Embraced by the Beloved, Chapter 77, The Search for Beauty in Islam: A Conference of the Books

Your beauty overwhelms me to the point of pain. In obeisance, I feel nothing but you. Those who speak of obedience do not know. They do not know. Submitting myself to you, all that remains is to partake in your beauty. My beloved—my beloved, there remains no hate, no rancor, ugliness, agony, or strife.


What remains is us anchored without flesh—embracing shrouded in light—surrounded by an existence that spreads behind a veil of mystery. Absorbed in you, I have no use for my eyes—I see through my beloved. And in your embrace we float through existence and through your eyes, I realize that this existence is what you will it to be. Engulfed in your will it is impossible but to be jubilant about the beauty that surrounds me.


My beloved, I am compelled to know myself so that I will know you. If I do not who and what I am, I will project myself onto you. Then, my beloved, you would become the excuse of the narcissist who loves himself and is unable to love any one else. I must know myself so that I can know you—I need to confront the self with the truth, so that I can know your truth. My beloved, I discovered myself before I discovered you. My beloved, I was forced to confront my own ugliness before absorbing your beauty. Before knowing myself I could not surrender—I could not possibly surrender what I did not own.


My beloved, in truth I must confess that I was struck by my own ugliness and I was forced to wonder: How in God’s name could you ever come to love me? I am folly standing in a ridiculous shell. How ridiculous the folly and how ridiculous the shell!


But for your sake, I ripped myself to shreds, and stood unveiled without my shell. My folly evaporated in your love and my body was but a myth.


The unrelenting pain of self-recrimination and self-reprobation removes the folds of deception, and clears the way to penetrating perception. With piercing and perforating eyesight, we puncture through the shells and shields, after which we know not what we see but what we can feel.


It is then that I discover that I am bright and luminous—shining like a Muslim sun. I sense the Divine potential weaved into the fabric of all existence, like light concealed by grit and grime accumulated by ignorance and egoism. My beloved, with you I am divine, and luminous—partaking in your beauty, I am entirely at peace.