Some fellow seekers and I were seated as we often are on Friday evening, pondering on the path of those yearning for closeness and presence with God.
On this particular occasion, we were discussing a passage of Islamic poet Rumi's Masnavi called Veils of Light.
Each rich line reminded me of what drew me to this path of Islam in the first place: a crystal clear moment of understanding in 2010 when I first encountered that Light. When the first veil was lifted, revealing a love that transformed how I would perceive everything from that moment.
We seekers will often squint, blocking the light from coming through, as we endure the trials and tribulations that life hands to all of us. But there it is, shining in once we gain the strength to open our eyes again.
This Light doesn't blind us despite its brightness, it transforms our vision and allows us to see the next step on the path more clearly. This Light does not bring darkness. It brings mercy, compassion and justice.
This Light does not harm another soul, for harming one would be as damaging as harming all, as the Quran teaches. It forces us, rather, to look within and battle our own demon, the ego that prevents us from seeing the Light.
A wise, humble and loving Shaikh speaking on Islamic extremism to an audience gathered at a London church in September described political Islam as "collective egoism: nafs (ego) magnified on a social scale."
It breeds a toxic pollution of egoism that masquerades as self-righteousness and leads to individuals wanting to change things through force, hate and judgement of others. The result is grim, despicable darkness, which is the opposite of Light.
|Jara Mosque in Tunisia, with El Seed's Calligraffiti. It reads, from the Quran: "Oh humankind, we have created you from a male and a female and made people and tribes so you may know each other"|
This is the challenge that God seeks for each one of us to pursue and take on.
"Oh humankind, we have created you from a male and a female and made people and tribes so you may know each other. Lo! The noblest of you, in the sight of God, is the best in conduct." (Quran 49, 13)
We must welcome and embrace this light and carry it with us. It is, in the end, the only way.
Light upon light. Noor ala Noor.