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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
Love.

“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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I Know The Way You Can Get – Poem by Hafiz

I know the way you can get
When you have not had a drink of Love:

Your face hardens,
Your sweet muscles cramp.
Children become concerned
About a strange look that appears in your eyes
Which even begins to worry your own mirror
And nose.

Squirrels and birds sense your sadness
And call an important conference in a tall tree.
They decide which secret code to chant
To help your mind and soul.

Even angels fear that brand of madness
That arrays itself against the world
And throws sharp stones and spears into
The innocent
And into one’s self.

O I know the way you can get
If you have not been drinking Love:

You might rip apart
Every sentence your friends and teachers say,
Looking for hidden clauses.

You might weigh every word on a scale
Like a dead fish.

You might pull out a ruler to measure
From every angle in your darkness
The beautiful dimensions of a heart you once
Trusted.

I know the way you can get
If you have not had a drink from Love’s
Hands.

That is why all the Great Ones speak of
The vital need
To keep remembering God,
So you will come to know and see Him
As being so Playful
And Wanting,
Just Wanting to help.

That is why Hafiz says:
Bring your cup near me.
For all I care about
Is quenching your thirst for freedom!

All a Sane man can ever care about
Is giving Love!

- Hafiz Shirazi

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Poem

I used to think the sun was
Illuminating all
Out of obedience
To follow the Divine command
In awe of the majesty of its Creator
But now I understand
That it moves and radiates us all
Out of love.

For it is love that vividly entrances the heart
And pulls at its core
To care for, encourage, and give warmth
For all that it longs for

It is love that causes us
To dance, stand upside down,
And submerge others in our drunkenness
To provide light for others in our own lightheaded state

It is love that desires to provide,
To burn ourselves out of provision
Just to see the ecstatic state of the receiver

What care have I for things?
When I know these things make my beloved happy?

I will empty myself of my provisions
And empty myself of my own self
Out of love.

I will empty myself of my ego
And empty myself of my existence
Out of love.

There is no joy comparable
Than in seeing your Beloved rejoice.
I will empty myself of my own joy,
To see my Beloved rejoice.
I no longer know of my own being
When the Beloved is in joy.

I only know of the
Beloved
Who Exists.
And the Beloved
Who Is.

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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.
You,
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! It would be lovely to share this rejuvenating experience with others, perhaps as a mindful meditation coach one day myself.

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