Editor’s note: The Hafta-e-Wahdat (Week of Unity) is celebrated from 12 to 17 Rabi-ul-Awal by moderate Shias and Sunnis in Pakistan, Iran, India and other countries in order to jointly celebrate the birthday (Milad) of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). We welcome all such events which unite Sunni and Shia Muslims, and suggest that the Week of Unity should also be celebrated to forge solidarity not only between Sunnis and Shias but also with all other sects and faiths such as Ahmadis, Bahais, Ismaelis, Alawis, Zikris, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs etc. Religion must not be used to separate people from people. Allah sent our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) on earth as Rehmatul-lil-Alameen (mercy unto the worlds), the same spirit of universal mercy must be evident in our treatment of people of diverse faiths. May the Hafta-e-Wahdat becomes eternity. (End note)
‘Were it not for you, O Muhammad, I would not have created the universe’ *
Source: Pakistan Today, 5 Feb 2012
LAHORE – Like everywhere else in the world, the country is celebrating the birthday of Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be upon Him) on Rabi-ulAwal 12 falling on Sunday (today) with high religious spirits.
The provincial metropolis of Punjab was also abuzz last night with the celebrations of Milad-un-Nabi and Milad-related conferences, competitions and parties are being held in almost every nook and corner of city. The festivities started on Saturday with a provincial Seerat Conference held in Alhamra Hall. Auqaf and Religious Affairs Department of Punjab government had arranged the conference which was presided over by Provincial Minister for Religious Affairs Haji Ehsan-ud-Din Qureshi and was attended by other notable scholars from all sects of Islam.
Many other events also marked the arrival of day, the biggest of which, the Annual Milad Conference, was held at night in the Iqbal Park, Minar-e-Pakistan under the aegis of Minhajul Quran International where MQI Chief and religious scholar of Sunni school of thought Dr Tahir ul Qadri delivered a special lecture from Canada through a teleconference.
The venue was decorated with lights, flags, buntings and banners. Al-Azhar University Vice Chancellor Dr Osama Muhammad Al-Abd was the chief guest of conference while hundreds of thousands of people from all four provinces and delegations from Middle East and parts of Europe attended the conference. According to the organisers, a thousand goats had been slaughtered for the preparation of dinner meal for the attendees.
Apart from religious organisations and parties, a number of social groups, educational institutions and trader groups have also arranged special events for the commemoration of day where sermons on the lessons from life of Prophet (pbuh) would be delivered and naats would be recited. The streets and markets are illuminated with fancy lights and decorated with flower ropes, ribbons and banners. A main procession to commemorate the Milad will be brought out from Railway Station and led to Data Darbar while many other small processions will join it the central procession. For the processions and conferences, strict security measures have been adopted and checking gates were installed at entry paths of the venues of events.
A number of major gatherings have also been arranged in other parts of city including an event in Baba Ground behind civil Secretariat where Dawat-e -Islami is holding a Mehfil-e-Zikar-o-Naat on Sunday (today) to mark the Milad-un-Nabi.
Public places and official buildings including Governor House and CM Secretariat and others are also illuminated with decorating lights of different colours. On the night before the dawn of Rabi-ul-Awal 12, a large number of faithful including renowned scholars and Central Milad Committee of Data Darbar marched from Data Darbar to Regal Chowk with torches in their hands. Participants of the procession paid their reverences to Prophet (pbuh) by reciting holy verses of Durood.
In old localities mostly and rest of Lahore generally, children have been enthusiastic for past many days to compete their clay models of the mountains of Makkah and mosques of Madina. Parents are also seen involved in the activity to boost up the interest of their children in religious activities of Rabi-ul-Awal. Many have also bedecked their homes with lights and garlands on the holy day. In the markets, groups of students of religious seminaries are also busy collecting charity for their alma maters which take the day as an opportunity to generate their funds. Sweets, food and milk are also distributed amongst the destitute. A number of religious parties’ alliances have announced to observe the day as Tahafuze-Namoos-e-Risalat Day and have appealed to the clerics to highlight the “western conspiracies to malign Islam and Prophet of Islam”.
Meanwhile, per beliefs of Shia school of thought, Prophet of Islam was born on 17 of Rabi al Awwal instead of 12 which is also the birthday of sixth Imam of the sect Imam Jafar Sadiq. To promote the inter-sects harmony and love, Shia organisations have announced to observe Rabi-ul-Awal to 17 as “Hafta-e-Wahdat” (Week of Unity). The cinemas, for two days, have closed all the shows of films and movies since yesterday. For the processions and conferences, strict security measures have been adopted and checking gates were installed at entry paths of the venues of events.
The provincial government has directed to beef up the security arrangements all over the country, especially along the route of processions to avoid any untoward situations. Personnel of bomb disposal squad and ambulances are also kept on high alert for early response to any emergency and security personnel have been deployed all over the city.
*From a Hadith-e-Qudsi
Naat – Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) – Islam Ahmadiyya