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Dhikr Beach 8 April 2008

Posted by Ayesha Mattu in BARAKA, Spirituality.

[Photo by Baraka]

March 13, 2005

I spent the weekend with a bunch of Muzzies.

My father has a condo which I’ve taken numerous groups of friends up to but this was the first time that Basil and I had ever traveled with our Muslim friends. I embark on these trips with trepidation – someone always ends up being neurotic and driving everyone else mad, you see the worst sides of people emerge at midnight or morning, and the women end up doing all the cleaning and cooking even while on vacation.

This time was different.

Is it that we’re older now? Was the group dynamic just right for once? Have men finally evolved into beings that cook meditatively and help without being asked?

Did being Muslim really have anything to do with it at all?

A story from Saturday:

Four of the eight of us set out early down a shady road leading to the vast expanse of beauty known as Lake Tahoe. We meandered, smelling living pine and clean water, to a place where steps cut into the hill led to a hidden beach. Not a beach of sand, but a beach where boulders tumbled onto each other and spilled into the blue water.

The conversations, lovely though they were, ceased. Almost in a dream we each found a separate perch from which to contemplate.

Imagine a place where instead of feeling the need to fill the air with chatter, you fell into a shared reverie.

Imagine a place where your heart by turns overflowed and tightened with beauty.

Imagine a place where the only sound was that of small waves lapping stone and of lips moving in dhikr, in remembrance of their Lord.

I have never felt such an affinity with three other people as I did in that moment where we shared silence and dhikr. The four of us alone, together. That aspect at least, could only have come from being Muslim.

Though that place is called by another name by some, to me it will always be Dhikr Beach.

‘Silence is the tribute we pay to holiness; we slip off words when we enter a sacred space, just as we slip off shoes.

Silence is something more than just a pause; it is that enchanted place where space is cleared and time is stayed and the horizon itself expands. In silence, we often say, we can hear ourselves think; but what is truer to say is that in silence we can hear ourselves not think, and so sink below our selves into a place far deeper than mere thought allows. In silence, we might better say, we can hear someone else think.’

– Pico Iyer, from The Eloquent Sounds of Silence



1. VARANGALI - 8 April 2008


A good (Protestant) friend of mine spends one week each year at a monastery, in silence. He meets the resident monks for meals, but even then he remains silent. Otherwise, silent and alone – no books, no technology, no communication with the outside. He calls it detox. Perhaps we could all use a little detox now and then.

2. Baraka - 10 April 2008

Salaam Varangali,

Detox is a great way of putting it – it often feels exactly like that.


3. Maithri - 12 April 2008

Dear Sister Baraka,

You have such an incredible gift.

This picture brings tears to my eyes.

And your words, as always, speak to my heart.

God bless you dear sister,

My love to you, M

4. Baraka - 15 April 2008

Thank you dear brother Maithri and may God bless you, and all seekers!


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