9-11, In Remembrance and Healing Over Our 3,557 Souls Lost: A Muslim Prayer-Poem
by the Persian poet Muhammad Hafez
What is the key
To untie the knot of your mind’s suffering?
What is the ‘secret’ secret
To slay the crazed one whom each of us
And who can ruin
Our heart’s and eye’s exquisitely tender
Hafez has found
Two emerald words that
That I now cling to these
two words as I would cling to the sacred tresses
of my Beloved’s hair:
My dear, always act great.
What is the key
To untie the knot of the mind’s suffering?
CODA: Hafez the Sufi/ Muslim poet lived in the 1300s and the “Beloved” he speaks of is God. And the two words he speaks of, mean that we ought remember again and again to act great, that is, to act noble, to take venerable care, that being respectful is a huge strength in the face of suffering. That to cling to noble ideals is equal to clinging to God.
Ironically, Hafez along with other ecstatic poets revered in his time, like Rumi, (a poet translated into English many times over by Coleman Barkes) was said to burn… to burn with the true love of God. Given the current situation regarding a fop in Florida who claims he will burn the Qur’an on 9-11, I put Hafez poem here, for he memorized the Qur-an as a child, and his name, Hafez, means “to be the guardian of” same. Hafez, I think, might say of the Floridian fop, ‘that man needs more God in his god.’
In total 3,557 people died in the attacks on 11 September 2001.
–2,735 civilians in the World Trade Center died
–87 passengers and crew members aboard American Airlines Flight 11 that hit the North Tower
–60 passengers and crew aboard United Flight 175 that hit the South Tower
–343 New York City firefighters and rescue workers and
–23 New York City law enforcement officers,
–47 Port Authority workers and
–37 Port Authority Police Officers, lost their lives when they rushed in to save the victims in the World Trade Center
–36 passengers and crew aboard United Flight 93, who gave their lives stopping four hijackers over Pennsylvania
–64 passengers and crew aboard American Airlines Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon, and
–125 people in the Pentagon building.
There are 105 people listed as missing.
There have also been many people who escaped, but with injuries, or who did rescue work at the site for months on end, who have also died in these past ten years as a direct result of their injuries.
Though ten years is long enough to ‘come back’ from walking in hell, no number of years will ever be enough to be as one once was before 9-11. Therefor, given choices about what attitudes to strive toward to not take in all the horror, but to continue to learn to live again, I think Hafez’s words stand very strong: Act great, act noble
despite the fact that there were also, 19 men of diseased minds who did not.
Resquiat in pacem.
May all the innocent souls of blessed memory ever rest in peace.