Thursday, 18 March 2010

Qisma

I drink my coffee and grin at Zayd’s happy countenance. ‘Why, brother, do we expose ourselves to such things instead of staying in our homes like sensible people?’

‘Because’, Zayd grins back at me, ‘it is not for the like of thee and me to wait in our homes until the limbs become stiff and old age overtakes us. And besides, do not people die in their houses as well? Does not man always carry his destiny around his neck, wherever he may be?’

The word Zayd uses for ‘destiny’ is qisma – ‘that which is apportioned’ – better known to the West in its Turkish form, kismet. And while I sip another cup of coffee, it passes through my mind that this Arabic expression has another, deeper meaning as well: ‘that in which one has a share.’

That in which one has a share…

These words strike a faint, elusive chord in my memory…

‘… For he has learned that to be without greed is to be without fear – and that if man goes beyond fear he goes beyond danger as well, knowing that whatever happens to him is but his share in all that is happening…’

‘My share in all that is happening…’ I think to myself as I lie under the friendly Arabian stars. ‘I – this bundle of flesh and bone, of sensations and perceptions – have been placed within the orbit of Being, and am within all that is happening… 

“Danger” is only an illusion: never can it “overcome” me: for all that happens to me is part of the all-embracing stream of which I myself am a part. Could it be, perhaps, that danger and safety, death and joy, destiny and fulfillment, are but different aspects of this tiny, majestic bundle that is I? What endless freedom, O God, hast Thou granted to man…’

I have to close my eyes, so sharp is the pain of happiness at this thought; and wings of freedom brush me silently from afar in the breath of the wind that passes over my face. ~ The Road To Makkah by M. Asad

7 comments:

  1. I've read the beginning of this book til the bit when he's lost in the desert.

    need to read the rest.

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  2. oh wow. this is really thought provoking! must try and read this book, i simply must!

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  3. Mash - You've done yourself a great dis-service my friend, by not completing this book. The most difficult part to get through is the whole being lost in the desert... but it is very necessary because it sets the foundation for everything else in the autobiography.

    Prixie - It's a fantastic read, chronicling the Journey of a European convert who travels through Arabia on a journey of self-discovery and spirituality. What is so fantastic about it is that although it is centered around Islam, most of the concepts and realisations are Universal in their spiritual nature. It is very inspiring and even liberating :) If you don't or can't get the book, holler and I'll see if I can get a copy for you :D

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  4. That was profound. Profound enough to make me write it on my list of books to read. Thanks for sharing:)

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  5. fathima - it is a FANTASTIC book! A must read ;)

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  6. Beebs - definitely one of my favourites too :)

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