Personally, over the last few years, I have been, I find, drifting--others might say coming home to--the Left. You see, I grew up in South Asia where, , where, except for very radical neo-con/theo-con types--and there are an increasing number of them in this day and age--we have great reverence for historical figures like Khusrau and Kabir and a bevy of what were essentially anti-establisment figures that cared more for hearts and people; more about God than strict ritual. Data Ganj Baksh. Nizamuddin Chishti. Lal Shahbaz Qalandar. And of course, figures like Rumi, Hafez, Shams, Mansoor, and on and on. And over the weekend, I found myself in a room, taking part in Sufi devotion and happened to look around the room. And it hit me. If Rumi, so often the favorite of starched, straight-laced, mosque-going, Sunday school-teaching yuppy Muslims so concerned about their Ummah, was alive today; if Shams picked his peeps; this is the crowd he'd be hanging with. I, who had been struggling, even, with the unbending conservatism of most Sufi gatherings I have found in the US, had found my community.
If I had any doubts about stepping up over the next two days to serve this aspect of the multi-blossomed whole we call humanity; about helping the less-commonly heard, more tender, more compassionate, voices of Islam find their place at the table, this realization help dispel them. If Shams bear being flayed alive for unconventional principles; if Mansoor could go the gallows for his, the least I could do was step up and be counted.
Translation? Well, read the next post.
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