Tripoli, 18 January 2013:
The Chief Mufti, Sheikh Sadeq Al-Ghariani, has called on Libyans not to observe the Prophet’s Birthday usually known . . .[restrict]as the Mawlid (Mawlid Al-Nabi, “Birth of the Prophet”). It falls on the 12th of the Islamic month of Rabi Al-Awwal, which this year corresponds to 24 January,
In a statement issued by his office, the Dar Al-Ifta, he said that none of the first Caliphs — Abu Bakr, Umar nor Uthman and Ali — nor any of the Companions of the Prophet had celebrated it. Nor did any of the founders of the four schools of Islam condone it. He said it had been first celebrated by the Fatimids — who were Shiites.
There is division among Muslim scholars about celebrating the birthday, although only Salafists are strongly opposed, calling it un-Islamic.
The festival is a public holiday in Libya as it is in almost all Arab and Muslim countries other than Qatar and Saudi Arabia where any observance is forbidden.
Last year, Libya’s Salafists ordered people not to celebrate the event and threatened action against those who did so. In the event, they were ignored. Some say that they may feel strong enough to try to stop them this time.
The Mawlid has traditionally been marked by processions of Sufi brotherhood, particularly in Tripoli’s Old City as well as lots of fireworks.
They are already being let off in large amounts.