CAIRO: Thousands of Muslims have flocked to Islamic Cairo Tuesday to celebrate the closing night ceremony of Moulid al-Hussein, an annual religious celebration marking the birthday of the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, Youm7 reported.
The 7-day-long celebration took place in several pavilions and marquees outside the Al-Hussein Mosque, one of the most sacred Islamic monuments with its mausoleum strongly believed to house the head of Imam Hussein Ibn Ali (626A.D.-680A.D.)
The program of events and activities during the Moulid celebration follows tradition rather than religious obligations. Lighting installments, Quran verses played through loud speakers, voices of drum beatings, vendors, religious chanting and Sufi dancers with colorful dresses are among the Moulid’s common aspects that took place in the alleys surrounding the mosque’s neighborhood. The activities increase daily along with the number of visitors coming from different parts of the country for the special occasion and the numbers reach its peak at the closing night ceremony.
Every year, the festival presents different cultural interpretations of Sufi music and religious chanting by inviting Sufi bands and chanters from all over Egypt. This year, renowned Upper Egyptian Sufi chanter Mahmoud el-Tohamy has performed among others.
According to Islamic history, Imam al- Hussein was killed during the Battle of Karbala which took place in 680 AD between a group of supporters and relatives of al-Hussein, and a much larger military detachment from the forces of Yazid I of Damascus, the Umayyad caliph, to whom Hussein had refused to give an oath of allegiance.
His death during one of the most brutal battles in the history of Islam has cemented deep and lasting division among Muslims that persist to this day.
Although his body was buried in shrine at a mosque that bears his name in Karbala, it is strongly believed that his head was transported to Cairo to be buried in a mausoleum at a mosque that also bears his name.
“Moulid”, meaning birthday in Arabic, is an Egyptian celebration of a holy person performed by both Muslims and Copts to honor their Saints. Held every year in Upper Egypt’s governorate of Asyut, the Coptic Christian Moulid of Virgin Mary is the most significant attended by thousands of Copts and Muslims every year.
Moulid al-Naby (the birthday of Prophet Muhammad) is the most celebrated Moulid holiday in every city throughout Egypt.