Popularly known as Barah Wafat (twelve death), this festival is celebrated on the twelfth day of the third month Rabi-ul-Awwal, in September / October. His death anniversary also falls on the same day, the word barah standing for the twelve days of the Prophet's sickness.
During these days, learned men deliver sermons in mosques, focussing on the life and noble deeds of the Prophet. In some parts of the country, a ceremony known as sandal rite is performed over the symbolic footprints of the Prophet engraved in stone.
A representation of buraq, a horse on which the Prophet is believed to have ascended to heaven,is kept near the footprints and anointed with sandal paste or scented powder, and the house and casket containing these are elaborately decorated. Elegies or marsiyas are sung in memory of the last days of the Prophet. The twelfth day or the urs is observed quietly, in prayers and alms-giving. Muhammad, son of Abdullah, son of Abdul Muttalib, of the tribe of Qureysh, was born at Mecca about 570 A.D., 53 years before the Hijrah. For some time Muhammad was at the service of a wealthy widow, named Khadijah. This resulted in their marriage which proved a very happy one, though she was fifteen years older than he. For 26 years they remained together and after her death Muhammad took other wives.
From about 610 A.D. Muhammad began to receive, as he believed, revelations sent down from Allah through the angel Gabriel. A small community was gathered, but they were persecuted by the Meccans. So in 622 A.D. Muhammad with his followers immigrated to Medina. Here he was no longer the leader of a religious minority, but the ruler of the city. This flight from Mecca to Medina is known as Hijrah and marks the beginning of the Islamic era.
More and more Arabian tribes accepted Islam as their religion and Muhammad as ruler, until 630 A.D. when even the Meccans submitted. In 632 A.D. Muhammad led the pilgrimage to Mecca, preached his farewell sermon and died soon after.