A Sip from the Fatiha

Al-Fatiha – The Opening Door, the Opening Chapter, the Door to All That Is, to All Mysteries and Subtleties (With apologies for the necessary but breathless italics, exclamation points, parentheses, and multiple question marks. The whole multiverse is breathless, waiting for the Word of understanding.)  

Bismillahirahmanirahim. By means of the Name of God, who is all-encompassing Mercy and specific, targeted Compassion. (Yes, for you too! And yes, for that horrible situation/ horribly suffering person or animal about which your mind says, “There’s compassion in this???” For that too.)

Alhamdulillah — Everything is praising God at every instant, like a great shout of joy. The grasses waving in the fields are semaphoring praise for Him, and “the birds of the air with wings outspread,” as the Qur’an says. (It also says, of the living creatures, “They are communities like yourselves.” How different is that from the cold instrumentality that destroys the living earth?) And the mind says, “How are the screams of agony praise? How are the actions of evil politicians praised?” Yes, those, too – it’s just a lot harder to see. It will be revealed, and sometimes little bits of it are revealed, and you say, “Oh, that’s how it works! How subtle (Ya Latif!), how perfect in its intricate interweaving of layers and levels, that there is infinite compassion in every micro-instant.” And the Qur’an says, “Far is He above what you attribute to him!” and the Prophet (peace be upon him) says, “We have not known You as You deserve to be known!”

We’re like people surrounded by fog, and suddenly the fog clears, and you see forests and oceans and waving palm and willow trees and creatures and beings and shells whose inner sides contain paintings – lavender and orange and silver – that mirror the colors of the ocean sky and the colors reflected onto the wet, smooth beach. And then it closes up again, and we say, “What was that???

That’s enough for now.  To be continued.


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