Looking through a small, extremely dusty, wire screen provides the only ‘view’ I have to the outside world, and then it is only for these few short weeks of winter. With the scorching summer conditions it is impossible to open any window. All have ancient sun bleached shutters in a vain attempt to lessen the desert fury. I relish these days of my tiny window onto the world of alley life with all its sights, sounds and smells! Morning moments bless the kitchen with bounteous rays of hearty sunshine. As I indulge in this shining luxury I think of the tiny windows that graced the homes of our Noble Ummuhatul Mu’mineen, RadhiAllahu anhunna. Being positioned high in the earth packed walls, they were certainly not for the pleasure of looking out, or of adorning with superfluous decoration. I try not to become too enamoured of this winter treat, realizing that all will end, while reflecting on how much Allah Ta’ala blessed the Sahabah RadhiAllahu anhum with the extreme gift of placing their Akhirah in front of them rather than what can be seen through the windows of the eyelids. Their focus being inward was an insurance against that which did not benefit them, keeping their intentions and deeds pure, SubhanAllah!
I have been turning my focus outward with this short lived peeking out time!
I see and hear the cooing and parading of the ubiquitous pigeons, which I have encouraged even more as I place seed on the narrow ledge. SubhanAllah that come with such friendly greetings and looks of gratitude as they dance and strut adorned with such alluring necklaces!
I have been tempted to open the screen section as we converse, but have no idea how to catch one if it decided to actually come inside! So I restrict my offer of friendship to be from behind the dusty wire.
Do not worry if our harp breaks
thousands more will appear.
We have fallen in the arms of love where all is music.
If all the harps in the world were burned down,
still inside the heart
there will be hidden music playing.
Do not worry if all the candles in the world flicker and die
we have the spark that starts the fire.
The songs we sing
are like foam on the surface of the sea of being
while the precious gems lie deep beneath.
But the tenderness in our songs
is a reflection of what is hidden in the depths.
Stop the flow of your words,
open the window of your heart and
let the spirit speak.
And the lads…may Allah Ta’ala bless the lads as they use any parked vehicle as their bed, a table for spreading food, a trampoline, the aerial as a musical intrument as they twan it, the trays of pick up trucks as temporary beds and hiding places, or the jumping off point as they practice the latest Bond stunts, and maybe many other energetic things lads are driven to that I have not seen as I catch a glimpse of them while doing ‘kitchen’ things. The above was jointly tackling their homework!
All is quiet on school days until shortly after Zuhur, when this narrow stretch of newly ashphalted alleyway becomes a sports field! There seems to be some agreement between age groups and nationality. Some days it is older youth in an energetic, and raucous game of soccer, with the ‘coach’ taking up his position on whatever car may be parked there. Sharing the alley, and the days of the week is a group of younger Pakistani boys with cricket as their preferred sport. The yells and cheers makes me feel I have experinced being to a world cup event! They play as though their entire life depended on the outcome, bless them! And all this is during Qaylula time, which many in the area not only respect because it is a Sunnah, but who work long hours either side of this time and need the rest. Alhumdulillah, at least the sounds are happy, freindly and wholesome! Cricket means a wooden box as the stumps, which is kicked to the side of the road when a car comes. Bare feet, and bless then again…this ‘bat’ is the large frond from the date palm! The second batter has a hand made one roughly cut in the shape of a bat. Insha’Allah I have been trying to find where to buy cricket bats so I can give them some. And maybe make them some after game muffins!
Then, as if a siren has ended the sporting activity, the boys disappear, a temporary quiet descends just before Asr, but is soon broken when the first knocking on the black metal door of the Madrassah opposite begins. Dozens of girls, from small to late teens come for Qur’an lessons every day except Friday. The lilting sound emerges as a soft buzzing, the sweetness floating through my dear little window has the feeling that I am in a syrupy honeyed cocoon!
As Maghrib approaches, the sound transforms into chatting and laughter and car horns as the girls leave. May Allah Ta’ala bless them all, and all who devote to His Divine Words.
The Window of My Soul
During prayer I am accustomed to turn to God like this
and recall the meaning of the words of the Tradition,
“the delight felt in the ritual prayer.”*
The window of my soul opens,
and from the purity of the unseen world,
the book of God comes to me straight.
The book, the rain of divine grace, and the light
are falling into my house through a window
from my real and original source.
The house without a window is hell;
to make a window is the essence of true religion.
Don’t thrust your ax upon every thicket;
come, use your ax to cut open a window.
*The Prophet Muhammad SallAllahu alaihi wasallam is said to
have mentioned Salat as one of the three things he loved best in the world.
While Friday a brother arrives about an hour before Juma’ah, chains his bicycle, takes his red prayer mat from the blue crate, and I presume walks to Masjid Nabawi. This also touches my heart.
Daily, as Night enfolds Day also touches my heart and takes my breath away. The encroaching dark gently caressing the receding light with a diamantine shawl, as tender whisperings of quiet and peace, and a hushed lullaby offers sweet repose.
With the dimming of Day’s light, it is time to shut the worldly window, and fling open the intimate windows to the heart and soul, illuminating the minaret of faith as it extends to the Eternal Light; seeking, grateful, hopeful and blessed.
And with the inevitable visitation of Malakul Maut, all Dunya windows will be permanently shut. Then we will soon know which of the two windows will be opened for us from our home of dust. Insha’Allah, it is the one that stretches to all the unimaginable delights of Allah Ta’ala’s Garden, Ameen.
With the Beloved’s water of life, no illness remains
In the Beloved’s rose garden of union, no thorn remains.
They say there is a window from one heart to another
How can there be a window where no wall remains?
Rumi (again!) with the three poems quoted.
All good is from Allah Ta’ala whereas mistakes are from this humble speck. May Allah Ta’ala Bless all readers, bringing you all closer to Him and His Rasul SallAllahu alaihi wasallam. May He accept our humble efforts and grant us the capacity to be good and do good. Ameen.