Lowering the gaze

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Lowering the gaze

 

There once was a lad who couldn’t lower his gaze,
Destraught and disappointed he tried many ways,
Finally he decided to go to a shaykh well known,
And ask him advice for his desperation had grown

The shaykh said to him, indeed but you’ve come to ask
About something great, first though I have a task
I have a friend of mine, on the other side of town
And I have a daily gift I give him before every sun down

It was a bowl of milk almost filled to the top
He said take this here bowl and don’t spill a drop!
I am sending with you a friend with great vision
To make sure that you make no mistakes in your mission!

The lad began to walk with the bowl in his hands,
Wishing them steady, he dared not break a command,
For every step that he took, his guide watched with pierced eyes
As if waiting for any mistake to arise

When his task was over he return to the sage
And said, the task is done, now show me the way!
He said, ‘you have done well but first let me see,
Did you happen to see the house with the gigantic tree?

The lad said, no, I’m sorry, I was not aware
Well, you passed my uncle’s street, did you see him there?
The lad said, no I did not see an uncle or tree
The milk would have spilled if I looked upward you see!

And I was so nervous because your friend did not blink,
So I watched every step, and that’s all I could think!
The Shaykh smiled and said, leave now, for this task
Has answered the question you had wished to ask,

The milk that you carried with focus throughout
Was your book of deeds, much more important no doubt
If you were nervous by one who records your every mistake
Know that there are angels who write, if such allowance you make

Life is a similar journey, but to a different address,
So be gone, and focus young lad, I wish you the best!

 

(poem by Ammar al-Shukry)