The annual procession and conference, organised by the Bradford Grand Mosque, marks the occasion, known as Eid Milad-un-Nabi, which falls on the third month of the Islamic calendar.
Crowds set off from Horton Park Avenue during the afternoon of Sunday 25th November reciting prayers and carrying banners with messages of love, peace and tolerance.
Bradford Grand Mosque Chairman, Mohammad Riaz, commented, “We would like to emphasise that the message of the procession is and has always been to spread a message of peace, compassion and tolerance. We want to show this is the true message that the Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, brought for mankind. We thank all our friends and the whole local community who have joined us today in celebration.”
The procession has been running in Bradford for decades and attracts attendees from both the local community and from all parts of the UK.
Ataa-ur-Rahman, from Bradford, who was among the participants, said: “I have taken part in the procession for many years now and it has always been a good opportunity to get everybody from the local community together to show our love for the Prophet in a peaceful manner.”
Junaid Ali, from Peterborough, added: “There are many events held throughout the UK, in-fact throughout the world, during this month to honour the birth of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him. I have travelled quite some distance to join the community of Bradford in celebration as the atmosphere and warm welcome you receive by the people here is unmatched anywhere else.”
The annual event is organised with the help of local volunteers who help manage and care for the large crowds inside the mosque but also supervise the procession and the distribution of a variety of snacks and drinks that are handed out to people taking part in the procession or observing in the crowds.
Chief Organiser, Mohammad Ayub, said: “We would like to thank all our volunteer teams and everyone who has helped to make event an amazing success including the traffic management team and all local organisations and businesses who have always supported us.”
The procession is just one of the many ways in which Muslims propagate the message of this special occasion. Families organise gatherings in their homes for religious recitals that usually end with a collective meal, while food is also distributed among the poor.
STI School, the supplementary school at Bradford Grand Mosque, also marks the occasion by holding an annual fundraiser.
Head teacher, Mohammed Naveed Sialvi, said: “Every year, at the time of the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday, we celebrate the message he brought by contributing to a good cause in our local community.”
“The fundraiser is part of the Annual Milad Activity Week held at STI School to mark the birth of the Prophet Mohammed and has been a regular feature in our annual calendar for nearly ten years.”
“Over those years we have raised thousands of pounds that have been distributed to a variety of noble causes such as Marie Curie Cancer Care, Bradford Food Bank and have also distributed toys and gifts to children undergoing treatment at the local hospitals.”