Iranians celebrate birth of Imam Mahdi
The Islamic calendar is lunar, that is, it’s based on the cycles of the moon. In the eighth month, Shia Muslims celebrate the birthday of their 12th Imam, Mahdi.
Mahdi is a very important figure in the Shia faith. Shia Muslims and even some Sunni Muslims believe him to be hidden by God and that he will unite all Muslims at the time of his return.
“The world of Islam and humanity is awaiting the one that will save humanity. We Shias believe that the person the world is waiting for is no one but the Imam of our time that we pray for him to come and bring justice to all lands,” said Islamic Studies Expert, Seyyed Ahmad Rahnamaei.
Shias also believe that, during his return, he will be accompanied by a number of holymen including Jesus Christ. Shia Muslims celebrate his birthday and wish for his return.
About the celebrations, Rahnamaei said, “In mid-Shaban, we celebrate for the Imam who we believe sees us and lives like us and is on earth and is living side by side with us whilst we dont see him, we celebrate the birth of all our 14 infallibles– from Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) to his daughter and the all 12 Imams. however for Imam Mahdi there is a special celebration as we believe he’s still alive and amongst us.”
The celebrations include religious gatherings and passing sweets and juices around, and giving charity to mark this festivity on the eve of the 15th of the month of Shaban.
Every year festivities are held across the country to mark this occasion, starting from the eve to the day itself which is one of Iran’s national holidays.
In addition to Iran, there are other Muslim nations who also celebrate this day, these inclide Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, and India.