The Fatimid Shi’ahs Originated the Practice of Mawlid in Rabi’ al-Awwal

December 14, 2013

Barelwis claim that pious Sunnis originated the practice of Mawlid in Rabi’ al-Awwal. However, historical reality belies this claim. Although it is difficult to determine precisely when the practice of Mawlid in Rabi’ al-Awwal began, it is known for a fact that it was practised by the Shi’ah Fatimids before the Sunnis. Consider the following evidence:

The Sunni historian, Al-Maqrizī (766 – 845), quotes frequently in his al-Khitat from the book of Jamāl al-Dīn Mūsā ibn al-Ma’mūn (d. 588 H/1192 CE) which mainly consists of a chronicle of the years 514-18 H. In the date 517 H, Ibn al-Ma’mūn mentions that on the 13th of Rabī‘ al-Awwal, the Fātimid ruler distributed charity especially at the shrines of the household  of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and hosted a celebration of his birth. (Khitat, Maktabah Madbula, 2:216)

Al-Maqrizi also transmits in al-Khitat that Ibn al-Tuwayr (525 – 617) mentions a mawlid that happened on 12th Rabi‘ al-Awwal during the Fātimid reign in Egypt in which charity was distributed, there was Qur’an recital at the Azhar Mosque and a sermon on the Prophetic birth. (Khitat, Maktabah Madbula, 2:217-8) The Fātimid dynasty in Egypt fell at about 560 H.

Download Khitat from here.

All recorded Sunni Mawlids take place after these Fatimid Mawlids. Hence, based on historical verification, it was the Shi’ahs that innovated the celebration of Mawlid in Rabi’ al-Awwal. And it would not be farfetched to suggest that the Shi’ah celebrations inspired the later Sunni celebrations.