Mawlid or Mawlid al-Nabi al-Sharif is the birthday observance and death commemoration of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. 12th Rabi' al-awwal is the accepted date among most of the Sunni scholars, while Shi'a scholars regard 17th Rabi' al-awwal as the accepted date.
Mawlid an-Nabī originated in the kingdom of Fatima of Egypt (909 -- 1171 AD).
The history of this celebration can be trace back to the early days of Islam when some of the Tabi`in began to hold sessions in which poetry and songs composed to respect the dignity and the righteous example of the Messenger of Allah were recited and sung to overflowing crowds in the major cities of Islamic Civilization. Eid Milad-un-Nabi, the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, is being celebrated today. Milad Mehfils and Seerat Conferences highlighting the life and teachings of the Prophet are being held across the country. Milad processions are also being organized to mark the day.
On this day, March 12 in the Islamic calendar, mosques around the world are newly decorated. Muslims gather early in the morning to bathe and worship in mosques. Muslims listen reverently to Imams reciting the Koran, telling stories about Muhammad's life, remembering and celebrating the achievements of the Prophet Muhammad in the creation of Islam.
Mawlid is a public holiday in many Islamic countries but not in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. Many schools, stores, businesses and organizations are open. Islamic schools, stores, businesses and organizations may be closed for part of or all of the day. Public transit systems usually operate to their regular schedule.
The term Mawlid is used in Egypt and Sudan to refer to the birthdays of both Muhammed and local Sufi saints. The birthdays of about 3000 Sufi saints are marked or celebrated. Some of these birthdays are large celebrations that attract visitors from various countries. One of the most notable of these is the celebration of Ahmed el-Bedawi's birthday. Ahmed el-Bedawi lived about 700 years ago and is believed to be buried under the Mosque of Sheikh el-Said Ahmed el-Badawi. The site attracts millions of visitors, including those who sleep in the mosque and in tents on the streets surrounding it. The word Mawlid, or Milad, depending on the method of transliteration used, comes from the Arabic word for birth and usually refers to the anniversary of Muhammed's birth. This observance is also known as Mevlid Serif in Turkish, Mawlūd Sharīf in Urdu and Maulidur-Rasūl in Malay.