Archive for category Poetry
the time has come
to take my good life
in my hands and
gallop to the sublime
i’m no more polluted
and from now on
i’ll take my quests
directly to God Himself
i was given
at my birth
all the estates and mansions
it will be a heresy
to accept only
a doorkeeper’s job
once i alter this
once i change the
essence in my mind
happiness will replace misery
now my dear heart
since you and i are all alone
having your midnight message
i’ll do exactly
that which you know
once i grow wings
in place of my slow feet
all obstacles will vanish
and i really can fly in
time and space again
(hijab flutter ~ Yasmin Mogahed)
“I have nothing except but my destitution
To plead for me with You.
And in my poverty I put forward that destitution as my plea.
I have no power save to knock at Your door,
And if I be turned away, at what door shall I knock?
Or on whom shall I call, crying his name,
If Your generosity is refused to Your destitute one?
Far be it from Your generosity to drive the disobedient one to despair!
Generosity is more freehanded than that.
In lowly wretchedness I have come to Your door,
Knowing that degradation there finds help.
In full abandon I put my trust in You,
Stretching out my hands to You, a pleading beggar.”
- Sh. Abdul Qadirhas
I was with a friend of mine who is involved with interfaith work. She shared this poem as one that inspires her when doing Islamic work; I think this poem is a wonderful example of how communities of faith share much in common. Although I don’t agree with some of the concepts in this poem from an Islamic perspective, the overall lesson to a worker for God is illuminating.
“Oscar A. Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, in El Salvador, was assassinated on March 24, 1980, while celebrating Mass in a small chapel in a cancer hospital where he lived. He had always been close to his people, preached a prophetic gospel, denouncing the injustice in his country and supporting the development of popular and mass organizations. He became the voice of the Salvadoran people when all other channels of expression had been crushed by the repression.
The following prayer was composed by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, drafted for a homily by Cardinal John Dearden in Nov. 1979 for a celebration of departed priests. As a reflection on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Bishop Romero, Bishop Untener included in a reflection book a passage titled “The mystery of the Romero Prayer.” The mystery is that the words of the prayer are attributed to Oscar Romero, but they were never spoken by him.”
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation
in realizing that. This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.
“Though your heart grows weary
and you tire of life -
O time waster
This is a journey you cannot avoid.”
by Aideh Elasmar
He asked me on the bus
About my conviction.
“How can you be sure
That you are not wrong?”
He needs my conviction.
My answer to him,
We are all born with it.
Many grow out of it.
And never stop to question, why.
For different reasons.
Many block it out
Those who ignore
Will be ignored
Those who never think
Will never think to ask.
Those who think they know
Will never really know.
This is the one you want to be
The one who asks
Will be given that
As long as you know the One to ask.
This is based on a true story which happened to me. Two years ago, I got on a campus bus. The driver, able to easily identify me as a Muslim took the opportunity to ask me about my faith. Some days, I still think about his question. I wonder how many people have this same question but never dare to ask it, even to themselves? I could sense his sincerity but also his fear. To anyone asking the same question, I tell him the question is a load waiting to be released. My advise is to release the load and ask the question.
[hijab flutter ~ Dina]
“Complete signal loss, try again later.”
What am I supposed to do now?
What time is it?
But it feels like I just got home from work.
Have I been sitting here watching TV all day?
Is this my life?
Coming home from work and falling asleep in front of the TV only to do it all over again the next day?
Is this what I was meant to do?
Shouldn’t I be doing….hey, the TV is back on.
Someday we are bound to come back to the beginning. Even the most distant pathways always lead us inward, completely inward, into intimacy, solitude between our self and our self – in the place where there is no longer anyone but God and our self.
Paulo Coelho, in his novel The Alchemist has brought in one of the most traditional and deep teachings of Sufism (Islamic mysticism). Go, travel the world, watch, look for the truth and the secret of life – every road will lead you to this sense of initiation: the light, the secret, are hidden in the place from which you set out. You are on your way not toward the end of the road but toward its beginning; to go is to return; to find is to rediscover. Go! …You will return. The apparent paradox of spiritual experience is the lesson that the constant effort, the jihad, that we make in order to purify, control, and liberate our heart is, in the end, a reconciliation with the deepest level of our being (al-fitra) – there where the spark gleams that God originally breathed into our heart, there where our conscience weds our being and gives in to peace (salam). The peace of recognition, the peace of submission (salam al-islam), is, deep down, a liberation.
God is “the One who created death and life to test you and to find out which of you would behave best.” Death, life, experiences, ordeals, pain, solitude, as well as joy and happiness, are so many lessons along the road to reconciliation. Wounds, separations, tears, as well as smiles, “say” something: if you live in unawareness, they touch you; with God, they guide and lead you. Where to? Where to then? Toward Him, toward you, close to Him in you. Such is the most beautiful and the most difficult lesson of Islam; you find God only be rediscovering your own nature, and the essence of your nature is the only thing that can free you from its appearance…”I” must set out to discover another “I”; such is the meaning of life.
Ordeals drive you not to your limits but to your origin, where “the need for Him” has its root. Ordeals will lead you back, whether you like it or not, to what you are, to the essence from which He has formed you. Exile will take you home.
A man once exclaimed to the mystic Rabia al-Adawiyya,
“I have discovered a thousand proofs of the existence of God!”
She closed the conversation by saying that she had only one proof and that was enough for her.
“Which?” he asked.
“If you are alone in the desert and you fall down a well, to whom will you turn?”
“To God,” he said.
“That proof is enough for me!”
A strange reply, seemingly simple, even simplistic, that a rationalist or atheist would without hesitation take as confirmation of what he had always believed: “God is the refuge of the destitute, the hope of the hopeless, a consolation, a reassuring invention!”
On the surface, on the surface only…suffering and the unknown seem to press the mind to look for a refuge, a consolation. This is the logic our reason proposes when it looks on the human being on the outside of its nature. The Islamic tradition says exactly the opposite: the ordeals of life, sadness, encountering the death of those we love, for example, take the human being back to its most natural state, to its most essential longing. Consciousness of limitation brings it back to the need for the Transcendent, to the need for meaning. To call on God is not to console oneself – it is to rediscover the condition God originally wanted for us – the spark of humility, the awareness of fragility.
Before your eyes is a child…life, dependence, fragility, and innocence. To be with God is to know how to keep this state: a humble acceptance of your fragility, a comprehension of your dependence – going back to the beginning. In fact, the temptation to pride consists in thinking that man can cut himself off from his nature and attain total intellectual autonomy to the point where he can take on his own suffering, deliberately and alone. Pride is to affirm outward independence by maintaining the illusion of liberty at the heart of one’s being. Humility is to rediscover the breath of the primordial need of Him at the heart of our being, in order to live in total outward independence.
Go! …You will return.