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Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi: Muslims worldwide celebrate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad
Friday, January 25th, 2013

Prophet Muhammad’s birthday — a holiday known as Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi — is celebrated by Muslim communities in countries throughout the world this week. Milad-un-Nabi takes place in the third month of the Islamic calendar, with origins believed to date back to the end of the 11th century.

This year, Sunni Muslims celebrate Milad-un-Nabi on Jan. 24, while Shiite Muslims commemorate the holiday five days later on Jan. 29 — a date that coincides with the birth of their sixth Imam, Ja'far al-Sadiq.

Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi is marked by large crowds of Muslims gathering in public settings to hear stories about the different aspects of the prophet's life.

In Pakistan, the holiday is honored with the raising of the national flag near monuments, followed by a gun salute at dawn. People decorate their homes and mosques with bright lights.

Large processions and a carnival-like atmosphere dominate the scene in Pakistan, but in other parts of the world the festival takes on a far more somber tone. Some Muslims see Milad-un-Nabi as contradictory to Sharia law, and choose to eschew the celebratory aspects of the holiday in favor of an opportunity to fast or spend time reading the Quran.

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Pakistani Muslims light fireworks as they celebrate on the eve of Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi (Birth of the Prophet) in Lahore, Pakistan, on Jan. 24, 2013. Pakistani Muslims will celebrate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad on Jan. 25.

(Arif Ali - AFP/Getty Images)
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A Pakistani mosque is illuminated along a street to mark the Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi (Birth of the Prophet) in Lahore, Pakistan, on Jan. 24, 2013. Pakistani Muslims will celebrate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad on Jan. 25.

(Arif Ali - AFP/Getty Images)
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A Pakistani boy walks under lights ahead of Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi (Birth of the Prophet) festivities in Karachi, Pakistan, on Jan. 23, 2013. Muslims across the world celebrated the birth of the Prophet Muhammad this week.

(Rizwan Tabassum - AFP/Getty Images)
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Pakistani pedestrians cross an illuminated street to mark the celebration Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi (Birth of the Prophet) in Lahore, Pakistan, on Jan. 24, 2013. Pakistani Muslims will celebrate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad on Jan. 25.

(Arif Ali - AFP/Getty Images)
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Pakistani Muslims light fireworks as they celebrate on the eve of Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi (Birth of the Prophet) in Lahore, Pakistan, on Jan. 24, 2013. Pakistani Muslims will celebrate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad on Jan. 25.

(Arif Ali - AFP/Getty Images)
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Pakistani Muslims march during celebrations marking Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi (Birth of the Prophet Muhammad) in Lahore, Pakistan, on Jan. 23, 2013. Muslims across the world celebrated the birth of the Prophet Muhammad this week.

(Arif Ali - AFP/Getty Images)
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A young Pakistani Muslim rides on camel at a rally during celebrations on the eve of Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi (Birth of the Prophet) in Lahore, Pakistan, on Jan. 24, 2013. Pakistani Muslims will celebrate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad on Jan. 25.

(Arif Ali - AFP/Getty Images)
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Pakistani Muslims carry torches during a march as they celebrate on the eve of Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi (Birth of the Prophet) in Lahore, Pakistan, on Jan. 24, 2013. Pakistani Muslims will celebrate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad on Jan. 25.

(Arif Ali - AFP/Getty Images)
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Palestinian scouts play music during a ceremony commemorating the birth of Prophet Muhammad, known in Arabic as "Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi," outside the Dome of the Rock in the old city of Jerusalem, Israel, on Jan. 24, 2013.

(Ahmad Gharabli - AFP/Getty Images)
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Pakistani Muslims chant slogans as they march during celebrations marking Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi (Birth of the Prophet) in Lahore, Pakistan, on Jan. 23, 2013. Muslims across the world celebrated the birth of the Prophet Muhammad this week.

(Arif Ali - AFP/Getty Images)
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Palestinian scouts play music during a ceremony commemorating the birth of Prophet Muhammad, known in Arabic as "Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi," outside the Dome of the Rock in the old city of Jerusalem, Israel, on Jan. 24, 2013.

(Ahmad Gharabli - AFP/Getty Images)
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A Pakistani woman walks under lights ahead of Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi (Birth of the Prophet) festivities in Karachi, Pakistan, on Jan. 23, 2013. Muslims across the world celebrated the birth of the Prophet Muhammad this week.

(Rizwan Tabassum - AFP/Getty Images)
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It's a lovely thing when shared traditions unite so many different people.