In the earliest days for the observance of Mawlid can be found in eighth-century Mecca, when the house in which Muhammad was born was transformed into a place of prayer by Al-Khayzuran (mother of Harun al-Rashid, the fifth and most famous Abbasid caliph).
The early celebrations included elements of Sufic influence, with animal sacrifices and torchlight processions along with public sermons and a feast. The celebrations occurred during the day, in contrast to modern-day observances, with the ruler playing a key role in the ceremonies. Emphasis was given to the Ahl al-Bayt with the presentation of sermons and recitations of the Qur’an. The event also featured the award of gifts to officials in order to bolster support for the ruling caliph.
The first public celebrations by Sunnis took place in twelfth-century Syria, under the rule of Nur ad-Din Zangi Though there is no firm evidence to indicate the reason for the adoption of the Shi’ite festival by the Sunnis, some theorize the celebrations took hold to counter Christian influence in places such as Spain and Morocco. Theologians denounced the celebration of Mawlid as unorthodox, and the practice was briefly halted by the Ayoubides when they came to power, becoming an event confined to family circles. It regained status as an official event again in 1207 when it was re-introduced by Muzaffar ad-din, the brother-in-law of Saladin, in Arbil, a town near Mosul, Iraq.
The practice spread throughout the Muslim world, assimilating local customs, to places such as Cairo, where folklore and Sufic practices greatly influenced the celebrations. By 1588 it had spread to the court of Murad III, Sultan of the Ottoman empire. In 1910, it was given official status as a national festival throughout the Ottoman empire. Today it is an official holiday in many parts of the world.
Debate & Misconceptions
When Prophet Muhammad PBUH was born there were no historians or Sahaba to document the date of birth. Secondly, the hijra calendar was not in effect late till the migration to Medina. Sunni scholars debate over 9 or 12 Rabi-ul-awal as the date of birth. While Shia scholars debate that 17 Rabi-ul-awal is the day of birth. But when Prophet Muhammad PBUH met his creator and left his ummah (Wisal-e-Mubarak) there were many historians who documented the date and many sahaba also quoted the date afterward. The hijra calendar was also in effect and was used for day to day activities.
Almost none of the Islamic scholars debate that the date of Wisal-e-Mubarak is inaccurate!
Some facts about countries
Saudi Arabia is the only Muslim country where Mawlid is not an official public holiday. Because they know it is not a Muslim eid. Pakistan is the only country in which on Mawlid celebration day, the national flag is hoisted on all public buildings, and a 31-gun salute in Islamabad and a 21-gun salute at the provincial headquarters are fired at dawn.
My question to all the Muslim brothers and sisters is why do we CELEBRATE a day which is 100% sure to be Prophet Muhammad’s Wisal-Mubarak and 40-50% sure to be the birthday?
We should STOP CELEBRATING THIS DAY and RATHER PRAY ON THIS DAY for all those who have died before us and pray that we meet our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH on the Day of Resurrection