If You Do Not Give Up The Crowds by Shaikh Abu Saeed Abil Kheir: Reading and Meditation

April 24, 2020  • Todd Breyfogle

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If You Do Not Give Up The Crowds, by Shaikh Abu Saeed Abil Kheir


Ramadan begins today, a time of spiritual reflection and worship. As with this month’s feasts of Passover and Easter, there is a strangeness to engaging in religious worship at a distance. We have given up the crowds. Does that make it easier or more difficult to be introspective? The spiritual task—and one does not need to be a believer to be launched upon the journey of introspection—is both an abandonment and a possession. Written in Persia in the 11th century, these simple verses of Shaikh Abu Saeed Abil Kheir, are far from simple. What does it mean to drop one’s self? How prepared are we to offer all we have to the Beloved? What is the role of pain in the discovery of meaning? One can give up the crowds, and still not find one’s true worth.

Todd Breyfogle, Denver, Colorado