What Is Mevlid Kandili?

Mevlid Kandili is the celebration of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad and is as a hugely important occasion in the Islamic calendar. It is annually celebrated on the 12th day of the Islamic month of Rabi’ al-awwal to honor the birth of Prophet Muhammad, the founder of the Islamic faith.

While Mevlid Kandili is observed across various countries and cultures, the purpose of the holiday remains the same, and that is to commemorate the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad.

But how do Muslims celebrate this holy in Istanbul and throughout Turkey, and what do they do?

Well, find out all about Mevlid Kandili right here with us at Absolute Istanbul as we dive deep into its origins, examine its significance to Muslims and the wider community, and find out how it’s celebrated here in Istanbul.

So if learning more about the religious culture of Turkey is something you’re interested in then please, read on!

The Origins of Mevlid Kandili

Mevlid Kandili’s roots can be traced back to the early days of Islam when the companions of the Prophet Muhammad would congregate to recollect his life and teachings.

As time went on, the tradition developed into an annual celebration observed by Muslims worldwide.

The observance of Mevlid Kandili surged in popularity during the Ottoman Empire, where it was marked with grandeur and extravagance.

The Ottoman Sultans would orchestrate processions and distribute food and clothing to the underprivileged and indigent.

In contemporary times, Mevlid Kandili is celebrated by Muslims in various countries, including Turkey, Egypt, Indonesia, and Pakistan.

Mevlid-i Nebi (mehv-LEED ee NEH-bee, Mawlid al-Nabi)

Mevlid Kandili Muhammads Birthday

Celebrating Mevlid Kandili in Istanbul and Turkey

The night of Mevlid Kandili is marked by special prayers and sermons held in mosques, where devotees come together to listen to the words of religious leaders.

The celebrations can for many, entail a day of fasting, followed by a night of prayers, hymns, and recitations from the Quran.

Along with religious practices, Mevlid Kandili is also a time for social gatherings and acts of charity.

Families and friends convene to partake in a meal and exchange gifts, while many individuals take advantage of the occasion to donate money or food to the less fortunate.

In Turkey, Mevlid Kandili is not a public holiday but some business do close for the day.

Fasting and Feasting During Mevlid Kandili

Food is a big part of most religious festivals and celebrations and many pastry shops and bakeries sell what’s called Kandil simidiwhich which are like a mini-simit but without sesame seeds.

Another very popular food item over Mevlid Kandili that we’ve seen throughout Istanbul is the homemade lokma tatlısı which is a sort of a deep fried cake almost doughnut like that is covered in sweet honey syrup.

What Is The Mevlit?

Usually worshiped in song, the Mevlit is an epic poem written in 1409 by Süleyman Çelebi, to commemorate the birth of the Prophet Mohammad. Commonly known as the Mevlid-i Şerif, actually the work was titted Vesilet’ün Necat in Turkish by its author Çelebi

The Significance of Mevlid Kandili

For Muslims, Mevlid Kandili is an important time to ruminate on the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad.

It is a time to remember his benevolence, kindness, and unwavering commitment to social justice and strive to embody these virtues in their daily lives.

Mevlid Kandili is also an opportunity to celebrate the unity and diversity of the Muslim community, as adherents from different backgrounds and cultures come together to pay homage to the Prophet Muhammad.

Did You Know?

Annually, Turkish publications actually release news articles regarding the interpretation and significance of the occasion, in addition to elucidating the proper method for performing the Mevlid correctly.

How to Worship on Mevlid Kandili

We’re not of the Islamic faith so have no idea on the aspects of worshiping practices for Mevlid Kandili but we’ve got some basic guidelines here from our very good Muslim friends in Istanbul. Obviously everyone’s religious worship styles and practices will be different.

  • Send good thoughts to the Prophet (pbuh), and remember that you’re part of his community. You can say “As-salatu wa’s-salam alaika ya Rasûlellah” or “Allahumma salli ala sayyid Muhammad’s and ala ali sayyid Muhammad.”
  • Try to fast during the day if you can.
  • Read the Quran, take a break, and attend events where the Quran is celebrated. Remember how much you appreciate it. The most important thing you can do on this special night is to read, listen to, and think about the Quran.
  • Say prayers and chants, like “Astaghfirullah,” at different times throughout the night.
  • Take a moment to reflect on your life, and try to ask for forgiveness if you need it.
  • If you can, try to go to a mosque for extra prayer. You’ll feel more connected with others there.
  • Think about important things in your life, like where you came from and where you’re going. Ask yourself what you can do to make your life better.

Mevlid Kandili | Our Thoughts and Opinions

Mevlid Kandili is essentially a celebration of love, unity, and compassion that has been observed by Muslims for centuries. 

It is a time to recall the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and aspire to live by his example. Perhaps to be celebrated and  as a renewed commitment to constructing a more equitable and peaceful world, guided by the values of Islam.

As I said earlier, we’re not Muslims, but that doesn’t mean these values cannot be shared by all, after all a commitment to constructing a more equitable and peaceful world sounds good in any language!

Cheers and thanks for reading (and peace be with you!)

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What is Mevlit Kandili in English?

Mevlit Kandili in English translate to something like holy night on which the birth of the prophet Muhammad is marked.

What is a Kandili in English?

Kandili in English can be translated to CANDLE or perhaps night light. The original lights were likely to have actually been oil lamps.

What Is The Kandil?

The Kandil are the FIVE HOLY NIGHTS. Kandil is celebrated at night because the days of the Islamic calendar commence at sunset. Since the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle, the dates for these nights change annually.

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