Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi is a day of both celebration and mourning. On this day, both birth and death anniversaries of Prophet Muhammad are observed.
However, Eid-e-Milad should not be confused with the other two Eids- Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha, Muslims celebrate.
It is a day to remember the teachings and kindness of the holy Prophet and the followers observe his birthday out of a desire to show their love and reverence of the Prophet.
Different sects of Islam observe or celebrate the Prophet’s birth on different dates of the month.
Also, there are some differences within Islamic sects as to whether the Eid-E-Milad should be observed or not. While mostly all the sects approve of the festival, few sects like that of Wahhabi and Ahmadiyya oppose it.
The Muslims also recite Naat-Shareef (Exalted Poetry) and sing hymns in praise of the Prophet Muhammad. Eid-e-Milad is also called Maulid or Mawlid, since naat and hyms are sung in praise of the Prophet.
The Milad is celebrated in Rabi-al-Awwal, the third month of the Islamic calendar.
According to Islamic belief, the Prophet was born on the 12 day of Rabi-al-Awwal in 570 AD in the city of Mecca. While some historians trace the origin of the celebrations to Turkey, few argue it began in Egypt.
In early days, no such festivities to celebrate the Prophet’s birthday were in place, according to many scholars and historians.
Some also believed that it was only adopted to counter the festivities Christmas celebrations—the birthday of Jesus Christ.
Followers who approve of the celebrations claim that there are many references of Milaad-un-Nabi in the holy Quran.
The Sunni and the Shia sects have a different take on the ways of marking the day. The Shia community believes that on this day Prophet Muhammad chose Hazrat Ali as his successor. The Sunni community holds prayers throughout the month and they do not practice mourning on this day.