Pakistanis Celebrate Eid-Milad-un-Nabi, Good Friday and Holi Today

Posted on March 21, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Religion, Society
15 Comments
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Adil Najam

The vast majority of Pakistanis are Muslims – over 160 million according to some counts – and will celebrate Eid Milad-un-Nabi today to mark the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Coincidently, this year Eid Milad-n-Nabi comes on exactly the same day when the another 3 million Pakistani Christians will be marking Good Friday to commemorate the day when Prophet Jesus (PBUH) was crucified. About an equal number of Pakistanis – the 3 million Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan (also here and here) – will be celebrating the festival of Holi today (my understanding is that although Holi is a primarily Hindu festival it is also widely celebrated by Sikhs, especially in the Punjab).

Masjid PakistanGurdwara PakistanGirja PakistanMandir Pakistan

Whether they be in the masjid, their mandir, thier gurdwara or their girja ghar, we share heartfelt good wishes with all – in Pakistan and everywhere else – who commemorate these occasions today. The coincidence of Eid Milad-un-Nabi, Good Friday and Holi falling on the exact same day (in 2006 it was Diwali and Eid that came back to back) can be symbolic. But only if we want it to be so.

Symbolism, after all, is important only if one is inclined to derive the message from the symbol. For those who do, there are many good messages to be derived from this coincidence. None more important than the message of religious harmony, tolerance and minority rights. It is a message that we in Pakistan as well as everyone else in our conflict torn world can learn much from.


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For those Pakistanis who are Muslims and live as the overwhelming majority in Pakistan today may be a good day to think of those Muslims – including but not only Pakistani Muslims – who live as minorities in societies where the overwhelming majorities are of other faiths. How would we like them to be treated by those around them… and should we not treat those of other religious traditions who live amongst us the same way. To think not just of the bad treatment that we object to, but of the good treatment that we all hope for. Maybe this would be a good opportunity and a good way to think of what it means to be a minority. In doing so, I hope they will also think of non-Muslim minorities living in Pakistan. Maybe those of other faiths living elsewhere in the world will similarly think of the religious minorities – including but not only Muslims – in their own societies and do likewise.

Maybe on this day when so many people in so many places are reminded of why their own faith means so much to them and gives so much to them … maybe on this day they will all also take a moment to show respect to the faiths of others as much as they want their own faith to be respected. I have no relious or scholarly authority to know what Muhammad, Jesus or the great sages of Hinduism would have said about this, but within my heart I cannot imagine that they could possibly have wanted otherwise.

Peace, to all.

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15 responses to “Pakistanis Celebrate Eid-Milad-un-Nabi, Good Friday and Holi Today”

  1. Beej Kumar says:

    Have fun, everybody!! :)

  2. bhitai says:

    Norouz is also celebrated in parts of Pakistan. Today in Hangu, a Norouz celebration turned into a sectarian fight after Taliban allegedly attacked a gathering at a local mosque. Another rally taken out by Sipah-e-Sahaba (i wonder why they are still allowed to roam free) came under attack by a rival faction in Khairpur.

    Unfortunately we don’t seem to have the capacity to celebrate even the most joyous of days with a bit of decency and dignity anymore!

    happy Eid-e-milad to all..

  3. MQ says:

    In addition to Iran and Afghanistan, Nauroz is also celebrated in Turkey and some parts of Central Asia.

  4. Deeda-i-Beena says:

    Adil: Congratulations for a great and timely Post.
    Ayaz Siddiqui: Thanks for reminding us of Nauroze and the Parsi faith.
    Interestingly, Nauroze is also being celebrated in Afghanistan today as a day to welcome Spring, and as a “non-religious” day and if I am not wrong in Iran too.
    Great day for all mankind.

  5. SMM says:

    very good post. You r right we should all think of how we would want to be treated if we were minorities. All over the world and our region specially we see intolerance from those in majority. This is so everywhere. At least on such days we should hoighlight what is common.

    So before people spoil this thread too I just want to say thank you.

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