In 2007, Mawlid was celebrated by Sunni Muslims on March 31st. It was celebrated by Shi’as on April 5th. In the Gregorian calendar, the standard calendar of Western countries, the date moves each year, because the Islamic calendar is lunar, while the Gregorian is solar. In Arabic, Mawlid means “birthday” and Mawlid An-Nabi is one of the formal names given to the specific day to celebrate Muhammad, or in Shi’a Islam, the family of Ali in particular.
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.