Milad-un-Nabi: Through The Ages

What is the first thing you do when you get a new calendar? I know what I do: check all the holidays. And I am sure I am not the only one. One of the major celebration days we find in the calendar is ‘Milad-un-Nabi’. Now, we all know that this is the celebration of birthday of Hazrat Mohammad, the prophet of Islam. So, we take the holiday as a major religious day.

But, is it just that?

The story of Milan-un-Nabi celebrations reveals more about the human nature than just religious rituals. Let’s look at the colourful Milad-un-Nabi history.

  • The beginning

 Prophet Mohammad was alive during 570-632 CE. We are all aware of his works and how he became the prophet. Yet the first celebration of his birthday (‘Milad’ literally means birthday in Arabic) was observed in around 10th century CE during the reign of the Fatimid Caliphate. The Fatimids were the direct descendants of the Prophet’s daughter Fatimah.

The first celebrations were observed by the rich and the aristocrats to create a sense of belonging among the Caliphate’s citizens. The ruling members played an important role in all the processions and the recital of Quranic verses. The earliest celebrations took place during daytime. This clearly shows that the celebrations are more about social togetherness and upholding the greatness of one human being and not just about religious fervour attached to the idea.

  • The traditional celebrations

The birthday or Milad is celebrated around the world with various rituals observations and methods of festivity. One of the most important aspects of this celebration is the recital of Na’at and Durood during the festivity. Both are forms of praising the prophet and India has a rich tradition of this kind of poetry in various languages like Urdu, Panjabi, Bengali, etc.

Persian, Turkish and Arabic Na’at are popular around the world. Composing poetry in praise of great personalities has been a celebrated tradition among the Indian poets since the beginning of our civilisation. And Na’at composition is just another glorious part of this time-honoured practice. Throughout the history of Islam in India, poets from all over the country have composed and sang Na’at as a potent form of praising the prophet. Today sending Na’at as Milad-un-Nabi messages is a popular part of the celebration.

  • The modern trends

While reciting old Na’at and Durood is a traditional way to celebrate Milad, new forms are also emerging throughout the world. Just like Christmas is celebrated with fairy lights, gifts and feast with family and friends, Milad is also being enjoyed with these new ways.

Shayaris praising the prophet has also become a popular trend. Just like the old practice of common Na’at recital, Milad-un-Nabi Shayaris reflect the modern ways of upholding the prophet’s works and beliefs in a beautiful and creative way. The modern language of these shayaris has made them a must have item for the festivities.

Milad-un-Nabi is one of those festivals when we not just celebrate the religious; rather, we take part in celebration of humanity as a whole.

Recent Blog Post