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Muhammad A. Al Mahdi

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Al Hal: I Initiation into Trance II White Trance III Al Waqt (The Moment)
by Muhammad A. Al Mahdi
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Recent poems by Muhammad A. Al Mahdi
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To render mystical experience in poetry -which, of course, is the only form of language that lends itself to the expression of such levels of experience- is one of the major challenges not only of poetry but of language. This is a subject to which I have returned again and again, and in which I may never have entirely succeeded. Beyond the challenge of verbally describing the sensations experienced during the trance state and the sensations that induce it, for which one has the framework of mystical literature, litany and poetry at one's disposal, lies the challenge of describing the moment when the soul enters into a realm where all that is left behind. The unio mystica is in every case and every instance an experience so individual and so unique that to express it is to find language for something that is entirely without precedent. The union itself is of such nature that it leaves no space for any presence, any reality, any frame of reference beside its own, absolute, unrepeatable, all-pervading cosmic moment. Islamic tradition expresses this in the prophet's saying (s.a.w.s.): "I have a moment with God to which no other created being has access...". That moment is the birth right of the soul. In it lies the source of all creativity, of all creative power, of every creative potential. This too is the birth right of the soul - and its mission. At the moment this occurs to us we realise that the individual is also the key to the universal; that our individuality is our universal mission. And in reflecting on one's individual experience of that moment in that light lies the third and most important challenge. It is here that there begins the primal creative force of human thought and philosophy. Here begins the realm from which the human spirit, its quest and its mission originate and where it is most at home.


I. Initiation into Trance

O heart

My heart is heavy

With longing for the Other-World

O soul

My fire sea

O sigh

My faithful guide

The raging yearning of the daf

Drives me across the sky

Hayy Jalali

Steeped in night

Of radiant beauty your flame

For the love of Ali

Have I denounced a thousand loves

Ya sahibu'l mi'raj

My eyes are my eyes

My soul is my soul

Nothing less

I'm an ornament, a mark

An invisible thread

On the firmament's black tent

For your beauty, Hussain

Have I forsaken

The world's beauty

In my heart's offering

In spring

When the lovers meet

To eat the honey of Hajjar

I shall offer my soul


To you

Lord Qalandar

Despised for your faith

Ostracised from the faithful

For the sake of devotion

I'm a stone on the way

That has risen from the abyss

Of my self

I, the disciple of a master

Who learnt all he knew

From a dog

My soul is my soul

Fling it away

Onto the streets

Into the dirt of the roads

Where the dogs are licking

My blood

Take it, my thirsty friends

For the sun of the noon

Is too hot

It may serve to satisfy the thirst

Of those

Who are thirsty

Without denying it

Of those

Who drink it in rapture

Without pretending disdain

Who take

Without pretending

Not to be needy and needing

If you drink it, my brothers

I have no regrets

For this blood which I offer

Is the honey of Hajjar

A blood akin

To the blood of the prophets

I am your sacrifice

O white falcon of longing

O Lord of my soul

Ya Mawlai an-Nabi

Ya 'ayni

Wa ya sahibu'l


My trance and my blood are sweet

As the wild honey of Hajjar

And the milk of Zahra's beauty

And hidden radiance

My veil is nothing but a veil

My heart is nothing but a heart

My word is nothing but a word

And YOU ARE the Lord and the Master

Of all within me and without me

YOU ARE the falcon of Karbala

Where my love was


Where I became yours


Where you soaked my tears' fire

With the spirit of Hallaj

And kindled my soul's river

With Shukriya's flame

Where YOU showed me the image

And taught me to smash it

Where YOU showed me the honoured

And taught my heart to despise them

Where YOU showed me the despised

And made me their servant in devotion

When YOU called me by my name

And made it sound

Like your own

Do not judge me, my gazelle

I am a victim

Of your love

Intoxicated and defeated

A victim, o sweet Beloved

And a prey

To your desire

Do not call madness,

O Master

The only illumination

I knew


(Sala'llahu 'ala Muhammad

Sala'llahu 'alaihi was-salam)


II  White Trance


Drink the bitternis, heart

That brings forth

Name and vision

Drink this life that is withering

To become life

Beyond life


The slowth of the light

And the flow of the rivers

And the voice within you

That seeks and searches

And seeks not,

Is called

And flees





And is called

The self says: It's

Beyond endurance

Endurance says:

Yet, I endure

And shall endure

Long after breaking

And shall endure

Beyond the self

That endures not

This, I shall outlast and endure

I shall


And must be broken,


Stripped to bone,



To endure

And be broken again

To breathe life itself


Do not seek sweetness in rapture

For sweetness is metaphor,


Siren's song

And the bitter is stark ESSENCE,


Of outward garment

And rendered


Nameless craving

That stirs wordless thought

In worldless universe

And is



Shall be


Takes shape

In un-becoming

In discarding form

After form

It shall never be


Thus never be


Its past takes shape

In its future

And in its present

All worlds meet

All time embraces

In all time

Which is


Boundless, timeless


You say: Time

And you know not

What it is

I say: Now

And I am here 

And now

In the now before


In the Now

After Now

And all these are now

Here and now

And are never separate

From now

And this

is the smallest secret

This is

Where it begins


Ah! The journey - it is

All your life

And all lives

Before your life

And all life

Beyond your life


How could he that is called


Were he different from him

That calls

How could life

Breathe out life

Would it not breathe in


How can I and this stone,

How can I and this drum

Be I

And this drum

And this stone

Were they too

Not I

And were we all not


And were YOU not YOU

In YOU and I

And, in us,




III Man ana? Man ant?: Al Waqt (The Moment)


In the first sound,

The first colour

My soul found

Its expression

It sought its SELF

In seeking YOU

For YOU put into it


With the first sound,

The first colour

YOU answered

YOUR call


I have been to this world

As a stone

I have been to this world

As a sparrow

As a nightingale

And as a rose

As a lion,

A tiger,

A water buffalo

And a lizard

As a man,

As a woman too

I have been to this world


I have immersed my soul

In the soul

Of the Master,

In the soul of her

Whose love lightens

The two Easts,

The two Wests,

In the soul of her my heart called

By the name if a woman

In whose eyes lay preserved

The legacy of the prophets


I have immersed my soul in

The heart beat of the daf

In whom the first moment 

Of life

Is preserved


The first sound of the daf calls me

Into the presence

Of the first day

Into the presence of

The mother's womb

And the mother's womb

That bore her

Into the presence 

Of the first rapture,

Into bird's and stone's presence

The daf,

My mother,

Calls me


Lies my spirit's cradle

Ah! Where is the universe

Wide enough

To contain it?

Where is the ocean

To measure its depth?


Each of my worlds-

A thousand worlds!

For we've walked in each other's shade

From the very first day

How strange that  you call ME


In this moment of rapture

How strange that we could ever be

Two different beings,

Speaking of themselves 

As I, YOU, SHE and HE

When we are not only 

Two waters that mingle

But also





At the spring of my being

I spoke animal's tongues

And the tongues of jinn

And dreams

Ah! The veil between me and YOU

Is the tiniest thread

When I close my two eyes

The eye of my soul 

Begins to speak

The daf,

The ney,

The wind,

The breath,

The cry

In the presence

Of angels

In the presence of

All worlds


I stand

Before me

And in both of us

Are YOU,

Fulfilling, filling,



I ask nothing

But this moment

With YOU


What need to ask?

What need to answer?

That is long,



The tiny thread,

The little veil

Obscures no longer

But merely accentuates

How perfect, how happy

This hour

When all I need to do

To focus

The universe in me

Is lift my little finger!


Nothing do I ask

Nothing do I seek

But this moment with YOU

But this moment

This moment

With YOU




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Reviewed by Andy Turner
Powerful echos of Gibran, is what I kept thinking as I read this.

Top work!
Reviewed by Hannah M
This beautifully captivating arragement of words of words is astounding. It truely drew me in and wrapped me in its verses. This is an amazing piece; that you for sharing.
Reviewed by Huda Orfali
Beautiful and well written song
Love and peace
Reviewed by Mary Quire
Beautifully done. A true song from the heart.

Reviewed by Nila Jamier
Enchanting and most beautiful mystical ambiance in your poem.
Reviewed by Aberjhani
The flaming wind of the spirit of ancient Sufi voices flows enchantment, grace, and devotion through this poem. Their spinning and rising embraces beauty within the arms of worlds at once unseen and more near than one's heartbeat. You can make yourself dizzy flying that high dude:-)
Reviewed by jude forese
an well written glimpse into an enlightened state ...
Reviewed by Regis Auffray
I will echo Karla's words. Thank you for this insight. Love and peace. Regis
Reviewed by George Carroll
Wonderful expressive write full of intoxicating words, passion and hate lost in the abyss of captivity and love.
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner

Thank you for explaining a bit of Islam to non-believers. I enjoyed this peek into your culture.

A well written piece--is this yours? Or do all Muslims chant this?

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla. :)
Reviewed by Judy Lloyd (Reader)
You do this so well and the poem reminds me of another one who also wrote well.
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