Arts & Culture

Light of the Shadowless One

Now, you can listen to Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore's poems from his own voice. Moore has been writing poetry since 1964. Although he stopped writing for ten years after becoming a Muslim in 1970 he resumed writing poetry in 1980 and has published many books since. 

Light The Shadowless One

When an object casts no shadow, what does it mean?

That its light is over all other lights

         and no light can

       come from any direction

and be stronger, cutting silhouette

outlines of form and laying them out

     on a ground into which


       all forms must go at last?

But Muhammad was such a one.

They said

he cast no shadow.

O Muhammad!

How can we find you here among the ruins?

How can we see you?

The catalog of his attributes can start from

   anywhere and continue forever...

the way he parted his hair, the way he

   greeted the poor and fed them.

He once filled a valley between two mountains with

   the sheep of God's bounty, until a

hardhearted bedouin who could only see sheep

had the eyes of his greed put out by the

   dazzle of such generosity,

     and he turned from

being greedy for world to being

      ecstatic affirmer of God

   carried away on the backs of fleece

   soft as the hair of angels.

O Muhammad!

How can we find you here among the ruins?

How can we see you?

One man, longing to see you, nearly fell out of a date palm

  when he heard you had come.

He had gone from teacher to teacher, each one

  telling of your impending arrival.

Sweet date meat of a man, the lightningbolt of your

     presence struck

   and threw him down while collecting dates,

for his longing by then

   had matured the meat of his

     innermost sweetness, and his

         pure heart

       saw you at once!



O Muhammad!

How can we find you here among the ruins?

How can we see you?

Or is it that we're not in ruins enough?

Is it that our fortified walls

  have not yet toppled down?

That the glass we erect to see through and think

  is so limpidly clear

is in fact

the opaque screen of our selves set up

for the magic lantern to throw its image on

  with an illusion of movement and

    the assumption of purest transparency?

But are we still too coarse, too thick, not

    subtle enough in this

  haggard age with its tapeloop rumors of


The absolute nuclear outbreath

that deflates the entire material

    system down to the last

        particle, even this still

too dense, too

        cartoon to contain

  the spiritual emptiness needed in us to let

        your pure Muhammadan

            nature show clear?



O Muhammad!

How can we find you here among the ruins?

How can we see you?

The maddest love for the biggest diamond

is nothing compared to the

   love your companions had for you -

they saw your truth was true,

your step sure, your word an opening into

  God's domain,

and one man spat out the grapes he was eating

and took the sword you offered

   when he heard you say

that whoever took it and plied it (in true Jihad)

    until he was killed in the way of Allah

would gain the Gates of the Garden, and enter it -

no doubt troubled him, no shadow cast

    from your presence, only light -

so what is this

heartbeat one thousand four hundred years later

full of love for you

  by people who never saw you

    walking like a shadowless

      mountain among them?



O Muhammad!

How can we find you here among the ruins?

How can we see you?

Your compassion for an ant trail, a thief, a wretched man

with one piece of rope in his household

   and no other possession!

Take that rope, you said, and gather firewood which you can

   tie with that rope

and sell it in the market. Then with the

money you earn buy more rope which means you can make

   more bundles of firewood

     and be on the increase, O always be on the

       increase! -

the flow of creation which goes with the flow of

   galactic billowing, opening its

     giant petalled corolla

through eternal darkness,

  our galaxy itself floating through space

    like a flower opening,

      constantly on the




O Muhammad!

How can we find you here among the ruins?

How can we see you?

Our galaxy opens its rose-like corolla of light

out through endless darkness,

and sight itself is

stunned when it

sights your sun.

O Light of Muhammad,

O shadowless one!

Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore is a Muslim poet who has published many poetry books and organized poetry reading festivals. Born in 1940 in Oakland, California his first book of poems was published in 1964. He became a Muslim in 1970 and travelled extensively around Europe and North Africa. Although he stopped writing for ten years he continues writing Islamic and spiritual poetry.



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