Friday, September 17, 2021

Muslims mark The Prophet’s Birthday, Dec. 24


The Muslim holiday known as Eid Milad ul-Nabi celebrates the Prophet Muhammad’s life. It falls on the 12th or 17th day of the Islamic month of Rabi’ al-awwal, and it is commonly referred to as the “Prophet’s Birthday.”

Some American Muslims mark the holiday, which began at sundown today, by fasting or holding communal meals, special prayers, or outdoor celebrations.

To my Muslim friends, I take this opportunity to wish you a happy Eid and pray, with you, that this celebration will usher in an era in your life and in all of our lives of peace and love.

I wish to note here, without direct quotation, several angry people who call themselves Christians and have polluted the Internet with hateful messages about this holiday. Many have claimed Muslim leaders changed the date of the holiday so that it would overshadow Christmas.

Nothing could be further from the truth, as reported last week, calling this rumor “false” on its website.

Muslims follow a lunar calendar, so the date of this holiday changes every lunar year. It last occurred on January 3, 2015, and will next occur on December 12, 2016.

The same volume of idiocy didn’t accompany the holiday in 2008, when it fell on Holy Thursday (Maunday Thursday in some Christian denominations). But then again, the same idiots weren’t as vocal about their notion, wrongly held, that many Muslims are terrorists.

As I’m a Christian and know too little about Islam, I can only offer a prayer from my tradition, which celebrates Christmas Eve on the same day as Muslims celebrate the Prophet’s Birthday.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. … You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, “You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.” But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again … anyone who says, “You fool!” will be in danger of the fire of hell. —Jesus

And from His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso:

Unless we know the value of other religious traditions, it is difficult to develop respect for them. Mutual respect is the foundation of genuine harmony. We should strive for a spirit of harmony, not for political or economic reasons, but rather simply because we realize the value of other traditions. I always make an effort to promote religious harmony.

We must, with all of humanity, join our voices in calling for an end to the spreading of false rumors and lies about our Muslim brothers and sisters. I thought we were passed that long ago, but then, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and other angry presidential candidates had not come onto the scene.

Mr Trump’s rhetoric may gain support from un-American, purportedly-Christian White men, but nobody should doubt that the comments he has directed at Muslims encourage extremism. He’s not just against Muslims, who make up a small percentage of the US population, but against women as well, who make up more than half of America.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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