Home   Calendar   Holidays   the United Kingdom   Milad un Nabi (Mawlid)
Flag for United Kingdom

Milad un Nabi (Mawlid) in the United Kingdom

Milad un Nabi, also called Mawlid, Eid Milad ul-Nabi, or, simply, the Prophet's Birthday, is an occasion to celebrate the life of prophet Muhammad. It is observed only by some Muslims.

Recounting stories about the life of prophet Muhammad is central to Mawlid.
On Mawlid, Muslims celebrate the life and work of prophet Muhammad. On this day, it is common for parents to tell their children about Muhammad's life.
©iStockphoto.com/leolintang

Milad un Nabi in the Islamic Calendar

Sunni Muslims generally celebrate the Prophet's Birthday on the 12th day of Rabī‘ al-awwal, the third month of the Islamic calendar, while Shi'a Muslims observe it on the 17th day.

Muslims use a lunar calendar which differs in length from the Gregorian calendar used worldwide. This means the Gregorian date of Muslim holidays, including Milad un Nabi, shifts slightly from one year to the next, falling about 11 days earlier each year.

Date Depends on Moon Sighting

The timing of Muslim months and holidays depends on the sighting of the Crescent Moon following the New Moon. Because the Moon's visibility depends on clear skies and a number of other factors, the exact date for Milad un Nabi cannot be predicted with certainty.

Also, since the Moon is never visible in all world regions at once and current local dates can vary from one country to another, the holiday may fall on different dates according to a country's longitude and time zone. Depending on their country of origin or cultural affiliation, some Muslims in the UK may, therefore, celebrate Milad un Nabi one day earlier than others.

Is Milad un Nabi a Public Holiday?

No, there are no bank holidays associated with Milad un Nabi in the United Kingdom, whether it is celebrated on the 12th or 17th day of Rabī‘ al-awwal. However, since the Gregorian date of Muslim holidays changes every year, Milad un Nabi can fall on other UK bank holidays.

In some British cities, Muslims hold processions on Milad un Nabi, so some roads may be temporarily closed. Mosques are likely to be busy and this may lead to some traffic congestion. Many Muslim businesses close on Milad un Nabi.

Celebrating Milad un Nabi in the UK

In the UK, the most visible tradition associated with Milad un Nabi are the processions held in some cities, usually featuring speeches by religious leaders about the life of Muhammad. While these events can have an openly celebratory character, they can also take on a more subdued mood because some Muslim communities believe that this day marks not only the birth but also the death of Muhammad.

Muslim parents may tell their children about the life and work of Muhammad, focussing on his teachings and his importance as the founder of the Islamic faith. In some communities, events for children are organized where stories about Muhammad are recounted.

While some Muslims in the United Kingdom fast during daylight hours, some families hold Milad un Nabi feasts. It is common to recite special prayers, salutations, poems, or songs on this day to honor Muhammad. Some Muslims also mark Milad un Nabi by donating to charity.

In some communities, the celebrations may last for a week or even the whole month of Rabī‘ al-awwal.

Muhammad's Birthday

Though Muhammad's exact date of birth is unknown, Muslims observe Milad un Nabi as his birthday celebration. In that sense, the holiday is similar to Christmas, which is observed on December 25 although it is unknown when Jesus was born—if he was indeed a historical figure, which is disputed.

According to the western calendar, Muhammad was born around 570 CE. He died on June 8, 632.

Who Celebrates Milad un Nabi in the UK?

Muhammad's birthday is generally celebrated by most UK Muslims. Both Sunni and Shi'a Muslims observe the event, albeit on different dates. Members of the Wahhabi, Salafi, Deobandi, and Ahmadiyya Muslim communities do not celebrate Milad un Nabi.

With nearly 2.8 million Muslims living in the United Kingdom, which equals about 4.8% of the population, Islam constitutes the second largest religion in the country, after Christianity. The largest Muslim community can be found in London. The municipalities of Bradford, Luton, Blackburn, Birmingham, and Dewsbury also have significant Muslim populations.

About Milad un Nabi (Mawlid) in other countries

Read more about Milad un Nabi (Mawlid).

Milad un Nabi (Mawlid) Observances

Note: Regional customs or moon sightings may cause a variation of the date for Islamic holidays, which begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday. The Islamic calendar is lunar and the days begin at sunset, so there may be one-day error depending on when the New Moon is first seen.

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010FriFeb 26Milad un Nabi (Mawlid)Muslim 
2011WedFeb 16Milad un Nabi (Mawlid)Muslim 
2012SunFeb 5Milad un Nabi (Mawlid)Muslim 
2013ThuJan 24Milad un Nabi (Mawlid)Muslim 
2014TueJan 14Milad un Nabi (Mawlid)Muslim 
2015SatJan 3Milad un Nabi (Mawlid)Muslim 
2015ThuDec 24Milad un Nabi (Mawlid)Muslim 
2016MonDec 12Milad un Nabi (Mawlid)Muslim 
2017FriDec 1Milad un Nabi (Mawlid)Muslim 
2018WedNov 21Milad un Nabi (Mawlid)Muslim 
2019SunNov 10Milad un Nabi (Mawlid)Muslim 
2020ThuOct 29Milad un Nabi (Mawlid)Muslim 

You might also like

The Hindu deity Rahu.

Solar Eclipse Myths

The solar eclipse has inspired many mythical stories and influenced human behavior. Even today, eclipses of the Sun are considered bad omens in many cultures. more

Watching Lunar Eclipses

A lunar eclipse can be seen with the naked eye, unlike solar eclipses, which have special safety requirements. more

December Solstice Facts

10 things you may not know about the December Solstice, the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. more