Posts with category - Pain & Tribulations

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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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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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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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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Transformation

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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Salawat Naariyah (A blessing/prayer for the Prophet)

This is one of the most beautiful prayers I have come across for the Prophet Muhammad:

“O God, bestow seamless salutation and perfect peace upon our master Muhammad – through whom difficulties and calamities are relieved, needs are fulfilled, aspirations are attained, the best outcomes are achieved, and the clouds deliver their rain by virtue of his noble countenance. And bestow such salutations and peace upon his family and his companions at every moment that lasts the duration of the flickering of an eye or the drawing of breath, and do so to the number of everything that is known to You.”

Here is my reflection on the translation:

1. Peace is described as “perfect” and “seamless” which is fascinating – the fact that there can be levels and degrees of peace, and that we are praying for the most beautiful and perfect peace to descend upon the Prophet, his family, and his companions.
2. In addition to the afflictions that are removed, the needs that are fulfilled, and the aspirations that are achieved due to the noble status of the Prophet, the salawat then states that the clouds send rain due to his noble status as well. This is amazing as well because rain descending to the earth is being compared to the removal of afflictions and the fulfillment of needs. Rain is a powerful metaphor and symbol for God’s mercy and blessing. With rain comes many great bounties.
3. The salawat states to send peace to the Prophet, his family, and his companions to every moment equal to the “flickering of an eye” or the “drawing of a breath”. That is an impossible number to count! We cannot even fathom such a large number!
4. Lastly, the du’a/salawat then asks God to send peace to the prophet for the number of everything known to God. The number of everything is such a vast number again, and it can only be an infinitely ascending number, since God is always creating every moment we encounter. Every cell is constantly dividing, every experience we have He is creating, and every abode in Paradise is constantly becoming more beautiful. Insha Allah. And the fact that only God can know that number is proof of His Magnificence and Power, and proof of our meek and dependent servitude.

So in conclusion, with that one du’a/salawat, we are asking God to send perfect peace to the prophet, his family, and companions for an infinite amount of times. SubhanAllah.

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“Redemption” (My Parody to Shawn Mendes “Stitches”)

“Redemption” (Parody to Shawn Mendes “Stitches”)

I thought your foils would be no more
But I’ve learned the world was made to make me sore
It can cut deeper than a knife
But I have a Being to breathe me back to life

Got a feeling that I’m going under
But I know that I’ll make it out alive
With His help I’ll come out much stronger
Move on

Yes I may bleed until I can’t breathe
Shaking, falling onto my knees
But now I know of your deception
Got time for redemption
Tripping over myself
Aching, begging God to come help
Yes now I know of your deception
Got time for redemption

Just like a moth drawn to a flame
Oh, you lured me in, I couldn’t sense the pain
Your bitter heart cold to the touch
I don’t wanna reap what I sow
Cuz I can repent on my own

Got a feeling that I’m going under
But I know that I’ll make it out alive
With His help I’ll come out much stronger
Move on

Yes I may bleed until I can’t breathe
Shaking, falling onto my knees
But now I know of your deception
Got time for redemption
Tripping over myself
Aching, begging God to come help
Yes now I know of your deception
Got time for redemption

[x3:]
Needle in the thread,
Gotta get you out of my head
Needle in the thread,
With God I’ll transcend

Needle in the thread,
Gotta get you out of my head, get you out of my head

Yes I may bleed until I can’t breathe
Shaking, falling onto my knees (falling on my knees)
But now I know of your deception
Got time for redemption (Got time for redemption)
Tripping over myself,
Aching, begging God to come help (begging, “Allah, please.”)
Yes now I know of your deception
Got time for redemption

(Yes now I)
Know of your deception
Got time for redemption

(Yes now I)
Know of your deception
Got time for redemption

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Emptiness

“The bird that escapes from the trap of its ego has no fear, wherever it may fly.”

The dagger of hurt pierces you.
You tell the dagger that you deserve it.
It came under the permission of God.
Emptiness.

People look down upon you.
They desire not to be in your presence.
You think, they have found the Divine attributes within others
Let them enjoy the presence of God,
Manifested through the goodness of others.
Emptiness.

You envy the good in others,
the warmth, the exuberance that attracts.
You turn the envy into admiration of God.
You marvel at the beauty God places in others.
Emptiness.

Your parents ridicule your incompetence.
You accept your flaws and take their ridicule,
As a way of God correcting your adab.
Emptiness.

You admire the physical beauty in others and think,
“How beautiful must God be?”
Emptiness!

You admire the knowledge of others and think,
“How wise must God be?”
Emptiness!

You revile in your state, lowly before God.
You admire the fullness and unmatched power of Him.
You forget your own state, as you contemplate His.
Emptiness!

If you desire wealth of soul, seek emptiness!
If you desire happiness, seek emptiness!
If you desire company, seek emptiness!
If you desire wisdom, seek emptiness!

Empty yourself of your selfhood!
Empty yourself of your ego.
That foul creature that seeks praise, fame, popularity.
Empty it!

Remove the ego from your soul.
Forget yourself and surrender non-existence to God’s existence!
Be the moth that catches fire in the candle flame,
Burn yourself so that you reach height within the Flame!

Free yourself of the filth of this world!
The burdens of desire, ego, and self-worth.
Empty yourself, and you will find freedom!
“Die before you die” so that you are alive!


Life after death.
Calm over strife.
Finally, peace in emptiness.
______________________________________________________________________________________________
“The bird that escapes from the trap of its ego has no fear, wherever it may fly.”
“The world is like a mirror displaying Love’s perfection. Oh friends! Who has ever seen a part greater than its whole?”

These are two lines amongst thousands of Rumi’s poetry that Professor Chittick translated in his book, “The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi”. Chittick divides the content of his book into three sections (dimensions): theory, practice, and attainment to God. This is similar to Iman, Islam, and Ihsan, yet Rumi is specifically focusing on “theory, practice, and attainment to God” within the dimension of Ihsan. Thus, there is form and meaning (multiple dimensions) within Islamic esotericism itself.

The first quote above infers that the source of suffering arises from man’s own ego. Satan may tempt and whisper to us, but men commit sins and suffer from their own selves and state of mind. A person who is easily offended by the words of others places a lot of value on his/her own self-worth, when in actuality; we are worth nothing in comparison to God. Sensitivity is an attribute of the ego, and mankind will be happier if they accept the ridicule of others and humble themselves. The second quote downplays the world view of dualism and dichotomy. Everything, including opposites (mercy and wrath) is a manifestation of God’s oneness. The beauty in the world of multiplicity acts as a mirror of the Beauty of God. Thus Rumi warns us not to be deceived by beautiful parts, but by the Beautiful Whole that is the source of them.

I wrote the above more than 6 years ago, and posted it now. =)

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Solace for the Prophet -Isra wal Mir’aj and Seeing His Ummah

“When the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) went to ta’if, he had just faced the worst two weeks of his prophethood.  He had lost his wife Khadijah, his first wife, and his grandfather, his uncle… and when he went to spread Islam in Ta’if, the people there absolutely humiliated him.  They spat at him, chased him down narrow alleyways, threw stones at him.  For two weeks.

He was at one of the worst lows he experienced as a prophet.

Later, the event that is known to be Israa’ wal mi’raj happened, the holy ascension where Jibreel, the chief of angels, took the prophet (pbuh) to Masjid al-Aqsa where he lead all of the other prophets in prayer, and then ascended to the heavens to see paradise.

It was a kind of healing, a reward, a way that God comforted the prophet after his traumatic experiences. Very touching, very detailed, but that’s not the point of this post.

One of the things that happened when Jibreel was showing Muhammad (pbuh) around, was that he showed him his Ummah, the Muslims who follow him, his people.

Keep in mind that Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is the final prophet. There is none after him.  And at the time of Israa’ wal mi’raj he had about a hundred followers at most.  A hundred was huge to him.

So he saw a crowd, a huge crowd, and tearing up, he asked Jibreel, ‘Are those my followers?’ And Jibreel said, ‘no,’ and he turned the prophet around…. and the prophet saw millions…billions of people standing in front of him. Jibreel said, ‘that is your ummah,’  and the prophet, peace and blessings be upon his soul, cried.”

-Reem Zohny

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The Resplendent Heart in Solitude

Only in isolation does the yearning get unraveled
Secrecy of night is the sanctuary unparalleled
Close your eyes and thoughts from empty, earthly clutter
Revel in blissful calmness of your gentle heart’s murmur
Gaze up and free your inner eye to grasp His Raining Mercy
And bow your ego down before His Great and Stunning Mastery
The heartbreak you keep hidden from all the world to see
Is the same place that He pours His Resplendent Light and Beauty

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