Friday, January 11, 2008

reminiscence from a khalwa night

Photograph and Collage by Sadiq Salim
the khalwa has begun.

in the most secluded part of night,
far removed from ordinary sight
from the house of worship,
permeating its dome
vibrations of zikr rise
towards the Throne.

the dimly lit outer room of our mosque
a quality of unknowingness.

i look outside the window facing the gardens
there to my surprise is our master's presence!

the master sits alone on the porch
in quietude of the night
leading his holy children
in recalling of Light.

upon his heart, upon his lips,
between Lord and him, goes on
ceaseless remembrance,
the sacred communion of grace.

on this blessed night
if you listened to the sound
of the caravan of khalwa,
you'd have listened only this: Allah! Allah!

(c) Sadiq Salim
jan 7, 2008
photograph & graphic collage by Sadiq

+ dedicated to sister Wendy Salaam McLaughlin, to whom i am grateful for introducing me to Sidi and the tariqa by the Will of the One.

note: during khalwa night (a sufi practice of spiritual retreat) the master (Sidi, may God sanctify his station), while zikr was going on inside the mosque, he himself sat outside, alone. i happened to seen him on such an occasion and it was a beautiful feeling to catch a glimpse of a realized master in his remembrance in solitude with God. the poem derived its inspiration from that glimpse on the night of khalwa (dec 18, 2007). alhamduli'Llah.

. khalwa means spiritual retreat, a tradition of the Prophet Muhammad and earlier Prophets. the opening of heart of Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace, happened also during a blessed night of khalwa or spiritual retreat in a cave of Jabal e Noor (Mountain of Light) near Mecca when divine revelation (Quran) began to descend upon his heart.
. zikr is remembrance of the Divine, can be inwardly, outwardly or both.
. Allah, the unique name of God, is invoked in zikr. Sheikh Shadhili, the founder of the Shadhiliyya path specifically emphasized on the practice of louder mode of remembrance on the particular Divine name 'Allah'.

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