Maharashtra government declares public holiday for Eid-e-Milad on Friday


By our correspondent

MUMBAI— After a group of Muslim political and religious leaders appealed to the Maharashtra government for a holiday on September 29 (Friday), the government accepted this demand and declared September 29 a public holiday to allow Muslims to celebrate Eid-e-Milad or Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s birthday smoothly.

(Prophet’s birthday is celebrated by Muslims belonging to Barelvi school of thought in Indian sub-continent. However, Muslims subscribing to other schools of Islamic thought all over the world avoid it as they believe that celebrating Prophet’s birthday is an interpolation or addition of new tradition and practices in religion. Historical records say that Prophet never celebrated his birthday nor did the rightly-guided four caliphs – Abu Bakr, Umar, Usman and Ali – ever celebrate the Prophet’s birthday. They say that there are only two Eids: Eid-ul-Fitra at the end of month-long Ramadan fasting and Eid-ul-Azha, or Bakrid in local Indian parlance, in which Muslims offer sacrifice of cattle, goat, sheep etc.)

In its order on September 27, the state government said that, since Ganesh Chaturthi and Eid-e-Milad fall on September 28, there was a concern among the people. Many Hindus take out processions to immerse idols in water bodies while many Muslims too take out processions to celebrate Eid-e-Milad or the Prophet’s birthday. Muslim groups had decided to push their Eid-e-Milad processions to September 29. Therefore, the state government was requested to declare September 29 a public holiday.

“We are glad that the state government heeded our request. I had written to CM Eknath Shinde, deputy CMs Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar and told them about the trouble that might happen if both festivals are celebrated on the same day. I thank the government for resolving the issue,” said former minister Arif Naseem Khan who also heads a massive Eid-e-Milad procession in the eastern suburbs of Mumbai.

Khan was part of the meeting that the All India Khilafat Committee had called at its office over a fortnight ago to discuss the Eid-e-Milad processions. Apart from him, SP legislator from Bhiwandi Rais Shaikh, NCP leader Naseem Khan were also present. Several Muslim activists and ulema had requested the Muslim political leaders speak to the state government and get September 29 declared a public holiday. Shaikh had told this correspondent: “We will try to convince the state government why it is important that September 29 be declared a holiday. September 28 is a holiday because of Ganesh Chaturthi which coincides with Eid-e-Milad and our request is to push the holiday for Eid-e-Milad to the next day.”

Among those who wrote to the CM, deputy CMs and guardian minister of Mumbai (city) Deepak Kesarkar was Sohail Khandwani, managing trustee of Mahim Dargah and trustee of Haji Ali Dargah. “I welcome this decision of the state government. It will allow Muslims to celebrate their festival peacefully though Eid-e-Milad is on September 28. However, the processions will be taken out on September 29,” said Khandwani.   


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