Maulidur Rasul falls on Sunday 11th December this year and as such, Monday 12th December will be a state holiday – and another day off work! But what does Maulidur Rasul celebrate or mean, exactly?
It is a significant event in the Islamic calendar as it’s the celebration of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday. It’s a day of procession, sermons, and religious discussions to strengthen faith and consolidate the spirit of the community.
1400 years ago when the prophet lived in Arabia, celebrating his birthday was not practised. Instead, the celebration was only popularised by the Muslim population about 400 years after his death, initiated by the King of Ibril, Abu Sa’eed al-Muzaffar bin Baktakeen Kawkabriyy.
Nowadays, Maulidur Rasul, which translates to ‘Birth of the Prophet’ – is a day celebrated by many Muslims around the world. In Malaysia, the majority of Muslims are Sunni – so in this country, the celebration is one of the major Islamic events of the year, with the day declared a public holiday.
However, there are some denominations of Muslims who do not celebrate it at all, like the Wahhabi/Salafi, who consider the celebration as non-religious. Some notable Muslim-majority countries that do not celebrate Maulidur Rasul are Saudi Arabia and Qatar, both official Wahhabi/Salafi.
The Prophet’s birthday is celebrated on the 12th day of the third month in the Islamic calendar, Rabi-ul-awal. The Islamic calendar follows the lunar cycle, so it has 354 days in total. This means Maulidur Rasul falls on a different date each year in the Gregorian calendar. Because of this, there are times when Muslims observe the date twice in the Gregorian calendar, like in 2015 when Maulidur Rasul fell on 3rd January as well as 24th December.
Apart from celebrating the Prophet and his teachings, Maulidur Rasul is also a time for educating Muslim children about Islam, the prophet’s morality, and fostering love and affection in children. It’s a day of sharing and building faith in the Muslim community.
Last year, the national-level Maulidur Rasul procession saw over 1,000 Muslims gather for the ceremony. The procession chanted salutations and praises to Prophet Muhammad, read verses from the Qur’an, recite prayers and listened to sermons by imams about the prophet’s teachings.
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