Milad un-Nabi/Id-e-Milad in India
Many Muslims in India observe Milad un-Nabi, which commemorates the Prophet Muhammad’s (or Mohammad’s) birthday. Milad un-Nabi is a gazetted holiday in India and is also known as Nabi Day, Mawlid, Mohammad’s Birthday or the Prophet’s Birthday.
What Do People Do?
Those who observe Milad-un-Nabi gatherings remember, discuss and celebrate the advent of the Prophet Muhammad’s birth and his teachings. Some people send Milad-un-Nabi e-cards to friends and family. Many Sunni Muslims celebrate this event on the 12th of the Islamic month of Rabi’ al-awwal, while the Shi’a community celebrates it on the 17th of Rabi’ al-awwal.
Many activities include:
Night-long prayer meetings.
Marches and parades involving large crowds.
Sandal rites over the symbolic footprints of the Prophet Muhammad.
Festive banners and bunting on and in homes, mosques and other buildings.
Communal meals in mosques and other community buildings.
Meetings to listen to stories and poems (nats) about Mohammad’s life, deeds and teachings.
Exhibitions featuring photos of mosques in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
Many people carry green flags or banners or wear green ribbons or items of clothing when taking part in these events. The color green represents Islam and paradise. Many Kashmiri Muslims gather at the Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar, which is in the Indian province of Jammu and Kashmir. It houses a hair that is believed to have come from the Prophet Mohammad. Thousands of people attend prayers at the shrine on the night before Milad un-Nabi. The relic is displayed in the mosque after the morning prayers. It was paraded through the town in previous years.
Milad un-Nabi is a gazetted holiday in India so government offices, post offices and banks are closed on the day. Islamic stores, businesses and other organizations may be closed or have reduced opening hours. Those wishing to use public transport on the day may need to contact the local transport authorities to check on timetables.
Large prayer meetings, parades and marches may cause local disruption to traffic. This is particularly true of areas of India with a predominantly Muslim population.
This Eid festival commemorates the Prophet Muhammad’s (or Mohammad) birth and celebrates his teachings.