Madiha Syedain - The holy month of Rabi-ul-Awal is here and now is the time to pay a glorious tribute to the Greatest Prophet of Humanity, Hazrat Muhammad (SAW). Miladun Nabi, marks the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and the Muslims around the world gather in homes and in mosques to express their love and respect for their Beloved Prophet.   

 As you drive along the road you will see trees decorated with yellow and silver twilights throughout the month. Public and private buildings, markets, houses, roads and streets will also be decorated in style.

The day begins with cool and calm weather and a spiritual peace dominates everywhere. On the eve of 12th Rabi-ul-Awal families enjoy get-togethers, millads and view the display of firecrackers over barbecue dinners. White candles at night glow on city walls. Grandparents tell stories of different aspects of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) life, his (SAW) birth, childhood, youth and adult life to their children and celebrate the festival so joyfully. According to Mrs Salman, “Eid Milad-un-Nabi is a great day for every Muslim and we make special arrangements on the birthday of the Holy Prophet (SAW) every year. It is just like an Eid for the Muslims.” Kids also buy small flags and love to decorate houses with traditional candles and lights.

The event is also marked by public gatherings of Muslims. At processions and meetings religious leaders make speeches and highlight the values and teachings of the Prophet. The recitations of Holy Quran, Mehfil-e-Naat and Qawalis are arranged in open grounds, hotels and at mosques. Specifically decorated buses and other mobile vans with pictures of holy places like Kaaba, Holy Quran etc remain mobile on the road and CDs of famous Naat Khuwan resound in air inviting many to celebrate the event with respect and vigor. Mobile services offer and forward special SMS and ring tones packages related to darud shareef, naat and prayer timings.

Various channels of television and radio telecast programs which emphasise the leadership qualities of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his final triumph over the Muslims of Mecca. Naat competitions, songs and salutations in the praise of Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) are also held.  

The most important part of Eid Milad-un-Nabi celebration is to understand and follow the character of the Prophet (SAW) ---his (SAW) teachings, sufferings and how he (SAW) forgave his bitter enemies. In various processions, speakers, point out the teachings of equality, justice and harmony. Different routes of the processions are decorated with buntings and banners inscribing the welcoming notes for the Holy Prophet (SAW). Special prayers are also offered for the unity of Muslim Ummah, progress and prosperity of Pakistan.  

Various Seerat writing competitions are conducted each year. These events include Seerat Books Competition in National, Regional and Foreign Languages, Na’at Books Competition, Islamic Books written by female scholars, Maqlat-e-Seerat (Men & Women) Competition, Competition of Journals/Magazines issuing ‘Special Seerat/ Na’at Numbers. These activities ensure the participations of people from all walks of society. Such functions always conclude with prayers for the prosperity, development of the country and welfare of the people. Special Seerat Numbers by newspapers and magazines are also encouraged.

The best articles presented in the Seerat Conference is broadcasted and telecasted on radio and TV along with an introductory note of best Seerat Books in Urdu, Foreign and Regional languages of Pakistan. Scouts from various schools and colleges, national volunteers, Civil Defence, Labour Force, Janbaz Force, Police and Rangers pay respect on this sacred occasions. On various points medical camps are set up to facilitate the public in time of emergency. Similarly, Rescue 1122 Emergency Service, Bomb Disposal Squad, Fire Brigade and Police in civilian garbs remain high on alert to deal with all kinds of security crises.

Muslims donate to charity and food is distributed among rich and poor.  Women prepare halwa, cook special feast and give fatayha over it.

Bakeries and restaurant make special cakes and cuisines on discounted prices. A bond of peace, unity and happiness prevails everywhere and spiritual blessings are showered on every Muslim.  

This year too the federal as well as the provincial governments, AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan governments have planned a number of activities to celebrate the annual event.  

Eid Milad-un-Nabi is a highly regarded religious occasion when the faithful express gratitude and thanks to Allah Almighty for blessing the universe with His last messenger and Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SAW).

Let us hope and pray that this Eid Milad-un-Nabi brings peace, prosperity and unity for every Muslim. (Ameen)