or Mau·lid

[ mou-lid ]


, Islam.
  1. a Muslim holiday celebrating the birth of Muhammad, occurring on the twelfth day of the month of Rabiʿ al-awwal, and characterized especially by the recitation of panegyrical poems honoring Muhammad.
  2. the poems recited on this occasion.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of Mawlid1

< Arabic mawlid ( al-nabī ) birthday (of the Prophet)


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More About Mawlid

What is Mawlid?

Mawlid is a Muslim holy day in observance of the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad.

It is sometimes spelled Maulid or Maulud or referred to as Eid Mawlid (Eid means “festival” or “feast day”). Sometimes, the word Mawlid is used in a general way to refer to the birthday of any holy figure. The observance of Muhammad’s birth is sometimes referred to more specifically as Mawlid al-Nabī (meaning “Birth of the Prophet”).

Mawlid occurs during the Islamic Calendar month of Rabiʿ al-Awwal. Muslims observe it in different ways and at different times. In some places, such as Pakistan, the celebration of Muhammad’s birth is observed throughout the entire month. Some Muslims do not observe it at all.

Mawlid is also the name used to refer to the special poems that are sometimes recited on the day.

When is Mawlid?

The exact birth date of Muhammad isn’t known, and members of different divisions within Islam observe Mawlid at different times. It is observed on the 12th day of Rabiʿ al-Awwal by most Sunni Muslims and some others, while some Shiʿah Muslims observe it on the 17th day of the month. Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, the corresponding date of Mawlid changes from year to year. Also, because the start of each month depends on the sighting of a new moon, the days within that month may shift forward if the sighting comes a day later.

In 2023, the observance of Mawlid on the 12th of Rabiʿ al-Awwal is expected to occur on September 27, and the observance on the 17th is expected to occur on  October 2. In 2024, the observance of Mawlid on the 12th of Rabiʿ al-Awwal is expected to occur on September 15, and the observance on the 17th is expected to occur on September 20.

More information and context on Mawlid

Mawlid comes from an Arabic word meaning “birth” or “birthday. It is sometimes followed by al-nabī, meaning “of the Prophet.” It is also sometimes referred to as Eid Mawlid, in which Eid means “festival” or “feast day.”

The birth of Muhammad has been celebrated or observed in some way since at least the 1100s, with an observance in the early 1200s recognized by some Muslims as the first Mawlid.

Some Muslims celebrate Mawlid by reciting certain poems, including one known as Qasīdat al-Burda. Observance of the day also often involves saying special prayers or decorating mosques with lights.

Some Muslims don’t celebrate Mawlid because of their belief that such celebrations are not in line with Islam’s teachings.

What are some terms that often get used in discussing Mawlid?

How is Mawlid discussed in real life?

Mawlid is observed by Muslims in different ways. For some, it is a time of celebration.


Try using Mawlid!

True or False?

Mawlid is sometimes called Eid Mawlid.