A Poem of the Soul
by Imam abu Hamid al Ghazzali..Much I have strained to make my soul obey,
But for whose sin I had not gone astray;
When I would be obedient, it was faint
And showed a strange distaste and unrestraint.
I wrestled with my soul as with a foe,
It bidding me to err, I saying no;
We were as ancient enemies at large.
I put on patience, to withstand its charge;
With troops of tempting it came forth to fight –
What patience could withstand such reckless might? –
Which gave it courage when its courage quailed,
And reinforcement when its forces failed.
Now I succeed, now it, in the affray;
Yet, when we meet, it ever wins the day.
I love it well, but it opposes me
As if I held it not in amity;
It is an enemy I cannot hate,
A memory I can ne’er obliterate.
Blindly it swims upon its sinful sea,
Clutching the hems of its iniquity;
I greatly fear, it it doth still rebel,
Its ruin in this life and, after, Hell!
Wherefore, O Lord, bring its repentance near
And wash away its sins in founts of fear.
If Thou, my God, its chastener shoudst be,
O whither shall it look for clemency?
Be Gracious then, and all its sins forgive;
Thou art its Lord, for through Thee it doth live.