Kampala: Milad un Nabi, which is being celebrated today, marks the birthday of the Prophet Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him). It falls on 12 Rabi-ul-Awwal of the Islamic lunar calendar.
This year’s Milad Lecture and celebration was organised by His Highness Prince Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili National Council for Uganda and the occasion started with the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran and renditions of Naats.
In her opening remarks, Vice President Naznin Jaffer of His Highness Prince Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili National Council for Uganda welcomed the guests and reflected on the teachings of the Prophet (PBUH) and his emphasis on seeking knowledge. She talked about “how the Qur’an itself acknowledges that people upon whom wisdom has been bestowed are the recipients of abundant good; they are the exalted ones. Hence Islam’s consistent encouragement to Muslim men and women to seek knowledge wherever it is to be found.”
The Keynote Lecture was delivered by Mr Sohail Muhammad Ali, an Ismaili Muslim scholar from Pakistan, who focused on the role on Knowledge in Islam and emphasised that useful knowledge is necessary for the benefit of self-development and for the progress of humanity. The text of the Quran is replete with verses inviting man to use his intellect. He cited examples of 9th and 10th century Muslim societies which excelled in different fields of knowledge and established vibrant centres of learning such as Dar-ul- Ilm, Al – Azhar University and Al – Qarawiyyan. He also noted that Islam teaches peaceful co-existence and respect for diversity as exemplified by the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The Scholar observed that Islam has put significant emphasis on seeking knowledge and on learning and in Islam seeking knowledge is an obligation on both man and woman.
The Chief Guest Prince Kassim Nakibinge the titular head of the Muslim community in the country, applauded the Ismaili community in Uganda for being peace-loving people and praised His Highness the Aga Khan for his outstanding contributions to Education and other activities in Uganda. He also wisely added that “As already enumerated, Islam is peace and we must have peace with one another and spread it. But first we must embrace it ourselves.” Several representatives from different faith backgrounds and countries were present to mark this year’s celebration of Milad un Nabi and gathered to contemplate on the Prophet’s life and his attributes of living a life permeated with spirituality yet at the same time actively engage in the service to humankind and quest for knowledge. In line with the abundant teachings of Islam, which stresses on learning and acquiring knowledge the theme this year was the role of Knowledge.
The Guests were also able to see pictorial showcase of Aga Khan Education Services and Aga Khan University.