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HomeNewsEid-e-Milad-Un-Nabi: Why is Eid-e-Milad celebrated? Date, history & significance

Eid-e-Milad-Un-Nabi: Why is Eid-e-Milad celebrated? Date, history & significance

Muslims belonging to the Sufi or the Barelvi school of thought celebrate the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad, as Eid Milad-un-Nabi, also known as Eid-e-Milad, also called Nabid and Mawlid in colloquial Arabic. The celebration occurs during Rabi’ al-awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar.

The sighting of the crescent moon in October — sighted on October 18 this year –typically marks the beginning of Rabi’ al-awwal in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and other parts of the subcontinent region. As per the gregorian calendar, October 19th was the first date of Rabi ul Awwal


Several sections of the Muslim community believe that in Islamic culture there is no place for birthday celebrations of Prophet Mohammad. They say that according to Holy Quran and Sunnah, celebrating any event other than Eid al-Fitr and Eid-e-Adha is a kind of biddah or innovation in Islamic culture. 

Muslims from Salafi and Wahhabi schools of thought do not mark the tradition of festivities. They believe that celebration Eid-e-Milad or Mawlid is an innovation or act of biddat as there is no evidence of Eid-e-Milad celebrations during the era of Prophet Mohammad himself and his appointed successors.


In Islamic lunar calendar, based of the crescent moon sighting, the Sunni community celebrate Eid-e-Milad on the 12th day of Rabi’ al-awwal, while the Shia community observes it on the 17th of Rabi’ al-awwal. This year Eid-e-Milad will be celebrated on September 27 in Saudi Arabia and on September 28 in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and other parts of the subcontinent.

History and significance:

The history of celebrating the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad dates back to the early four Rashidun Caliphs and the idea of marking this day was initiated by the Fatimids. Some Muslims believe that the Prophet was born in Mecca on the twelfth day of Rabi’ al-awwal in 570 CE.

Though the word “Mawlid” means “birth” in colloquial Arabic. Some also considers Eid-e-Milad as a day mourning as it is also believed to be the death anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad. Eid-e-Milad was first officially celebrated in Egypt, and gained popularity the 11th century.

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Initially, the ruling Shia tribe in Egypt start celebrating this festival, but it gradually spread to Syria, Morocco, Turkey, and Spain in the 12th century. Sunni Muslim sects also started celebrating it later on.

Eid-e-Milad holds great significance for Sufi and Barelvi sects, but it is not universally accepted within the Muslim community.


Eid-e-Milad celebrations have evolved over time. In Egypt, early celebrations involved prayers, speeches, Quranic verses, and a large public feast. People of the ruling clan were honoured as they were believed to be Caliphs, which were considered to be representatives of Prophet Muhammad.

Later, as the practices got modified under heavy Sufi influence, the celebrations were marked with animal sacrifices, public discourses, night time torchlight processions and a public banquet. 

Eid-e-Milad is celebrated by Muslims wearing new clothes, offering prayers and exchanging greetings. They get together at a mosque or at a dargah and start their day with a morning prayer followed by a procession carried out from the mosques to the town, and narrate stories of the Prophet’s life and teachings as mentioned in the Holy Quran. Community meals are organised, donations are made towards the needy and poor people, and night-long prayers are also part of the celebrations.

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Updated: 27 Sep 2023, 05:00 AM IST

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