We didn’t inherit a faith. We inherited a Mystery.

Shireen Qudosi
13 min readApr 17

The game’s afoot. Faith as a puzzle worth solving.

Excerpt from The Song of the Human Heart: Dawn of the Dark Feminine in Islam. Available on Amazon.

The first revelation in Islam was in the cave, the eve of Islam’s holiest night called Laylat al-Qadr (Arabic for the Night of Power, sometimes called the Night of Destiny).What did Prophet Muhammad feel when he first received revelations from the angel Gabriel in the cave in Mount Hira (Jewel) also called The Jabal an-Nour (Mountain of Light or Hill of Illumination), near Mecca?

In the Quran, Laylat al-Qadr is one night that is said to hold more power than a thousand months. Laylat al-Qadr is the third sign of the non-linearity of time folding a thousand nights into one, the first being the non-linearity of the Quran’s unfolding, and the second is the story of Hijrah where God is moving us beyond human time.

The power of God is found in the dark, through the Dark, in the womb of the cave, in the Night, through the ether brought by solitude or dreams, or dreams in meditation as they may have come to Prophet Muhammad. What called to him from 2000 feet away, into the heart of a mountain that was to be illuminated with song, with spirit?

Everything in Islam is pointing to the Dark. There is an entire world out there that even in the brightness of day, is hidden and unseen as if it were in the dark to human consciousness. It must have been terrifying, the full power of an angel resonating through mountains touched by the spark of God, a song. That Prophet Muhammad initially feared the first revelations is a testament to his humanness. Yet that first fear is often used by critics as a stain against Islam and against the Messenger. It was something I struggled with too until I read Austrian poet and novelist Rainier Maria Rilke’s poem, “The First Elegy” in which he speaks of the terror of angels.

We have this quaint idea that angelic beings are docile servants of God. Rilke — rightly — offers another view. A being so powerful beyond the realm of man and capable of being of service to a God of all things would be powerful beyond human comprehension: “Every Angel is terrifying.”

“Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the Angels’ Orders? and even if one of them pressed me suddenly to his heart: I’d be consumed
in his more potent being. For beauty is nothing

Shireen Qudosi

I write on faith, identity, and belonging, focusing closely on the sacred feminine and cultivating intimacy with the profane.