Saturday, May 07, 2005

the longing itself

Rumi tells a tale from the Masnavi in which a man has been repeating the name of Allah with no reply. The devil appears to him and mocks him. Then Khazir, a holy mystic, appears to him in a dream and reassures him thus:
Khazir answered, 'Your cry of "Allah" (God says) is itself My "Here am I"; your pleading and agony and fervour is My messenger. All your twistings and turnings to come to Me were My drawing you that set free your feet. Your fear and love are the lasso to catch My grace. Under each "Allah" of yours whispers many a "Here am I".'

It is the very longing for God that is God. It is the very absence of God that draws us to God. There is nothing in the Koran to match this kind of spiritual insight that Rumi expresses so lucidly and so poetically. The very emptiness of the Koran seems to act like a giant koan into which fresh insights can pour. Paradoxically, it may be the very spiritual poverty of the Koran that is Islam's strength.

When there's nothing there
What can you point to?
An empty space - no answers -
Is that the heart of Islam?


Post a Comment

<< Home