Monday, June 21, 2010

Kazim Ali, on "The Poetics of Islam"

From Kazim Ali's beautiful essay, first appearing in XCP, Cross Cultural Poetics, called "The Poetics of Islam":

My father told me once about the story of “one hundred and four” books revealed by God to prophets through the ages to all the various peoples of the world. Four of these books are mentioned by name in the Qura’an, but a Muslim would believe there a hundred others out there whose names we do not know—that perhaps the Bhagavad-Gita is one, or the Lotus Sutra, who can say.

The hundred books or course call to mind the “hundred names of God,” of which ninety-nine are named in tradition, the last one being secret. Always this dark place, the place of unknown, the place you cannot go. A place where you are not sure what is what.

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