i fell in love with jalaluddin rumi the first time i read his work in cairo. it was perhaps the infatuation of a 19-year-old exploring existence and spirituality. the story of rumi's friendship with shams and subsequent awakening added to my fervor.
it was words such as these that had me enraptured:
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
“The minute I heard my first love story I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along.”
since cairo, i have kept merely the memory of rumi with me. yesterday however, i came across a poem of his that struck me in its intensity and conviction, not to mention islamic principles (i must admit that in university, rumi's islamic origins were almost irrelevant).
On Resurrection Day God will ask,
“During this reprieve I gave you,
what have you produced for Me?
Through what work have you reached your life’s end?
Your food and your strength, for what have they been consumed?
Where have you dimmed the luster of your eyes?
Where have you dissipated your five senses?
You have expended eyes and ears and intellect
and the pure celestial substances;
what have you purchased from the earth?
I gave you hands and feet as spade and mattock
for tilling the soil of good works,
when did they by themselves become existent?”
what an awesome poem. each line is a reminder, a kick in the backside. i have wasted too much time recently in self indulgence and pity. it's time to get back on track. ayaam-al-taabudat is a great opprtunity for renewal. oh, i also need to find my copy of rumi!