Despite War, Mawlid Still Celebrated in Iraq - 06.04.2007

Mawlid is the day when Sunnis and Shi’as mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. In fact, the 12th of Rabi’ul’Awwal, or 17th for Shi’as, is traditionally believed to be the date of Muhammad’s death. It was arbitrarily fixed as the date to celebrate his birth, in 1207, when Muzaffar ad-Din Gökburi, brother-in-law of the famous Saladin.

This year Isam Rasheed documented some of the celebrations in Adhamiya, where the Abu Hanifa Mosque is located. Because of the location of the Abu Hanifa Mosque, or Imam Adham Abu Hanifa Mosque, Sunnis from all over Baghdad, and even many provinces in Iraq used to travel to Adhamiya for the celebrations.

This year, due to insecurity and on-going sectarian violence, it has become difficult for even Sunnis in Baghdad to make it to Adhamiya. Despite all of these difficulties Iraqis such as Qusay Al-Adhamiy and Waleed Tarek would not let the celebrations occur without the proper festivities. They each helped pay for the festivities in their area of Adhamiya by donating time and money.

Isam talks with them both about Mawlid and their hopes for Iraq’s future. For more about Mawlid, see Wikipedia, the Britannica Encylopedia(you will need a subscription to read much about it), or the Encyclopedia of the Orient. There is some controversy about the practice of Mawlid, you can read about that here.

For another video about celebrations in Iraq, see “Violence Can’t Stop Traditions in Baghdad“.

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