day of Rabi’ al-awwal in 570 CE in Mecca. So, to commemorate his birthday, the day began to be celebrated by the Muslims across the world.
The day is considered to be both a celebration as well as mourning as many muslims consider it to be the day, Prophet Muhammad passed away.The Shia muslims and Sunni muslims have a different take on Eid-e- Milad- un- Nabi.
Some historians believe that the first celebration of the festival took place in Egypt and since then it has been celebrated worldwide. Those times, celebrations would start with offering prayers, following which there would be speeches and narration of verses from the Holy Quran. These speeches were given by the ruling tribe of the time.
Right after this, a large public feast used to be organised and the people from the ruling clan were given great importance in it as they were believed to be the representatives of Muhammad.
Gradually, the festival began to be celebrated by countries like Syria, Morocco, Turkey and Spain around twelfth century and today, it is the most bereved festival among the Muslim community.
Significance of the festival!
Eid- e-Milad-un-Nabi holds a special place for all the devotees. This day being the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, is believed to bring in huge blessings and peace amongst all.
The Prophet's teachings are shared on this festival and that’s the important part because people of all age groups and children can be seen filled with intense emotions and passion to learn new things about the messenger of God.
During the month, several events are organised to listen to the recitations from the Holy Quran and grown ups conduct prayer ceremonies too.
The birthday of Prophet Muhammad is believed to bring in a new light and guidance that helps one follow the righteous path that is pleasing in the eyes of the Lord.
Celebrations Of Eid-e-Milad Across The World!
Eid-e-Milad is celebrated by wearing new clothes, exchanging gifts and giving alms to the poor. The muslims on this day, gather together in a mosque or a dargah and their day begins with prayers, followed by a procession.
Children who come together at one place, are told stories of Prophet Muhammad’s life and how one should abide by the rules and follow the righteous path as the Almighty shows. Night long prayers are offered too, along with social gatherings.
However, both the sects of the Muslim community make out different meaning from this day and thus, celebrate the festival differently.
Eid-e-Milad is also known as Mawlid, which is the song sung in praise of the Prophet’s birth. According to the popular belief, listening to these recitations leads to not only worldly blessings but heavenly rewards too.
Another name of the festival is Barah Wafat, which is the twelve day of sickness following which Prophet Muhammad took his farewell from earth. So, in a way Eid-e-Milad is both seen as a celebration as well as a day of mourning by people.
Shia muslims observe Eid-e-Milad as a day to remember Hazrath Ali being chosen as the successor. For them the day symbolises the choice of the next leader by Prophet Muhammad.
They celebrate the day with special prayers, listening to recitations and offering Thanksgiving to Allah for sending Prophet Muhammad on earth. Poetry is recited on this occasion and sweets are given to the poor. The day is also mourned by the shiites. The Bohra community too, celebrate this festival and perform zyarat.
Going by the Sunni rituals, the prayers are observed throughout the month. On the twelfth day of the third month, teachings of the Prophet are remembered. The sunni muslims do not mourn on this day as it is believed that mourning for more than three days hurts the departed soul.
Overall, whatever the way of observing the day may be, the essence lies in the sheer devotion among the people who celebrate it!
Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi gives a chance to us all for remembering Prophet Muhammad’s teachings and the sacrifices he made for mankind. The day shows us a path that will lead us towards the Lord and the various ways through which we can become one with Him.
The festival aims to evoke brotherhood and harmony amongst all and peace to those who seek Allah with all their hearts!