Mawlid, also said Eid Milad Un Nabi is an Islamic feast celebrating the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, which falls on the 12th of the lunar month of Rabi al-awwal. It has long been discussed on the lawfulness of celebrating the birthday of a human being in a religion that is fully geared to celebrate the only deity. However the intensity of popular devotion did not prevent in any way that numerous mawlids were still celebrated, with considerable intensive participation of the faithful.
In particular Egypt has been fertile ground for such ceremonies, perhaps even to reply to popular Coptic devotion, that does not find any obstacle to theology in celebrating her holy intercessors.
This holiday is celebrated today by many Muslim communities in the world, both Sunni and Shia. It is not part of the two canonical religious holidays the Eid al-Fitr and the largest the Eid al-Adha.
No explicit trace of this feast exists in the Koran and the Sunna. The birthday of Mohammed has never been celebrated in his time nor his companions, nor by Sunni Muslims of the first centuries, and no reliable information makes it possible to establish the actual date. The first who innovated the celebration of the birth of Muhammad is Al-Muizz li-Din Allah in the year 362 AH in Cairo.
Then they continued to celebrate until the commander of the armed Al-Afdhal Abul-Qasim ibn Badr El-Djamali, the vizier El-Mousta`li Bi Allah cancels super Caliph in the year 972 (490 AH). Historians Ibn Kathir 3 and Ibn Khallikan, she was reinstated much later, around 1207, by the King of Irbil.
However, traces of this tradition exist in Shiite celebrations two centuries earlier. The dynasty of the Fatimids had indeed used to celebrate birthdays, that of Muhammad, of Ali, of Fatima, and finally the caliph in power. The festivities then limited to processions in the sovereign's court, during the day, as well as three sermons (khutbas) delivered before the faithful and in the presence of the caliph.
The celebration of the anniversary of Muhammad as well as other anniversaries celebrated then, was then suspended to 1095 . According to historian Ali Ibn al-Athir, this abolition was decreed to the accession to power of the new vizier Al-Malik al-Afdhal, regent of the Fatimid Caliph Al-Musta'li because not conform to Islamic teachings. The historian of the xiith century Ibn al-Qalanisi then described him as a fervent believer of the doctrines of Sunnah. At his death, his successor, the vizier al-Ma'mun Al-Batâ'ihî himself regent of the Fatimid Caliph Al-Amir bi-Ahkami'l-Lah, then issues in 1123 an official decree to distribute alms on the day of Rabia al-Awal.
Theologians legitimizing this festival are many and belong to the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence. Include among former Ibn Hajar Al-`Asqalani, Sakhawi, As-Suyuti (Sufi scholar) or Ahmad Ibn Zayni Dahlan.
Conversely the celebration of the anniversary Muhammad is considered by other theologians now often affiliated with Salafism as a religious innovation (bidah) foreign to Islam. According to them Muhammad's birthday was never celebrated his time nor his companions, nor by Sunni Muslims of the early centuries. No explicit trace of this festival there in the Qur'an and Sunnah. Historians Ibn Kathir and Ibn Khallikan it was introduced much later, around 1207, by the King of Irbil. For some theologians, this practice can be considered imitation of Christmas, when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Among the ancient theologians condemning this innovation include Abu Ishaq al-Shatibi, Ibn Hadj, or the lawyer Maliki Tajuddin Ali Omar Al-Lakhmi of Alexandria, known as Al-Fakihani, whose Epistle about it, Al-Mawrid wire-Kalam` ala Al-Mawlid was quoted in full by As-Suyuti in his defensive work Mawlid.
In most Muslim states, the day of the Mawlid is a holiday. In Saudi Arabia, however, the Ministry of Religious Affairs considers this festival as foreign to Islam and as an innovation of non-religious origin, although the celebration is not prohibited by the authorities. One week, which is not used to get closer to Allah (not religious), but for didactic purposes, there is occasionally dedicated to Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab.
In Morocco, this festival was officially introduced in 1292, by Sultan Marinid Abu Ya`qûb Yusuf an-Nasr. Today, the feast of Mawlid generates two days holiday. In Tunisia, this day is also a holiday. A family meal is prepared on this occasion. A custard base gears of Aleppo pine, the Assidat zgougou is also prepared for this holiday.
In Senegal and Mali, where it is called Gamou, the name of the month of Muharram in Wolof, major celebrations are organized. The Tijani go especially in the city of Tivaouane, founded by Imam Malick Sy to celebrate an important commemoration punctuated by poems sung in honor of the Prophet and conferences talking about his life and his greatness.
In Libya, the leader Gaddafi organized since 2006 a large Mouloud festival in various countries in partnership with the League of the Great Sahara Tribes. In Kenya on the island of Lamu (whose capital is considered a holy city in the culture Swahili), the Mawlid is an annual opportunity for a cultural festival surrounding a major pilgrimage, which attracts faithful from throughout the region under the aegis of Sharif.
Organized for the 123rd time in October 2013, the festival locally called Maulidi attracted over 30000 visitors, mainly from the East Coast of Africa (Somalia, Tanzania, Comoros), but also the Middle East, throughout East Africa as well as some Western tourists.