Archive for the ‘Poetics’ Category

She comes first

She comes second

She comes third,

Said the Prophet – upon whom be Peace.

“Father, you are fourth.”


Revere the wombs that sheltered you.

Revere the station of Paradise

That lies beneath the feet of the Mother…

Beneath her feet, she is your Eden.



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One of the endearing motifs of higher spiritual consciousness in Islam is al-Sidrat al-Muntaha, the Lote Tree of the Furthest Boundary – which represents both the peak and the limitations of human intellect, the point where mind must surrender to heart and soul, in submission to the Unseen.


The Lote Tree with its extensive shade, its delicious fruit and exquisite fragrance, traditionally symbolizes Iman (secure faith). The shade of “action” represents rahmah (mercy); the fruit represents “intentions” and any  productive consequence that may result from that intention; while the “fragrance” of the tree  represents speech and communication infused with wisdom and knowledge – a wisdom and a  knowledge that refuse to engage other than the very best and most endearing ways and means of debate and argumentation.


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Around the distant edges of my dim awareness

I feel the incessant tug and tear

Of shadows dark and stark,

Menacing the light of nightfall,

Tormenting the dawn of a warm becoming;

Misanthropic cravings we dare to call Religion

We dare to call Belief

We dare to spew on a path of Light.

There is a silent cacophony that endures,

That endures to prolong this nightmare.

Who were those who burnt our women?

Who were those who called them witches?

Who were those in the unblessed hallows

Of their mis-becoming who burnt the books of Ghazali?

Do we sight the moon, or do we slight it?

Do we take refuge in the comfort of its shadow?

Or do we strike a path of light from the sun’s reflection?

Such infancy!

Such frenetic lunacy!

Do we laugh and scorn to death such pious pretensions?

Do we become one with this cycle of death?

Or do we fight for life, and light, and a new becoming?

It is the rage of pious pomposity that seeks to burn the Light;

Those who seek to erect themselves upon pyres of flaming ferocity…

Seething, skeletal columns scattered upon plains of desolate waste

From which to shout and rave and give voice to the dead-spawn of their god-selves.

Dense with hate; dense with revenge; dense with the demands of spiritual dementia.

Is it Heinrich Kramer’s Luciferian release we seek?

Is it Joseph Sprenger’s collaboration we crave?

Is it the Malleus Maleficarum in which we wish to soak

And stain our souls?

To be one with a sequence of history inscribed

In misogyny, murder and madness?

That Hexenhammer, that Hammer of Witches,

That Heaven’s outrage alone could quell?

Or do we care to yearn for the Morning Star of Rumi’s Mathnawi?

Do we dare? Do we dare to tread that path of love and lived felicity?

But God is Great we say; God is Great we claim;

God is all Merciful; God is all Compassionate;

God is Forgiving; God is Love.

Faceless and forsaken

We beggar ourselves in the name of His Face.

“Set a beggar on horseback” proclaims the proverb,

“and he’ll ride straight to the devil.”

But I cannot speak for another; I cannot speak for the other;

Indeed I cannot speak for myself.

I speak only for a dream – a disembodied image

That tears and tugs at the distant edges

Of my dim awareness.

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O Allah, I ask You to place Light in our minds and in our thinking;

To place Light upon our tongues and in our speaking;

To place Light in our hearts and in our understanding;

And to guide us with the Light of wisdom to our final parting.

May all of us embrace, and be embraced, by the Light.

Allahu Nur as-Samawat wa l-‘Ard…

Nur ‘ala Nur yahdi Allahu li nurihi man yasha’

“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth…

Light upon Light, Allah guides to His Light whomsoever He wills.” (24:35)




Eid Mubarak to everyone.


Sh Seraj Hendricks

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Do not envy one another, do not vie against and undercut one another, do not hate one another, do not turn your backs on one another

(Sahih Muslim)

Bigotry, prejudice, exclusivity and hostility – phobias in a variety of shapes and hues – appear to have emerged as the hallmarks of large tracts of humanity. They are no less evident in those who harbour a visceral hatred of Islam than amongst some of our own Muslims who mistake the grist for the wheat – the exoteric contingencies for the cardinal verities. It is one thing to maintain a detached and confident distance of objective criticism; it is quite another to collapse an entire world view – founded upon a universal edifice of purposive spirituality – into an obscurantist pit of regressive rigidity.

To be fair and objective is a divine imperative: “Do not let the hatred of a people cause you to swerve from justice; be just! For that is nearer to God-consciousness (taqwa).” (Q, 5: 8). To be reactionary, on the other hand, is satanic and a mark of spiritual dementia. It is what happens to reductionist ideologues and conspiracy theorists who conflate oceans of human complexity into shallow and tiny puddles of delusional certainty. And so they sit and stare at their little puddles with the full complacency that they have discovered the vastness and diversity of an ocean. Richard Dawkins, in my opinion and paradoxically so, is part of this “god delusion”. We know it all. Yet the Qur’an tells us – and I do not quote this for the edification of those who do not believe in Him (I am not a missionary) – that “Of knowledge we have given you but a little!” (Q,17: 85).


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Beyond the forbidden fruit

There is the sweet  taste of love.

Beyond the taste of love there is exile.

All that is satanic desires estrangement, desires separation.

Segmented verses that float and flow

Through the weft and warp

of our imaginal worlds –

worlds darkly contoured in fire and flame,

and we suck at their seams to spew our own –

A rush to die and dream

Our dreams of Promethean holiness;

But God’s exile was ordained

long before the forgetfulness of the forbidden fruit;

long before the fire of the ego proclaimed its superiority over clay;

Long before one imagined world

proclaimed its superiority over another inspired;

Long before Prometheus stole the fire of the gods.

And so Adam prayed for the presence of Eve…

And Eve prayed for the presence of Adam…

A prayer that yearned for Union

United in the singularity of a single essence.

And the prayer became presence.

Upon a mount called Mercy

Upon a plain of wisdom sanctified,

the womb of All was honoured

So that All might come to know one another

In a symphony of harmony and grace;

A symphony that celebrated the sacred origins of all things;

A symphony that celebrated Allah…

the common origin of All

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We may either choose to stand on the edge of darkness (and note how darkness is often pluralised in the Qur’an in the form of Dhulumat), or we may choose to stand on the edge of light (and note how light – or Nur – is never pluralised in the Qur’an because light is One); or we may choose to dwell in those vast empty spaces in between where missionaries and zealots find the room to inflate their profoundly insecure egos. In those vast spaces they seek out bedrocks of granite upon which to build their castles of stone. But in their zeal they mistake the certainty of their castles for the fragility of their egos – and it is through the fragility of their egos upon which their castles are built that they announce their self-righteous triumph. And so it is that their “triumph” is spawned and proclaimed in a hail of belligerence and corrupted elemental bigotry. In these vast cemeterial plains, corpses put to the torch are often paraded as light.

While the Devil may be seen to personify darkness pluralised; or while he may even be seen to be the details, he is yet not in the details. He is in those vast spaces seeking out those so sure of themselves, so sure of their incorrigible bigotry – men and women alike – that even Santa Claus would stand envious of his facility in handing out infinite gifts of hatred, division, rancour, animosity, enmity, revulsion and aversion, all in gilt-wrapped boxes that would make Pandora scream with envy. In the Promethean scheme of things Pandora had a point; but you don’t set out to destroy evil with evil.

But beyond those vast and dark plains of burning corpses there is always the hope of life…the hope of love – a life and a love that shine with the radiant unicity of Light. I dedicate this as a prayer to the fitra of existence, to that which IS, to that which is so endearingly Pure and incorruptible.

(This “sharh” is a response in agreement with an article about women’s inclusion in sacred spaces.)

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