“I Wish I’d Been There”
By Navyn Naran
wish i’d been there,
Angels. not a stir i sense,
why, o pigeon,
in the peace of this night
i am spinning at that cave,
i wish i’d been there,
i wish i’d been there,
i wish i’d been there…
A brief note about the poem
The poem by Navyn Naran (see profile below) is in reference to the story of the Hegira (migration) of the Prophet from Mecca to Yathrib (Medina) when, in 622 AC, he was warned of a plot to assasinate him. “And the (unbelievers) plotted and planned, and Allah too planned, and the best of planners is Allah.” Holy Qur’an (3:53)
When the messenger of Allah took leave, his house was besieged by young men drawn from the Quraish tribe. The place of the Prophet on his bed was taken by Hazrat Ali to confuse the men and to act as witness of their actions. “And among men is he who sells his Nafs (self) in exchange for the pleasure of Allah.” (2:207). By sleeping in Muhammad’s bed as masquerade, Ali gambled his own life to obstruct an assassination plot, so that his cousin could retreat in safety. Ali survived the conspiracy, but risked his life again; he stayed in Mecca to carry out Muhammad’s directions: this was to return to their owners all the assets they had relegated to Muhammad for guardianship.
The enemies were aghast that the Prophet had escaped them, and pursued the Prophet until they arrived at the cave at Mount Thaur, en route to Medina, where the Prophet was hiding with Abu Bakr. “And God helped His Apostle when the unbelievers banished him. And when they were in the cave, he said to the second of the two: ‘do not be grief-stricken. God is with us.’ And God bestowed His peace upon him (upon His Apostle).” (9:40)
The cave, as stories relate, was covered with a spider’s web, misleading the enemies into thinking that it had long been abandoned. The Prophet remained in the cave for three days, and then continued his journey to Medina where he was received as a hero. This migration has a special significance in the history of Islam. It ended the period of ignominy and anguish in Mecca and began the era of progress. In this poem, Navyn lovingly and in utmost humility expresses the wish to be the spider that spun the web over the cave’s entrance, and the sandals which carried the Prophet on his arduous and dangerous journey. The sandals and terrain later represent the same wish for every Imam in time. In an expression of continuity in her journey she wishes she had been present when the Imam Blessed his Ismaili Murids of Badakhshan in the natural beauty and splendour of nature.
About the writer: Dr. Navyn Naran was born in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, to Anaar and Badrudin Naran. After beginning her high school in the UK, her family immigrated to the USA where she has lived since.
Dr. Naran went to medical school at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, MA. She currently works in Paediatric Critical Care in New York State.
She has been an active volunteer in various organizations, medical and otherwise, including Doctors of the World, the Aga Khan Education and Health Boards in the Northeastern United States. Navyn has also offered short term services as a primary care physician in Philippines and also at the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar-es-Salaam.
Amongst her other endeavors, Navyn enjoys her spare time in nature and in literary and creative pursuits such as writing poetry, from which she finds a certain contentment and inner happiness.
1. For other published articles in this series, please click I Wish I’d Been There or visit the home page, www.simerg.com.
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I am speechless. Your historical images are so vivid and complete with accuracy they take us back to a Time long before. Your craftsmanship is exquisite and phenomenal. I thank you for this inspiring piece 💞
This is indeed a beautiful poem where history touches the hearts of all. I wish the REC teachers can use this medium to teach history to our youth and touch their hearts forever .
Excellent, well done.
Congratulations for your wonderful poem
Great, Dr. Naran, great!
This is a beautiful rendition in poetic form of the early struggles of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Hazrat Ali (a.s.). Navyn has woven a magical carpet of sufic poetry, combining the early Islamic history with the present.
This is deep ecology at its transpersonal finest! Exquisite in its articulation. Its given me another idea for the imaginal and ecological hermenuetic for my own doctoral dissertation. Thank you so much.
As my way of saying thank you all the contributors and to the maestro of this website, here are a few verses…
Names that resonate
Spaces of the heart
Journeys of the mind
Mt. Thaur, al-Qahira
Come alive again
From far and wide
Malik’s web server
Recalls the past and
Brings people together
Whether in the audience
Or as a volunteer
At Ghadir Khumm
You’ve got another’s ear