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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2058

Prophet Muhammad’s birthday in Sri Lanka

By S.H.Moulana

The month of Rabi’ al-Awwal (the First Spring Season) of the Islamic Calendar is well known in the entire Muslim world as Shahr al-Mawhid (the Month of Birth) of the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h.

The precise date of his birth is disputed among the historians, but 12 of Rabi’ al-Awwal is acknowledged in Indonesia to be the date and it is officially stated as a national holiday.

As a matter of fact in Islam there are only two holidays: Idul Fitri (the first day after the fasting month Ramadan) and Idul Adha [(the 10th day of Zuhijjah (the month of pilgrimage)].

The question is: Why do the Muslim ummah make other days during the year as the Islamic holidays? Why the Prophet’s birthday is celebrated and considered as a holiday?

Going deeply into the seerat (biography) of the Prophet Muhammad, nobody can trace the tradition of Mawlid (the Prophet’s birthday) celebration or other celebrations of very important days in Islamic history. Never the Prophet nor his close companions or people who followed him and his companions encouraged people to make his birthday as a special day.

Nobody knows exactly when the first celebration of the Prophet’s birthday was celebrated or marked as a holiday.

Noted in history that the celebration was found during the reign of Wazir al-Afdlal (487-515 AH/1095-1121 CE) of the Fatimite regime in Egypt. The celebration was held during the day time and attended by government officials and Muslim spiritual leaders in town.

The Fatimite amir as a head of state sat in the balcony of the palace and three speakers in sequence delivered their Mawlid speeches. They talked about Muhammad’s origin, his birthday and his life. Ibnu Khalikan’s historical report says that Ahly as-Sunnah version of the Prophet’s birthday celebration was introduced in Egypt by Al-Malik Muzaffar Ad-Din Kukburi in 604 AH/1207 CE. Kukburi was brother of Salahuddin al-Ayyubi (Saladin).

In Sri Lanka Muslim community traditionally had almsgivings in this month of Rabi ul Awwal and Prophet’s birthday is celebrated by reading his life history and distributing food.

This occasion helps to boost unity among neighbors, relatives as well as other communities in addition to teach to the love Prophet (Sal.) taught to his community.

His compassion for people even for those who opposed him is something that his followers should learn from.

- Asian Tribune -

Prophet Muhammad’s birthday in Sri Lanka
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