Hundreds of Muslims from across Canada celebrated the birth of the Prophet Muhammad at a Calgary ceremony Thursday. This year, under the lunar calendar followed by Muslims, that birthday falls just one day before Christmas.
Syed Soharwardy, the lead Imam and founder of the Al-Madinah Calgary Islamic Assembly, said some people may not be aware of the connection between Islam and Christianity.
“Jesus Christ is mentioned in the Qur’an more than any other human being by name, so I think it is a very good occasion to show solidarity and unity between Christians and Muslims,” Soharwardy said.
“This is very important occasion for Muslims and Christians. It sends a very strong message of unity that we are people of faith.”
Soharwardy said this year, the dates celebrated for the births of Jesus Christ and the Prophet Muhammad have come together.
“Muslims follow the lunar calendar so every year this calendar comes ten days ahead so coincidentally (Thursday) is the birthday of Prophet Muhammad and (Friday) is the birthday of Jesus Christ and we love both of them,” he said.
Hundreds participated in the event held at a northeast community centre.
It is tradition for women and men to worship in separate areas.
Soharwardy said at this time of year, focusing on what unites us rather than what divides us, is the goal.
“We also enjoy, we also celebrate, we have lights and we have new clothes and we also give gifts to our children. It’s a day of celebration,” he said.
“We love Jesus Christ,” Soharwardy says. “We are people of faith, We are together. We are all Canadians and it’s a time to celebrate and enjoy.”