The Anvil of Creation
A Poem Read by Dr. Ali A. Allawi at the Annual Conference of the Academy of Self Knowledge
Pretoria, South Africa
April 28, 2003
The Soul's Soliloquy
Sparks endlessly radiate
From His Anvil of Creation
To burn, smoulder or illuminate,
Infinite signs of His Manifestation
Am I to spend my time in Time
In oblivion till I am awakened
By the gentle tinkle of Azrail's Chime;
Announcing my exile has ended?
Majesty's Herald, he is not to blame.
He only rings the bell. Its time to go!
And I return, whence I came,
Either alone, or with my companion, in tow
I am the spark that carries His Light,
His Promises, the Keys to His Garden.
But what use is a spark that cannot ignite
A fire, when hearts forget and harden
I am a carrier pigeon from Mount Qaf
With messages of wonders that be
Will I be locked up like a thieving jackdaw
Inside of men who look, but do not see?
Is it a world of desolate otherness
Where I, in time, will be suspended
Shielded from a drowning denseness
By His Power, guarded and defended?
Or a world where my flaming light
Will throw its beams afar
And make the world dance in shear delight
To the sounds of the Pulsating Star?
The Soul addresses the Self
Now that I am alongside you
Do not ask more about me
Acknowledge my presence and renew,
The Covenant we all made with He
Remember, reflect and ponder
From my light do not keep your distance
For I can only gaze in wonder
As I see the Truth of Existence
It is I, only I, that can acknowledge
Being's presence, beauty, and might,
I, the connecting thread, the celestial bridge,
The eternal flash of His Light
Body and mind, with no catalyst
To clay and water cannot impart
Knowledge of His Way. No alchemist,
Can fashion them into a discerning heart
Your body is a sometime enemy
It is reason that you have to fear
One will wither and atrophy
The other will not easily disappear
The body's enmity in time will break
Its firmness and youth crumbled
Its pleasure dome a creaking wreck
Ravaged with sickness and humbled
The Book tells reason it is a fool
If it only submits to logic's seduction
Or by using the philosopher's rule
Tries to seek Reality by deduction
Socrates, Plato and Pythagoras
In the end heeded Reality's refrain
The dot inside the Noon of Nass
Holds more knowledge than man can entertain
Fortunate is reason that awakens and stops
Then proclaim its helplessness, its despair
And its tools of logic and cold thought drops
Passing its quest to a more worthy heir
Then does the Way become shown
And the eternal Names to you appear
For reason, by intellect, is overthrown
And in His Service intellect is sincere
Inspired intellect is my true ally
Not proud reason which denies its ignorance
Intellect is humbled as it surveys the sky
And angrily seethes at man's arrogance
The glory of the mind is in recognition
Reflection, devotion and servitude
True knowledge and wisdom are from submission
To decrees that lead to certitude
Begin to see with Truth's eye
And heed the Mustafa's call
To: "Die before you Die!"
And behold the Creator in thrall
Into His Presence you will draw nearer
To see things as they really are
Your eyes will open with true basira
And the Lote Tree will beckon from afar
The Self awakens to the Soul
The self could hear the rattling
It heard the sound with trepidation
It shook and set the self battling
With fear and a ghostly anticipation
"What sound is this I am hearing?
It makes me tremble and shake
It strikes my core, my mind, my being
And makes my heart, with sorrow, ache"
"Could it be that a heavenly entity
Was residing beside me all these years
Completely hidden, unknown to me
Banished from its celestial spheres?"
"And if it was here all the while
How did I neglect its plaintive wail?
This world to its nature must be hostile
A free spirit with this earth its jail"
"No more can I be this apparition's jailor
Something has happened. I can now discern
That the world's riches are merely squalor
Joy comes when for Love you burn"
"This sound from my neighbor is indeed
No different in sweetness and tone
From the mournful calls of Rumi's reed
Bewailing its separation from the Throne"
"Ibrahim Adham heard that sound
When from his horse he was jolted
Hearing the shepherd angrily expound
'Was it for this you were created?'"
"Mansur, forlorn, did long endure,
The torture, the pain of the rack
His gaze was on Love, exalted and pure
What else is the meaning of 'Ana al-Haqq'?
"Bayazid was consumed by the flame
No grasping self left, and none of its pride
Inside his clothes he would exclaim
'Nothing but Truth and Love reside'"
"Ayaz was felled with Love's ardor
He dropped his sword, with no hesitation
Sultan Mahmud had become his master
Passion and fealty his inspiration"
"Could this be the very same emissary
That brought Truth's breeze to all creation
That caused the humble bowing of the tree
When Ahmed under its shade, was in prostration?"
"The serene wind that softly blows
Across universes, carrying deliverances
Into predisposed hearts it gently flows
In whispers of divine remembrances"
"I have looked for long with perplexity
With sorrow and anguish in my journey
All awhile I have been searching vainly
For an answer that was there within me"
The self's quest was no more barren
It threw away the jailor's key
It refused to be infidelity's bastion
And heeded the call 'To your Lord flee'"
Soul and Self Converse
The soul from deep slumber arose
Oblivion became startling consciousness
It did not know how it came to repose
In this landscape of dreary strangeness
The soul would hear the name of the Friend
That would bring it a fleeting recognition
Then a blanket of nothingness would descend
Over echoes of a distant recitation
But now, now, it suddenly awoke
It sprang to life becoming life itself
The jailor his chains had broke
It was with these he had bound himself
This world's ruses could no longer inveigle
The jailor. He cried out ecstatically
"I have stripped and torn away this veil!
"Captive! Go, You are now free!"
"I was free, eternally free"
The soul to self retorted
"You were imprisoned; you did not see
Clear signs the Guide afforded"
The self was filled with bitter remorse
Shame-faced for its guest's neglect
"It was only by Mercy's Luminous Force
Your sublime presence I could detect"
"My world is now ripped apart
It is only to His Court that I aspire
Can you, my friend, provide the chart
To Tasnim's spring, to quench my fire?"
"This world to me has become hateful
Here Evil's brew men greedily lap
Its every charm false and baneful
Its every pleasure nook a trap"
The soul looked lovingly at friend
Its awakening had bestirred it too
To reveal its light it must depend
On a self that is wise and true
"Listen carefully to what I say
Your span is measured in time
It is in service through Love's way
That out of this world you will climb"
"One day your universe will crumple
'All on this world will perish'
None will stand, no mosque, no temple
Time itself will simply vanish
"Until that moment you are in this world
Stay on the path of Mercy's Guidance
'You did not hurl but it is Allah Who hurled'
The Scale by which you actions balance
"Limitless Wisdom has created infinite worlds
All gather to sing His Praises,
Rally around Ahmed, the Banner he unfolds
Recite from the Book he raises"
"I am neither the rule nor rule-maker
I carry only His embassy
When your sincerity is my awakener
I am authorized to guide you back with me"
"I was bestirred when I heard you call
With longing that made you burn
'Glory to the One who has dominion over all
And to Him you will return.'"
"Before, it was merely words, no resonance
It bounced off me with no impression
Then your heart sang out the true cadence
Do you see any imperfection?"
"Aware of soul you become aware
You are in this world not of it
Abandon doubt and its despair
And onrushes of rapture admit"
"Hold on to me as to a firm rope
You are also from those other mansions
To the 'Urwa al-Withqa that gives hope
To all the elect's work and actions"
"Time to me does not exist
I know only of this instance
So counting of days and hours desist
And enter the mansion of patience"
"A promise has been made to you
I carry this promise faithfully
Remember the Covenant of Alastu
Everlastingness will be your destiny"
The self was struck with deep attrition
"I have also heard the Alastu
The Divine Sound that removes constriction
And my heart to that sound flew"
The soul smiled "My friend and host!
Your past was only a prologue
When you were in your world engrossed
'Between our worlds there could be no dialogue"
"How can time talk to timelessness?
Where was the bridge transverse?
You were trapped in the skeptic's bleakness
And I, a stranger to this universe"
"You, of self and mind and body,
Are as much His Creation as I,
You will now reach His Presence,
You have awakened to Mercy's Sigh"
"Inside you is Beauty's spark of light,
Carried by the messenger from Jabarut
Let me be your ally, your guide, your other sight
Together we'll travel the celestial route"
Where eternity and goodness dwell
In permanence in meanings, not forms.
There we'll glide on the Ocean's swell
And sway to the sounds of the Divine Bell.
Listen! Can you hear the echo of the BE!
It is the sound that will awaken me,
But it is you, it is you who will be set free,
And I, and you, will return to the Origin, to HE