Rabi’ al-awwal is the third month in the Islamic calender. During this month, majority of the Muslims celebrate the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad S.A.W.. The name Rabī‘ al-awwal means the or beginning of spring, referring to its position in the pre-Islamic Arabian calendar. Hence this is considered to be a very blessed month.
On the 12th day of Rabi-ul-Awal muslim celebrate the birth of Mohammad S.A.W. known as Eid Milad-un Nabi.The celebration of the month is done differently depending on the country. In some areas celebrations begin as early as the first of the month and can continue till the end of the month. On these occasions sweets and drinks are also distributed widely from home to home and to the general public. In some areas Muslims also exchange gifts.
The first public celebrations of Eid Milad-un-Nabi occurred in Egypt towards the end of the 11th century. It was primarily a festival of the Shia ruling class. The celebrations featured Quran recitations, animal sacrifices, public sermons and feasts.
The first public observance of Eid Milad-un-Nabi by Sunnis took place in 12th century in Syria under the rule of Noor-un-Din Zangi. In 1910 it was given the official status as a national festival throughout the Ottoman Empire.Eid Milad-un-Nabi is now an official holiday in many Muslim countries throughout the world.
Green colored pennants are often seen during Milad-un-Nabi processions, on shrines and mosques. Green is a color associated with the Prophet as being one of his favourite colours. It is said that the Prophet chose a green colored flag to represent the Islamic republic during his life. Candles and oil lamps (Chiragan) are lit on the eve of 12 Rabi-ul-Awwal to welcome the Prophet’s arrival and to celebrate his birth.
Many people also donate to charity. Food and sweets are distributed among the poor and the needy. Moreover, contributions are made to support orphanages, asylums for the physically and mentally challenged, and widows.
Special prayers are offered at mosques. Religious leaders and scholars preach the Prophet Muhammed’s teachings. Stories and incidents from his life of morals, such as forgiveness, kindheartedness, bravery, wisdom, honesty, and peace lovingness, are quoted.
Eid Milad-un-Nabi congregations, rallies and processions also take place in major cities across Pakistan. These processions usually start from a central location and pass through designated routes, and end at the starting point.