KUALA LUMPUR - Thousands of Muslims gathered throughout the country in the spirit of solidarity to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad.
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah launched a national-level celebration near here which drew more than 11,000 people.
Chanting verses in praise of the Prophet, the crowd representing government and private agencies, uniformed bodies, non-government organisations, schools and tertiary institutions took part in a massive procession, walking 1.8km from Serdang's Malaysia Agro Exposition Park entrance to the hall where the event was held.
In Malacca, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron and his wife Datin Seri Fadilah Abdullah led 7,207 Muslims in a procession from the Hang Tuah Stadium to Dataran Pusat Islam at Masjid Al-Azim.
A total of 119 contingents drawn from government and private agencies, NGOs, schools and tertiary institutions took part in the event.
In Kota Baru, more than 2,000 youths, with the males dressed in white and females in black, joined a procession organised by the Kelantan Youth Council with the co-operation of Masjid Muhammadi.
On Wednesday night, the Ruler of Kelantan, Sultan Muhammad V, accompanied by Tengku Mahkota Tengku Muhammad Faiz Petra, attended the state-level celebration at Masjid Ismaili in Pasir Pekan.
In Kuala Terengganu, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin in his speech at the state-level celebration held at the Terengganu Stadium urged Muslims to increase their knowledge and strive to become a community that is able to master new technologies.
"Without education and knowledge, Muslims cannot become leaders in the various fields in life," Sultan Mizan said.
In Sipitang, Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin called on Muslims to return to the fundamental teachings of Islam when confronting the issue of Islamophobia and slurs towards the religion.
"This is a struggle which not only requires commitment and strong will but also a high degree of wisdom," Juhar said in his speech at the Sabah Maulidur Rasul celebration.
In Sibu, Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem said Islam was a religion of mercy and peace, and not one which created feuds and hatred or promoted violence and terrorism.
"It is important to stress that we should reject all forms of religious and racial extremism, as both of them are against the Islamic teachings of Prophet Muhammad," said Adenan in his speech at the state-level celebration, which was read out by Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg.
The highlight of the celebration was the participation of non-Muslim groups in the procession, which included contingents from the Federation of Chinese Seven Clans Association, SUPP and UPP.
In Butterworth, Penang's Maulidur Rasul celebration saw the participation of about 1,900 Muslims from 37 government departments who marched in a procession to the Seberang Jaya Mosque.
At the mosque, Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas joined the participants for a prayer session and handed out Qudwatur Rasul awards.
In George Town, the celebrations saw 2,500 Muslims taking part in the annual procession from Masjid Kapitan Keling.
The procession, organised by the Penang Muslim League for the 17th year, was flagged off by Abdul Rahman.