When is Eid Milad-un Nabi 2023? Rabi ul Awal 1445 date, history, significance and celebrations

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Eid Milad-un-Nabi

Followers of the Sufi and Barelvi traditions commemorate the birth anniversary of the final Prophet of Islam, Prophet Muhammad, as Eid Milad-un-Nabi or Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, also known as Nabid and Mawlid in colloquial Arabic. This festival takes place in the month of Rabi al-awwal, which is the third month in the Islamic lunar calendar. 

In India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and various other subcontinent regions, the moon marking the start of the month of Rabi al-awwal was sighted on October 18 this year. According to the Gregorian calendar, October 19 marked the commencement of Rabi ul Awwal.

Bidaah:

While India and various nations embrace Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi and its customs, several segments within the Muslim community believe that celebrating Prophet Muhammad’s birthday is not in line with Islamic culture.

They argue that evidence from the Holy Quran and Sunnah suggests that celebrating events other than Eid al-Fitr and Eid-e-Adha constitutes a form of religious innovation known as “biddah.” Consequently, Muslims adhering to the Salafi and Wahhabi schools of thought abstain from participating in these festivities.   

They maintain this belief based on the notion that observing Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi or Mawlid constitutes an innovation or “biddat” because historical records indicate that Prophet Mohammad and his appointed successors did not celebrate it during their time.

 Date of Eid Milad-un-Nabi:

The Islamic calendar or lunar calendar differs from the Gregorian calendar based on the crescent moon sighting so those from the Sunni community of Muslims, who celebrate Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, mark it on the 12th day of Rabi’ al-awwal. In contrast, the Shia community celebrates it on the 17th of Rabi’ al-awwal. In the current year, Eid-e-Milad will be observed on September 27 in Saudi Arabia and on September 28 in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and other regions of the subcontinent.

History and significance:

The tradition of celebrating Prophet Muhammad’s birthday traces back to the early four Rashidun Caliphs and was first introduced by the Fatimids. Muslims hold the belief that Prophet Muhammad’s birth occurred on the 12th day of Rabi’ al-awwal in the year 570 CE, in Mecca.

In colloquial Arabic, the term “Mawlid” signifies childbirth, but for some, Eid-e-Milad is also a day of mourning because they believe it marks the death anniversary of the Prophet. Officially celebrated as a festival in Egypt, the traditions of Eid-e-Milad gained widespread popularity during the 11th century.

Initially, Eid-e-Milad was restricted to the ruling Shia Muslim tribe in the area rather than being open to the general public. It wasn’t until the 12th century that Syria, Morocco, Turkey, and Spain began to celebrate the festival, eventually leading to the participation of certain Sunni Muslim sects.

Celebrations:

Originating in Egypt, the initial celebrations involved Muslims offering prayers, followed by speeches and recitations from the Holy Quran by the ruling clan. A grand public feast followed this. Members of the ruling clan were esteemed, as they were seen as representatives of Muhammad, akin to Caliphs. 

Subsequently, under strong Sufi influence, traditions included animal sacrifice, public lectures, torchlight processions at night, and a communal feast. In contemporary times, Eid-e-Milad is celebrated by Muslims by wearing new clothes, offering namaz and exchanging warm wishes.

Families gather at mosques or dargahs, commencing their day with morning prayers. This is followed by a procession from the mosques through the town and back. Children hear stories of Prophet Muhammad’s life and teachings from the Holy Quran. The community organizes meals, donates to the less fortunate, and invites loved ones to participate in naat festivities and social gatherings, which involve night-long prayers.