Ya faqir! How long have you traveled on this path? Your
trousers caked with the dust of unleavened prayers. How many
moons have you orphaned yourself from the world?

Seek it in solitude, during the pitch of eventide for that sin which
crept in your heart like the coming of a black ant on a black rock
on a moonless night.

Seek it a hair’s width past the morning star’s zenith, when the
fulgor of midday tempers your pate.
Seek it in the shrouding of yourself – with the supplications of
the saints. Only in self-negation will your divine allowance be
metered out.

Seek it in the your sleep, your ihrâm a bed sheet. And tidy your
bed. No good will a furnished house do you if your way-station
is neglected.

Seek it in the pardon of all those you wronged in the proem of
your guidance. Thankfulness is not simply the incantation; it is
also the will to revisit your deeds.

Seek it in every lure your stubbornness trapped you in. You will
never overcome this obstruction through cunning or guile. Treat
not your salvation as a bartered transaction in the market square
– like foreign currency, your money is no good here.

Seek it in your enslavement. Desist from picking the lock from
this cell. Make yourself more and more an indispensible servant.
But be warned – do not be overcome in joyous celebration over
your obedience. It should be remembered that obedience
overcame you.

Seek it in the vigilance of character. Any inattention to this is
worse than forgetting the one who blew into you. Steadfast, you
may achieve through character what you could not through pious

Ya dervish! Keep down this path and never turn from it. Tread
the road till your pantaloons fall from your emaciated legs. How
many moons will it take to orphan yourself from this world?

This poem is one of several I have written for my poetry workshop this term. I will be posting some of them here. It has been an enlightening experience to share Islam with a group of non-Muslims through the conduit of poetry.


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