Bungoma Muslims on Sunday celebrated Maulid. These are celebrations that mark the birth of Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h).
Muslims marched through the streets of Bungoma, playing songs commemorating the Prophet, a festival that many other mosques in the county and other counties also held.
The celebrations generally consist of lectures, speeches, poems and spiritual songs on the life of Mohammad and the Islamic lifestyle.
In a similar way that Christians use Christmas as a way of learning and reflecting on Christ’s life, Muslims see Milad ul-Nabi (the birth of prophet Muhammad or anniversary as others call it) as an important time to learn about and reflect on Mohammad’s life.
Prophet Muhammad’s birthday is commemorated by Muslims during the month of Rabi’ al-awwal, the third month of the Muslim calendar and it changes every year because the Islamic calendar is lunar.
Muhammad, who is the last Prophet in Islam, was born in the Saudi, holy city of Mecca in the year 570 A.D.
His uncle raised him after both the boy’s parents died while he was very young and he began to preach around the age of 40, and died from an illness in 632 after uniting Arabia into a single Muslim entity (ummah).
There are mixed beliefs on how one observes Muhammad’s birthday. Some people see the Prophet’s birthday as an event worthy of praise. Others view the celebration of birthdays as contradictory to Islamic law.
The birth of Prophet Muhammad normally is celebrated with large street parades, visiting Muslims cemeteries, mosques gathering for sermons, playing songs commemorating the prophet and eating.
Homes and mosques are also decorated while some people donating food and other goods for charity on or around this day.
Others listen to their children read out poems about events that occurred in the Prophet Muhammad’s life.
The precise date of his birth is unclear. However, Sunni Muslims observe Muhammad’s birthday on the 12th day of the Islamic month of Rabi’ al-awwal, while Shi’a Muslims mark it on the 17th day of this month.
Generally many Muslims celebrate Maulid on any day of the month of Rabi’ al-awwal, the month the prophet was born.
The Birth of Muhammad and the Early Years of his Life
Muhammad is believed to have been born in Mecca in the year 570 in the tribe of Quraysh. It was customary among wealthy Quraysh to entrust newborns to country women, whose lifestyles were deemed more pure and their Arabic of a higher standard. Muhammad was reportedly given to Halima al- saadiya as his foster mother who, according to Islamic tradition, witnessed great blessings by taking in the child.
A strange and mysterious event happened when he was 5 years old. Muhammad foster brother was playing with him then, suddenly Halima and her husband saw their son (Muhammad foster brother) came running back and shouted “two men dressed in white grabbed my brother and cut his chest.”
So then Halima and Al-Harith ran to Muhammad found him pale faced when they asked him what happen, He said. “Two men came and opened my chest and took a portion of it and no cut or any wound remained”
After this incident Halima took Muhammad back to Mecca and told his mother of what happened. Then she knew that he was special and would grow up to be someone great and special.
The two people were angles sent by Allah.
His mother Aminah died when Muhammad was 6, and his father was already dead by then. The orphan was protected by his uncle Abu Talib and his grandfather Abdul-Muttalib.
Abu Talib, who held control among the Quraysh, protected Muhammad after his tribe turned against him when he declared himself a prophet decades later.
Abu Talib himself never converted to Islam.
At a young age, Muhammad started learning about business from his uncle. He was spoken about highly, and became a successful and trusted trader.
His tribesmen referred to him as “the trustworthy one.” According to Islamic tradition, it was while 12-year-old Muhammad was on a caravan trip with his uncle that a righteous Christian monk, Bahira, informed Abu Talib that his nephew would become a great prophet.
“This is the master of all humans, Allah will send him with a message which would be a mercy to all humans,” Bahira said.
It was not until Muhammad was 40 years old that he was commanded by the angel Gabriel, who carried God’s message, to declare God’s oneness and to shun the idolatry of his tribesmen.