Q&A – Love on the Sufi Path

July 29, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

The following is a question a brother asked in an email, and my answer. It is about love on the Sufi path, and is reprinted here with his permission.


Salaam Irving:

How are you today? I hope this email finds you well. There is one more question I would like to bother you with :) I was at the khaniqah yesterday and the Shaikha explained to me some of the things that I had not understood until now. Finally the enormity and the difficulty of what I am about to undertake started to dawn on me. She said that if I am prepared to accept that, I will be initiated.

When I think about the things she told me, the one question that keeps coming up is: when your heart only yearns for the Beloved, what happens to the way you feel about your friends, family, loved ones? Do those relationships start to feel fake or superficial or irrelevant?

Thank you again for your help.
Ya Haqq


Salaam Dear Brother:

I pray that you and your family are in the best of health and happiness :) Now, you have asked a question that bothered me too when I was first initiated. But I have found that over the years the exact opposite of what I feared has been true.

Instead of feeling less love for family and friends in turning to the Beloved, the opposite happened. When the heart eventually opens to love without reservations, it spreads like water to every corner of your life. I have found that my love for family and friends has increased with my love for God, and for the Master and the other darvishes as well. It really amazed me :)

Now every act of service is an act of love, every prayer, every day of life, is an act of love. Love begins to pervade the heart, and I mean this literally. I give thanks to the Beloved for every day of life, for every breath of zekr, for every small goodness that comes in the process of living.

It may be that the adab of not taking such things for granted anymore has opened the heart, I don’t know, but that is what happened to me. A part of it may have been being with Master, and with the Shaykhs. The loving energy that surrounds them fills the heart of all that are near them and open to it.

That may be the crux of the matter. Being open to it. The nafs are self indulgent, self absorbing, and I am still as guilty of it as anyone, but, inshallah, little by little, with the help of Master and the grace of God, it gets easier.

I don’t know if I have answered your question lol. So I will just say, don’t worry about love, it has a way of being all-inclusive on the path, to family, friends, strangers, animals, everything that lives. That may be how the heart expresses its love for Allah. It is not a narrow beam of light, it is the sun that shines on everything.

O Beloved, everywhere I look, You are!
Every sound I hear is You!
Every touch, taste, scent, all You!

Every child’s face is You,
Every stranger, every friend
Of every nation, end to end.

Every sound echoes Your voice!
The wind stirs the trees and
The leaves sway to La Illaha ill Allah!

The sea waves Your name to the shore
The earth grows Your name in its bounty
The sky colors Your name in aching blue.

In all the worlds, everywhere,
Without end, there is only You
The Merciful and Everlasting Friend.

Ya Haqq,

(The poem came out as I was preparing this post, and was not part of the email exchange.)

The Loving Heart

July 25, 2007

This I have learned and nothing more,
Time and fortune cannot be bought,
Nor the healing potions wrought,
But by the grace our mothers taught.

Most Merciful! Most Compassionate!
You are why the poet sings!
Your smallest measure exceeds the treasure
Of all the Persian kings.

O Darvish! Tis love, I swear by God,
Not pride, nor wealth, nor tears,
Nor any elixir made by man,
Can give you one more hour than your allotted span.

Joy is the wellspring,
Flowing with the blood to every body part,
Like a many tributaried river,
From the Source of all …The Loving Heart.

– Irving Karchmar, ©  July 2007

The Names of the Prophet (pbuh)

July 22, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

In the same way that Muhammad(un) rasul Allah (Muhammad is the Messenger of God) follows La Ilaha ill Allah, the names of the Prophet (pbuh) flow from those of God and are a ladder that leads to Him. The Prophet (pbuh) has even been honored by God by having some of the Divine Names such as Ta Ha and Nur also bestowed upon him. The chanting of the litanies of the names of the Prophet (pbuh) is an important practice in Sufism and on a more external level in the everyday activity of many pious Muslims.

Not only is the Prophet (pbuh) called Muhammad, the most praised one, but he is also Ahmad, the most praiseworthy of those who praise God. He is Wahid, the unique one; Mahi, the annihilator of darkness and ignorance; and Aqib, the last of the prophets. He is Tahir, the pure and clean one; Tayyib, he who possesses beauty and fragrance; and Sayyid, prince and master of the universe. He is, of course, Rasul, messenger, but also Rasul al-Rahmah, the messenger of mercy; and Khatim al rusul, the seal of prophets. He is Abd Allahl, the perfect servant of God, but also Habib Allah, the beloved of God; and Safi Allah, the one chosen by God. He is both Nasir, the victorious helper of men, and Mansur, the one who is made triumphant in this world.

The Prophet (pbuh) is Muhyi, the vivifier of the dead hearts of men, and Munji, he who delivers man from sin. He is Nur, light, as well as Siraj, the torch that illuminates the path in man’s life; Misbah, the lamp that contains the light of faith, and Huda, the guide to God and paradise. He is Dhu quwwah, the possessor of strength; Dhu hurmah, possessor of sacred reverence; and Dhu makanah, the possessor of integrity. He is both Amin, trustworthy, and Sadiq, truthful. He is miftah, or key to paradise, and Miftah al-rahmah, the key to God’s mercy. The love of the Prophet (pbuh) is in fact both a sign of the love of God and the gate to that Mercy from which the very substance of the universe was created.

From Islamic Spirituality, edited by Seyyed Hossein Nasr.

Ya Haqq!

Black Bush Bashing

July 16, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

For those of you who have never seen it and need a good laugh to start out the work week, here is a YouTube link on Ali Eteraz’s blog to one of Dave Chappelle’s funniest bits: Black Bush. It’s so true it hurts.

Ya Haqq!


July 12, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

A little boy and his father were walking in the mountains.
Suddenly, his son falls, hurts himself and screams: “AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!”

To his surprise, he hears the voice repeating,
somewhere in the mountain:

Curious, the little boy yells: “Who are you?”
He receives the answer: “Who are you?”

Then the boy screams to the mountain: “You’re Stupid.”
The voice answers: “You’re Stupid.”

Frustrated at the response, the boy screams: “I Hate You.”
He receives the answer: “I Hate You.”

He looks to his father and asks: “What’s going on?”
The father smiles and says: “My son, pay attention.”

The man screams: “You are a champion!”
The voice answers: “You are a champion!”

The boy is surprised, but does not understand.
The father explains: “People call this an ECHO, but
really this is LIFE. It gives you back everything you
say or do. Our life is simply a reflection of our actions.”

If you want more love in the world, create
more love in your heart. If you want people
to respect you, respect them.
This relationship applies to everything, in all
aspects of life. Life will give you back everything you have given to it.

Your Life is not a Coincidence.
It is a Reflection of You!

– Compiled, edited and adapted by Khalid Latif, taken from the We Love Allah Yahoo Newsgroup.

Call of the Mourning Dove

July 8, 2007

At first light, the Mourning Dove
Woke me from my slumber, calling

Coo coo coo ooo, coo coo coo

Alhamdulillah! O timely bird,
Life is short and death is long

La illaha ill Allah!
Each word I heard in your song

Awake! Awake! O lazy one,
Time is flying, the sun is rising

Now the muezzin echoes your call,
Singing the faithful to prayer

The earth is a prayer rug,
Under a blue-domed mosque

La illaha ill Allah!
La illaha ill Allah!

– Irving Karchmar, © July 2007

The Justice of Allah

July 5, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-Aas RadhiAllahu anhu said he heard the Prophet (pbuh) say:  

“Allah will select a man from my Ummah before all creation on the Day of Resurrection, and will spread out for him ninety-nine books of records of his deeds, each one extending as far as the eye can see. Then He will say, “Do you deny any part of this? Have My recording scribes been unjust towards you?” The man will say, “No O Lord.” Allah will say, “Yes indeed, you have Hasanat (good deeds) stored with Us, and there will be no injustice this Day.” And He will bring forth a piece of paper on which is written Asshadu an laa ilah ill-Allah wa asshadu anna Muhammadan Rasulullah (I bear witness that there is no God but God, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the the Prophet of God). He will say, “Weigh this.” The man will say, “O Lord, what is this piece of paper compared to all these records?” Allah will say, “You will not be wronged.” Then the records will be placed in one pan of the Balance and the piece of paper in the other; the pan with the piece of paper will weigh heavily, and nothing will outweigh the name of Allah.”

– A hadith of the Prophet (pbuh), from Tirmidhi, taken from a longer post on the always inspiring Almiskeenah blog.

Alhamdulillah, that the mercy of Allah precedes His wrath, and that His love precedes His justice for all those who invoke His name and ask for forgiveness, as it was related here. 

Juma’ah Mubarak!

Ya Haqq!