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Center for Action and Contemplation

Recalling the Voices of Ancients

Avideh Shashaani’s poem expresses love for God beyond human boundaries of faith in December’s We Conspire series
December 20th, 2023
Recalling the Voices of Ancients

What if we took a moment to listen to the voice of Kadijah, the wife of the Prophet Muhammad? Discover what Kadijah’s perspective can offer us about the nature of faith, belonging, and the love of God. Author Avideh Sashaani invites us to embrace love beyond all boundaries in this evocative poem, O’ Beloved!, inspired by Sufi mysticism. Originally published in Oneing: Unveiled.

O’ Beloved! 

I raise my voice to You  

O’ God of Abraham,  

Moses, Jesus, and  


Bless them and bless all 

their progeny. 

Bestow grace upon their lands.  

Unveil the essence of what  

You have unveiled  

to Your chosen 

so they may live in  

peace and harmony  

with each other. 


I am Your humble servant,  


It is unknown to me why  

I was chosen to be  

the first to accept  

the message of Islam  

You revealed

to Muhammad.  

You show by example—  

the highest trust was 

bestowed upon a woman.  

Many women You’ve honored  

to be the light of Your  



You took away all earthly  

bonds from us  

until nothing but  

Your light remained  

with us. 


You’ve placed us as servants  

in Your heavenly abode  

to watch over and guide  

those who long to make  

the journey of light to You.


Sarah, Hagar, Assiah, Mary—  

my sisters stand with me—  

our tears of love and pain  

water the rivers of hope for those suffering on earth.


We are submitted to Your will  

we have no will of our own.  

We stand with loving patience  

to extend our hand.  

We know the heart of suffering  

each a different petal of this flower.


Yes, suffering is one of Your flowers— 

the fragrance of that white  

rose that ascended to You  

when Mary sighed  

the tears of pain  

when Sarah thought You  

had made her barren  

when Hagar was left with  

Ishmael thirsty in the desert  

when Assiah held Moses  

tight to her bosom 

when I witnessed the torments  

of hate heaped upon  

my beloved Muhammad.


We accepted our fate as the rose  

plucked from the garden  

of paradise adorned  

with thorns, a remembrance  

of our days of scorn  

for loving You.


Our tears are the floods  

of love that wipe away  

sadness from the hearts  

of our suffering sisters  

on earth when their  

eyes are in slumber.


The ocean of Your love  

streams through the  

prayers of the submitted 

to comfort and console  

the homeless, the abandoned  

children, the hearts of mothers  

when robbed of the last rays  

of hope.  

You’ve taught us,  

there’s no love without  

submission to You, and  

there’s no submission  

as long as there’s  

a will left in us.


Wasn’t it Abraham who was  

willing to sacrifice his  

son for You? 

Is there any submission

greater than Abraham’s? 

Is there any love greater?


You test and test Your chosen  

until nothing but love remains 

 in them—  

So, only You, are seen in the  

vast ocean of their being.


Didn’t You teach Moses submission  

through patience, endurance,  

and love?  

Didn’t You teach him the ways of the  

world—the onward journey  

through the inward journey?


What about the one and only Jesus  

whose breath healed the sick  

whose unbounded love  

made the mountains weep  

and the oceans cry in sorrow?


What about Muhammad—  

the fragrant rose of the desert,  

the orphan, the trustworthy  

whose heart You adorned  

with submission to  

Your will?


Look what people have done to You—  

drawn boundaries around You  

divided You in the name of  

different religions and sects  

only to assert power over the  

broken hearted, the destitute  

who call for You!


Haven’t You sent Your Messengers  

to relieve people of their  

burned hearts, to let go  

of empty rituals, blind faith,  

and fill their cups at the  

fountain of love through  

submission to You?


I have no knowledge of Your ways—  

I have nothing left.  

You have made me Your  

servant—the highest honor.


I watch over the hills and see  

the migration of my  

loved ones in the darkness  

of the night—will they  

find safety or will they  

be ambushed and killed  

in the stillness of the desert night?


Will they arrive safely at the water’s  

edge where their caravan  

can replenish and take  

them out of harm’s way?


I watch over the mountains and  

hear my loved one’s sigh  

perfumed with grief—  

so much bloodshed  

so much destruction—  

not over


for power and dominance!


I look over my shoulder and  

look back and see  

humans have always  

done this to themselves—  

to each other. 


If only humans would unveil the  

true message of creation  

in their own hearts—  

they would witness the mystery  

of their own existence.  

—Avideh Shashaani 

Reflect with Us 

What sensory details does this poem evoke for you? Where in time and place does it transport you? Share your reflection with us. 

Avideh Shashaani, PhD is the founder and president of the Fund for the Future of our Children. She is the author of three books, “Tell Me Where to Be Born,” “Promised Paradise: Agha Jan—Sufism’s Secret Divulged,” and “Remember Me: A Sufi Prayer.” Her poetry and writings have appeared in numerous books, anthologies, and journals.  

We Conspire is a series from the Center for Action and Contemplation featuring wisdom and stories from the growing Christian contemplative movement. Sign up for the monthly email series and receive a free invitation to practice each month. 

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