There are a number of significant days to celebrate in Islam, but the days that are dedicated solely to the final prophet -- the messenger of God, Muhammad the Prophet -- is the birth week of the Prophet, which is celebrated between April 14-20.
Originally the Holy Birth week was fixed between April 20 and 26, but as these dates created controversy -- some said Holy Birth week overshadowed April 23, Turkey’s National Sovereignty and Children’s Day -- the Religious Affairs Directorate finally moved the week to April 14-20.
The Holy Birth week is celebrated only in Turkey, which introduced the celebration of the weeklong event around 20 years ago. The week of the Holy Birth is widely seen as an opportunity to better understand the Prophet Muhammad and strengthen feelings of solidarity, fraternity and unity in society around a shared love for the Prophet. Religious leaders also view this week and such holy days as an opportunity to tell people about Islam.
Every year a virtue is determined by a committee formed by the Religious Affairs Directorate as the main theme of the Holy Birth week. Last year’s theme was compassion and this year’s is brotherhood.
Faruk Beşer, a theology professor at Sakarya University, speaking with Sunday’s Zaman, explained the meaning of brotherhood and why it has such great significance this year: “Brotherhood can be maintained either by shared blood or by shared values -- more specifically, by faith. The strong bond of brotherhood between people who share the same religion is as important as the bond between brothers of the same family. The former serves familial peace, while the latter serves social peace and social unity.” Especially in such a crucial period in terms of foreign relations, Muslims -- specifically those in the conflict-stricken Arab countries and Syria -- have come to better realize and grasp the importance of fraternity and solidarity, Beşer added.
Islamic scholars, in cooperation with local religious leaders, have organized a variety of activities for Holy Birth week all over the country.
Religious Affairs Directorate High Commission member Hüseyin Kayapınar told Sunday’s Zaman that “these Holy Birth week activities and celebrations produce a spiritual atmosphere around the entire country. This particular week is a great opportunity to tell people about Islam.”
Religious Affairs Directorate President Mehmet Görmez, joining celebrations in Diyarbakır in the first week of April, said we need to understand the Prophet, to talk about him and unite around his love more than ever. “Every creation of God is a brother to His other creations. This is the exact opposite view of ‘man is a wolf to [his fellow] man.’”
Colorful celebrations across Turkey
At celebrations all over the country, which have already begun, roses as a symbol of the Prophet have been distributed, recitations from the Quran have been made. In Kırıkkale’s Yahşihan district, 67 people between the ages of 50 and 86 set a goal to learn how to read the Quran in Arabic before the Holy Birth week. In the first week of April, enjoying their achievement, these 67 Quran enthusiasts were awarded with Qurans and received certificates of appreciation from the Kırıkkale mufti, Bekir Gerek. He said: “This is proof that age does not matter when it comes to learning something new.” The festivities have already begun; last week Turkey saw a wide variety of celebrations. The Nevşehir Provincial Mufti’s Office organized a contest in which participants wrote a letter to the Prophet. The purpose was to allow people to clearly see their feelings toward the Prophet and express them. In the eastern province of Hakkari, where Turkish and Kurdish cultures mingle in harmony, the Holy Birth week was celebrated with hymns in both Turkish and Kurdish. In Ankara, a choir of 35 students, all from different countries, sang hymns about fraternity. In Antalya six whirling dervishes, aged 11 to 14, performed the sema. In Kocaeli a sema included 22 female dervishes and 23 reed flute and percussion instrument performers. Residents in Yozgat came together in the city’s large squares to recite the Quran for seven days.
Imam of capital's Grand Mosque says 'tiny' community gets little financial support
Smithsonian exhibition includes 47 handwritten Qurans from Turkey
Ishaq intended to travel from France to Makkah on foot.
The story of Sheikh Yusuf, who went to Arabia at a tender young age never to return to his homeland, turning these far lands into his 'own Macassar', has a lot of deep wisdom
Whilst pilgrimage in these times are comfortable, pilgrims in the Ottoman period was nothing less than a three month journey with much sacrifice and one of seven traditional routes used in the journey
Phadungsat Mosque in southern tourist area of Phuket built with Saudi Arabian donation of $35,000
Salahudin Ayyubi was a fighter who was freed in Jerusalem of the crusaders, he was a living example of the tolerant, progressive, and inclusive faith which was so dear to his heart. By showing restraint and peaceful treatment, Salahuddin was upholding the central tenets of Islam such as freedom of religion and protection of non-Muslims.
Talk about Muslims of Gujarat and pictures of genocide of 2002 come to mind. How is that Muslims, who have lived and shaped Gujarati identity for over a millennium, are now living on the fringe of Gujarati society?
Muslims around the world will be marking the first month of the Islamic calendar, also known as Hijri New Year, the second holiest month in the religion's calendar following Ramadan
The story of how this came about is far from simple, and much research needs to be done before its details are completely understood, but the broad outlines are clear.
According to current estimate, there are fewer Muslims of all ages in the U.S. than there are Jews by religion (5.7 million) but more than there are Hindus (2.1 million) and many more than there are Sikhs.
All I have done is try to be a good Muslim, and it’s great to be recognised on such a prestigious list for doing so!
Muslim leaders in Africa call for peace and perseverance on Eid al-Adha amidst war and economic hardships
Fellow Muslims across Asia spent the day slaughtering livestock, giving charity to the poor and visiting relatives on Islam's second-holiest holiday.
Malaysians involved in NGO efforts to help poorer Muslims with annual sacrificial festival also attend prayer at mosque
Muslim festival coincides with orthodox New Year, placing premium on livestock