Malawi proposed holiday for Prophet Muhammad’s birthday: Muslims split

Malawi’s minority Muslim population has been pushing the government to declare the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday a public holiday, but the three-year campaign has been plagued by disagreement among Islamic scholars.

Mohammed:  No to Prophet's holiday

Mohammed: No to Prophet’s holiday

A  group of Muslim scholars discourages the celebration.

Sheikh Imran Sheriff, who chairs the Supreme Council of Ulemas, said: “We don’t celebrate because, according to the Islamic knowledge, Prophet Muhammad was born on 12th Rabi’ al-awwal and also died on the same day, same date and same time. And therefore, we feel that it is not advisable to celebrate while the same person is dead.”

Sheriff, who lectures in Islamic studies at the Chancellor College of the University of Malawi, also said the style of festivities contradicts the Quran’s teachings.

“Those who are championing the celebrations are our Indian Muslim friends,” he said. “We have never seen any Indian Muslim woman coming out to celebrate. Yet they encourage Malawian Muslim women to come along with their sisters and their daughters. That is un-Islamic.”

Sheriff said Malawi celebrations have included other practices – such as glittering lights, exchanging gifts and erecting shrines on traffic circles or roundabouts – that his group considers un-Islamic.

Sheikh Salmin Omar Idruss, secretary general of the Muslim Association of Malawi, said his group was not consulted by those requesting the holiday designation and therefore does not have an official position.

Personally, he does not support the call for a public holiday, he said.

“I don’t participate [in the celebrations] and I have never participated and I will never,” he said. “This is because I don’t subscribe to those types of beliefs.  According to how I understand the Islamic text, I know the Prophet did not do it, so why should I?”

But Sheikh Adam Aman King’ombe, a scholar with the Qadria Muslim Association of Malawi, said the Quran allows Muslims to celebrate the day. He quoted a passage, saying, “‘‘You the believers, because of getting Quran and Islam as your religion, and to get mercy of Allah, which is the Prophet Muhammad, you have to celebrate.’ That’s why we are celebrating.”

Another scholar, Sheikh Jafali Kawinga, said there’s nothing wrong in celebrating Muhammad’s birthday. Though the celebration did not occur during the prophet’s life, from 570 to 632, such innovations are allowed in modern Islam.

“For instance, there is an innovation of Ijtema, the gathering of Muslims each and every year,” Kawinga said. “It was innovated because it is a time when Muslims meet together and discuss issues pertaining to the religion.

“Likewise, [at] the time of the prophet there was no such [birthday] celebration. But today we celebrate his life and the din [religion] does not prohibit such innovation.”

Kondwani Nankhumwa, information minister for the southern African nation, told VOA “the government will act accordingly once the issue is discussed at Cabinet level.”

Right now, the only Islamic holiday publicly observed in Malawi is Eid al-fitr, a celebration that marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

In calling for a public holiday, Faizal Aboo said Malawi’s government should follow the lead of at least 50 other countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.

“Malawi should be no different,” said Aboo, media coordinator for the Al-Traq Qadeia Sunni Association, a local charity assisting Muslims in Malawi.

The country has nearly 17 million people. Aboo said that, with at least 5 million Muslims among them, officials should give “serious thought” to designating the holiday.

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Imraan Sadick

If it was never practised by our beloved Prophet why doing it??The Prophet (SAWW) said,
anyone who innovates into Islam (good or
bad) is not one of us.
On this one I am with you Sheikh Imraan Sharif 100%
If Saudis are doing it still does not make it right-we have to safeguard our beautiful religion


The little knowledge that i have about islam is that mohammad was an arab of origin and it makes no sense for these mwenyes to be celebrating the birthday of the said mohammad . Even in saudi arabia where mohammad was born they dont celebrate.
Mr abboo wait until a prophet is born in India or Pakistan then you can start celebrating the so called birthday


Don’t inflate number of muslims in Malawi.check with google population of muslims per country in Africa,so it is 20% of Malawis population which mathematically leads to 2.8 million people or thereabout,and why are you busy organising for their holiday? Whose holiday? For what? There is again this other holiday that has no specific date eeeeish a waist of time.Most people realise that there is holiday while in office kikikikiiii and who told you that this is the only true religion? Govt must be extra careful and before reacting let’s ask for our GOD’S intervention.

Malawi government should nit dare give these zealots a holiday. It was a big mistake what Bingu did, giving a eid holidy to these blood thirsty, mass killing for 72 virgins reward terrorists. You give them an inch they take a mile. Thheir leader muluzi never gave them shit! You see mow they have built schools, radio and they are demanding holidays. The stupid politicians get excited and give these barbarians priviledges hoping for votes, but they only vote for their fellow moslem Atupele. Joyce Banda a christian, instead of supporting christian institutions was busy promising Islamic bank, getting funds… Read more »
Real Patriot

What Mr Faizal Aboo should know that Malawi as a christian country will not follow some Islamic state like Indinesia,Malaysia and others having unnecessary Islamic holidays.If he is not happy living in Malawi he can open his shop in homeland Uttar Pradesh and demand alot of Islamic holidays.He should also stop inflating the number of moslems in Malawi.There are very few moslems in Malawi and we drink together in pubs these days.Little by little they are running away from their conservative religion.Mr Faizoo should relocate to Islamic Republic of Pakistan if he is tired living in Malawi.


Brothers and sisters before sending any comments about Islam please learn Islam with good intention you find your all answer. Today’s Muslim practicing or not but the fact is Islam the only true religion.

Against Mbuzi

Mr. Mbuzi,

You really sounded like your name. “MIND YOUR LANGUAGE MR. MBUZI”. if you do not have anything good to say and frustrated as usual better keep your mouth shut.

mangochi kabwafu
To hell with this stupid article. You mention of holidays in these moslem countries, do they have A SINGLE CHRISTIAN HOLIDAY? Mind you, Malawi is a christian country and therefore should have NO single islamic holiday including the one we have now. In the UK, there is barely mention of these islamic activities and there is NO SINGLE ISLAMIC HOLIDAY. Cut these useless holidays and get back to work. Ulesi basi, kuzolowera kupemphetsa. Should we be giving you aid money out of hard working yet you spend time celebrating these useless events. Kupusa basi. With the stupid leadership which just… Read more »

My brother before comment against Islam please learn Islam you will find all your answer


Silly and stupid idea. Izi Amin sent them packing. The mwenyes grab all contracts here but externalize the money kwao only a few use it to develop Malawi Aboo wapanga ciani kuno cowoneka. Azipita kwawo we are not a Muslim country. In a democracy the majority rules. We are a Christian country go to hell. Why r we allowing this nonsense can a Malawian born in India or Pakistan demand a Christian holiday there. Akulitora boma coz of our own tax money. Stupid pitani kwanu timacha inu chipembedzo cakupha.


Why boko haram vs boko haram who is right or who is wrong? Go to said Arabia and ask for public holiday.

Matey U .Mopiya

Mr Aboo don’t confuse us ,where did you get the figure of 5 million,in Malawi they are about 1.600 million Muslims check with the NSO .Do they have Christian holidays in Malaysia or Indonesia?

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