Abd al-Hayy Moore(Daniel Moore)

صفحة جديدة 8
Abd al-Hayy Moore(Daniel Moore)

Why I Embraced Islam?


Mr.
Abd al-Hayy Moore
has two books of poetry published by City Lights
under the name Daniel Moore.

He’s traveled extensively, living in England, Morocco,
Algeria, Nigeria and Spain. Mr. Moore is a talented writer and poet, and has
turned his talents in writing for Islam. He is a contributor to ‘The
Minaret’ and other publications. His more recent publications are ‘The
Chronicles of Akhira’, ‘Halley’s Comet’, and ‘Holograms’. His writings and
publication may be obtained from Zilzal Press, 126 North Milpas Street,
Santa Barbara, CA 93103.

I became a Muslim when it seemed I had already accepted Islam in my
bones, as if beyond choice, and I only had to make a leap to embrace it
formally. Outwardly I was content: inwardly I was coasting. My
three-years-old theater company was disbanded after a hilariously chaotic
production for a Tim Leary Benefit at the Family Dog in San Francisco, circa
’68 – naturally the orange juice everyone had passed around was spiked, so
that chorus members were doing the final scene in the first ten minutes –
and for six months I had been methodically typing out poetry manuscripts in
my attic in Berkeley preparatory to a big publishing push.

I considered myself a Zen Buddhist. But I was other things as well. My
normal routine was to get up, sit zazen, smoke a joint, do half an hour of
yoga, then read the Mathnawi of Rumi, the long mystical poem of that great
Persian Sufi of the thirteenth century.

Then I met the man who was to be my guide to our teacher in Morocco,
Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib, may Allah be pleased with him. At first the
meeting was simply remarkable, and my guide was simply a remarkable man. But
soon our encounter was to become extraordinary, leading to a revolution in
my life from which I have never recovered and never hope to.

The man looked like an eccentric Englishman. He too had only recently
come out of the English version of the Hippie Wave. He was older, refined in
his manners spectacularly witty and intellectual, but of that kind prevalent
then who had hobnobbed with the Beatles and knew the Tantric Art collection
of Brian Jones firsthand. He had been on all the classic drug quests-peyote
in the Yucatan, mescaline with Luara Huxley-but with the kif quest in
Morocco he had stumbled on Islam, and then the Sufis, and the game was up. A
profound change had taken place in his life that went far beyond the
psychedelic experience.

For the three days following our meeting, two other Americans and I
listened in awe as this magnificent story teller unfolded the picture of
Islam, of the perfection of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, of the
Sufis of Morocco, and of the 100-year-old plus Shaykh, sitting under a great
fig tree in a garden with his disciples singing praises of Allah. It was
everything I’d always dreamed of, it was poetry come alive. It was the
visionary experience made part of daily life, with the Prophet a perfectly
balanced master of wisdom and simplicity, and historically accessible
Buddha, with a mixture of the earthiness of Moses, the other worldliness of
Jesus, and a light all his own.

The prophetic knowledge our guide talked about was a kind of spiritual
existentialism. It was a matter of how you enter a room, which foot you
entered with, that you sipped water but gulped milk, that you said, “Bismillah”
(In the name of Allah) before eating or drinking, and “Al-hamdulillah”
(Praise be to Allah) afterwards, and so on. But rather than seeing this as a
burden of hundreds of “how-to’s,” it was more like what the LSD experience
taught us, that there is a “right” way to do things that has, if you will, a
cosmic resonance. It is a constant awareness of courtesy to the Creator and
His creation that in itself ensures and almost visionary intensity.

It is hard to put forward any kind of explanation of Islam, to try and
suggest the beauty of its totality, through the medium of words. The light
of Islam, since it is transformational and alchemical in nature, almost
always comes via a human messenger who is a transmitter of the picture by
his very being.

Face to face with our guide, what struck us most was his impeccable,
noble behavior. He seemed to be living what he was saying. Finally the
moment came, as a surprise, when he confronted me with my life. “Well,” he
said one morning after three full days of rapturous agreement that what he
was bringing us was the best thing we’d ever heard. “What do you think? Do
you want to become a Muslim?”

I hedged, “It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve heard about so far. After
all my Zen Buddhism, all my yoga, Tibetan Buddhism and Hindu gurus, this is
certainly it! But I think I would like to travel a little, see the world, go
to Afghanistan (then unoccupied), maybe meet my Shaykh in a mountain village
far off somewhere.” “That’s not good enough. You have to decide now, yes or
no. If it’s yes, then we start on a great adventure. If it’s no, then blame
no one, I’ve done my duty, I’ll just say goodbye and go on my way. But you
have to decide now. I’ll go downstairs and read a magazine and wait. Take
your time.”

When he had left the room I saw there was no choice. My whole being had
already acquiesced. All my years up to that moment simply rolled away. I was
face-to-face with worship of Allah, wholly and purely, with the Path before
me well-trodden, heavily signposted, with a guide to a Master plunk in front
of me. Or I could reject all this for a totally self-invented and uncertain
future.

It was the day of my birthday, just to make it that much more dramatic.
I chose Islam.


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