call me irrational
call me a fool
i am proud
to be unbound
by the superficial
created my men
and instead
try to submit
to the bounds of
the Uncreated One

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Art & Spirituality (Wise Words from Sidi Ali Hussain)

“The coming of prophets to open countless unique paths for people to journey to God, aside from just becoming seekers of religious knowledge and its scholars, has to do with connecting all of creation with the spiritual realm and transcending their attachment to material meanings.

One reason the Muslim community seems to obsess over disciplines such as law and theology is precisely because they pertain to this body and mind, even the spiritual reality of these sciences is neglected.

Consider, for instance, that shaykh al Akbar Ibn Arabi included an entire section in the Meccan Openings on the inward reality of shari’a where he discussed, among many others, the reason for permissibility to wear shoes during prayer as being that prayer is a journey.

It is worthwhile noting that the word shari’a itself, linguistically, comes from shaari’ (road), and thus refers to ones path to the water of spiritual life. This necessarily includes a constant awareness of the spiritual reality of our bodily worship.

Like metaphors in a poem, our bodily existence is a metaphor of our spiritual reality … we are a spirit first and foremost and a body second. The body is auxiliary and perishes, while the spirit is essential and remains.

Therefore, any discussion of law or theology that focuses solely on the bodily dimension, leaving out the spiritual reality is steering us away from our objective, God.

Even any attempt to rectify injustices in the world by resorting to social criticism without rooting the sickness and medicine in the spirit first and foremost is steering away from our objective, God.

Those Muslims who seek to fix the world whilst criticising abundant divine remembrance and singing of divine or prophetic praises as being a nice individual activity but irrelevant or inefficient at fixing the world’s problems, quite frankly, are exactly the ones who wrongly believe that our power lies in our bodies and minds, not spirit.

The simple fact is that the closer any activity we perform is to the spiritual world, the more powerful and efficient it is at changing both our spiritual and bodily reality. Anything else is in vain … all our institutions and conferences perish without this spiritual reality.

From this perspective of reality, art has more power to change a villains heart than all institutions, conferences and lectures combined… art works on hearts and all else works on the mind. And who are saints but perfected divine art works turned artists!”

Sidi Ali Hussain

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Conversation between an Indian mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik and Alexander the Great:

The world conqueror apparently met what he called a ‘gymnosophist’ – a naked, wise man, possibly a yogi – sitting on a rock and staring at the sky, and asked him, “What are you doing?”

“I’m experiencing nothingness. What are you doing?” the gymnosophist replied.

“I am conquering the world,” Alexander said.

They both laughed; each one thought the other was a fool, and was wasting their life.

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Greater Gift

I thought I had it all.

Then God came and swept it away.

At first I resisted, hung on tightly, and bargained with Him,
immensely afraid to lose His gifts.
Fear, anxiety, and turmoil
just a few among many emotions
Built up inside of me like a whirlwind within.

Time passed and I realized that I was bargaining with God-
the one that transforms the impossible to the possible.

I slowly released the gifts back to His will.
Smiles unfolding on my face.
Understanding, and accepting.

I figured – If God knows that there are greater gifts,
and furthermore that I am worthy of them,
then let His creativity and wisdom unroll!

Surely, to have something greater than what I have now,
is sparking my curiosity.

For God never takes something away…

Without replacing it with something better.

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I hope you remember

I hope you travel across many dimensions
As you dive deeper and deeper
Into your spiritual heart
And once you are back to your present world
I hope you remember the one
Who sang a poem to you
An ode to Ibn al Arabi
In a pseudo labyrinth
On a beautiful spring day
While the sun beamed down its rays
And the breezes of nature enveloped us both.

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The Passing of Shaykh Murabit Al Hajj

There are those who do not seek to be known while they are alive. When they die, God makes them become known world over.

Shaykh Murabit is the teacher of many of our teachers, including Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. Our world has lost a great and beautiful soul.

“May God reward him for his service to this deen and his love and concern for the Muslims. He was never known to speak ill of anyone. Once when a student was studying Khalil with him and asked what a certain word meant in the text, he explained to him that it was a slow and clumsy horse. The student then said, ‘like so-and-so’s horse?’ At this Murabit al-Hajj suddenly became upset and said, ‘I don’t spend much time with people because they backbite, so if you want to study with me, you must never speak ill of anyone in my presence.’ It is not well known by Muslims that to speak ill of someone’s animals falls under the ruling of backbiting.”
-Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

“My eyes fell upon the most noble and majestic person I have ever seen in my life. He called me over, put his hand on my shoulder, welcomed me warmly, and then asked me, “Is it like the dream?” I burst into a flood of tears. I had indeed experienced a dream with him that was very similar to our actual meeting. He then went back to teaching. I was given a drink, and some of the students began to massage me, which I most appreciated, as my entire body ached from the difficult journey.”
-Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

“People speak of the evil eye
But they overlook the good eye.
The good eye exists.
Just as the one who possessed the evil eye can cause illness with a glance,
The one possessed of the good eye can heal with a glance.”
-Habib Ahmed Mashhur Al Haddad
From ‘Signs on the Horizons’ by Michael Sugich

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“Saints are like the circumference of a circle”

“Saints are like the circumference of a circle. The circle is composed of points. On its circumference there are countless points. Yet the circle’s center consists of but a single point, and from that point each saint receives light and power. The radii of the circle extend to every point on the circumference but the distance from the center to each point on the circumference is identical. Each point on the circumference is one saint, one here and another there.

Each saint takes from the center. All on the circumference are brothers and sisters there is no difference between them. When they reach this level, each knows and recognizes the other. But outside this level, humans do not know each other. That is why 124,000 great saints know each other, for all of them swimming in the same orbit. That is the meaning of the verse from God’s Holy Words:

Each one is swimming in his orbit.

The illustrious saints swim in the orbit of the 124,000, taking from the Center of everything, God most High. If you hold the hand of any one of them it is as if you are holding the hand of all. When you reach one it is as if you have reached them all. At that time the light they all possess will be bestowed on you and illuminate your heart.”

-Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

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When the light of hope is dying
And the soul’s energy is bleak
And the eyelids heavy
Struggling to open
Amidst the weight of the heart’s
despondent calls

A small, hidden, and tiny voice,
From the core of my being whispers
‘I know You can make miracles happen.’

Nothing is difficult for Him who
Evolves and sustains the multitudes
Of lives
Each traveling its own
specific course of mysteries unfolding

More than a trillion souls, traversing the worlds
Some on earth, and many in the barzakh
He is aware of all
Every inch of movement and thought

Is not He, who is capable
of feats so great and wondrous
and with magnitudes unable to be counted
able to create and sustain this miracle?

He, whose mercy is more vast
than the oceans of space between the galaxies
Whose power and wisdom so grand,
beyond our capacity to understand.

Whose nature of giving
Whose readiness of bestowing
Whose eagerness of providing
Is beyond human enumeration
and comprehension.

I beg Thee, Thou who are so great
that my existence becomes a shadow
fading into non-existence.

I beg thee, Thou who are so capable
that places me at utter reliance
submission, and brokenness.

To grant this undeserving soul,
this wretched heart,
this struggling and rusted mirror,
This miracle.

I know You can make miracles happen.

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That impenetrable heart

What does it take
To penetrate that heart?
How do I unlock
The doors
To the secret core?

What must I do
To tap into
that mysterious well
of unending love?

How do I request
a meeting with that heart
Guarded in its fortress
Of steel walls
and knights in armor?

Oh God! I rely entirely on You.
To blanket the path ahead
With Your mercy,
Love and harmony.
For only You
Can pierce through
The walls of our hearts
And allow us to feel and taste
That wondrous
That irresistible

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Shaykh Rumi

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You are a light that others may not see

Every friend/saint of God is different, yet every saint is a beloved to God. Every sahabi (companion of the Prophet) was different, yet every sahabi was a beloved to God. If someone cannot see/value the beauty, talents, and light within you, do not allow the veils shrouding their inner vision to temper your confidence.

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