“Maalad” or “Mawlid” is the celebration of the birth of the Prophet (PBUH) through the performance of religious songs that tell the story of the birth and the Prophet and his biography. This artform began in the UAE with the pilgrimage trips from the UAE to Mecca, and it was the first to be performed by Omar Al-Afghani (1886-1918), who was a student of the Emirati Abdullah Al-Murid and he taught the art to his son Abdul Rahim. Maalad was a known artform in the past in the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Fujairah.
The late Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan put in place mechanisms to preserve this heritage artform, so it regained its luster and flourished not only on the Prophet’s birthday, but also on the anniversary of the Isra and Mi’raj, the night of the middle of Sha’ban and weddings.
Maalad became one of the Emirati heritage spiritual artforms; where love and spiritual values are spread and shared. It highlights the personality of the Prophet PBUH in a way that melts the hearts and sresses social compassion, beauty and art.
Among the most famous Sufi sheikhs who performed the art of Maalad in the UAE are: Sayyid Al-Hashemi, Ahmed bin Hafez, and Abdul Rahman Al-Mansoori. The Burdah of Imam al-Busairi and the poem “Nahj al-Burdah” by Ahmed Shawqi are the most famous and widely used poems in this artform. The Emirate of Fujairah revived this art, which has been part of its heritage, since 2017, under the directives of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah.