The Ant and the Feather Quill

Imam Ghazali’s profound allegory of Tauheed (Oneness/Unity), recently transmitted by Shaykh Amin to a roomful of students of Introductory Theology. Behind a gen’rous well of ink, There stood an ant so wee; For nothing did surround him that Was littler than he. He watched with great amazement when A giant feather quill Descended into blackness, then Remained to drink its fill. And thus the quill withdrew before Returning for its sips, Which made the ant to wonder what Transpired tween the dips; He ventured round the glassy well And out his head did poke To find the quill make strokes on what Reminded him of oak, And marveled at the written work, Extolled the feather quill: How utterly magnificent Was its creative skill, But as he watched, his eye did catch Five fingers, slender, long That grasped the feather quill with care: A grasp so firm and strong, And so the ant was overcome With admiration true For how the hand did wield the quill To all its bidding do; But short lived is such wonderment For soon the ant did see The subtle motions of an arm That moved about so free. The arm he traced to what he deemed The body of a beast With head and face that comely seemed And noble at the least. So turned he from the noble face, Content he would not find What underlay the vast of space That leaves the seeing blind. But man, unlike the ant, can see Much more […]


You cannot know the good you sow When into an imploring hand You let your silver kindness flow In ways that you had never planned; And there’s no measure of the treasure Burning in a starving breast That you put out with even pressure Till its hunger is repressed; How angels sight the noble light Resplendent in a hand that draws A simple raiment to delight A hapless wretch that naked was; And when does sound the trumpet call, Dissolving time in pools of space, A cosmic call inverting all That’s shaded by the Throne of Grace; That day the hordes of tyrants crawl, While hearts like faces bare it all, All witnessing the justice done To every thing and everyone. That day the wretched roam as kings With knowledge such inversion brings, They know each worry-laden face That on the earth did show them grace, And rush them all through heaven’s gates To where the Messenger awaits, To where the Messenger awaits, To where the Messenger awaits.


Based on the teachings of Shaykh Mohammed Amin, regarding true scholarship and its deep respect for the oral tradition. You say you love the Messenger Yet doubt the Word he brings; To love you must believe from where All adoration springs; And then belief begets more love In turn begets belief: A wave that swells and rolls to shores Eternal in relief. Though words and books may well preserve All matters of the brain, And even touch a seeking heart, The fact does still remain: This love is borne by hearts that heard And saw and touched him too, Then passed it on through deed and word To hearts that follow true. How can you love and follow him You’ve never known before Unless you love and follow them Who love him even more. The path toward the Messenger Is lined with lamps that burn The oil from his prophetic tree; So to this path return. Reserve your intellect for but Inevitable need: To hold a candle to the sun Is foolishness indeed. So follow on, and follow well This pure prophetic light, For even does the Messenger, In following, delight.

Believing is Seeing

An amazing account underscoring the rank of our mother Sayyidatuna Khadijah al-Kubra ‘alayhisSalaam. As related by Shaykh Mohammed Amin (Women in the Quran Lecture Series: April 12, 2013). May Allah protect and keep him. The Prophet sat beside her as Khadijah dried her eyes, Was plain to him how torn she was By Qasim’s sad demise; He held her hand consolingly As tears flowed again At how the babble of a child Was now replaced by pain. Khadijah talked of how she wished She’d had the chance to nurse Their son a little longer, and That made it even worse. And then Muhammad, peace be on Him, looked into her face And told her he could send a word Constraining all of space So she may hear the baby coo In foster mother’s care; And angels lifted cosmic veils In readiness to share The voice of little Qasim for His mother’s grieving eyes; But then our mother, peace be on Her, was a woman wise; She recognized the sanctity Of all that is unseen; Believing without seeing does Enrich the sight serene. And so contented, she declined The opportunity, But in her declination, find A wisdom like the sea: So vast and deep and free.

Upon Seeing a Drop of Water On My Windshield (Again)

Here is another pass at this work of free verse from over four years ago. Now in iambic pentameter. I welcome you, my silent water drop Upon my windshield as you form a lens, I see a harvest of the heavens’ crop In you and all of your companions. You strive upon the glass a moment longer Where angel stewards broke your mighty fall, Now tell me of a time when you felt stronger, Of past descents you fancied most of all. Were you among the drops that drowned the world That turned away from Nūh, or were you one That came upon his noble shoulder, hurled By waves that came between him and his son? Or did you to the locks of Yūnus cling As in the deepest darknesses he cried Until his tear-moistened lips would spring A supplication honored far and wide. Or could it be the cries of Isma’eel Within the mounts his mother ran between Preceded your ascent upon his heel? Were you a part of that majestic scene? Or when they hoisted Yūsuf from the well, Were you his sympathizer in the pail? I wish there were a way that I could tell You more about the beauty of his tale. Or did you splash upon the Red Sea shore When Mūsa let his staff down with a call That streaked a dozen pathways in the floor And perched you high atop a liquid wall? Now as you slither down my windshield, do I […]

When I Said I Loved You

When I said I loved you, (And I love you, my child) Every word I uttered at The moment you smiled, Drifted high on a breeze Over meadows and seas, How it skipped through the sands, How it swayed with the trees; It struck every mountain That stood in its way, And warmed every fountain’s Affectionate spray; And then it ascended To float on a cloud To flash with the lightning And thunder aloud, Then fall to the earth with The generous rain And unto a sapling To constant remain, The love on the wings of A word ever knows How to humor a thorn And to blossom a rose; It may be you’ll smell such A flower someday, A fragrant reminder Of words I did say; Now if I have loved you The way that I should, And if I have not, then I hope that I would, That when I am judged for The things I intend, With none to support me And none to defend, That day, may the breeze and The meadows and seas, The sands and the mountains, The fountains and trees, The clouds and the thunder And lightning and rain, The sapling that rose in Its fragrant domain: All witness my love for You placed in my trust. Do love me the same, child, For Allah, you must.

Al-Jazouli and the Enlightened Girl

It is believed that the Sufi Muslim scholar, Muhammad ibn Sulayman al-Jazouli (d. 870/1465), felt determined to compose his famous work entitled Dala’il al-Khayrat owing to a sublime experience he had during one of his journeys.  The journey had been long, and now The clock of earth and falling sun Reminded him was time to bow And be with all creation one. Ablution was upon his mind, And so he broke from dusty road In hopes that he would come to find Where cool, refreshing water flowed. So down a grassy hill, around The ruins of a wall so high, He came upon a well and found It thankfully was not yet dry. But what he couldn’t find by there Was trace of pail or even rope, Yet not inclined unto despair, He waited, entertaining hope. And that’s when Al-Jazouli heard, “Are you not held esteemed and good?”, A girl who spoke the mocking word Descended unto where he stood. She spat into withholding well That made the water rise up so Until its strong and blessed swell Did breach the mouth and overflow, At which the man of knowledge set To make ablution, then he turned To face the noble one he’d met, Implored her how her rank was earned. “By sending blessings on the one Who when he happened through the wild, Would beast and bird with fondness run And fly beside his person mild.” SallAllahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam.

Hidden Order

As I indulge the prairie, sipping tea, I spy my book in insect company, For trudging through the plain of open page Is but an ant an eye can barely see. I wonder how the letters must appear To one who is to them so very near, Like patches of the earth about the snow, Irregular and varied in area. But crawling so, my little friend can’t tell That every page is framed in dual el, All bound into submission by a spine, All born and cut from one material. I swallow all this prairie with my eye, These golden, yellow flowers swaying by A stream that seems to stop, then flow again, To mirror well the canopy of sky Where floats a fleet of clouds upon a breeze, Some gray, some peach, some white of foamy seas, Some left behind a soaring eagle’s flight To humbly bow and kiss the tops of trees. I find my crawling friend is much like me, Admirer of versatility: He cannot see the order that I do, And someone sees an order I can’t see.

Lily On The Pond

O lily on the pond, You sit so very still, Subject to everything about, You haven’t any will. Sweet lily on the pond, How very sad you seem, Unable to design a plan Or realize a dream. Poor lily on the pond, How angry you must be, A captive of this prison swamp, To never be set free. Bright lily on the pond, Your petals white and long Have opened to the sunshine now To sing their fragrant song. Good lily on the pond, Your silent blossom glows Come wind or rain; you don’t complain Despite your many woes. Wise lily on the pond, I am in error plain, It is not you I should bemoan But my deluded brain. My lily on the pond, How I envy your peace, For all that I desire from My freedom is release.

The Sands, The Trees, The Gentle Breeze

(Narrator) Upon a little patch of earth Beside the Masjid an-Nabi There blew a warm and gentle breeze Upon the sands, and date palm trees. (Tree 1) It was just yesterday that he Reclined on me so peacefully. I long to feel his blessed touch Againt my trunk; I miss that much. (Tree 2) I understand your pain, my friend, For I remember that day when He played with his little Hussain Despite the softly falling rain; Around and round me did he run So playfully with Ali’s son, I hoped they would not leave my side, But then they did, and how I cried. (Tree 1) Oh yes, indeed. I do recall That day when all that rain did fall. (The Earth) I long for his mubarak feet To walk upon my every street; I love him and his every trace In me and in my every space. (The Wind) And when he speaks or breathes a word, It is the sweetest thing you heard; I carry all his blessed speech To everyone within my reach. (Tree 1, whispering) Quiet! Here he comes again. (Tree 2, whispering) SubhanAllah. (The Earth, whispering) AlhamdulilLah. (The Wind, whispering) Allahu Akbar. (Narrator) And so they rustled, shifted, blew Until the Prophet was with them. (Tree 1, Tree 2, The Earth, The Wind, all say together) SallAllahu ‘alaa Muhammad SallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. SallAllahu ‘alaa Muhammad SallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. SallAllahu ‘alaa Muhammad SallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. (End.)