al-Rawdah mosque (internet screenshot)
It’s been more than a week and I can’t stop thinking about al-Rawdah mosque in northern Sinai . . .
. . . about the hundreds of Sufi who died when they went to pray.
. . . about the unimaginable grief being experienced by that entire community (where undoubtedly everyone knew someone who died).
. . . about the fact that they were killed because religious extremists labeled them “heretics.”
A heretic is a person who maintains an opinion or doctrine at variance with the orthodox or accepted religious doctrine.
By that definition, I’m a heretic.
I’m a Jewish mystic . . . a Kabbalist, a neo-Hasid . . . who has many opinions at variance with orthodox doctrine . . . but who nonetheless is very attached to Gd and Torah.
And maybe that’s why the deaths of those praying Sufi have stuck with me — because I see myself in them and them in me. They held views different from the fundamentalists who killed them, but they were very attached to Gd and Quran.
A few days ago, after I prayed and thought about those who had died, I wrote this poem about Rabi’a al-Adawiyya, a Sufi Saint who lived more than a thousand years ago and whose writings never fail to open my heart to the Infinite Ocean of Love that is the Gd we share:
Rabi’a and me
Rabi’a al-Adawiyya, they’d allege, was a heretic like me. She a Sufi, me a Kabbalist, a distinction irrelevant to Thee. She’d “burn down Heaven and put out the fires of Hell” for there’s only this moment, so we better live it well. Look past the dogma to see the real Truth. Surrender to the Infinite and therein find proof. Swim in the Love that sets souls free, and share it with others, Rabi’a al-Adawiyya and me.
May we each, in our own ways, find moments of connection with those who may appear different from us, so that speedily and soon our world might know greater peace between all peoples, jen