Classical Islamic / Sufism: Unfolding a Rose

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  • November 15, 2012
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  • prophet muhammed saying

    A young student was walking with his sheikh in the garden one day. Feeling a bit insecure about what Allah had for him to do, he was asking the his sheikh for some advice.  The sheikh walked up to a rosebush and handed the young student a rosebud and told him to open it without tearing off any petals.  The young student looked in disbelief at the sheikh and was trying to figure out what a rosebud could possibly have to do with his wanting to know the will of Allah for his life and ministry.  But because of his great respect for the sheikh, he proceeded to try to unfold the rose, while keeping every petal intact.  It wasn’t long before he realized how impossible this was to do. Noticing the younger student’s inability to unfold the rosebud without tearing it, the sheikh began to recite the following poem:

    It is only a tiny rosebud,
    A flower of Allah’s design;
    But I cannot unfold the petals
    With these clumsy hands of mine.
    The secret of unfolding flowers
    Is not known to such as I.
    Allah opens this flower so sweetly,
    Then in my hands they die.
    If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
    This flower of Allah’s design,
    Then how can I have the wisdom
    To unfold this life of mine?
    So I’ll trust in Allah for leading
    each moment of my day.
    I will look to Allah for His guidance
    each step of the way.
    The pathway that lies before me,
    Only Allah knows.
    I’ll trust Him to unfold the moments,
    Just as He unfolds the rose.

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