Holidays and Regular Observances

Do Muslims celebrate events in connection with any other religious figures?

Popular practice in many places still includes annual commemorations of birthdays and death anniversaries of various important holy persons and Friends of God. Birthday celebrations of members of the Prophet’s family, such as Sayyida Zaynab, remain popular in places like Egypt. Lasting for up to seven days, the festivities are like sprawling street parties. Crowds grow daily, as does the intensity of the celebration. Vendors sell food and souvenirs and Qur’an reciters fill the air with sacred sounds from their booths up and down the streets. Mosques within the central area of celebration can be packed to overflowing. Birthdays of famous Friends of God frequently include recitation of classic poems extolling the saints’ spiritual achievements and glorious intimacy with God. Anniversaries of the death of God’s friends are also important in many regions, especially those further to the east. Since holy persons are fully united with God at death, the occasions are sometimes referred to as the saint’s Wedding Day (‘Urs, pronounced OORS). On the 6th of Rajab many Indian Muslims (and members of other faiths as well) observe the ‘Urs of Mu’in ad-Din Chishti, founder of a famous Sufi order, at his tomb in the city of Ajmer.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Religion Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App