The Source is Overflowing

“Everything you see has its roots
in the Unseen world.
The forms may change,
yet the essence remains the same.

Every wondrous sight will vanish,
Every sweet word will fade.
But do not be disheartened,
The Source they come from is eternal –
Growing, branching out,
giving new life and new joy.

Why do you weep? –
That Source is within you,
And this whole world
is springing up from it.

The Source is full,
Its waters are ever-flowing;
Do not grieve,
drink your fill!
Don’t think it will ever run dry –
This is the endless Ocean.

From the moment you came into this world
A ladder was place in front of you
that you might escape.

From earth you became a plant,
from plant you became animal.
Afterwards you became a human being,
Endowed with knowledge, intellect, and faith.

Behold the body, born of dust-
How perfect it has become!

Why should you fear its end?
When were you ever made less by dying?

When you pass beyond this human form,
No doubt you will become an angel
And soar through the heavens!

But don’t stop there,
Even heavenly bodies grow old.

Pass again from the heavenly realm
and plunge into the vast ocean of Consciousness.
Let the drop of water that is you
become a hundred mighty seas.

But do not think that the drop alone
Becomes the Ocean –
the Ocean, too, becomes the drop!”

- Mawlana Rumi

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Mirror of my Soul

Your introspection illuminates
Your reflection reverberates
Through my being,
And reminds me of my own.
You are a mirror of my soul.

I see myself in you.
Your diligence and attentiveness
Has revived and rekindled my own.
Your passion
Is a mirror of my soul.

Your love for our teachers
Is magnanimous like my own.
Your love of Rumi and his oceanic gems
Is deep and endless as my own.
Your love
Is a mirror of my soul.

Your reverence for the philosophy
Which guides the human
On the discovery of the self
And the recovery of virtue.
Is also, my earnest yearn
Your quest
Is a mirror of my soul.

Your curious dives into the luminary
Ibn al Arabi
And your eagerness at understanding
The Self Disclosure of God
Is an undertaking I gladly dive in on my own
Your dive
Is a mirror of my soul.

Your fireball of energy
for appreciating the poetic path
And the likes of Hafiz, Attar, Sa’adi and more
Is a powerful energy that bounds from my own
Your energy
Is a mirror of my soul.

I feel at ease in your presence.
I am finally home.
I see your reflection
In my food, my water.
My reading, and my imaginal realm.
are a mirror,
of my soul.

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Fawakih Winter Intensive 2017

I spent about a week and a half this month with the Fawakih Family, which was a decision that I will never regret. They offered the exact type of environment that I needed to boost my motivation and energy in Arabic studies. The environment is holistic and rejuvenating for the soul: (students participate not only in learning and studying, but in traveling, serving, cooking, recreation, poetry night, swimming, and more). We had classes to stimulate the mind (Arabic grammar and morphology), as well as the heart (spirituality). I recommend this program and this beautiful institute to all those wayfarers on the path who desire to deepen their intimacy with the Qur’an and, ultimately, their Creator. It was certainly a feast for the souls!

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Unite in the Ocean of Love: Don’t Harm the Lovers of God

Dear lovers,
When we travel the path of Love,
When we connect on the level of the spirit,
Do our differences in fiqh really matter?
Let us look beyond our forms,
Beyound our physicalities
Beyond methodology of law
Beyond the realm of labels
And unite in the Ocean of Love.

There is so much unnecessary bloodshed and violence in the world; just to name a few: Burma, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, etc.
We all love the same Being, let us unite in this Love. When we look with the eye of Tawhid, we see Oneness, One Love, One God, One Spirit, One Universe. When we look with the eye of multiplicity, we see insignificant differences.
We should think before picking up the weapon, “Am I killing another lover of God?”

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Reflections on the Divine from a Beautiful Writer

I recently had the honor of meeting an amazing writer, who goes by the initials of NAD. I wanted to preserve his reflections, since they are utterly beautiful and touching, and cause the mind to enter into another dimension of thought:

“The beauty of creation is a reflection of the majesty of its Creator, while the majesty of creation is a reflection of the beauty of its Creator. You are the mirror upon which these reflections appear. The more you polish your self, the more you’ll see the center in what’s left and right, you’ll be a crossroad between east and west, and you’ll know beauty and majesty all point to a singular Grace. Mirror images aren’t identical but they are symmetric when held together. What appears to be an opposite that contradicts something, may in reality just be a reflection that balances it. Be patient, and give yourself time to register and reinterpret the images you encounter. ‘And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.’ ”

“God’s artistry is dynamic, it’s always in Flux. He fashions and refashions the same thing according to an infinite array of possibilities but always maintains the singularity of Truth through Beauty. No two days are a like. The sky will never look the same twice. It looks different every second as it is forever being made whole. It’s a masterpiece that’s always complete, and yet, by His grace, always in the process of being made more complete. Gray skies and clouds don’t make a day ugly, they merely manifest another attribute of His divine artistry. The trials and tribulations we face individually and as a community, the evils we lament about, and the tragedies we fret over aren’t obstacles to stop us in our tracks. They’re hurdles made to be jumped over so that we learn more about our abilities and potentials. Each one is a brushstroke from The Supreme Fashioner’s unparalleled and endless depths of talent that further completes the masterpiece that is you, and that is also us. It may not always be sunshine and clear skies, but remember, even sunflowers need the rain and shade from time to time.”

“It’s amazing how every single snowflake is unique. Each one points to the infinite creative power and knowledge of God. There is more knowledge manifest in one snow storm than there is in all books written by man. Each snowflake is itself a Divine Revelation, a manifestation of the Word of God, of the Quran. When we see these flakes falling we may think them to be insignificant because they’re so small, yet we also realize that if these seemingly insignificant specs were to band together and amplify each other’s purpose, they could literally bring our day to day life to a screeching halt. When snowflakes stick together they become interpreters of the infinite knowledge within one another. They function as letters and as words. They form words, then sentences, then paragraphs, then books in a bilateral process both individually and collectively and internally and externally. They become the context clues for each other in a Divine statement of God’s Divinity, Unity, and Oneness. God tells us His story on the pages of the present moment, in His book of creation, at a speed we are unable to comprehend or appreciate. Though we may miss the craft in His peerless eloquence and expression, let us pray to understand the moral behind the story. May we understand, accept, and live by the fact that we are all like a snowflake. Full of immense, limitless, and deep knowledge by virtue of being momentary figments of the All-Knowing’s reality and mere utterances of His Divine speech. We must stick together in order to extract the infinite knowledge that lies deep within the patterns of our fabrication. We must stick together if we’re to make a difference in the day to day happenings of the world. We must stick together if we’re to make the world stand still and admire its own beauty. We must continue to be manifestations of La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadur RasulAllah.”

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Mindful Drum Meditation

Yesterday I attended a workshop at the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Sufi Center in Manhattan. The teacher presented the different maqams (scales) of music in the Islamic world. She also taught us basic drumming techniques, which can be used on the daff (frame drum), darbuka, or rek. The teacher was a deeply spiritual individual, which made the class more lively and touching than many other drumming workshops that I have attended. There were about 9 students in the class – thus making the class intimate and cozy. We also had a session of mindful drumming, which was one of the most powerful meditation experiences I ever had.

Recently I made the intention to learn to become a meditation guide because of the happiness and benefits that it brought me and for others. However, something about regular meditation wasn’t enough for me. It lacked movement (as well as dhikr). I wanted to incorporate movement in my meditation, thereby allowing the peace reached within meditation to penetrate into my entire physical being. This is how I felt while participating in the mindful drumming. Imagine sitting in a circle with people playing the same rhythm on their drum as you, at the same time. The reverberations are powerful; they permeate throughout the room, bounce off the walls, and penetrate into our hearts. I felt immense healing and happiness – more than I felt in regular meditation. The vibrations of the sounds had a healing effect on my soul. We also stood up during part of the session and swayed with our drums. We were taught to “inhale and exhale” with our drums. During inhale we could kneel close to the floor, during exhale we could stand up and extend our drum into the sky. It was the perfect combination of movement, rhythm, music, and meditation. It was perfect. All praise to God! Now I have expanded my intention to be a mindful meditation coach. I want to be a mindful drumming meditation coach, and incorporate dhikr into it as well. May God facilitate what is best and with the most ease, and allow me to benefit others!

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Multiple Veils, Single Reality

“God is the separated beloved whom the human being has to find in everything beautiful, including one’s own heart. The thousands of forms in this world are like thousands of veils across the face of a single Reality. True seekers learn to ignore the appearance (majaz) of whatever they see, and concentrate instead on the unseen, the Reality (haqiqat). In other words, God exists everywhere and those who can see beyond appearance see Him manifest in things as little as a glow-worm and as huge as the Himalaya.”
-Khurram Ali Shafique on explaining the philosophy of Muhammad Iqbal

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Be Silent, God will become Manifest

“There are two kinds of silence: firstly, silence of the tongue, which consists of not speaking of other than God with other than God … and secondly, silence of the heart, which consists of refraining from all thought occurring to the soul that concerns any created thing. The one whose tongue is silent, even if his heart is not, lightens his burden. When someone’s tongue and heart are both silent, his innermost consciousness becomes manifest and his Lord reveals Himself to him. The one whose heart is silent but whose tongue is not speaks wisely. The one who possesses neither a silent tongue nor a silent heart remains under the domination of Satan and opens himself up to become an object of ridicule.”

—Shaykh Ibn al Arabi

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Some people shake your foundations. In one encounter all of your deficiencies fall onto the floor, leaving you naked, embarrassed. You desperately try to hold onto the last remaining threads of what you held as absolute truths of yourself. But no, those have flaws and holes too. Confused, bedazzled, you seek validation. But validation cannot be sought from sentient beings.

You are left alone with the scraps of yourself on the floor. You try to put them together into a coherent whole again.

This process is personal transformation. Painful, but liberating. Traumatizing, but strengthening. Life altering. Character correcting. Life mission improving.

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Words of the Elements (poem by Rumi)

“A whole afternoon field inside me from one stem of reed.
The messenger comes running toward me, irritated:
Why be so hard to find?
Last night I asked the moon about the Moon, my one question
for the visible world, Where is God?

The moon says, I am dust stirred up
when he passed by.The sun, My face is pale yellow
from just now seeing him. Water: I slide on my head and face
like a snake, from a spell he said. Fire: His lightning,
I want to be that restless. Wind, why so light?
I would burn if I had a choice. Earth, quiet
and thoughtful? Inside me I have a garden
and an underground spring.
This world hurts my head with its answers, wine filling my hand, not my glass.
If I could wake completely, I would say without speaking
Why I’m ashamed of using words.”

-Mawlana Rumi

These are the main interpretations that form in my mind when I read the poem:

The narrator is looking for signs of the existence of God through the elements of the visible world (moon, earth, fire, wind, etc.)
While the elements’ reactions to witnessing God are phenomenal and cause some of them to step outside their normal characteristics (the wind desires to burn and the earth is usually quiet and thoughtful, but it announces the great energy it has within: “Inside me I have a garden and an underground spring”), none of these answers are adequate enough to fulfill the curiosity of the narrator, and thus the narrator has wine pouring into his hand but not into the glass with which he can drink and satiate his curiosity and understanding of God. The words uttered by the elements are not enough to describe the majesty and reality of God.
I think that the poem is also alluding that the narrator needs to look at the “invisible” world instead of the visible world to find these signs. If the narrator looks within his own self, he will find the answers that he is looking for, for the human being is the microcosm of the universe, and the only creation that can fully reflect the attributes of God through his polished heart. The wind, fire, earth, etc. all emanate qualities that already exist within the human. I also think that the “glass” mentioned in the end of the poem can be a symbol for the heart, and that the words uttered by the elements are beautiful, but not enough to fill his heart. In conclusion, while it is excellent to look for signs of God in the visible universe around us, it is also just as important to look within and contemplate His Reality in the invisible world, and also to understand that words are not sufficient enough to explain His Reality. And it is perhaps better understood through experience that is felt.

And God knows best.

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