“Together in Loving Muhammad” sallalhu ^alayhi wasallam”, was the slogan of the 2017 Multicultural Mawlid Concert that drew more than 5000 Muslims from Australia and other parts of the world to the Sydney Sports Centre in Olympic Park on Sunday the 3rd of December. The thousands of attendees joined together in the largest Mawlid celebration ever held in Australia in commemoration of the birth of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
The 8th Annual Multicultural Mawlid Concert was organized by the Islamic Charity Projects Association (ICPA) and other Islamic organisations including 2MFM, under the patronage of Darulfatwa; the Islamic High Council of Australia. The event will go down in Australia’s history as the event that launched the inauguration of the Annual International Islamic Peace Conference - the alliance of moderate thinkers and contributors voicing the moderation and mercy of Islam in times where extremism has become widespread.
Over 100 national and international figures including academics, religious ministers, university deans, imams, scholars and Islamic figures from South East Asia and Australasia, accepted the invitation of Darulfatwa Australia to attend the Mawlid Concert. These guests added their voices to the thousands of moderate Australian Muslims who all chanted the slogan of the event, “Together in Loving Muhammad” in one voice.
Prior to the beginning of the concert a VIP function was held to mark the Grand Opening Ceremony of the Mawlid Concert and the Official Inauguration of the International Islamic Conference which was organised by Darulfatwa Australia in collaboration with Majlis Al ^Ulama Indonesia, Jakarta branch. The conference was hosted under the title: Muhammad the Messenger of Mercy and the Prophet of Peace, with the slogan: “And we made you a moderate nation”. There was quite a very long list of dignitaries that were present at the VIP ceremony. The MC Mr. Wissam Saad announced and recognized the special guests who were in attendance.
After Mr Wissam delivered his brief introduction, Darulftwa Chairman, Dr. Sheikh Salim Alwan and Dean of Majlis Al ^Ulama Jakarta branch, Sheikh Ahmad Sharif Ad-Din ^Abdul Ghani announced their pleasure in working together for the Conference entitled ‘Muhammad, peace be upon him, the Prophet of Mercy and Messenger of Peace’, and their anticipation of the benefits that will result from the submissions and conference sessions.
President of the Islamic Charity Projects Association Mr. Muhammad Mehio, delivered a moving speech which highlighted the importance of ‘solidarity and cooperation for constructing a sound, moderate and advanced society.’ He also emphasized that ‘throughout the centuries, Islam has been known as a religion of peace, justice and fairness.’ Furthermore, ‘Islam was not spread by the sword, but rather by good manners.’
The ceremony also featured a speech from the Governor of New South Wales, David Hurley AC DSC, who stated that the celebration of the birth of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him ‘has been a highlight of Islamic civilization for hundreds of years’ and he congratulated the Muslim community in NSW on the ‘beautiful multicultural community’ event.
The final speaker was Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Luke Foley who mentioned that the first mosque in NSW was established in Broken Hill back in the 1870’s by Afghan camel drivers. He also praised the Multicultural Mawlid Concert as a reminder of the cultural diversity of the Islamic community in Sydney and more broadly across Australia.
Upon the conclusion of the Opening Ceremony of the Mawlid Concert and the International Peace Conference, Darulfatwa chaperons escorted the special guests to their VIP seats in the Mawlid venue. The Special guests from across the Australian states included community leaders, Sheikhs, Principals, businesspeople, media personnel, local government councilors and mayors, scouts officials, ambassadors, consulates, and Australian politicians.
The Multicultural Mawlid Concert itself was a true reflection of harmony and peace, as Muslims of diverse colours, ages, cultures, languages and nationalities sat side by side to express their love and admiration of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. In keeping with Islamic tradition, the Mawlid Concert began with a blessed recitation of the Holy Qur’an.
From the beginning of the concert, the feature that set this grand event apart is the presentation of the blessed trace of the Prophet, sallalahu ^alayhi wasallam, whose birth still brings people together in harmony. The drums beat in sync as the entourage of over one hundred multicultural noblemen and imams entered from the back doors of the stadium, led by his eminence, Dr. Sh. Salim Alwan holding the glass dome that contained a long noble hair of Prophet Muhammad, for Muslims to seek its blessings.
The crowd stood in awe, as the entourage took to the stage and stood in a line of pride and glory while Dr. Sheikh Salim Alwan placed the dome on its decorated podium in the center of the stage. This was followed by a speech delivered by His eminence Dr. Sheikh Salim Alwan the Chairman of Darulfatwa, who welcomed the magnificent crowd, that came from different states around Australia, and from countries around the world including Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Fiji and New Zealand.
Dr. Sheikh Salim went on to explain the permissibility and validity of celebrating the Mawlid negating the claims of abhorrent extremists who deem such a celebration as misguided. He clarified that “the scholars said the traditional celebration of the Mawlid, which involves the gathering of people, the recitation of verses of the Qur’an, mentioning the extraordinary signs that occurred at the time of his birth and recalling his life stories, as well as offering a feast for people to enjoy, and then leave without acting beyond acceptable tradition; is a praiseworthy act.” Such a celebration is an innovation of guidance that one is rewarded for doing, because it is a means of honouring the status of our master Muhammad, peace be upon him, and displaying the happiness about his blessed birth.
The Mawlid Concert this year for the first time featured a musical play entitled ‘The Golden Script’. Despite the teasers which were shared during programs on 2MFM in the lead up to the Mawlid Concert, it’s safe to say that the musical play surprised the thousands of attendees as every scene was a seamless chapter of the unfolding and memorable theatrical drama that went on for nearly 90 minutes. It revolved around the story of the people of the ten lands who sang together each year until danger from the east rose. The main characters in the play were the king, the minister, the Nour Knights, the guard, the teachers and students of Well fort school which is the kingdom that rules over the people of the ten lands, and of course the people of the ten lands themselves.
Despite seeming to be a work of fiction, the metaphors and characters involved in the musical play, were a direct reflection of the reality that Muslims face today. It very accurately depicted how moderate Muslims are impacted by the actions of extremists across the world. The strong moral of the play supported the overarching message of the International Peace Conference as it served to illustrate the importance of acquiring the obligatory portion of religious knowledge from reputable, credible teachers, in order to be safe guarded from radicalism.
Excitement and the festive aura grew as the evening’s program unfolded with one spectacular performance after another. Each cultural group performed their song at the King’s Festival and then all groups came together for a final united and triumphant performance of the new chant ‘In Loving Him’.