August 23, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

It is related that Habib Ajmi, a Sufi acquaintance of Hasan al-Basri, mispronounced a word during prayer, which caused Hasan al-Basri to move away from him and pray separately.

But in a dream that night, God told Hasan al-Basri, “Your prayer would have earned you Divine approval, and that single prayer would have equaled all the prayers you have said in your life, if you had remained in prayer with Habib Ajmi. You were disapproving of his pronunciation but ignored the purity of his heart. A contrite heart is more valuable than exact pronunciation.”

Hasan al-Basri then asked Habib Ajmi how the latter had achieved his high spiritual rank, and Habib Ajmi replied, “Brightening the heart through prayer is better than darkening paper with writing.”

– Adapted from the forthcoming book, The Other Islam: Sufism and the Road to Global Harmony, by Stephen Schwartz.

Ya Haqq!


Answered Prayers

October 28, 2007

The knowledge of You
Comes swift as light
To sit within the circle
Of zekr and gratitude
A presence felt in darkness
The soul’s delight

The knowledge of You
My bones remember
My blood, nerves, sinews
And my eyes, this poet’s sight
That writes only You, who
Are pen and ink and paper

You are love and turmoil
Hope and answered prayers
Fathomless as oceans
Encompassing as night
My heart’s rest as winter comes
And all the leaves take flight.

– Irving Karchmar, © October 2007