Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday is a national public holiday in Libya, as in most other Muslim-majority nations. Since most Libyans are Sunnis, 12 Rabi al Awwal is counted as Muhammad’s date of birth, whereas minority Shiites would observe it on the seventeenth of the same Islamic month.
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Mawlid al Nabi, or “birth of the prophet”, is the official name of the holiday. Most Muslim sects permit or even encourage the celebration of “Mawlid”, but in Libya, the Salafi sect opposes it and sometimes tries to pressure Sufi Muslims to cease from celebrating it.
Sufis, who exist within both Sunni and Shia Islam, have been prominent in Mawlid processions for centuries in Libya. They dance, sing, beat drums, clang cymbals, and march through the streets of Tripoli and other Libyan cities on this day every single year.
It’s a major celebration, and non-Sufis of course, also take part, even if not in so visible a fashion.