Since the early days of Islam in the Cape, traditions and teachings from our Muslim forefathers have been passed down to future generations and remain entrenched in Cape Malay society today. One of these popular traditions is the annual Moulood or Mawlid celebrations; a time for Muslims to come together and join in a mass gathering to celebrate the life and teachings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). This day is celebrated on the 12th day of Rabi-ul-Auwal.
Ahead of the annual mass moulood in January next year organised by Mawlid SA, a number of respective ulema have paid tribute to those before us, who have laid the foundation of Islamic teachings and traditions in the Cape. Husami Masjid’s Sheikh Riaad Fatar went as far as to say that Cape Town has become the leader in moulood celebrations.
Each year, moulood is celebrated with a number of traditions including the recitation of the salawaat, qir’ah and thikr. Women are also often dressed in their best white abaya’s, donning beautiful white head gear. Young girls congregate inside the masjid for the cutting of (rampies) lemon leaves, which is drizzled with rose water and other oils and tied up for preserving. The beautiful scent is believed to be a favourite of the Prophet (pbuh).
The mixture is then put into small packages and disseminated to men and women in the community. The scent is intended to act as a reminder in their efforts to lead a life as righteous as the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) and to send praises (salawat) on him. According to elders in the community, this tradition which is believed to be of Indonesian origin, gave the slaves a link to their ancestral home.
Meanwhile, in days leading up to the moulood celebrations, various masajid in Cape Town will also be rendering lectures on the life of the Prophet (pbuh), from his characteristics to his marital life. Sheikh Abduragmaan Alexander from Masjidul Quds says the week long Seerah Conference will hosted by the masjid, in the week leading up to the Moulood celebrations, with guests such as renowned Mufti Ismail Menk expected to attend.
Today, Moulood has grown into a celebration where thousands of Muslims, across the nation, join in on one common goal to honour the life of the Prophet (pbuh) and strive towards adopting those same principles and characteristics in their own lives. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)