That the continuance of the species derives from motherhood, and that the preservation and honouring of motherhood is the foundation of Islam
The instrument of man sings melodies
When struck by woman’s plectrum; his soul’s pride
Swells of her deference. The woman clothes
The nakedness of man; the loveliness
Of the beloved a garment weaves for love.
The love of God is nourished at her breast,
A lovely air struck from her silent hand;
And he in whom all beings make their boast
Declared he loved three things – sweet perfume, prayer,
And womankind. What Muslim reckons her
A servant, nothing more, no part has won
Of the Book’s wisdom. If thou lookest well,
Motherhood is a mercy, being linked
By close affinity to prophethood,
And her compassion is the prophet’s own.
For mothers shape the way that men shall go;
Maturer, by the grace of Motherhood,
The character of nations is, the lines
That score that brow determine our estate.
If thou art learned to attain the truth
Behind the form, our word community
Hath, in the Persian, many subtleties.
He, for whose sake God said Let there be life,
Declared that Paradise lies at the feet
Of mothers. In the honouring of the womb
The life communal is alone secured,
Else is life raw and brutish. Motherhood
Quickens the pace of life, the mysteries
Of life revealing; tortuously twists
The current of our stream, so that it flows
Bubbling and whirling on its rapid course.
Take any peasant woman, ignorant,
Squat‐figured, fat, uncomely, unrefined,
Unlettered, dim of vision, simple, dumb;
The pangs of motherhood have torn her heart,
Dark, tragic rings have underscored her eyes;
If from her bosom the community
Receive one Muslim zealous for the Faith,
God’s faithful servant, all the pains she bore
Have fortified our being, and our dawn
Glows radiant in the lustre of her dusk.
Now take the slender figure, bosomless,
Close‐cosseted, a riot in her glance,
Her thoughts resplendent with the Western light;
In outward guise a woman, inwardly
No woman she; she hath destroyed the bonds
That hold our pure community secure;
Her sacred charms are all unloosed and spilled;
Bold‐eyed her freedom is, provocative,
And wholly ignorant of modesty;
Her learning is inadequate to bear
The charge of motherhood, and on the dusk
And evening of her days not one star shines;
Better it were this rose had never grown
Within our garden, better were her brand
Washed from the skirt of the community.
Stars without number whispering No god
But God, ungleaming in the dark of time
And not yet risen from nonentity,
Still wait without the bounded territories
Of quality and quantity, being hid
Within the shadows of our patent life,
These our epiphanies still unbeheld;
Dew not descended on the rose’s bloom,
Buds not yet torn by the lascivious breeze.
This garden of potentialities,
These unseen tulips blossom from the bower
Of fertile Motherhood. A people’s wealth
Rests not, my prudent friend, in linen fine
Or treasured hoards of silver and of gold;
Its riches are its sons, clean‐limbed and strong
Of body, supple‐brained, hard‐labouring,
Healthy and nimble to high enterprise.
Mothers preserve the clue of Brotherhood,
The strength of Scripture and Community.