The significance, rituals behind Eid Milad-un-Nabi and how it commemorates Prophet Muhammad’s birth anniversary


New Delhi: Eid Milad-un-Nabi is an annual celebration to commemorate the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad and is observed in the month of Rabi-ul-Awwal, the third month of the Islamic lunar calendar, which commences with the sighting of the moon. The occasion also marks the death anniversary of the Prophet.

This year, as per the Gregorian calendar, the celebration will begin from the evening of October 18 and will last till the evening of October 19. Along with India, the festival is celebrated in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and other parts of the subcontinent.

One of the most important parts of Eid Milad-un-Nabi is to celebrate the life of the Prophet, his teachings, sufferings, and his character, as he even forgave his enemies. Muslims celebrate the occasion by wearing new clothes, offering prayers, and exchanging gifts. The community assembles at a mosque or a dargah and begins their day with a morning prayer followed by a procession.

On the occasion, ANI spoke to Haji Syed Salman Chishty, 26th generation Gaddi Nashin of Dargah Ajmer Sharif. He said, “Eid Milad-un-Nabi is a yearly celebration commemorated all around the world and especially observed in South Asia because of its relevance and respect for Prophet Muhammad. It’s the Prophet’s birth celebration, which falls on the 12th day of the Rabi al-Awwal month, of the Hijri calendar.”

Speaking further about the celebrations at the Ajmer Dargah, he continued, “Tonight after the evening prayer the next day will start, so the celebration will commence from the evening, especially in Ajmer Sharif as people from all over India come to commemorate and honour the legacy of Prophet Muhammad and the message of Khwaja Muin-ud-Din Chishti, which is love towards all and malice towards none. At the Ajmer Sharif Dargah, along with the mehfil and qawwali, the teachings of the Prophet are shared with youth, elders and devotees. The celebrations go on till late night.”

“Today at around 7 PM all celebrations will start. Salat-o-Salam will be recited and everybody from the community, the whole city and nearby villages will be coming, along with people from different states. Then, early morning at 4, which is the birth time of the Prophet, special commemorative prayers are offered. The elders come to the Dargah and people just sit silently listening to the Quranic verses and the sayings of the Prophet. This is how Eid Milad-un-Nabi is observed in most of the Sufi khanqahs, Sufi dargahs and centres around the world,” added the Gaddi Nashin of Dargah Ajmer Sharif.

The custom of celebrating the birth of the Holy Prophet on an enormous scale began in Egypt with the descendants of the Prophet, through his daughter Fatima. It was especially celebrated by theologians and religious institutions. They gathered to hear sermons, distributing sweets, gifts and honey in particular, the Prophet’s favourite. Hence, the feast is an important part of the celebrations.

Adding to this Haji Syed Salman said, “Langar is a very important aspect of the celebrations and all the langar inside the Ajmer Dargah is purely vegetarian. We don’t even use onion and garlic, so that our brothers and sisters from the Jain community can also participate in eating and serving the langar, which generally consists of sweet rice, mithais, daliya, among other things.”

He also spoke about how the celebrations are happening amid the ongoing COVID pandemic, “Last year due to the pandemic not much was done, but since this year there have been some relaxations in Rajasthan. So with a limited number of people and with all the COVID guidelines and protocols in place, we are observing the occasion. Pre-Covid, people used to come in thousands, so obviously, right now it’s not the same, but taking all the precautions, the celebrations are happening all over India, as per the COVID guideline of various states.”

Since Eid Milad-un-Nabi is a very sacred and special time of the year, most people want to spend time at the Dargahs, as they are considered the centre for peace and tranquillity.

The Prophet’s life and teachings, even today, continue to influence believers and instil them with the will to follow the path of righteousness. Happy Eid Milad-un-Nabi. (ANI)