When Muhammad was born in eighth century in Mecca, the mother of Harun al-Rashid, Al-Khayzuran transformed the house into a place of prayer but public celebrations of the birth of Muhammad did not occur till centuries after his death. Originally the festival was majorly celebrated by the Shia ruling class. The first official celebrations of Mawlid took place in Egypt by Fatimid dynasty in eleventh century. The Fatimids celebrations were influenced by the elements of Sufi.

mawlid.jpgAnimal sacrifices were done and torchlight processions along with public sermons were held and then all these were followed by a feast. The celebrations continued all through the day. The ruler of dynasty play key role in the ceremonies.

Holy Quran was recited, sermons were offered and emphasis was laid on Ahl al-Bayt. Officials were given gifts to strengthen support for the ruling caliph.

Sunnis first celebrated Mawlid in twelfth-century Syria, under the rule of Nur ad-Din. According to some theorists Sunnis only adopted this Shi ite festival to counter Christian influence in Spain and Morocco. The celebrations were discontinued for sometime by Ayoubides and restricted the celebration only to family. Muzaffar ad-din re-introduced the event in 1207 and thus it regained status as an official event.

The practice traveled all round the Islamic countries. The folklore and Sufi practices of them greatly influenced the celebrations. By 1588 it had spread to the Ottoman empire. It was officially observed as national festival throughout the Ottoman empire.


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