Kenya Muslims recently celebrated Milad UN Nabi — the birth of Prophet Mohamed (Peace be upon him) with great respect, love and religious fervour.
Milad functions were organised by the faithful and held in mosques and community halls to pay homage to the last Messenger of Allah whose life and teachings are a beacon of light and inspiration for the entire humanity.
At the celebrations, recitations from the Holy Quran, extracts from the life and character of the chosen one of Allah, his message of peace and universal brotherhood, interspersed with inspiring talks to follow the righteous path in service to the Almighty and humanity, were the highlights.
Observance of Milad in Kenya has no language barriers as love and admiration for the Prophet reign supreme, with recitations in Urdu, Punjabi, Kiswahili and English, all with a touch of Arabic. Naats or poetic recitations in praise of the Prophet of Islam also form an integral part of the celebration. The Naat compositions admire and highlight the attributes of the chosen one in an extremely unique and beautiful manner.
These recitations are generally not accompanied by any musical instrument. However, in some circles, a DAFF (small percussion instrument) comes in handy.
This year’s celebration brought back many a nostalgic memories of days gone by when Naat competitions were held in Nairobi during the holy observances. My favourite Naat reciters or Naat Khawans were stalwarts Mohamed Umar, Kafaitullah Awan, Seemein and Shabir Ansari. Parveen Adam, Waheed Khan and Ashraf Khan also excel in this revered art.
Another nostalgic memory is the great Milad Jaloos or procession that used to highlight the Nairobi celebrations. The faithful, led by religious leaders, Ismaili drummers and youthful social and religious Muslim organisations, would proceed from Sir Ali Muslim Club on Park Road via Ngara, Racecourse Road and River Road, chanting praises for the beloved Prophet and glorifying Allah all the way to Jamia Mosque in the City Centre.
Here the faithful would offer thanksgiving prayers to seek heavenly blessings. The processions are also an inherent part of the celebration these days but not to that magnitude.
Islam teaches oneness of the Almighty, peace, brotherhood and understanding across the cultural, religious and racial divides. The Milad celebration provides a welcome opportunity for the faithful to rededicate themselves to following the sacred doctrine of faith and selfless service to humanity. As we thank the Almighty for all the bounties He has bestowed upon us, I also take this opportunity to wish our readers a merry Christmas.