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I awoke one night and began doing a Sufi practice of Remembering God.

At one point I had the experience that I did not exist, so who was praying? Fear came into me with this thought and I went into my son's room, woke him up and said, "I just need to make contact real quick then you can go back to sleep." I have learned fear in this situation is a Mercy from God in that we are protected from expansions for which we are not ready.

I turn to the stories of the Prophets and the teachers for inspiration and those influences usually appear in my work. Now, when I meet that place of not existing I am able to breathe into the experience with a little more grace.

Opportunities to Efface My Fear

In facing fear we should remind ourselves
that even Prophets cannot face the Holy Fear[1]
of standing before
the One who causes mountains to crumble[2].
In the silence of night,
                                                             in the depths of Remembrance
                  my focus was shattered by a glimpse that I did not exist,
                                                                                                ... who was saying lâ ilâha illâ allâhu[3]?
            A primal fear created by relying on my own deeds[4]
                        closed the door of awareness as a veil of protection.
                                                            But, Love of His Beauty is a strong draw
                  and courage to return is inspired and encouraged by
            a message left by one who knew I must
think of the Mercy and Love of my Lord,
give thanks for His Grace
and come without fear.[5]
Did He not promise
that He will Remember me
            if I Remember Him[6]?
                                    And, where else should I go but to the heart
                                          for God in His Mercy let us know that is where He can be found[7].
            Early morning is reliable in bringing opportunities to efface my fear
                  as I strive to create a soul at peace.[8]
                        I never know when again I might have a chance to not exist and
                                    pray my breath is steady as I release what is not god
                                                            into the only One that exists.

~December 8, 2010~ 

[1]  "O mankind, be fearful of your Lord who created you from a single self, and created its mate from it, and disseminated many men and women from the two of them." (4:1)       and   Only those with knowledge fear Allah [Fatir:28]   “Fear God as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam." (Quran 3:102)
[2]     When Moses came to the place appointed by Us, and his Lord addressed him, He said: "O my Lord! show (Thyself) to me, that I may look upon thee." Allah said: "By no means canst thou see Me (direct); But look upon the mount; if it abide in its place, then shalt thou see Me." When his Lord manifested His glory on the Mount, He made it as dust. Moses fell down in a swoon. When he recovered his senses.   “Verily, those who say, ‘Our Rabb is Allah (Alone),’ and then they stand firm, on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) saying, ‘Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Jannah which you have been promised! [7.143]
[3] The Arabic phrase lâ ilâha illâ allâh is one of major pillars of Islam and means, “there is no reality but the only Reality.”
[4] One of the signs of relying on one's own deeds is the loss of hope when a downfall occurs. from The Book of Wisdom by Ibn 'Ata' Illah
[5] Paraphrase from Imam al Gazali’s last words.
[6]     Then do ye remember Me; I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and reject not Faith. [2.152]
[7]  "The heavens and the earth cannot contain Me; only the heart of my humble and faithful servant is expansive enough to contain Me." [Hadith Qudsi]

[8] Nafs-i-mutma'inna:    But unto the righteous God will say, "O thou human being that hast attained to inner peace! [89:27]

Noor-Malika Chishti has been a student in the Sufi tradition since 1972; she serves as an authorized representative of Pir Zia Inayat Khan. She began writing poetry when she was in grammar school; it now serves her in processing the lessons life brings. NMC is very involved in interfaith and is a Founding member of the Southern California Committee for the Parliament of World Religions; she now serves on the Advisory Board.  Noor-Malika presented workshops at the 2009 Melbourne Parliament of World Religions on "Listening with a Heart of Mercy, "Listening to the Other: Building a House of Prayer for Christians, Jews and Muslims,” and “Spiritual Intimacy: Taking Interfaith Engagement to the Next Level.” She has two children that were born at home with a midwife and has three grandchildren.

~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~ 


  1. Noor-Mallika, I loved this....especially "Early morning is reliable in bringing opportunities to efface my fear as I strive to create a soul at peace." Yet I wonder if the "striving" is not a distraction...I am conscious of that always when I observe others, that their striving draws them away from that which they claim to be seeking, and creates so many obstacles...


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