My Kind of Town
Don Chapman

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The truth about Love

» Diamond Head Road

Imam Ibrahim al-Shakr, a tall, thin young man with a neat brown beard, would end his Sufist oration by talking about Love, with a capital L. People sat rapt on couches and chairs, cross-legged on cushions and halfway up the stairs, spilling out through triple-wide doors to the lanai. Wearing a black robe gathered at the waist with a sash, and a black taqiyah covering his head, he walked among them as he spoke, and seemed to glow. His skin was unblemished, his eyes dark and clear, his smile without pretense or desires, his voice clear and harmonious as a dulcimer, the motion of his hands as he spoke a ballet of graceful birds.

Again, we quote from the addendum to his journal, recorded by one of his followers, which I was able to read and copy:

"We spoke earlier of the evil Jinn, agents of the Devil, who whisper lies, always so sweetly, in the ears of men and women, spreading the germ of separation. Do you suppose they do this out of Love for humans? No, they do so out of hate, wishing only to harm and destroy. Misery is their music.

"Remember this truth: all evil and sin come from a lack of Love.

"Love is the fountain from which all other acts of kindness rise: hope, generosity, patience, faithfulness, forgiveness, tolerance, compassion, sacrifice.

"You know the phrase 'love is blind.' True Love is not blind. Love is the light that quickly reveals what is pure and true, and what is poison and false. And so Love frightens those living in darkness.

"Likewise, all ignorance is merely the absence of Love in that life.

"The man or woman who knows Love in their soul, they possess the secrets of heaven and earth. They have gained mastery of themselves and others. Love is the ultimate power, the ultimate enlightenment.

"If Love is in your heart, God rests there as well. Truly, God is Love."

Imam Ibrahim paused here in the middle of the spacious living area, the notes say, and placed both hands over his heart.

"I love you for coming this evening, for sharing your Love -- in the form of the healthful food you prepared and brought, more in the willingness to eat and pray with others of so-called 'other faiths.' The Love in your hearts has shown you the light -- there truly is One God, and he cares very little what name you call him, only that you share your Love with all his children.

"And now, my friends, we shall dance in Love."

Following him outside to a broad lanai with the others, Lt. Basel Zakly Faris, USMC, whispered to Fatima bin Laden: "So what'd you think?"

"I've never heard anything so beautiful in my life." Or so earth-shaking. Fatima believed every word he said. Although every word went against everything she'd been taught. And against her mission.

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Don Chapman is editor of MidWeek. His serialized novel runs daily in the Star-Bulletin. He can be e-mailed at dchapman@midweek.com

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