In a Far Country is My Heart

October 15, 2006

In a far country is my heart
And though it calls, I cannot go
Swift as the Nightwing flies,
Which the white man calls the crow,
To the Indian Nations

Where in the lodges of the reservation
Tales are told of long ago,
In the warrior tongue still spoken,
Though many words I do not know
That my grandfather remembers

Before the endless lands were taken
And the treaties all were broken
And the Elder tribes forsaken

Westward Ho! With blood and slaughter
Came the white man like the water
Like the wave that took Atlantis
Took the sons and the daughters

Cortez came with smallpox in 1522
Washington slew the Iroquois
And Custer scalped the Sioux

Now the Red Gulags that are the reservations
Form an Archipelago
Indian islands in the American sea
From Canada to Mexico

And the shaman’s dreams
Have been all of woe
Since the surrender of Geronimo

- Irving Karchmar, © 1991

Ya Haqq!


“I am the Qur’an”

October 14, 2006

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Muhammed (pbuh) said:

“When a man dies and his relatives are busy with the funeral, there stands an extremely handsome man by his head. When the dead body is shrouded, that man gets between the shroud and the chest of the deceased. When after the burial the people return home, two angels, Munkar and Nakeer come into the grave and try to separate this handsome man, so that they may be able to interrogate the dead man in privacy about his faith.

“But the handsome man says, ‘He is my companion, he is my friend. I will not leave him alone in any case. If you are appointed for interrogation, do your job. I cannot leave him until I get him admitted into Paradise’.

 

“Thereafter he turns to his dead companion and says, ‘I am the Qur’an, which you used to read, sometimes in a loud voice and sometimes in a low voice. Do not worry. After the interrogation of Munkar and Nakeer, you will have no grief…'”

 

Muhammed (pbuh) said:

 

“On the Day of Judgement, before Allah, no other intercessor will have a greater status than the Qur’an, neither a Prophet nor an angel.”

 

May Allah bestow this favor on us all.

 

Ameen!

 

The lovely hadith ( narrated by Abi Huraira and compiled by Bukhari) was sent to me by our dear Sister Suroor.

 

Ya Haqq!


Letter to the Pope

October 11, 2006

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

A friend in Cairo sent me a copy of this letter, and as I had not seen it mentioned in any news reports, thought it worthwhile to share in the spirit in which it was written, of respect and love.

A Message from His Beatitude Ignatius IV

Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East

To His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI

17th September, 2006-09-18

To Your Most Venerable Holiness Pope Benedict XVI

Salutations and best wishes for your health:

It is with deep disquiet that we have followed your statements and the angry reactions that have accompanied them in the course of the last days. In this regard, we would like to clarify for Your Holiness certain essential points in which Eastern Christians believe that form part of their daily lives.

More than others, they have knowledge, experience and understanding of Islam, for they have coexisted with Muslims in cooperation and harmony from the beginning of the Islamic message until the present day.

We have been able to establish good relations, in an ambience of mutual respect for religious beliefs and practices, recognizing the freedom of each to live according to the teachings of his religion and the principles of his law. We are convinced that the relationship between Christianity and Islam was essentially born in this part of the world, this land of religious revelation. 

As you know, Pope John Paul II highly praised this coexistence, which he was also able to observe during his historical visit to Syria. This visit has become part of the history of the Vatican and part of a development that the late Pope desired to achieve.

We need not go into a discussion of the relationship of Christianity and Islam; a relationship that has consecrated coexistence and mutual respect, that we
cannot dispense with in these circumstances.  Nor need we recall here that the longest Surah of the holy Qur’an speaks with deep respect of Christianity.

We would however like to point out any discourse of religion which treats it as an objective subject of academic research does not accord fully with the truth that religion is doctrine and a faith practiced by believers. These have every right to practice their rites as they wish. There is no room here to consider religion as more an intellectual question than a matter of faith,
for discussing it in this way impinges on both understanding and faith.

We would hope that you may take part in discussing essential religious  questions free of the understanding and quotations of past ages, and to

come to them with a contemporary rather than a medieval perspective. We would affirm that religion is not a subject for intellectual and  philosophical luxury, but for living and coexisting in love, so as to accord with our faith and forms of worship.
This has marked the East, which we have inhabited since the times of revelation until today.
We ask for your prayers and we extend to you our best
wishes.

Ignatius IV, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East

Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East

Ya Haqq!


Acts of Charity

October 8, 2006

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Abu Dharr reported that some of his Companions said: “O Messenger of Allah, the rich have taken away all the rewards. They observe the prayer as we do, and they keep the fasts as we do, and they give sadaqah (charity) from their surplus riches.”

Upon this he (the Prophet) said: “Has Allah not prescribed for you (a course) by following which you can also do sadaqah? Verily in every tasbih (i.e. saying Subhanallah) there is a sadaqah, every takbir (i.e. saying Allahu Akbar) is a sadaqah, every tahmid (i.e. saying Alhamdulillah) is a sadaqah, every tahlil (i.e. saying Lailaha illallah) is a sadaqah, enjoining of good is a sadaqah, forbidding of evil is a sadaqah,

“Doing justice between two people is sadaqah; assisting a man, or lifting up his belongings is sadaqah; a good word is sadaqah; every step you take towards prayer is sadaqah; and removing harmful things from the path is sadaqah.”

- Hadiths of the Prophet (pbuh)

Alhamdulillah, that both rich and poor can give in charity. Indeed, every good intention toward God and every act of kindness toward your fellow human beings is an act of charity, a giving of yourself. 

With thanks to the inspiration of a post on the Bismillah blog, and the website Forty Hadiths.

Ya Haqq!


His Thresholds

October 7, 2006

Seek the Lord and his thresholds, my soul,

     and offer your songs like incense before Him:

for if you’re pursuing the vapor of Time

   and calling its spells and sorcery Truth,

and roaming in hope of it night and day,

     and sleeping sweetly after its feasts——

know that your hand holds nothing at all

     but a tree whose branches soon will wither.

Be before your God and King,

     beneath whose wings you’ve come for shelter.

Let His name be hallowed and praised

     by all through whom His breath still moves.

                     – Yehudah HaLevi  (c. 1075-1141)

Note: HaLevi is a medieval Spanish Hebrew poet, who incorporates both Hebrew and Sufi influences in his work. I love the above poem for its Sufi flavor that reads almost like a Psalm. With thanks to Arafat’s Anthology blog and to the Words Without Borders translation by Peter Cole, whom you can read about here


Author Interview

October 4, 2006

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Now that Brother Ismail has mentioned it in his comment on the Rumi’s Birthday post, a reporter for OhMyNews International, an online news wire service, interviewed me recently about the writing of Master of the Jinn.

You can read the interview at OhMyNews.

And to those readers that are authors of fiction, non-fiction or a book of poetry, and would also like to be interviewed, please contact Ambrose Musiyiwa by clicking on the Contact Reporter button just below the title of the interview, On the Sufi Path.

Good fortune to us all who work by the pen.

Ya Haqq!

Note: Also check out the kind comments about Master of the Jinn on the Ghost blog.


Rumi’s Birthday!

October 2, 2006

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

September 30th was Rumi’s birthday, according to some online groups and postings.. Turkey celebrates it on December 17th, however, as a national holiday. And yet, according to Afzal Iqbal’s excellent book, The Life and Work of Rumi, the eminent scholar says Muhammad Jalal-Ud-Din Rumi was born in Balkh on the sixth of Rabi’ al-Awwal in 604 A.H. (1207 A.D.) So whichever date is correct, Happy belated or forthcoming 799th Birthday, Oh Great Soul. During Ramadan, even though it is a time of turmoil for many Muslims around the world, may we all enter your house as courteous guests.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

                            – Rumi

Ya Haqq!


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