Always live and work within the light.
Consider yourself the very idea of goodness.
Do not succumb when the challenge becomes great.
And always do the right thing.
Shabbir’s works present us with a language of lightness to help us navigate our way through heavy issues while at the same time it is woven through with the key metaphor of light, the opposite of or complement to darkness, a metaphor with strong spiritual association. This darkness is also the darkness within our selves, in those aspects of mind and being closed off to the human spirit or divine soul, and which for the spiritual seeker is strived against in religious terms and for the secular individual in moral terms.
Shabbir invites us to heighten the meanings of the profoundly mystical and the everyday, by regarding them as not separate but merged aspects of being. His works address the possibility – and the ways – of countering self-paralysis, the threat of petrification into stone beings, beings without feeling for ourselves or for others due to the dulling experiences of pain and violence. His focus is on giving the reader a means of creating individual and collective freedoms, which reside in one’s own sense of being, in one’s approach to being. Darkness and heaviness, in the Sufi lexicon, become, rather than hindrances, opportunities for transcendence of the spirit for the shedding of ignorance.
Shabbir’s writing is not confined to one particular religion or any religion at all, even though it unfolds from within his Islamic faith. His writing, in the best Sufi tradition, opens its arms to all people, religious or not. The desire for freedom, for lightness and light embraces the human spirit in its entirety. It is by definition an inclusive spirit of love and compassion for all, which some know via religious faith and others via faith in being ethical, humane. He insists on focusing constantly on whether and how we allow or stanch life via the perceptions we garner from almost every single experience about being human – being humane, being spiritual, being spirited.
(Roshila Nair, editor of the collection)
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