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