as salaamu alaykum,
I wrote this in 2003:
as salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah,
Yesterday, I got the chance to watch a lecture by Sh.
Hamza Yusuf called "What Happened to Poetry?" I just
wanted to share with you all some of the things he
said that I found to be really interesting and
He started by talking about classes in high school or
college we've taken in which we've learned about
poetry and words, and the power of words.
He said, "Most of us have had to suffer the mediocrity
of passionless people teaching words that emanated
from the hearts of deeply passionate people -- because
poetry is about passion, and what is forbidden in the
modern world is passion."
He went on to say that what we see in the world today
is not true passion, but melodrama, nourished and
cultivated by people who want us to see the world in
this black and white, good vs. bad schema -- and not
take the time to *think*, reflect, and contemplate
He quoted, "The world is divided into two people -
those who divide the world into two people, and
Sh. Hamza then mentioned the Surah in the Qu'ran
ash-Shu'ara, The Poets, and how in it, Allah
said that there are different kinds of poets.
He describes the type of poet who misleads people, who
says with their mouth that which they do not do.
He said that, in our modern day, this type are the
advertisers. They use our love of words and rhythm to
mislead us and speak falsehood. Take the time to
listen to any advertisement, or look carefully through
a magazine, and this will be evident. He said that
most advertisements are actually written in metre,
some obvious and others more subtle. And even in
music, we can see that people have a love for rhythm
and verse and poetic language (even if the words
themselves are meaningless) and this is being
exploited to sell CD's.
The second type of poet is the truthful poet - "one
who feels God's infinite on his finite soul" - who
uses words to speak truth and to cause people to think
and feel and gain an awareness of themselves and their
He mentioned a really amazing poet that was a teacher
of his father, Mark Van Doren. Sh. Hamza was actually
named after him
I've never heard of this poet
before, so I did some surfing and came across some
very nice stuff he wrote. I've attached them below
for those of you who are interested.
He concluded with an awesome poem of Rumi on the
, in which he said:
'Without your light [oh Muhammad]
a great lion is held captive by a rabbit.
Be the captain of the ship,
my Mustafa, my chosen one
Look how the caravan of civilization has been ambushed
Fools are everywhere in charge'
He said that the Muslim community is in the condition
it's in because it is like the lion faced by the
rabbit in darkness. It is not the strength of the
rabbit, but the blindness of the lion that keeps it
May Allah cleanse our hearts to receive the light of
His guidance, keep us constant on His path, and
protect us from evil people with eloquent tongues.
wasalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah,
al Muzzamil - the one who wraps himself
God called the prophet Muhammad
'the one who wraps himself'
and said, come out from under your cloak
you so fond of concealment and fleeing
don't cover your face
the world is a reeling, drunken body
and you are its intelligent head
don't hide the candle of your clarity
stand up and burn through the night
without your light
a great lion is held captive by a rabbit
be the captain of the ship my mustafa, my chosen one
look how the caravan of civilization has been ambushed
fools are everywhere in charge
do not practice solitude like jesus
be in the assembly and take charge of it
you should live most naturally in public
and be a communal teacher of souls
"It is by our weakness Troy stands, not by their strength."
Sonnets by Mark Van Doren
He Loves Me
That God should love me is more wonderful
Than that I so imperfectly love him.
My reason is mortality, and dim
Senses; his--oh, insupportable--
Is that he sees me. Even when I pull
Dark thoughts about my head, each vein and limb
Loves him, though remembrance in him, grim
With my worst crimes, should prove me horrible.
And he has terrors that he can release.
But when he looks he loves me; which is why
I wonder; and my wonder must increase
Till more of it shall slay me. Yet I live,
I live; and he has never ceased to give
This glance at me that sweetens the whole sky.