Door marker:  Muhammad, Messenger of God

Door marker: Muhammad, Messenger of God Author collection

Today many Muslims are honoring the birthday (Mawlid) of the Prophet Muhammad.

Many Muslim communities decorate their streets in a way that would seem familiar to Christmas audiences:  lights, family gatherings, religious poems, sweets, and more.

There is a rich tradition of poetry honoring the birth of the Prophet, as i have documented previously here.

To honor the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, here is a little poem from Rumi honoring the Prophet as the “mother” of the Path of Love. This was a way in which the Sufi poets honored the Prophet as the “maternal” (ummi) prophet, playing on the pun of Ummi as both “unlettered” and derived from Umm (mother).   This was a fairly common “gender-bending” way in which mystical poets of Islam called on the Prophet to suckle the faithful through the “breast of compassion.”    The imagery might seem odd to a more prudish modern Muslim audiences, but was familiar to a pre-modern Muslim audiences more at home with erotic and sensual imagery.

Muhammad ZakariyaWith that, here is Rumi’s short poem, honoring the Prophet as the Mother of the Path of Love:

عشق است طریق و راه پیغمبر ما
Love is the path of my Prophet.

I was born through love,
Love is my mother.

This love is hidden in my veil
Hidden from my unfaithful nature.

I wasn’t born from a mother.
This love gave birth to me.

Marvel!
A thousand blessings on this motherly love.

Happy Birthday to the Prophet!  Mawlid Mubarak….

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