Mawlid and Rumi

Whirling dervishes perform in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli Picture: Ibrahim Chalhoub/AFP/Getty Images

Whirling dervishes perform in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli celebrating Muhammad’s birth
Picture: Ibrahim Chalhoub/AFP/Getty Images

Today is the day celebrated as the birth of Muhammad (born 1,444 years ago), a holiday known as Mawlid, observed on the 12th day of the third month of the Islamic calendar, Rabi al-awwal. Celebrations, often more like carnivals in mood and energy, are often organized by the Sufi sect and include parades, sharing of food, giving to charity, and the reciting of poetry.

To commemorate this day, “The Guest House” by Jelalludin Rumi (1207-73), a favorite Sufi poet:

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

translated by Coleman Barks

Muslims pray at the door of the Kaaba during their Umrah al-Mawlid an-Nabawi pilgrimage, at the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca. Picture: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters

Muslims pray at the door of the Kaaba during their Umrah al-Mawlid an-Nabawi pilgrimage, at the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca.
Picture: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters

This entry was posted in Islam, poetry and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Mawlid and Rumi

  1. Jerome Bloom says:

    THANK YOU

    I
    LOVE
    THIS
    POEM

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