Thousands of Muslims gathered to celebrate Mouled Al Sayeda Nafisa in a night that was filled with Dhikr (Islamic enchantments), Sufi dancing, and praises of the Prophet Mohammed and his family.
Mouled or Mawlid (birthday celebration) of Al Sayeda Nafisa, the great great granddaugther of Prophet Muhammad, was always witnessed by Sufi followers in Cairo, as she spent most of her life in Egypt.
Islamic Mouleds are synchronised by the Islamic Lunar calendar. In Mouled celebrations, Muslims gather for days before El-Leila EL-Kebera (The biggest Night) which marks the actual birthday, to celebrate it with the night long Islamic enchantments, Tanoora dancing, and Dhikr circles in which a group of Sufi devotees gather in a human-chain singing short phrases of praising God.
El-Leila El-Kebera took place last Wednesday, ending the week-long festivity of the birth anniversary of Al Sayeda Nafisa. Egypt’s prominent enchanter Mahmoud El-Tohamy spent the night singing Islamic songs for the attendees whom had been residing at the tents specially sat up for days in anticipation for the event.
Sayeda Nafisa was born in Mecca, but moved to Egypt with her husband and two children at a young age. She was received with warm welcome by the Egyptians, and her house was soon a hub for religious lessons and Dhikr.
She was known for her miracles in curing the ill, and extreme generosity with the people in need. Since she passed away, Sufi Muslims revive her memory every year in a Mouled where food is generously distributed to all the attendees.
Mouleds are celebrated by both Christians and Muslims in Egypt. Mouled Al-Adra (Virgin Mary) and Mouled Mari Girgis are the two largest Coptic Mouled celebrations.
Other popular Mouleds include Al-Mouled Al-Nabawy, Mouled Al-Hussein, and Mouled Al-Sayed Al-Badawi.
All photos taken by Mahmoud Fekry