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Canvas of the Soul: Mystic Poems from the Heartland of Arabia Paperback – June 16, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

 
The present book is significant in that it reflects something of that classical expression of spiritual beauty in a contempo­rary language expressed by a female poet who hails from the land where the Blessed Prophet was born, carried out his prophetic mission and died."

- Seyyed Hossein Nasr

From the Inside Flap

"Nimah Nawwab's poetry invites the reader to delve into the expanse of the Creator's greatness and grace. It also challenges the readers to examine the reaches of their own souls and experience spiritual serenity and radiance."
- Tayyibah Taylor
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of Azizah Magazine
 
"Nimah is such a questing spirit. We will probably never find the thing we seek, but the quest is validated by the love and desire we put into it. This is the joy of the seeker who never finds and, not finding, finds. These poems are echoes of the Feryad, the spirit's cry: "Help me! I am here, find me!" Read the poems and be there too."
- Mohamed Zakariya
 A preeminent ambassador of the art of Islamic calligraphy in USA
 
"Echoing the traditional Arabic devotional poetry and song of an Ibn al-Farid or Ibn al-'Arabi, Nimah Nawwab's heartfelt, spare, and moving English verses recreate the fire, longing, inspiration, and piercing metaphysical insight of those spiritual classics in a fresh and distinctive contemporary voice, like the intimate yearn­ing heart of the mystic's solitary night-vigil."
 
-Prof. James Morris
Department of Theology, Boston College and President of the Rumi Institute's international advisory council
 
 
"In the days of old, merchants, mystics, and travelers traveled via caravans in quest of riches from this world and the Beyond. They would stop periodically in "stations" to lighten their load, refresh their spirits, and prepare the journey ahead. In this magnificent collection of inspired and inspiring poetry, we as readers are taken along such a journey. Every poem of the remarkable poet Nimah Nawwab, who hails from the land of the House of God and carries the fragrance of the Blessed Prophet, serves as a station for readers to pause, reflect, and replenish our heart and souls. As is befitting of the poetry of the classical Sufi tradition, these poems use the richest of daily symbols to beckon us to return again and again to that majestic and celestial Home that is at once our Origin and our Destination."
- Omid Safi,
Professor of Islamic Studies, University of North Carolina
Author of Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters 
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Tughra Books (June 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597842699
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597842693
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,876,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading these sensitive, subtle, spiritual poems in this physically beautiful is like entering into Salat/Namaz & tafakkur (meditation). This is the work of a poet who extracts the music underlying language. These poems present an intimate relationship to God as the Beloved, al-Habib (p. 80), or as "The Friend" (p. 80). As soon as I entered the world of The Canvas of the Soul, I was abducted into its sensitivity, beauty, and power. The hal (spiritual state[s]) of the writing is a blessing of elevation to the heights of exaltation and sensitivity to the depths of peace and tranquility. These poems, like prayers, carry us into serenity, tranquility, and quietude. Also tranquilly beautiful is the "Foreword" by Shems Friedlander.

Now having read her poems, I take Nimah Niwab's socially-inscribed title as "poetess" to serve as a short hand for "poet-essence," since each phrase on its own and in its synergy is an adhan (call to prayer) of the heart. These are poems that Saint Francis, Saint Therese de Avila, and Saint John of the Cross would have wanted to write. Each of these poems reflects a courageous open-hearted soul-baring courage to share the inner states and stations of the soul. It is fitting that Nimah Nawwab carries the middle name of Isma'il because, as the name means, she is a "listener." She hears the music of the subtle spheres and listens to the signs of God in the most intimate places. The title poem gives one good example:

Rising up from the scorched ground
rise up, rise up
bathe yourself
in the raindrops of blessings
step out into the rainbow of serenity
and inhale the aroma of blossoming acceptance
as the canvas of your soul
explodes in radiant colors
beyond our unseeing eyes.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Canvas of the Soul is a book of poetry like no other. I find it captivating and very insightful. I find inspiration in the written words that seem to be spoken in such a peaceful and harmonious way. You are drawn to the poems because each one seems to encompass a certain peace that the soul needs for relaxation and comfort.
While reading this book, I was going through a difficult time in my life-a divorce. Times such as these, we look for comfort and peace so that everything can make sense. The poetry touches one's heart in a spiritual way that helps through whatever we may going through or perhaps just to find peace in our busy days.
My favorite poem thus far is The Arena. It reflects so much of my life at this time.

The Arena

Come, come face to face
with yourself
rekindle the flame of truth.
Look past the frayed, the marred
the stain of imposed dictated musts
let the chambers, walls and doors
implode into a new arena
where the face to face
brings forth a rebirth
and the Path Maker supersedes all.

This is simply one of the poems. I highly recommend everyone to buy this book. This is not a book that you will easily "misplace" or "forget" about. You will be changed. The artistry inside the book is also amazingly captivating.
Thank you for writing such masterpieces that they could change someone's life by a simple moment of peace.
La Femme
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nimah begins her beautifully illustrated collection with the words of Jalaluddin Al Balkhi Rumi:

Go seek a love like this, if you truly live,
Or else remain the slave of time,
And whatever state you seek,
Your lips so dry, must always drink,
Drink up and up,
Till dry lipped still, you reach the source.

For all your skills here given wealth,
Your quest, you handicrafts and works,
Don't they begin in thought,
Begin beside the river?

A beautiful beginning, indeed.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A deeply moving and profound book of poems that carry you to the heart wherein is a fountain pouring forth love and powerful words of enlightenment. It is a book that is not only beautifully designed but the meaning is very deep and beautifully exressed. I have not been able to put it down. It is a book of poems but more than that - an inspiration and uplifting source of love. I go to it often to read over and over again.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have a passionate love of books like I do, you know the truly awesome experience of opening a book that resonates deeply within and speaks directly to the heart and soul, touching the very core of who we are as individual's.

Reading this elegant book,[ASIN:1597842699 Canvas of the Soul: Mystic Poems from the Heartland of Arabia]] was a profound experience that took me on a mysterious and wonderful adventure. Many of the poem's in 'Canvas of the Soul' had elements that so perfectly captured in words, my own thoughts and feelings, which to me, confirms that there are sister's and brother's, who are awakening and being called to unite, from every culture and every place on our Earth. Ms. Nawwab's poems encompass the hope for positive change we all wish to see in our world, the call for peace and compassion for everyone and everything on our precious planet.

Turning a page takes us from one creative and wonderful detailed work of art to the next. Each poem and its corresponding page is so beautifully crafted with artistic touches, that we must pause and sit quietly to absorb the vibrations that continue on after the last resounding word of each poem.

There are moments while on this adventurous soul experience of reading Ms. Nimah Nawwab's poems when my heart swelled and tears of love and gratitude flowed. To know that we, as individuals, are not alone in this universal feeling of wanting to celebrate our Oneness, to know our prayers for humanity, regardless of our culture, or our spiritual traditions, to know, that in our hearts, There are no boundaries, our prayers are universal.
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