Friday, May 30, 2008

Avoid three kinds of master


Avoid three kinds of Master:
Those who esteem only themselves,
For their self-esteem is blindness;
Those who esteem only innovations,
Without meaning;
Those who esteem only what is established;
Their minds
Are little cells of ice.

'To A Novice' by Thomas Merton based on Sufi writings.


My photos show the Ben Youssef Medersa in Marrakech, Morocco. A medersa is a Quaranic school attached to a mosque which is dedicated to the teaching of Islamic scripture and law. This example, with more than a hundred windowless student cells, dates from the 14th century. In 1998 it was used to represent the Algerian Sufic retreat in the film of Esther Freud's novel Hideous Kinky.


Related listening - Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) miraculously captures the mystery of Islam in his setting of The Adhan (Call to Prayer) on his Footsteps in the Light CD. Stockhausen and Sufism may seem unlikely bedfellows but trumpeter Markus Stockhausen (son of Karlheinz) is one of the musicians on Dhafer Youssef's genre-bending Electric Sufi album. Youssef plays oud and provides vocals and ambient sounds on an album that has Sufism at its heart but ranges across a mix of contemporary styles. Watch out for Dhaffer Youssef, he is working with Joanna McGregor (hear them together on BBC Radio 3 tonight) and other progressive artists to prove that mixing it is the way forward.


More twenty first century Sufism here.
Photos (c) On An Overgrown Path 2008. Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

2 comments:

Chris said...

Yusuf Islam's Footsteps is a great CD, overall. I'm especially impressed by how he manages to begin the album with a new, solemn yet contemplative arrangement of his own "The Wind" and end it with the mystery of Islam itself - "The Adhan."

Pliable said...

Chris, thanks for that perceptive comment which I find very rewarding.

I confess to having hesitated before mentioning Footsteps in that post, as I feared that Yusuf Islam may have been one footstep too far even for Overgrown Path readers.

Your comment confirms that you are with me, if not ahead of me.

Thanks.