OBITUARY: Daniel Abdal Hayy Moore

Michael Sugich pays tribute to a much loved American Muslim poet, Daniel Abdal Hayy Moore, who passed away this week after a battle with cancer.

My friend Daniel Abdal Hayy Moore died yesterday. He had been battling cancer for 5 years. After giving up on conventional treatments his doctor prescribed a combination of hemp oil, zamzam water and hadra. (Interesting physician!) For the last two years I would replenish his supply of zamzam from Saudi Arabia. Abdal Hayy thrived on the treatment. When I last visited his home in Philadelphia, in 2015 he met me at the door and launched into a spontaneous and joyous hadra. I joined him and we invoked The Living (“Al Hayy”) for a few ineffably blissful moments I will never forget. With the shadow of death hanging over him Abdal Hayy became increasingly light and, on the surface at least, his already beautiful nature sweetened. Death is a serious prospect. Our destinies hang in the balance. We don’t know for certain our place with God. My friend was given the gift of 5 years to reflect upon his inevitable passing and this was frequently reflected in his poetry.

Typically Bemused and Detached

Daniel Moore was a distinguished poet and most people who know of him know him through his poetry. He was a protégé of the American poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and of Alan Ginsberg, among other City Lights celebrities. He was an outrageous character before he entered Islam in about 1970. He had a mane of hair and drove around Berkeley, California in a fur car, sitting on a toadstool. At the time he was a local celebrity, a theatrical figure in the 1960s, having written, produced, directed and starred in “Bliss Apocalypse, a spectacular, surrealistic anti-Viet Nam War theatrical event, which was a counter-culture sensation in Berkeley. We strongly suspect that Francis Ford Coppola lifted both the tribal aesthetic and the title of Daniel’s play for his film “Apocalypse Now”. We saw the Coppola film together when it came out and Daniel was typically bemused and detached.

Poetry Poured Out Of Him

After a poetic hiatus of many years – a time he devoted to the remembrance of Allah on the Sufi Path – Abdal Hayy returned to poetry, this time not as a beatnik/hippy freak but as a rather bookish, impish, owlish sage on a Sufi Path. From that point on his life was permeated with poetry. He was the most prolific poet I have ever known or heard of. He would write a poem every day. Poetry poured out of him. I’m not sure if this is true but I would like to think that his soul mate, his wife Malika Moore, was his muse. I have never known a more perfectly matched couple. Malika and I became Muslims at the same time. She is a great, generous soul with a huge sincere heart and wonderful sense of humor. I love them both.
Staying with Abdal Hayy and Malika was a great pleasure, not only for their beautiful company but also because Abdal Hayy let me sleep in the best bedroom ever, his basement room crammed with books. He was a bibliophile who seemed to have collected every book under the sun and stuffed them into every part of his intellectual man cave. I was always reminded of this wonderful space when we did our periodic Skype sessions.

A Sincere Seeker

But I knew Abdal Hayy, not as a poet but as a man of the path. We had many adventures together, in various parts of America, in England (even in Iceland) and in Morocco. We laughed our heads off at some of the absurdities we went through in our younger days. I loved spending time with him, not only for his wonderful wit, but because of his deep sincerity. He was one of the most sincere seekers I have ever known. He was one of the Salihin. When I knew that he was terminally ill, my one prayer was for him to experience the highest Opening with Allah before he passed away from this earth. My beloved shaykh and mentor Sayyid Omar Abdallah, may Allah be well pleased with him, told me that God is so Generous that he gives his servant everything he wants, even if it is only seconds before his death. With that knowledge I prayed for the Opening for Hajj Abdal Hayy. And now I pray that his grave is an expansive sea of light and ecstasy, that he is raised among Allah’s Friends in close proximity to our Messenger, Sayyidina Muhammad, peace be upon him, and that he is given nearness to our Lord.
Last year I wasn’t able to make my usual Umrah and pick up Zamzam for my friend but my wife Randa Fahmy traveled to Saudi Arabia on business and I asked her to pick up a large bottle of Zamzam at the airport, which she brought to Philadelphia on a subsequent visit (God bless her). Abdal Hayy was ecstatic and left a wonderful, effusive message on my answer machine.

A Sign From Allah

When I learned that his health had worsened and that he was in his final illness, I immediately called him. He was buoyant and in high spirits. He confided that the bottle of Zamzam had tipped over and the contents spilled out all over the floor. He saw that as a sign from Allah that he could no longer stave off his inevitable end. I wept. We exchanged expressions of love. My heart ached that I wasn’t there beside him but both he and Malika assured me that my presence was with them.
The second time I called, I mostly spoke to Malika because Abdal Hayy’s condition had worsened and he was weak and drifting in and out of sleep. But we spoke briefly before he excused himself and drifted off.

My Brother

Yesterday, all day, as I was negotiating my way through Istanbul’s heavy traffic, I was scheming to see how I could hop a plane to visit my dear friend. I attended an evening of dhikrullah at the Jerrahi Dargah, not far from the Fatih Mosque and arrived home at 1:30 am. I checked my email and found a message from my friend Peter Sanders that Abdal Hayy had passed. We were prepared for this inevitability, as was he. But he was my elder brother and I will miss him. I will miss him.
May Allah be well pleased with him.
Michael Sugich (Haroon)
Istanbul,
19 April 2016

On Unspoken Love And Friendship – Nader Khan

I’d first read Imam Ghazali‬‘s Duties of Brotherhood in Islam, translated by Muhtar Holland sometime in the summer of 1995 as reading for a do-it-yourself Islamic study circle that I was in with my brother and some dear friends in ‪‎Toronto‬. That’s when I read the following powerful story:

“It is related in the stories of the People of Israel that two godly brothers were upon a mountain. One of them come down to town to buy a pennyworth of meat. He saw a harlot at the butcher’s shop, gazed upon her, fell in love with her, and carried her off to a private place to copulate with her. After spending three nights with her, he was ashamed to return to his brother in view of his offence.

Meanwhile, his brother missed him and felt concern about him. He descended to the town and kept on asking about him till he was directed to him. Then he went in and found him sitting with the girl. He embraced him and began kissing him and hugging him, but the other denied all knowledge of him, being so ashamed. Then he said:

“Come my brother, for I know your condition and your story, yet you were never better loved nor dearer to me than at this moment. “

Now when he realized that what had happened had not lowered him in his brother’s eye he arose and went away with him. “

Unspoken Conversation

The story stayed with me over the years as a powerful demonstration of true brotherhood and genuine, sincere concern. I often found myself returning to it in my various roles of community activism, and judging myself against this standard. I often wondered what the “unspoken conversation” must have been like between the two friends.
Roughly ten years later in the summer of 2005, I was driving down Shaykh Zayed Road in ‪‎Dubai‬, a highway notorious for an insanely high occurrences of collisions per year. Out of nowhere, the lyrics and tune for what later became my debut album’s title track came at me with such an insistence that I had to pull over to the shoulder and jot it all down. The entire song, including the last stanza that turns the entire song upside down, was completely unplanned.

Unspecified Relationship

I think the best part about the lyrics on this track, is that they leave unspecified the relationship between the two people, and the cause of their estrangement. I regularly get to hear from listeners about this track, both in person and through emails or Facebook messages — each one of them seeing a different relationship from their own lives in these words.
I remember once in late 2009 I’d just finished soundcheck for an Islamic Relief Canada event with Imam Zaid Shakir. An older lady setting up decorations at the back of the hall came up to me with tears in her eyes. She told me that her daughter had recently gone through a rough divorce, and her own husband was unable to be with them to help their daughter through the process. She told me that she would sing this song to her daughter every day to give her strength. I had goosebumps as I teared up myself. Every time I experience self-doubt about my chosen career path, that’s one of the incidents that encourages me to keep moving ahead.
The producer Mohammed Dbooni pulled in Brazilian and South Asian drums for this song, and positioned the vocals really well to keep the lyrics front and centre.
You can stream it on this link (also has lyrics), and follow the instructions to buy it directly from iTunes.
Nader Khan has since released another album – WATER, which contains the track Take My Hand, part 2 — the same story, but from the other friend’s perspective.

Resources for seekers

A Beautiful Rendition of Na’t al-Baratina, by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad

A beautiful rendition of this rare qasida, by Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad and Harmonia Alcorani. Recorded in Cambridge, United Kingdom in March, 2014. Consider expressing your enjoyment of this qasida by donating to the Cambridge Mosque Project.

Lyrics:

hal min mugheethi li min ba’ath  fi nafsin min huznin wa min asa
qad awal al’umru fi sayil harami fi al-subhi wa fi al-masaa’
fi tarki al awla maqtu al-mawla li al-qalbi alladhi qasa
laakin al-Bari li al-munadi mana
nooran fi al-qalbi rasa

Can anyone save me from my soul’s grieving and regret?
My life is past, spent on forbidden things from morning to night
Leaving what is right brings the Lord’s anger on the hard heart
But now the Creator has blessed the petitioner with a light in the soul

Ya Rabbana Ya Maulana Salli ‘Ala Muhammad Mustafa
Ya Rabbana Ya Maulana Salli ‘Ala Muhammad Mustafa
Ya Rabbana Ya Maulana Salli ‘Ala Al Mustafa
Ya Rabbana Ya Maulana Salli ‘Ala Muhammad Mustafa

Ya kashiha al-muhibbi kam talumuni ala hal al gharam
wal ishqu sirru al qalbi dhada li lanahu ila al-mustaham
man dhaqa khamra al-ashiqeena dhaqa a’3dhaba al-mudam
hadha sirati mustaqeeman laa yunalu bi fani al-kalam

O reproacher of the lover, you blame me much for this passion!
But passion is the heart’s secret, known only to lovers
Whoever tastes the lovers’ drink has tasted the sweetest wine
This is my path, straight, unreached by artful words

Ya Rabbana Ya Maulana Salli ‘Ala Muhammad Mustafa
Ya Rabbana Ya Maulana Salli ‘Ala Muhammad Mustafa
Ya Rabbana Ya Maulana Salli ‘Ala Al Mustafa
Ya Rabbana Ya Maulana Salli ‘Ala Muhammad Mustafa

sara fi laylati al-isra’ee dhahiran bi ‘alami al-khafa
Danaa min rabbi al-arshi hatana la min atayahu al-awfa
ma zarat aynu al mustafa fa kanat ‘ahdan wa wafa
hadha al-nabi adrik bihi nawaal man wa manazil al-safa

On the eve of ascension he rose, apparent in the hidden world
So near he drew to the throne’s Lord, that he gained His fullest gift
The Chosen One’s eye swerved not; it was both promise and fulfilment
This is the Prophet, by him attain to degrees of purity!

Ya Rabbana Ya Maulana Salli ‘Ala Muhammad Mustafa
Ya Rabbana Ya Maulana Salli ‘Ala Muhammad Mustafa
Ya Rabbana Ya Maulana Salli ‘Ala Al Mustafa
Ya Rabbana Ya Maulana Salli ‘Ala Muhammad Mustafa

Shafi’ee ‘inda hauli al-hashri rafi’an li ghayati al-amal
Tara al-baraya kubran shu’than khaufuhum min ru’yati al-amal
La ghautha ‘inda dhaqa al-khauf fi heena tanqadi al-ajal
ila bi man alayhi man al-maula bi qabooli wa al-kamal

The mediator at the temporal gathering, raised to the limit of hope
You will see creation in great disorder (out of) fear from the vision of (their) actions
No help from the taste of fear (will come) until the appointed examination
Except for the one who has been gifted by the Master with acceptance and perfection

Ya Rabbana Ya Maulana Salli ‘Ala Muhammad Mustafa
Ya Rabbana Ya Maulana Salli ‘Ala Muhammad Mustafa
Ya Rabbana Ya Maulana Salli ‘Ala Al Mustafa
Ya Rabbana Ya Maulana Salli ‘Ala Muhammad Mustafa

لَانَا صَلِّ عَلى مُحَمَّدْ مُصْطَفَى يَا رَبَّنَا يَا مَوْلَانَا صَلِّ عَلى مُصْطَفَى يَا رَبَّنَا يَا مَوْلَانَا صَلِّ عَلى مُحَمَّدْ مُصْطَفَى هَلْ مِنْ مُغِيثٍ لِي مِمَا فِي النَّفْسِ مِنْ حُزْنٍ وَ مِنْ أسَى قَدْ وَلَّى الْعُمْرُ فِي السَّعْيِ الْحَرَامِ فِي الصُبْحِ وَ فِي الْمَسَا فِي تَرْكِ الْاوْلَى مَقْتُ الْمَولَى لِلْقَلْبِ الَّذِي قَسَى لَكِنِ الْبَارِي لِلْمُنَادِي مَنْ نُوْراً فِي الْقَلْبِ رَسَا يَا كَاشِحَ الْمُحِّبِ كَمْ تَلُومُنِي عَلى هَذَا الْغَرَامْ والْعِشْقُ سِرُّ الْقَلْبِ لَا دَلِيلَ لَهُ اِلَّا الْمُسْتَهَامْ مَنْ ذَاقَ خَمْرً الْعَاشِقِينَ ذَاقَ أطْيَبَ الْمُدَامْ هَذَا صِرَاطِي مُسْتَقِيْمًا لَا يُنَالُ بِفَنِ الْكَلَامْ سَرَى فِي لَيْلَةِ الْاِسْرَاءِ ظَاهِرَاً بِعَالَمِ الْخَفَاء دَنَا مِنْ رَبِّ الْعَرْشِ حَتَّى نَالَ مِنْ عَطَايَاهٌ الْأَوْفَى مَا زَاغَتْ عَينُ الْمُصْطَفَىْ فَكَانَتْ عَهْدَاً وَوَفَا هَذَا النَّبِي أدْرِكْ بِهِ نَوَالًا وَ مَنَازَلِ الصَّفَا شَفِيعِي عِنْدَ هَوْلِ الْحَشْرِ رَافِعَاً لِرَايَةِ الْآمَالْ تَرَى الْبَرَايَا غُبْرًا شُغْثًا خَوْفَهُم مِنْ رُؤيَةِ الْأعْمَالْ لَا غَوْثَ عِنْدَ ذَاكَ الْخَوْفِ حِيْنَ تَنْقَضِي الْآجَالْ أِلَا بِمَنْ عَلَيْهِ مَنَّ الْمَوْلَى بِالْقَبُولِ وَالْكَمَالْ

Beautiful Medley of Qasaid, Sung by The Keighley Munshids in the UK

The Keighley Munshids in the UK

The Keighley Munshids, part of the education-focused Abu Zahra Foundation, are a vocal group based in the Yorkshire town of Keighley, in the United Kingdom.

Trained by Shaykh Muhammad Adel, the lead singer of the Zawiya Abul Hassan ash-Shadhili in Kharabshah, Jordan, they sing the traditional mystical odes of the Shadhili Darqawi Hashimi order. Their style is a capella, as per the Levantine tradition. Visit their SoundCloud page for a selection of some of their work.

Keighley-Munshids-Habib-Ali

Why not take a FREE online course on the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) with SeekersHub?

AUDIO: The Ornamented Ladder into the Science of Logic

Al-AkhdariThe Ornamented Ladder into the Science of Logic (“Al-Sullam Al-Munawraq”) is a highly popular didactic poem by Imam ʻAbd al-Rahman al-Akhdari (1514 – 1546). Shaykh Ahmed Saad Al-Azhari, Founder and Director of the Ihsan Institute has made a full recording for students of knowledge who are striving to memorise this text.

The 144-line poem outlines the principles of Aristotelian logic and explains how logic could be used to support the Islamic creed (‘aqidah) and jurisprudence (fiqh). The work is studied across the Muslim world as a primer on logic and is often read in conjunction with al-Akhdari’s own prose commentary.

 

Resources for seekers:

An Original English Mawlid – coming soon

Noor-Yusuf-English-Mawlid

The Soliloquy of the Full Moon is the first English mawlid work ever written. An 1000 line panegyric, it is a fully metered, rhyming, epic poem celebrating the virtues of the Prophet (peace be upon him), the signs preceding his advent, the wonders of his birth and nursing, the first revelations and his night journey and ascension. For the first time, English speakers can enjoy the full experience of traditional mawlid. Classical in form, Shakespearean in cadence, it was composed over twelve nights by the author, Noor Yusuf, at the age of only 15. It is a must for every home.

Available from Nur-al-Habib Productions.

 

“Home” by Warsan Shire

Warsan ShireWarsan Shire is a Kenyan-born Somali poet, writer and educator based in London. Born in 1988, Warsan has read her work extensively all over Britain and internationally – including recent readings in South Africa, Italy, Germany, Canada, North America and Kenya- and her début book, ‘TEACHING MY MOTHER HOW TO GIVE BIRTH’ (flipped eye), was published in 2011. Her poems have been published in Wasafiri, Magma and Poetry Review and in the anthology ‘The Salt Book of Younger Poets’ (Salt, 2011). She is the current poetry editor at SPOOK magazine. In 2012 she represented Somalia at the Poetry Parnassus, the festival of the world poets at the Southbank, London. She is a Complete Works II poet. Her poetry has been translated into Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. Warsan is also the unanimous winner of the 2013 Inaugural Brunel University African Poetry Prize.

Laith Majid cries tears of joy and relief that he and his children have made it to Europe. Photograph: Daniet Etter/New York Times/Redux /eyevine
Photograph by Daniet Etter/New York Times/Redux /eyevine. Laith Majid cries tears of joy and relief that he and his children have made it to Europe.

[cwa id=’cta’]

The Grass by Novid Shaid

“All things hang like a drop of dew
Upon a blade of grass”. W B Yeats

A lush and fertile patch of grass shivered in the breeze, sighing blissfully. Fully exposed to the benevolent sun and enriched by the timely monsoons, the grass grew to a staggering height, accommodating countless creatures great and small. Nothing, so it seemed, could curtail its life-force; nothing could obstruct the sun or the rain replenishing it. The grass was suffused with a rich and deep shade of green, so much so that just to look upon it brought relief to hearts, just to hear its whispers in the wind brought tranquility to troubled minds.

But times changed; people changed; natures evolved; subtle ideas began to fester. A snake from beyond settled in the grass, twisting its coil between the blades and whispering subtle suggestions to the very roots of the green sea. Time elapsed; the snake slithered away, but its ideas had taken root; the grass was spellbound. Now the blessings of the sun and the rain were mistaken for rights; fortune was misinterpreted as certainty. Although the sun continued to beam its rays upon everything and the rain still tumbled down, the grass had grown thick in its own delusions of grandeur and its right to the blessings from above. Without it realising, the roots below turned a sickly yellow and each blade of grass began to smell rank and rotten to the core. Suddenly, humans arrived, with their hulky, moving machinery, dumping all their garbage and rubble from their developments, covering the grass with a dense layer of suffocating trash. A vast cloud of stifling dust rose after an immense vehicle unloaded mounds of dirt on the once green patch.

Now the grass felt this calamity spreading through its veins; each blade flattened by the grey flood. Its heart lamented as it lay deep beneath the rubble, divorced from the light above, cut off from the rain. Its blissful sighs had now turned into smothered cries for deliverance. It had not anticipated this catastrophe and now, flattened in the darkness, it confounded the snake it had listened to so enrapt, and it cried for the sun to reach it once again, for the rain to touch the tips of its blades.

So the sun still shone; the rains still fell; the earth still revolved. Desperate and humbled, the grass cried out from the darkness. Time healed. The sun’s rays slowly penetrated the ground, the rain drops crept through the earth.

Until one day, out of all the toxic mass and trash, something stood out proudly from the earth, like an outstretched index finger, like a spirit awakened, touched by the sun’s rays, refreshed by a lingering drop of dew: a blade of grass.

Novid Shaid, June 2015
www.novid.co.uk

“Your Attempts to Reach Allah are His Attempts to Reach You”

BLF201

All night, a man called “Allah”
Until his lips were bleeding.

Then the Devil said, “Hey! Mr Gullible!
How come you’ve been calling all night
And never once heard Allah say, “Here, I am”?
You call out so earnestly and, in reply, what?
I’ll tell you what. Nothing!

The man suddenly felt empty and abandoned.
Depressed, he threw himself on the ground and fell into a deep sleep.
In a dream, he met Abraham, who asked,
“Why are you regretting praising Allah?”

The man said, “ I called and called,
But Allah never replied, “Here I am.”

Abraham explained, “Allah has said,
“Your calling my name is My reply.
Your longing for Me is My message to you.
All your attempts to reach Me
Are in reality My attempts to reach you.
Your fear and love are a noose to catch Me.
In the silence surrounding every call of “Allah”
Waits a thousand replies of “Here I am.”

~ Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi

 

Resources for Seekers:

The Reality of Dua and Turning to Allah
Bringing Certainty to the Heart: A Step-by-Step Guide

Poem: “An example for mankind for all eternity”

Masid-Nabawi-at-Sunset-Green-Dome

The goodness of your character we cannot comprehend
The prayers and peace we continually send

A radiant smile which serves as charity
In a world repeatedly torn by disparity

Kindness and compassion you showed to the weak
Displaying a character patient and meek

Gentleness you share with family and foe
Never allowing the seeds of resentment to sow

Courage and certainty you displayed in strife
Trusting God completely with your life

Relying entirely on your benevolent Lord
Without the presence or hint of discord

Standing and supplicating in the depths of night
Seeking mercy and your Lord’s delight

Serving as a pristine example to your nation
Sharing your concern for all of creation

A soul of purity and free of pride
With the protection of angels by your side

Revealed words of a heavenly presence taught
To help those of us sick and distraught

A pure light which you always emanate
A noble disposition nothing short of great

Concern for the oppressed and forgotten
Willing to spend precious time with the downtrodden

Wisdom and knowledge given beyond its time
Describing experiences with you only as sublime

The trees and rocks honor your stature
Witnessing the love and blessings you capture

A model husband, father, and friend
Caring for your community until the end

Responding to our salutations of peace
Causing our love for you to always increase

Transcending the bounds of worldly means
Witnessing you in our blessed dreams

An example for mankind for all eternity
Saving those of us surrounded by absurdity

You will stand for your nation and plead our case
As we see the vibrant light glowing from your face

The struggle and love given we cannot repay
So sallallahu alayhi wasallam is what we continue to say

By Sidi Musa Burki

 

Resources for Seekers:

The Best of Creation – The Consensus on this Prophetic Title
Why Is the Prophet’s Character Described as Being Tremendous?
Advice from Habib ‘Umar: How to defend the Prophet
The Hand of the Prophet (pbuh) by Mostafa al Badawi
Key Hadiths on the Names of the Noble Prophet (pbuh)