When we were first married, my husband and I thought it would be nice to attempt an annual holiday. However, instead of travelling over summer or during the winter break, we decided that we would set off on our journeys in order to celebrate Mawlid in a new place each year. Everyone is always happy during the Mawlid, I remembering saying, I want to spend time around unapologetically happy people.
Ah, Mawlid, more formally known as Mawlid al-Nabi, is the yearly celebration of the birth our beloved Prophet Muhammad – abundant peace and blessings be upon him. On this day, the 12th of Rabi’ al-Awwal, Muslims from all places gather to share food and sweets with each other, remind themselves of his love for us and send blessings upon him and his family. Not only this day, but this entire month is devoted to renewing our love and longing for him and is a cause for joy around the world.
So, with this greater community in mind, Husband and I enthusiastically embarked upon our global Mawlid-hopping and kept to it for a good few years. From Europe to Africa and beyond, we were graced with uplifting and transformative encounters which helped reaffirm our faith, contributed to our own sense of belonging to the ‘Ummah of Muhammad’ and gifted us a deep and abiding joy for this time of year and the Prophet we honour and unite for.
Even after the birth of our eldest we managed a Mawlid trip or two but then, in a story so familiar, the practicalities increased with each new child and we became more… locally focused. Instead of rejoicing with new friends, we began to gather with old ones and placed our efforts into nurturing traditions in our own home, neighbourhood and community. I gladly admit that, much to my surprise, this new effort has been proven more sweet and radiant than I could have ever imagined in our more footloose days.
This year, we decided to arrange a Mawlid Tree in the house and add something to it everyday which reminds us of our beloved Prophet Muhammad. It has been a beautiful way to remind ourselves of his example and revisit some of our favourite stories from his life.
I found this wool wrapped wire tree second hand and as we were unwrapping it, we spoke about how it reminded us of the tree which cried and how our Prophet was a tree hugger.
My two eldest then decided to make these paper hearts, in order to symbolise the Prophet’s love for us.
Over the next few days we made and added lanterns to represent the verse of light, which was revealed him.
And then a bird with its nest, in honour of the bird which helped cover the Prophet’s hiding cave during the hijra.
Today, we are busy making and decorating these shapes, which in parts of the Muslim world, are taken to represent those who were amongst the most loved by our Prophet: Hazret Fatima, Hazret ‘Ali, Hazret Hassan and Hazret Hussain.
We have many more things to add, and as the month goes on, we will share them on our instagram – so follow us there, if you haven’t already. All suggestions for what would make a good addition to our Mawlid Tree are most welcome and we would love to know how you make Mawlid special in your lives and homes. May we continue to come together in gratitude and be unreservedly, unapologetically, happy.
“God and His angels bless the Prophet – so, you who believe, bless him too and give him greetings of peace.”
– Qur’an 33:56