In a message, he said: "On the auspicious occasion of Milad-un-Nabi, the birthday of the Holy Prophet, I convey my greetings and good wishes to all my fellow citizens in India and abroad. May the message of selflessness and brotherhood preached by the Holy Prophet inspire us to promote unity and friendship amongst all peoples. May the eternally relevant teachings of the Prophet inspire us to re-dedicate ourselves for the well-being of humanity."
Milad un-Nabi commemorates Prophet Muhammad's birthday and is a gazetted holiday in India.
It is also known as Nabi Day, Mawlid, Mohammad's Birthday or the Prophet's Birthday.
Those who observe Milad-un-Nabi gatherings remember, discuss and celebrate the advent of the Prophet Muhammad's birth and his teachings.
Some people send Milad-un-Nabi e-cards to friends and family.
Many Sunni Muslims celebrate this event on the 12th of the Islamic month of Rabi' al-awwal, while the Shi'a community celebrates it on the 17th of Rabi' al-awwal.
Activities associated with Milad-un-Nabi include night-long prayer meetings, marches and parades involving large crowds, sandal rites over the symbolic footprints of the Prophet Muhammad, festive banners and bunting in homes, mosques and other buildings, distribution of meals through community kitchens in mosques and other community buildings, meetings to listen to stories and poems about Prophet Mohammad's life, deeds and teachings and exhibitions featuring photos of mosques in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
Many people carry green flags or banners or wear green ribbons or items of clothing when taking part in these events.
The color green represents Islam and paradise. Many Kashmiri Muslims gather at the Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar, which houses a hair that is believed to have come from Prophet Mohammad.
Thousands of people attend prayers at the shrine on the night before Milad un-Nabi. The relic is displayed in the mosque after the morning prayers. It was paraded through the town in previous years.
In India, government offices, post offices and banks are closed on the day.
Islamic stores, businesses and other organizations may be closed or have reduced opening hours.
--ANI (Posted on 13-01-2014)