By the river Barada, I knelt down and cried

Syrian Sufism

To the river Barada, on the occasion of two rain showers only, ever since winter announced itself:

When you do things from your soul, you feel a river

moving in you, a joy.

When actions come from another section, the feeling

disappears. Don’t let

others lead you. They may be blind or, worse, vultures.

Reach for the rope

of God. And what is that? Putting aside self-will.

Because of willfulness

people sit in jail, the trapped bird’s wings are tied,

fish sizzle in the skillet.

The anger of police is willfulness. You’ve seen a magistrate

inflict visible punishment. Now

see the invisible. If you could leave your selfishness, you

would see how you’ve

been torturing your soul. We are born and live inside black water in a well.

How could we know what an open field of sunlight is? Don’t

insist on going where

you think you want to go. Ask the way to the spring. Your

living pieces will form

a harmony. There is a moving palace that floats in the air

with balconies and clear

water flowing through, infinity everywhere, yet contained

under a single tent.

Jelaluddin Rumi


Moving Water

Water has so many metaphors. It can quench the thirst of the physical, emotional and spiritual traveler. In Holy Quraan, water is mentioned in so many contexts, signifying different layers of meaning: Higher heavenly knowledge, cleansing by Muhammadan Light, worldly prosperity, spiritual prosperity.

So many Water references exist in the Holy Quraan, which are actively used in the Sufi tradition. These include different references to “springs” that stem in the heavens. Earthly water (H2O) is a physical manifestation of spiritual water. Although H2O is a double edged sword that can quench one’s thirst as well as drown nations that are struck by God’s wrath, spiritual water has no duality about it. It cleanses, teaches and fills one with Light.

The symbolic act of cleansing one self ahead of prayer by taking up the act of “Wadoo” goes far beyond the mere cleansing of the body of carnal dirt. Wadoo is the act of accessing spiritual water that cleans eyes, ears, feet, hands and head from things that are beyond earthly sweat. When one dips hand in water, calling upon God’s name with one’s truthful heart, one is cleaning ears from spying on people’s secrets, from things like listening to gossip and backstabbing, or from tempting speech that takes one down the paths of darkness. One is becoming clean from worldliness. When one cleans mouth with water, remaining parsley bits go away, most importantly the mouth is being washed from its sins, its lies, gossip and wrong doing.

The river Barada, is not just a river. It’s the receiver of holy water flowing through infinity – to cleanse us inside out.

About 50% Syrian

What is identity? I was raised Arab (of varying origins), with a Syrian mother, and Moroccan, Lebanese and Tunisian great grandfathers and grandmothers. I always felt 50% Syrian, and this percentage mattered to me more than anything else. Love of my life, my late Sufi grandmother, is Syrian... all her bedtime stories were about her life in Damascus. Damascus is where the heart dwells.
This entry was posted in Sufism & Syria and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to By the river Barada, I knelt down and cried

  1. Yaak says:

    Nice face-lift 4 ur blog, but … (I know u don’t wanna hear that)

  2. 50% Syrian says:

    Happy Eid

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