A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths

PDF Al Mawlid An-Nabawi (Est-il permis de célébrer la naissance du Prophète  ﷺ) / Mounir al Maghribî - Dammaj

Mawlid an-Nabawi (The Birthday of The Prophet (peace be upon him), المولد النبوي, Eid-e-Milad un-Nabi, Havliye, Donba, Gani). From 18 October, on 12 Rabi’ al-Awwal (رَبِيع ٱلْأَوَّل‎), the third month in the Islamic lunar calendar, which means the first month or beginning of spring from its position in the pre-Islamic Arabian calendar. The commemoration is a Sunni, Ibadi Muslim annual celebration of the birth of Muhammad (pbuh), the Prophet of Islam. According to the western calendar, he was born around 570 CE and died on June 8, 632. Holidays depend on sighting the Moon’s crescent after New Moon and depend on clear skies and other factors, so the exact date of Muslim holidays cannot be predicted with certainty. Also, as the Moon is not visible in all regions at the same time and the day varies between countries, each holiday can fall on different dates depending on a country’s longitude and time zone. Some Muslims may thus celebrate a day earlier than others. This festival is observed on 17 Rabi’ al-Awwal (23-24 October) by Shi’a Muslims and various other Islamic communities and as a public holiday in Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Chad, Egypt, Gambia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen. In normal years, celebrations include Hamd (حمد, praising Allah (God)), Tasbih (تَسْبِيح‎, tasbiḥ, glorification of Allah), fasting, public processions, Na`at (religious poetry), family and other social gatherings with parents telling children of the Prophet’s life and importance as founder of the Islamic faith, and decoration of streets and homes. Members of the Wahhabi, Salafi, Deobandi and Ahmadiyya Muslim communities do not celebrate Mawlid an-Nabawi. In the UK, the most visible tradition associated with Mawlid an-Nabawi in normal years is processions in some cities, often with speeches on the life of the Prophet by religious leaders. The largest Muslim community is in London, with Bradford, Luton, Blackburn, Birmingham and Dewsbury also having large Muslim populations. Whilst these events can have an openly celebratory character, they can also take on a more subdued mood in some Muslim communities, as it is believed that this day marks not only the birth but also the death of the Prophet, although the exact date of birth is unknown. In that, the holiday is similar to Christmas, which is observed on December 25 although it is not known when Jesus was born. Mawlid an-Nabawi is important in Kerala and is celebrated as Miladi Sherif (Barah Wafat), the birthday of Mohammed (pbuh), being observed by reciting the Moulood, a short biography of the Prophet written in Arabic. For twelve days, lectures are arranged where Muslim Ulemas (scholars) deliver religious sermons and share information about the life of the Prophet. The celebrations also include giving away food to the poor and other charitable activities arranged by individual Muslim communities. Image: dammaj-fr.com.

Anapanasati Day by Darby Harrison

Anapanasati Day (Mindfulness of Breathing Day). This day is observed by monks in the Theravada Buddhist tradition and marked by two different ceremonies: one falls today, after the final day of the three-months long Rains Retreat, and the other falls today or at some time during the next month. The first is the Pavarana Invitation Ceremony, when the monks and nuns meet together and invite oneanother to point out each other’s faults, as they have been observed during the Retreat. The purpose is to help them in purifying themselves. A monk (bhikkhu) has to be open to any criticism regarding their behaviour from colleagues or from lay people they have met. Being open to criticism in this manner was a way of life of the Buddha himself. Since then, the monks of the Sangha (monastic order) need to be sensitive to complaints made by others in order to win their respect and to encourage them to learn and progress in the Dhamma (teaching). In particular they have to take note of the remarks made by their fellow monks and it is a kind of checks-and-balances system between individual bhikkhus as well as between the senior and the junior monks. The Invitation Ceremony is important ritually and spiritually. Without it, there cannot be a proper second ritual Anapanasati ceremony, which is known as Kathina robe-offering, on the same day or up to a month later, any gifts of robes being only the ordinary robe-offerings that often follow the Retreat, with no advantage or benefit to the monks themselves. The Kathina ceremony is named for the wooden frame used to measure the length and width by which the robes of Buddhist monks are cut and that was used for sewing robes in the period when the Buddha lived and taught in India. This second ceremony is celebrated after cloth has been presented to the Sangha (community of monks and nuns) by members of the lay Buddhist community, to be made into a Kathina robe by sewing pieces of the cloth together. The robe is then offered by the monks present to a particular monk, usually an especially deserving or virtuous one, in a thoughtful ceremony conducted by four of his colleagues. The Kathina ceremony is necessarily a monastic one, but the cost of producing and dyeing the robe is usually supported by the generous donations of local devotees. The laity are able to gain merit for themselves by observing the ceremony. Throughout the following four months, the monk who received the Kathina robe enjoys the relaxation of five minor rules out of the two hundred and twenty that normally apply during and after the Retreat and mainly relate to travel and the receipt of alms. Normally a monk, whether senior or junior, has to inform his fellow monks who live in the same temple before he goes out. Once he has received the Kathina robe, he can choose whether or not so to do. He also has less restriction on where he travels but he usually he has to carry all the 3 pieces of the robe wherever he goes, although he can now leave one behind if he wishes. He can also accept other robes if offered during the period of four months. Celebration of this Anapanasati form of Buddhist meditation, originally taught by Gautama Buddha in several suttas (discourses) including the Anapanasati Sutta, is now common in Tibetan, Zen, Tiantai and Theravada Buddhism as well as Western-based mindfulness programs. Simply defined, Anapanasati is to feel the sensations caused by the movements of the breath in the body as is practised in the context of mindfulness meditation, sati meaning mindfulness and anapana referring to inhalation and exhalation. In both ancient and modern times, anapanasati by itself is probably the most widely used Buddhist method for contemplating bodily phenomena. The Anapanasati Sutta specifically concerns mindfulness of inhalation and exhalation as a part of paying attention to one’s body in quietude, and recommends the practice of anapanasati meditation as a means of cultivating the Seven Factors of Enlightenment: sati; dhamma vicaya (analysis); and viriya (persistence), which leads to piti (rapture), then to passaddhi (serenity), which in turn leads to samadhi (concentration) and then to upekkhā (equanimity). Finally, the Buddha taught that with these factors developed in this progression the practice of anapanasati would lead to release from dukkha (suffering) in which one realises nibbana (nirvana). This originated when the Buddha announced a year in advance that he would speak at the end of the Rains, which allowed a large number of monks, elders and teachers to come together. He praised their various practices within the assembly, and then explained the importance to them of the mindfulness of breathing in and out and how it could bring knowledge and liberation. Mindfulness, meditation and breath control have since come to be at the heart of Theravada Buddhism. Image: prezi.com.

Diocese of Paisley | Saints Isaac Jogues, Jean de Brébeuf, and Companions |  Paisley, UK

Saints Isaac Jogues, Jean de Brébeuf et compagnons (Memorial of Sts Isaac Jogues, Jean de Brébeuf and Companions, martyrs). Catholic Church dioceses of the United States celebration of the optional memorial of these priests and martyrs, and their companions (martyrs). They were Jesuit missionaries who died as martyrs in North America, where they preached the Gospel. French Jesuits were the first missionaries to go to Canada and North America after Canada was discovered and their mission region extended from Nova Scotia to Maryland. Isaac Jogues, John de Brébeuf, Gabriel Lalemant, Noël Chabanel, Charles Garnier, Anthony Daniel, René Goupil and John de Lalande (the first six Jesuits, the last two laymen) preached the gospel to the Iroquois and Huron Indians and, after being tortured, they were martyred in the area of what is now Auriesville, New York. The martyrdoms took place between 1642 and 1649. The missionaries arrived in Canada less than a century after its discovery by Cartier in 1534, in the hope of converting the Indians and setting up New France. Their opponents were often the English and Dutch colonists. When Isaac Jogues returned to Paris after his first capture and torture, he said to his superior: “Yes, Father, I want whatever our Lord wants, even if it costs a thousand lives.” He had written in his mission report: “These tortures are very great, but God is still greater, and immense.” St John de Brébeuf had been a student of the great Jesuit spiritual writer, Louis Lallemant, and he wrote: “Jesus my Saviour, that as far as I have the strength I will never fail to accept the grace of martyrdom, if some day You in your infinite mercy should offer it to me, Your most unworthy servant. My God, it grieves me greatly that You are not known, that in this savage wilderness all have not been converted to You, that sin has not been driven from it.” Patrons of the Americas, co-patrons of Canada. Converts included St Kateri (Catherine ) Tekakwitha (Lily of the Mohawks), a virgin born in 1656 in Ossernenon, New York and baptised in 1676. She died aged 24 in Kahnawake near Montréal and is venerated in the Catholic Church, her major shrine being at the Saint Francis Xavier Church, Kahnawake, Québec and her Feast Day 14 July. She was the fourth Native American to be venerated in the Catholic Church and the first to be canonised and she is the patron of ecologists, ecology, environment, environmentalists, loss of parents, people in exile, people ridiculed for their piety, and Native Americans. More Christians were martyred in the Twentieth Century than in the previous nineteen centuries combined. Pastors are still being arrested and sometimes shot in China and Cuba. Believers are forbidden to buy goods or own property in Somalia. Christians who testify to their faith in Iran or Saudi Arabia may be put to death for blasphemy. Mobs have wiped out whole villages of Christians in Pakistan. Image: rcdop.org.uk.

Prayer O God, Who chose to manifest the blessed hope of Your eternal Kingdom by the toil of Saints John de Brébeuf, Isaac Jogues and their Companions and by the shedding of their blood, graciously grant that through their intercession the faith of Christians may now be strengthened. We pray for zealous missionaries in those countries where the Church is still persecuted. Amen