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Muslims to celebrate prophet's birthday

By Khamis Mohamed | December 22nd 2015

This December Muslims will be celebrating the birthday of Prophet Muhammad just like the Christians will be celebrating the birthday of their Messiah on December 25.

Prophet Muhammad’s birthday provides a unique opportunity for Muslims to foster unity, love and understanding and to address the myriad of problems facing them.

Among Muslims there is a slight difference of opinion about the exact day to celebrate Muhammad’s birthday. The Sunnis believe that it is the 12th of Rabi’ al-Awwal, which corresponds to December 24, while the Shias say it is the 17, which corresponds to December 29.

To accommodate both dates, the Islamic Republic of Iran proposed a week of Muslim Unity. It is called Week of Unity so that Muslims from both schools of thought can come together to honour the memory of the noble Prophet.

Unity is a cherished ideal that every Muslim must strive for at all times, especially today when sectarianism is deliberately promoted to create divisions in Muslim societies. Regrettably attempts at division have succeeded to some extent causing immense suffering in the Muslim world.

Differences of opinion in the society should be seen as a blessing but only if such differences have to be expressed in a peaceful manner.

Regrettably, this is far from the case today. There are groups, organisations and regimes that thrive on divisions among Muslims. Muslims will have to similarly rise above differences of race, colour, language and sect and strive for the larger goal of Muslim unity. This is what the Unity Week is all about.

At the annual Unity Week conference, which is held in Tehran during such time, scholars from all over the world and from all schools of thought in Islam are invited to not only share ideas, but also develop mutual understandings and respect. Muslims must inculcate the beautiful attribute of “mercy towards one another” by developing a clearer understanding of the Qur’an. Sectarian interests have no place in the world today.

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