The Mawlid (pl. mawalid) has been a source of spiritual nourishment for generations of believers going back to the earliest communities that followed the blessed era of Nubuwwa. While mawlids varied in form and substance, reflecting the cultural imperatives of the communities that celebrated them, whether from Singapore to Senegal or Gujarat to Georgetown, their inherent essence remained the same. For hundreds of years the mawlid served as a bulkhead that strengthened the edifice of love which believers have for the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, and allowed hearts to be connected to the Prophetic tradition in both its inward and outward substances.

As Muslims began arriving in larger numbers to the city of Toronto in the 1960’s and 70’s from all corners of the world, they also began observing the mawlid on the occasion of the lunar month of Rabi’ al-Awwal. Muslims from Guyana and Trinidad gathered in the east and west ends of the city and so too did members of the Pakistani, Mauritius, South African, and Indian communities. Which mawlid a person attended had less to do with his tariqa and more to do with the type of celebration and cuisine that appealed to him.

In the last twenty years these annual mawlid gatherings began to show significant wear and tear. They had become unattractive to second and the emerging third generation of Muslims. In the late 1980’s and 90’s organizers began inviting established Sunni scholars with the hope of buttressing the religious legitimacy of the mawlid. During this period, his eminence, Shaykh Muhammad ‘Alawi al-Maliki, visited Toronto and so did many other notable scholars. They all had a tremendous spiritual impact on segments of the Toronto Muslim community even as Salafist leaders continued to vigorously label the mawlid a bid’ah, i.e. a reprehensible innovation.

After decades of bludgeoning Sunni Muslims with the hammer of bid’ah the practice was apparently driven from our masjids. In the last two decades however there has been a revival of the mawlid. Today the Mawlid Diba’i, Mawlid al-Barzanji, and Mawlid Diya al-Lami (“The Shimmering Light” of Habib Umar bin al-Hafidh) are becoming extremely popular to a generation of Muslims born and raised in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

After consulting several prominent Muslim scholars such as Habib Umar, Habib Ali al-Jifri, Habib Khadhim al-Saqqaf, Shaykh Muhammad al-Ninowy, Shaykh Abdullah Al-Haddad, and many others, we decided to launch Toronto Mawlid as a monthly practice. We are pleased and grateful that the International Muslim Organization (IMO) has bravely offered to host these monthly mawlids. We pray that God Almighty causes it to grow and become a source of spiritual nourishment where love of the Messenger of Allah will flourish in these distant lands.

We would like to take this opportunity to encourage members of other mosques and centers in the GTA to join us or begin holding mawlids at their own.

May Allah bring our hearts together and increase us in love of Al-Habib, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.