Rabi-ul-Awwal is the third month of the Islamic calendar and 12th of this month marks the birth of the last Prophet of Islam. Mawlid is an Arabic word which means ‘place and time of birth’ but in Islamic literature Mawlid-un-Nabbiyi means ‘Birth of the Prophet’. It is believed that Muhammad, the last Prophet of Islam, was born in the year 569 A.D when Abraha, the Abyssinian governor of Yemen, attacked Mecca in order to destroy the Ka’bah.
In the eleventh century, four centuries after the death of the Prophet Muhammad during the period of Fatimid dynasty in Egypt this festive celebration began. The Muslim Ummah honors and commemorates this day and in about 47 Muslim countries around the world including: Algeria, Morocco, and Pakistan, the 12th of Rabi-ul-Awwal is a public holiday. Countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar do not place great emphasis on this day because these countries are officially Wahhabi/Salafi who consider this an innovation (bid’ah) of the religion.
Street processions, charity and poetry related to the Prophet Muhammad are the major events observed in Algeria during the celebration of this day. All the cities of Algeria take an active part in the celebration of this honored day. People decorate their streets, cars, buses, and numerous khutbahs’ (holy sermons) are held to preach and impart the beautiful teachings of the Prophet.
In the year 2015, a conference based on the theme: Sira (life) of Prophet was held at the headquarters of the High Islamic Council, Algiers on the occasion of the Mawlid un Nabi. The host of the conference Said Rahmani said, “The Sira of the Prophet must be a reference for all Muslims.”
Moreover, Béni-Abbès which is also known as the White oasis and Pearl of Saoura is a town in the Béchar province in Western Algeria. In the oasis of Béni-Abbés, during the celebration of the Mawlid the square of the town is the main center of the Karkabou music and the local dances. This enables the people of the Saoura region to sit together and celebrate.
Also, the people of Algeria celebrate not only the day of Mawlid un Nabi that is 12th of Rabi-ul-Awwal but the festivities begin as soon as the crescent of the third month appears. There are religious poems which are recited and praises are sung in the mosques. This tradition was started by a tribe of Ouled Sidi El Hadj Hamou Belhadj. According to a report, the province of Adrar has a town, Timimoun, where the celebrations continued till the seventh day after the birth of the Prophet. These festivities also attract foreign tourists as they are able to observe the Algerian culture and traditions at work. The public institutions of Timimoun planned some events for the last day of the celebration. There was an exhibition of handcrafted products, the méhari race and an opportunity to recite folklore.
The Muslims follow the teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad in order to live a meaningful and prosperous life as well as to earn the Divine rewards in the Hereafter.