Jamati volunteers line up to welcome guests at Uranus Hall in Kabul for the commemoration of Mowlud-e-Sharif, the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family). Photo: Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for Afghanistan
On 23 February, some 800 people gathered at Uranus Hall in Kabul to commemorate Mowlud-e-Sharif, the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family). The event, which was hosted by the Ismaili Council for Afghanistan, was attended by poets, scholars, Members of Parliament, government officials and representatives of other communities in Afghanistan.
Mowlud-e-Sharif — also called Milad-un-Nabi, which literally means “birth of the Prophet” — has been hosted annually by the Ismaili Council for Afghanistan since 2002, when Mawlana Hazar Imam established Jamati institutions in the country. Similar ceremonies were also held in Baghlan, Bamyan and Badakhshan, each drawing several hundred attendees.
Leaders of the Jamati institutions in Afghanistan prepare to receive guests at the Mowlud-e-Sharif event. Photo: Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for Afghanistan
The Kabul ceremony opened with a recitation from the Qur’an-e Sharif and the rendition of a qasida by younger members of the Jamat. Afterwards, various speakers addressed the audience, often recounting stories from the life of Prophet Muhammad, and the importance of his seerat (path) in the lives and faith of people today.
Mohammad Ali Setaigh and Shukria Barakzai, both Members of Parliament, also addressed the gathering. They expressed their admiration of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s work and his contribution to Afghanistan. Noting the Ismaili community’s tolerant and peaceful reputation, they added that the celebration of such events provided a platform for different communities of interpretation within the ummah to share their views and contribute to a more pluralistic culture in Afghanistan.
Some 800 people — women and men — gathered to commemorate Mowlud-e-Sharif in Kabul. Similar events were hosted by Jamati institutions in other parts of Afghanistan. Photo: Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for Afghanistan
Aleem Khalili delivered a message on behalf of his father, His Excellency, Karim Khalili, the Second Vice-President of Afghanistan, who regretted that he was unable to attend in person.
Shair Baz Hakemy, President of the Ismaili Council for Afghanistan, Karim Bakhsh Hashuri, Vice-President of the Council and Ruknuddin Urfani, Chairman of the Ismaili Tariqah and Religious Education Board for Afghanistan, each spoke at the event. They emphasised the importance of pluralism, good ethics, equality, humanity and unity for all.
Young members of the Jamat recite devotional poetry in the form of a qasida as part of the commemoration of Mowlud-e-Sharif in Kabul. Photo: Courtesy of the Ismaili Council for Afghanistan
“It is a glorious and well organised celebration,” commented Din Mohammad Mobariz Rashidi, Afghanistan’s Deputy Minister of Culture and Information. Ismaili volunteers from all Jamatkhanas in Kabul worked closely with Jamati institutional committee members to ensure that the event unfolded successfully.
Following the speeches, all the guests were treated to a grand lunch hosted by the Ismaili Council.