(Left to Right) President Jammeh and Amir Sheikh Sabah of Kuwait
(Left to Right) President Jammeh and Amir Sheikh Sabah of Kuwait

(JollofNews) – Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh has declared Monday a bank holiday in observance of the Muslim feast of Mawlid Nabi (Prophet Muhammad’s birthday) commonly known as ‘Gamo.

Mr Jammeh who was defeated in last week’s election is expected host an event with religious leaders at State House.

The feast will be Mr Jammeh’s last at State House before he leaves to his native village, Kanilai, where he intends to spend his post-presidency days.

The Gambia is a Muslim dominated country and feast is celebrated in all regions of the country with recitation of the Holy Qur’an and religious teaching.

The origin of Mawlid Nabi observance reportedly dates back to the period of the early four Rashidun Caliphs of Islam.  The Ottomans declared it an official holiday in 1588.

Most denominations of Islam approve of the commemoration of Muhammad’s birthday, however, some denominations including Wahhabism/Salafism, Deobandism and the Ahmadiyya disapprove its commemoration, considering it an unnecessary religious innovation (bid’ah or bidat).

Mawlid Nabi is recognised as a national holiday in most of the Muslim-majority countries of the world except Saudi Arabia and Qatar which are officially Wahhabi/Salafi.