A wali’s passing and poem

(photo:copyright © Peter Sanders)

A couple of days ago a great wali (saint) of the Moroccan desert died, at a very advanced age, I believe well over 100 years old, a faqir of Sayyedina Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib, rahimahu ‘llah, of the Qadiri, Darqawi, Shadhiliyya Habibiyya Tariqah (Sufi Path): Sidi Muhammad Belkorshi of Turug. American Scholar, translator and educator in Marrakech, Abdurrahman Fitzgerald said of him: He was a person already dwelling in Paradise, gazing upon its splendors and endless greenery, even while his poor old body still seemed to be in this world. Al-hamdulillah we were able to meet him and catch a glimpse of his light.

One of the English fuqara (disciples) of our community took a small group of the early Spanish fuqara to Turug to see Sidi Muhammad. They arrived at the desert zawiya and a man came out to take their bags and bring them in out of the heat. He made them comfortable and went to a corner and started making mint tea, the brazier, the teapot, the bushel of fresh mint, the cone of raw sugar, and when it was made poured it into the glasses and brought them to the fuqara and went back and sat in the corner. Some time passed this way, and finally one of the Spanish men said to their guide, “When will we meet Sidi Muhammad?” Their guide pointed to the man in the corner. “That’s him.”

This is the state of the Muslim wali, venerated not for their person, but for their true piety and closeness to Allah ta’ala, the light of their example though they may remain humbly anonymous, active for Allah’s sake alone. He made no claims in all the time of being who he was, yet others saw and respected him for what he would not claim for himself. He served guests, greeted strangers, looked after his community. But many fuqara, and unfortunately I never had an opportunity to be among them, would make the long and difficult journey just to be in his presence, and take away not photos (he rarely allowed anyone to take a photograph of him), but an awed and reverent account of their meeting. He was, it seems, one of the hidden ones. Hidden in plain sight. May Allah ta’ala be pleased with him in the highest of Firdaus. And may we one day be in the like of his company again.



The saint sat at the window and
became the window
that’s what saints do

And the saint went out the window
and became the air
that’s how they are

Animals feeding on the mountainside
saw the saint pass
they’ve got the eyes for it

The mountainside felt the saint pass
and her grasses bent aside
that’s how saints go

On a saint’s errand all things in place
for the remedy to arrive
on time as always

The twelve ducklings and the Chinese child
felt instantly renewed
though the saint barely touched them

Back before supper the saint wasn’t missed
the place settings glimmered
as usual

Our earth is in need of them
our hearts are in need of them
God keep them at our side
(from Coattails of the Saint, The Ecstatic Exchange, 2006)

About danielabdalhayymoore

Poet, artist, collagist, publisher, hoping to save a little bit of the world through ecstatic utterance... ordered in balanced lines and unpremeditated images...
This entry was posted in ABDAL-HAYY'S POETRY, ISLAM/SUFISM, Light, Love, Love of God, Muslim Poetry, POEMS, POETRY, saints, Sufi Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to A wali’s passing and poem

  1. j3w3lw33d says:

    We see the window, and beyond. To imagine our travels past the window, the window of our home, our familiar ground, we need a saint to let us know we will still be home, to reassure our nervous mind, to soothe our anxieties. This is not an easy thing to accept in the world, understandably so, the saints are everywhere though, guiding the butterflies, the tender shoots of sapling trees, and the crickets that chirp in the summer night.


  2. This from Novid Shaid (posted on DeenPort):

    I love this, jazak Allah sidi!

    “Our earth is in need of them
    Our hearts are in need of them”

    Thanks for sharing this about the old disciple of Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Al Habib, Allah bless them both. The poem beautifully expresses the seamless transition from dunya to the barzakh for the awliya and how bereft we are who are left behind in this world, Allah yazeekulkhair Sidi Abdul Hayy!


  3. Islamopedia says:

    Reblogged this on Islamopedia and commented:
    Beautiful story of how Allah has his beloved servants placed in such discreet places.


  4. from Michael Haroon Sugich (posted on Facebook):

    We were incredibly blessed, incredibly fortunate to have been able to sit with this magnificent being. Last year we tried to visit him but he was too ill. Sitting with Sidi Mohamed Bil Kurshi was as close to spiritual perfection as one is likely to get. He showed me the meaning of Shaykh Darqawi’s saying:”Relax the mind and learn to swim.” May we be raised in his company at the basin of our blessed Messenger.


  5. Thank you, Sidi. These things need to be mentioned. The window is perfect. When you look at them, you are looking at the Divine qualities, but as for the individual, it’s been wiped clean, and even if you are given a moment alone near their graves and your heart is there, you will be given a glimpse into the Next World.


  6. from an email by Rima Nazer

    …What a very nice poem you wrote about The Wali who passed away – May Allah bless his soul…Amazing words and wonderful comparison.


  7. ahmad ibn ataillah says:

    AS-alamun alaykum Hajj AbdelHayy. It has been an honor to meet you, to know you ,aswell all the “fuqara” I met in bristol garden. For me the best community of men I have ever met ,together, at the same time and in the same place. A great blessing.
    I came to this site by Allah and I found this new about Shaykh Muhammed ben Kursi. From Allah we come and to Allah we return. The story you tell, I had the baraka of living it. And sometimes I tell people it to make them know of how a man of knowledge, of gnosis is. Our guide was Hajj Shaykh Abdel Haq, whom I love and respect and had great patience with me, and the third partner was Hajj Abdel Jami (“American” as a reference). We had a trip all around Morocco. Shaykh Abdel Qader, may Allah give success to him, tell me it was going to be an experience that will always keep inside and never forget and it is so. I thank him for allowing me to live it.
    As we headed toward Tourug, to visit the wali Shaykh Abdel Haq taught us what should be our adab towards S.S.M. ben Kursi (radiallahu anh) … with the fantasies of someone recently converted to Islam, as how a teacher sould be, more or least ,expected someone levitating on a throne surrounded by disciples and lights and sounds everywhere. ..So, as you tell, after that he serve us, I got impatient, of when we were going to see him. When he finish serving us, he lay down a litle bit and when S.H.AbelHaqq tell me he is the man, I looked at him, he looked at me and that look is forever……May Allah take him in the company of awlyya and salihim and that Allah allow us to be in their company.Amin.
    Hajj Abdel Hayy , I expect to keep in touch with you. May Allah give you the best in dunya and akhira to you and your people.


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