Muslims in the coastal city of Mombasa over the weekend have joined other members of the Islamic faith around the world in marking the birth of Prophet Muhammad.
Prophet Muhammad was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on the 12th day of the third month in the Islamic calendar Rabi-ul-awwal 570ad.
The birthday celebration is commemorated all over the Muslim world with festivals and public holidays with green and white colours displayed.
Festive mood has spread across Mombasa and its environs as Muslims held special celebrations to mark the birth of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him), highlighting the Prophet’s teachings and praying for peace.
Mombasa residents celebrate the blessed day by following local customs such as serving traditional food, family visits, as well as holding religiously inspired rituals such as Quran recitation.
The annual commemoration (Maulid) has seen faithful flocking to mosques and open grounds to pray and recite poems with calls on Muslims to be good ambassadors of the religion.
Al-Mawlid Al-Nabawi is an Islamic event that commemorates the anniversary of the birth of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
It is a religious holiday that is observed as a public holiday in many countries that have a large Islamic population.
Al-Mawlid Al-Nabawi is celebrated on the 12th day of Rabee Al-Awwal, which is the third month of the Islamic calendar.
As it is based on the Islamic, lunar calendar, it is celebrated on a different day in the Gregorian calendar each year and this year the celebrations took place from the 7th-8th October.
Religious leaders led by Sheikh Aboud Mohamed called on Muslims to increase their love for the prophet and follow his teachings and practices.
Sheikh Mohamed is also the Imam of Sheikh Jundan Mosque in the Central Business district (CBD) said the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed is the most significant event of the Islamic calendar as his arrival brought light to the world.
Sheikh Mohamed says Muslims view the celebration called Mawlid al-Nabi, or simply the Mawlid, like many other Islamic celebrations as a sign of respect and adoration of the last messenger of God.
The cleric said the love for humanity, humility and generosity exemplified by Prophet Muhammad should be embraced by all.
He said the day was marked with special prayer sessions, recitation of the Holy Quran and praise to Allah, with a call on Muslims to do charitable works like the Prophet on this day.
He said celebrations of Mawlid al-Nabi include sharing food, attending lectures about the Prophet’s life and virtues, participating in marches, reciting the Qur’an and devotional poetry of the Prophet.
Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Sharif Nassir who joined the faithful urged Muslims to emulate the examples and legacies of the beloved last prophet of Islam.
“The Prophet Muhammad is an ethical and spiritual role model for millions of Muslims across the globe including here in Mombasa,” he said adding that the commemoration of his life is one of the ways of keeping his memory alive in the collective Muslim consciousness.
Governor Nassir, who greeted Muslims across the seaside city on the birthday of the prophet of Islam, spoke at an event held at the Makadara open grounds to mark the special day.
The Governor used the occasion to urge Muslims in the port city to coexist peacefully and harmoniously with people of other faiths.
He called on the faithful to rededicate themselves to the commandments of God including shunning all kinds of mischief which might disrupt public peace and human brotherhood.
“On this anniversary of the birth of our beloved prophet my message to the people of Mombasa and Kenya at large is to be the best ambassadors of the prophet and his great legacies,” he said.
He called on religious leaders to endeavour to preach tolerance as this will enhance peaceful coexistence among Kenyans of diverse faiths.
By Hussein Abdullahi