That the life of the community requires a visible focus, and that the focus of the Islamic community is Makkah’s sacred house
Now I will loose for thee the knotted cord
That is Life’s riddle, and reveal to thee
Life’s mysteries; its trade, from self to leap
Swift as a phantom, nimbly to escape
From the constriction of Dimension’s grasp.
Then how comes Life into this world of late
And soon? How does its instant time give birth
To yesterdays and morrows? Look upon
Thyself, if thou possessest eyes to see;
Fool, art thou aught but constantly aleap?
So, to display its glow invisible
Life’s torch contrived a curtain of its smoke,
And that its motion might be seen at peace,
Its wave was in the gem immobilized.
Life’s furnace drew its breath, forthwith became
A tulip, and burst blooming from the branch.
Thy thought is immature, lame, slow to rise,
If thou suppose the mortal flower itself
The fleeting colour. Life is not a bird
A‐building nests; ’tis but a wing of hue
And wholly flight; imprisoned in the cage,
Yet ever free; lamenteth as it sings;
Washeth each moment from its wing the will
To fly, yet ever seeks new stratagems
Itself devising; bindeth knot on knot
Its own affairs, yet with consummate ease
Resolveth all its problems. Swift‐paced Life
Stands rooted in the mire, that it may feel
Pulsing a doubled joy to walk abroad.
Anthems unheard lie dormant in its flame;
To‐morrow, yesterday, the children are
Of its to‐day. Each moment it creates
Fresh difficulties, passing freely through;
Thus, instantly its task is ever new.
Though like a sent it is all will to leap,
When in the breast it maketh its abode
It is a breath. Upon itself it spins
Its threads, becomes a skein, and knots itself.
The seed, that holdeth knotted in its grain
The leaf and fruit, in good time openeth
Its eyes upon itself, and is a tree;
Creating out of water and of clay
A garment it revealeth hand and foot,
Eye, yea, and heart. Life chooseth to confine
Itself within the body’s solitude,
And Life createth mighty companies.
Such is the law that governeth the birth
Of nations, life gathereth on a point
Of focus which, related to the ring,
Is as the spirit hidden in the flesh,
The track of the circumference concealed
Within the centre. Peoples win their bond
And order from a focus, and that same
Perpetuates the nation’s sum of days.
The Sacred House at once our secret is
And guardian of our secret, our heart’s fire
And instrument whereon our passion plays.
We are a breath nurtured within its breast;
The body we, and it the precious soul.
Our garden glitters joyous in its dew,
Our fields are watered from its holy well.
Its dancing motes give lustre to the sun
Plunging into its firmanent profound.
We are the proof that justifies its claim,
Attestors witnessing for Abraham.
This made our voices loud upon the earth,
Stitched up with Time our Pre‐eternity;
In circumambulation of its shrine
Our pure community draws common breath,
Dawn’s sun encaged; by its arithmetic
The many count as one, and in that tie
Of oneness thy self‐mastery waxes strong.
Thou livest by a sanctuary’s bond
And shalt endure, so long as though shalt go
About the shrine thereof. Upon this earth
By congregation lives a people’s soul,
And congregation is the mystery
Of Makkah’s power. Take heed once again,
Enlightened Muslim, by the tragic fate
Of Moses’ people, who, when they gave up
Their focus from their grasp, the thread was snapped
That bound their congregation each to each.
That nation, nurtured up upon the breast
Of God’s apostles, and whereof the part
Was privy to the secrets of the whole,
Suddenly smitten by the hand of Time
Poured out its lifeblood in slow agony.
The tendrils of its vine are withered now,
Nor even any willow weeping grows
More from its soil; exile has robbed its tongue
Of common speech; both nest and birdsong gone;
The candle out; dead the lamenting moth –
My poor dust trembles at the history.
O thou, sore wounded by the sword of Fate,
Prisoner of confusion, doubt, dismay,
Wrap thee in pilgrim robes; unshroud the dawn
Of night’s dark dust. Plunge, as thy forebears did,
Into prostration; lose thyself, until
Thou art entire prostration. Long ago
The Muslim fashioned meek humility,
And thence developed a world‐shaking pride;
Upon God’s path the thorn‐points pierced his feet;
He wore a rose‐bower in his turban’s fold.