CAIRO: Thousands of Muslims flocked to Islamic Cairo Tuesday to celebrate the closing night ceremony “El Lilah el Kebera” of Moulid al-Hussein, an annual religious celebration marking the birthday of the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad, Youm7 reported.
The celebration took place in several pavilions outside the 860-year-old Al-Hussein Mosque; one of the most sacred Islamic monuments; its mausoleum is strongly believed to house the head of Imam Hussein Ibn Ali (626A.D.-680A.D.,) who was the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.
Lighting installments, Quran verses played through loud speakers, beating drums, vendors, religious chanting and Sufi dancers with colorful dresses are all part of the traditions surrounding the Moulid celebrations..
The activities of the 7-day-long Moulid increase daily along with the number of visitors coming from different parts of the country, with most visitors coming for the closing 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 performed.
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 caused a deep and continuous division among Muslims.
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 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.