Prophet's Baptism in Nigeria in 2024

Prophet's Baptism in Nigeria in 2024
Mali’s Great Mosque of Djenne is the largest mudbrick building in the world. Image via Deposit Photos
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2023 Kano Wed, Oct 4 Regional Holiday

Celebrated one week after the Prophet Mohammed's Birthday, this marks the traditional Islamic birth rites that take place seven days after birth.

When is the Prophet's Baptism?

The Prophet's Baptism is a national holiday in Mali on the seventh day after the Birthday of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

The Islamic calendar is about 12 days shorter than the Western calendar, so the date of this holiday moves forward in the Western calendar each year. Please see the table on this page for details of the dates.

This holiday marks the traditional Islamic birth rites that take place seven days after birth.

Traditions of the Prophet's Baptism

Islam arrived in West Africa in about the 11th century and about 95% of the population of Mali is Muslim. 

The tradition of the Prophet's Baptism is unique to Mali. No other country observes this day as a holiday and given that the Prophet Muhammad was born into a tribe who were probably not Jewish or Christian, it is unlikely that he was baptized in a manner we would recognise.

However, the seventh day of a child's life is an important one for Muslims, and a number of key birth rites take place on this day:

The baby's head is shaved. This is to show that the child is the servant of Allah. A tradition amongst some Muslims is to weigh the hair and give the equivalent weight in silver to charity.

Muslim baby boys are circumcised when they are seven days old although it can take place any time before puberty. 

It is also tradition to choose a name for the baby on the seventh day.

The aqeeqah is also traditionally carried out on the seventh day. This is a celebration which involves the slaughter of sheep. Sheep are sacrificed and the meat is distributed to relatives and neighbours and also given to the poor.

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