What is it that I seek?

What is it that I seek? A force of such might it sets me free A light so bright It … Continued

What is it that I seek?

A force of such might
it sets me free
A light so bright
It blinds me

I heard it in the voice of the nightingale
I know it was in the hearts of the wise
I sensed it in the lover’s tale
I saw it in your eyes

I heard it in Rumi’s poetry
I know it was in Gandhi’s gaze
I sensed it in Mandela’s oratory
I saw it in Jesus’ ways

What is this riddle and what is its part?
What is this enigma and mystery?
What can reveal the secrets of the heart?
What has the power to change me?

It is God’s greatest gift
It raises us high above
It is the bridge over the rift
It is love, love, love

Give it in generous measure
Give it as if there’s no tomorrow
Give to all you meet this treasure
Give it and banish sorrow

Akbar Ahmed
October, 2010
Washington, DC

Akbar Ahmed is Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University in Washington.

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  • clearthinking1

    Mr. Akbar Ahmed, (lâ ilâha illallâh, Muḥammadur rasûlullâh)All others are infidels.

  • AKafir

    Mr. Akbar Ahmed,It is very nice that you seek all these things. A well meaning Muslims such as yourself in Lebanon says: Hindus were about 25% in 1947 and now are less than a percent in your country of Pakistan. Similarly, the minorities in Malaysia and Indonesia are declining as they have always done across the Muslim countries historically. In most Islamic countries muslims end up being 95+% of the population.

  • WmarkW

    Prof Ahmed, last week’s Main Page question was about God and Gays, and neither you nor any other Muslim panelist replied to it.If Muslims want to reduce “Islamophobia” you need to show your beliefs are a religion compatible with our values, not a complete cultural system that requires outsiders to bend to it.

  • AKafir

    Cont’d:dangerous illusion.Mr. Ahmed, instead of trying sweet nothings to Kafir while you reside and enjoy the freedoms of the Kafir Lands, don’t you think you would be far more productive and believable if you worked to change the hate laws towards the non-muslims of the various muslim countries. Forget about the non-muslims. How about trying to speak up against child marriages following your prophets sunnah or honor killings of women? Just today, the Supreme Court of U.A.E confirmed the law that it is Islamic for a husband to beat his wife as long as he does not disfigure her. How about telling them that is not Islamic? Or, is it Islamic since Allah tells the believers in the Quran that they can beat the women if they fear rebellion from them. Will you tackle any real problems in the Islamic world or will you just try to put the Kafirs to sleep so they may be beheaded without too much trouble?

  • Secular

    Akbhar Ahmed, you penned “I know it was in Gandhi’s gaze”. Oh really, did you not just throw that in for public consumption’s sake? You eloquently muse “It is the bridge over the rift”, but since you have retired what rifts have you bridged over. While you were a civil servant of Pakistan how much have you done even just for your fellow citizens when your masters were obsessed over holding on to the power be they be Khakis, or Civvies? As many a other commenter has questioned you what are you doing to mitigate the plight of minorities in your country. These musings are fine but when person of your influence does not back them up with bold actions, they are just worthless hypocritical musings. We all would like to hear from you, responses to the question posed by us. But of course I will not be waiting for it, with a bated breath.

  • yasseryousufi

    “hope you reply to these folks. nice poem though.”***********************************I actually dont see a point in responding to these professional posters (all of them Indian Hindus, too ashamed of their identity to actually say so). They hang around OnFaith all day to gang up on any and every post that has anything to do with Islam/Muslims without even reading the contents of the posts and copy paste debunked stats from anti-Islami organizations. SO i’d rather say to these professional bigots, get a life man! You all sound so lazy and predictable.

  • clearthinking1

    Yasseryousufi wrote: “I actually dont see a point in responding”.Of course you don’t want to respond to the facts and the reasonable questions. There is no satisfactory answer for muslims.The concerns about violence based on Islamic beliefs is very real. You don’t have a good defense of Islam because there isn’t one. Even a “good & moderate” muslim like Mr. Ahmed has to accept a supremacist belief system which is the cause of conflict and violence. The foundation of Islam below says it all:(lâ ilâha illallâh, Muḥammadur rasûlullâh)How can anyone who truly believes this believe in mutual respect? We all (especially the infidels) know the answer. Just ask any religious minority in any Islamic majority nation, like Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. Just ask Ahmedis or Sufis in Pakistan if there is mutual respect and peaceful coexistence.These are rhetorical questions and don’t really need a response.

  • yasseryousufi

    Of course you don’t want to respond to the facts and the reasonable questions. There is no satisfactory answer for muslims.—clearthinking1***********************************ITS POETRY YOU IDIOTS!!! Although of somewhat higher order than your gutter brains can consume. Don’t you get tired of looking like absolute morons every time there is an article of Islam. The Guy hasn’t even mentioned Islam or Allah in his poetry and all you Hindu’s start hounding him like dogs with unrelated points. Get a life all you blathering idiots!

  • halozcel2

    Dear Panelist,Seek Democracy in Islamic Countries.The Civilized Men will not change,but,muslims shall change.Dear Panelist,Who cares what you seek.Dont seek Utopia.Have a good luck.

  • aa211

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