Peace, one and all…
I’ve just seen the Sunni Unity Pledge over at Shaykh Suhaib Webb’s blog (via Mujahideen Ryder and Yayha Birt). It follows in the footsteps of the Amman Message and urges all Sunni Muslims to forgo all unnecessary, offensive and foolish attacks on others.
I, for one, fully support this initiative. May Allah help it to grow.
Peace, one and all…
I have always been struck by the vastness of the stars, by the beauty of the heavens. When I was a child I would often gaze up at the sky and wonder about the scale of it all. ‘What’s out there?’, I would find myself thinking. This no doubt explains my fascination (in a very lazy, amateurish way) with astronomy and science fiction.
When I began to explore life’s great questions, I often caught myself recalling this astral vastness: this universe is so large, how did it all come about? At certain times, I would gaze out into the sky thinking: ‘there must be a God; there must be a creative force behind all of this’. At other times, I would feel less certain: ‘this universe is so huge, how could one being possibly encompass it all?’ Or, to put it another way: given the universe’s size, how can all the small protocols of religious life actually matter?’
It was these (and other) questions that occupied me for a long time. As I learned and grew, I began to flirt a little with religion, in a kind of shy, hesitant manner. I read and thought and spoke my heart into the night, until one day I came to a realisation: I will never know how the water feels until I throw myself into the pool! And thus, I embraced Islam…
Though I thought otherwise at the time, that was not the end of the matter. Far from it, indeed! I still gaze up at the sky in wonder and I still have moments of faith and doubt, moments of strength and weakness. Sometimes it all makes sense. Sometimes it makes no sense at all, and I wonder what it’s all for.
Reflecting on my ongoing inner conversation I realise that I am once again faced with questions of self and other. That is, the universe exists independent of my imagination. It just is. I am the one who gives it this peculiar meaning. It is the vessel of my own heart that carries both faith and doubt.
This leads me to another realisation. I am insignificant. But, that very insignificance brings its own strength. I am so insignificant as to be significant. I am so meaningless as to be meaningful.
This is why I swore, long ago, that I would never again belittle another person’s spirituality, another’s meaning. And, regardless of the ultimate truth of all this, I will strive with might and main to keep holy what is holy, and to never desecrate the sacred temple of another human being’s heart.
And praise be to God who maketh it so…
Peace, one and all…
An eye is meant to see things.
The soul is here for its own joy.
A head has one use: for loving a true lover.
Legs: to run after.
Love is for vanishing into the sky. The mind,
for learning what men have done and tried to do.
Mysteries are not to be solved. The eye goes blind
when it only wants to see why.
A lover is always accused of something.
But when he finds his love, whatever was lost
in the looking comes back completely changed.
On the way to Mecca, many dangers: thieves,
the blowing sand, only camel’s milk to drink.
Still each pilgrim kisses the black stone there
with pure longing, feeling in the surface
the taste of the lips he wants.
This talk is like stamping new coins. They pile up,
while the real work is done outside
by someone digging in the ground
(Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, Mesnavi)
Other than this sweet pain of Love all is vain
vanities here distract one from true gain
beauty was what I searched for in everyone and everything
now that I have seen You, all other gain is but pain
I am all tears and anticipation now
and though your company I am denied in this affliction
when this is done and I am no more
my dust will blow only in Your direction
many poems Jami offers at Your gate
and they all and always only state
You are all I want
all else is a mistake