On the blessed occasion of the 15th of Sha'ban, the Awaited One Foundation held its annual Imam Mahdi Birth Celebration Event. The event capped off a weekend full of activities and celebrations leading up to this large event, including a candle lighting campaign for Saturday night.
On Sunday, July 17, close to 2000 attendees came out to Hemlock Park in Dearborn Michigan to celebrate the birth of the Awaited Imam (may Allah hasten his reappearance). Families and youth enjoyed moonwalks, face painting, carnival games, an exhibition on Imam Mahdi's life, and other family-friendly activities. The event was also honored by the presence of the flag that flies over the shrine of Hadhrat Abul Fadhl al-Abbas (peace be upon him) in Karbala, Iraq, which was on display at the event. Those who attended the event also signed a large banner that will be stretched from the holy city of Najaf to Karbala. Many of those who signed the banner were young children, who put into words and images their love and affection for the Prophet and his Household (peace be upon them).
The Imam Mahdi Celebration Event was staffed by close to seventy volunteers, many of whom worked in over 90 degree weather for a lengthy period of time. The volunteers ranged from young high school students to professionals in the community, all of whom were united under the banner of the Awaited One. Also present at the event was a registration and information table for the newly launched weekend Islamic school, AhlulBayt Academy.
The demographics of those who attended the event were as diverse as the different activities available. Alongside Shias, there were Sunni Muslims and non-Muslims who came out to celebrate, spend the day at the event, and learn more about the Awaited Imam. The exhibition tent has large posters of information on the Imam, as well as pamphlets and learning material about Islam,the AhlulBayt, Hijab in Islam, etc. Event attendees were also able to enter into a drawing to win several prizes by answering questions about Imam Mahdi.
Just as last year's event drew thousands of people, this year's celebration also united thousands in the Michigan community in remembrance of the Awaited Imam.