Taking Sheikh Rumi’s Path To Spiritual Fulfillment
by Dave Potter
Exclusively for the ‘Tales of the Veils’ website
Kate was sat in the backpacker hostel in Amritapuri sipping a glass of Indian tea. She was not happy with herself. She’d just finished a month at the renowned ashram near to the city, a place that she’d longed to attend for years due to its reputation for finding spiritual fulfilment, but at the end, she felt nothing, nothing except ripped off. All her life she’d longed to find nirvana, fulfil her spiritual being and yet with every turn she made, somehow it never quite worked. She’d tried three ashrams, a Thai monastery, a monastery in Nepal, a stint in Christiania and time on a yogic retreat yet at the end, here she was, sat drinking tea, still unenlightened.
“Mind if I join you?”
It was a man, a rather handsome man, rough shaven and with linen clothes. He had a Manchester accent.
“You just been on the ashram, eh?”
“Yeah… how did you know?”
“The look in your eyes, baby, the look in your eyes. How was it?”
“It was cool, to a point you know, but…”
“But it didn’t do it eh? You’re still on the temporal plane, yeah?”
“Sure baby, I know, I was there ten years back, on my own journey. Didn’t do it for me either, but we all learn by trying, eh?”
“Yeah, I suppose so.”
“Listen baby, you should try out Sheikh Rumi’s. You look like a Sheikh Rumi kinda girl.”
“Is that an ashram, I’ve not heard of it before?”
“Yeah and no baby, it’s like, it’s not exactly an ashram but it is like a commune, see. The Sheikh’s a Muslim… so you could call it an Islamic commune.”
“Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not really into Islam. I mean, I respect it and all but it’s too legalistic, too black and white. I seek a more mystical path.”
“Sure, I dig what you’re saying, I’m of the same mind, but the thing is, the Sheikh, it’s like… well, he ain’t no normal Muslim see, he’s a Sufi and his way is totally mystical. You should try it baby.”
Kate looked the guy up and down. Yeah, he was a hunk, and he seemed turned on too. “Tell me more about the Sheikh’s if you don’t mind?”
“Well baby, I was there for three years and it was incredible. My name’s Dave by the way, come with me and I’ll tell you all you need to know about that place…”
The taxi dropped her off at the gates of the Sheikh’s compound. There was a big sign at the entrance, in English, saying ‘SHEIKH RUMI CENTRE FOR SPIRITUAL FULFILLMENT – ALL SEEKERS WELCOME!’ “Obviously the right place,” she said to herself before ringing the bell. After a short time a door beside the gate opened and a man came out. He was a Westerner like her, but dressed in loose white robes. “Can I help you miss?” he asked.
“Yeah, I’m interested in joining your community for a while,” she said with a smile.
“Come on in then, my name’s Himin, what’s yours?”
Inside was a wooded glade. She followed Himin through the trees to a large, low wooden hut. It had solar panels on the roof and a wind turbine by the side. Kate was impressed; she took her environmental duties very seriously. Himin opened a door and she walked into a large room with sofas in it. “Take a seat,” said Himin. “I’ll get the Sheikh.”
The Sheikh came in five minutes later. To her surprise he was a Westerner too, although he sported a large bushy ginger beard. He had a warm smile that made her feel at ease. “Kate, I believe your name is, welcome to my abode. Brother Himin says you are thinking about joining us for a while. Well, you are welcome of course, and we don’t expect any money, but before you commit, I need to explain a few things. Firstly, we are a Muslim commune here, which is a little different to the many ashrams in these parts. That means we try to adhere to the Glorious Quran whilst following our own spiritual paths. For a woman that means firstly that we expect you to cover. This may seem a little strange to you at first and I will admit that it does scare away some potential seekers, but the spiritual path is not always twisting in the directions that we expect and we have found here that the covering helps us. As you are anonymous under your veils, then it is your true self that people here get to know, not the outer body. The other condition that is strange is that the Quran instructs us not to follow a monastic life but to engage in the world, to marry and bear children. Therefore, we encourage sexual activity as that can be a form of prayer in itself, indeed we can say that it is mandatory, but only within the parameters of marriage. We are of the Shia persuasion which allows temporary marriages or Nikah al-Mut‘ah as they are called in Arabic. Basically, all of our members are engaged in a temporary marriage with another member for the period of an Islamic month and then, at the end of the month, there is a feast of celebration and a new contract is entered into. However, as a new member, this does not apply to you. You must undergo a month long trial as a novice first and then if we both agree that you are suited, you can become a full member at the start of the month of Jumada al-Thani. Apart from these things, it is the same as in other communities; you are required to work for your keep and engage in spiritual instruction. Are you interested in our path, Kate?”
Kate was unsure. Some of it sounded strange, particularly the temporary marriages, (but then that wouldn’t affect her yet), and the Sheikh did seem holy, and besides, she was here, wasn’t she? “Yes Sheikh Rumi, I should like to embark upon your path.”
After her entry into the community, Kate was taken to another room. Lain on a table were her new clothes. She took off her trousers and top and picked up the first items, baggy cotton trousers that tied at the waist and ankles and a baggy cotton shirt that clipped onto the trousers and also had fastenings at the wrists. Then came a pair of dove grey cotton socks and dove grey cotton gloves. After this came the item that she feared, a Pakistani-style burqa that fitted onto her head with an inbuilt skull cap and incorporated two tear-shaped grilles for her to see through. She then slipped on a pair of sandals and was ready. To her surprise, the costume wasn’t that heavy because of the light materials used, but it was limiting as she could only see straight forward and had to turn her head around to see anything else. Her breathing was a little limited as well, like she had walked into a stuffy room. The full covering reminded her of when she first came to India. For weeks she started sweating whenever entering the sun. She had got used to the heat wearing thin flowing fabrics and having feet, lower legs and most of the arms uncovered like the local women. Now she had to adjust again, but there were other local women, Muslims, in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan living in the same climate fully covered. She was sure that she could manage it, if only for a month and like the Sheikh had said, it did help people see the inner self rather than the outer body. Kate was an attractive girl and so many men were only interested in her body rather than her mind and so perhaps wearing a veil might help this? She knocked on the door to let them know she was ready and then waited.
After a few minutes the door opened and another veiled figure walked in. She was dressed differently to Kate, being in light brown rather than dove grey and wearing a veil that fell in front of her face although with the same tear-shaped grilles. In her hand she carried a bundle of brown cloth. She came up to Kate and rubbed her face with the new girl’s before handing her a note.
Hello Kate and welcome to our commune. My name is Amina and I am to be your friend and guide whilst you serve out your novice period here. I am sorry but I cannot speak to you directly. The reason why will become clear soon. You can speak to me but I shall have to answer through the medium of notes. Do you have any questions?
“None yet,” said Kate, a little mystified by it all and reminding herself she had to speak a little louder as her voice sounded muffled and lower than normal speaking through the burqa.
Amina got out a notepad and a pencil and scribbled a message with her gloved hand.
I shall put on my burqa now. I cannot see with it on so can you guide me. We will go out of the door and across the square to the low building. That’s where we have our spiritual training for the day. You can take off my burqa once we’re inside.
Amina then put on her burqa and Kate led her across the beautiful grassy square to the low building that she’d mentioned. Once they were inside, Kate removed Amına’s burqa and Amina gestured for her to go into a large room full of women draped in veils – both brown and dove grey – sat on the floor. At the front of the room sat the Sheikh. When he saw them enter, he began.
“The great Muslim philosopher Yazid al-Bistani taught us all about fanah, or to put it in English, annihilation. But what did he mean when he talked about this fanah? What al-Bistani was talking about was the gradual peeling back of the layers of egotism so than we may reveal an enhanced self in the ground of our own being; a self that can be united with Allah himself. Destroy our ego; find Allah. Destruction of the ego, that sounds a terrible thing at first, doesn’t it? After all, isn’t our ego our whole being, essentially who we are? Well, it may seem like that but it is not, in fact our egos are a barrier to our true being, for our purest state is to immerse ourselves in Allah because then, and only then, can we find true happiness and spiritual fulfilment. There are similar ideas in other religions too, Buddhism, Hinduism to name just two, we Muslims are not alone in our spiritual quest, but where we may be different is how we pursue it. Take the position of you ladies here, veiled, and in the case of the full members of our community, silenced and blinded outside of the home and workplace. Surely that is oppression, not liberation, but remember the old maxim of George Orwell, Freedom is Slavery. Yes indeed, sometimes freedom can be a terrible slavery. Here in this community we have people, male and female, from all around the world, black, white, Asian, Chinese. Some of us, often without us knowing, hold prejudices that can be triggered by the outside appearance. I may not like Americans for example, and when I hear that a sister has an American accent, I may think, this is someone I don’t want to know, or conversely, a sister may have great beauty and I may think, this sister is one for me to marry, but I have made that judgment purely on her exterior, not her interior, her spiritual image. I remember well that we once had two sisters here from the Balkans. One was Bosnian and the other a Serb, but because they never saw or spoke to one another then this never became clear and indeed they became excellent friends and then co-wives without even realising that the other was from a community that she hated. So sisters, remember, for you it is easy, you cannot judge one another because outwardly your egos have been erased here at the commune. But of the menfolk, well then it is different, you need to try and not see the person nor hear their voice. Concentrate only on their soul and your soul too shall soar like an eagle in the sky, ever onwards and upwards towards Allah, the Merciful!”
When Kate heard the words of the Sheikh, the whole veiling thing seemed to make more sense. It reminded her of some of the lessons that she’d learnt in ashrams and reading Hindu and Buddhist holy books. The burqa was just a tool to help destroy the ego. That made sense and when she walked out of the room all those shrouded ghosts who had previously seemed so scary, so oppressed, now appeared, like her, to in fact be on the path to liberation!
“Amina, what the Sheikh had to say interested me greatly, and I can now understand why we wear the veil. But please tell me, he mentioned other devices to help destroy the ego, blinding veils and gags. I assume now that you wear these but please tell me, how is it?”
They were sat on the bed in Kate’s new home, a small room on the edge of the commune. Amina got out her notepad and started writing:
At first it was hard. As a novice like yourself I found even the burqa restrictive and difficult, especially as much work could have been done much easier without, and after a week I was ready to leave this place altogether. But then, like you, the Sheikh’s words made sense to me; I was very egoistic and I needed to destroy that harmful trait, so I persevered. Then came my elevation to full membership and with it of course, my first marriage. I was so nervous that night – not the sex of course, I’d slept with plenty of men before – but instead of the lifestyle, but Abdul – he was my first husband – he introduced me gently. He helped me put on the new items and then we went for a walk for me to get used to being guided. Fridays was harder to come to terms with though.
“Fridays? What do you mean, Amina?”
On Fridays we wives are further restricted. We are essentially helpless and reliant on others. That way we cannot pollute the holy day with unnecessary work and instead we may divert our minds to pure and holy thoughts. I really look forward to Fridays now, Hussein – my current spouse – props a Quran in front of me and I lose myself in the beautiful text for hours. Later in the day we share the beauty of being husband and wife, if you know what I mean. Fridays are now pure beauty but when I first started it was hard. The mind has to be trained before it can reach those levels of concentration; we cannot achieve that spirituality without training.
With every day that passed, Kate became more and more involved and immersed in the life of the commune. Protected by her burqa which, yes, was irksome at times and hot and sweaty from late in the afternoon, she loved her routine of spiritual training at the feet of the Sheikh and then manual labour, be it embroidering burqas and other clothing with Amina, helping to wash pots in the kitchen or harvesting olives in the groves that the commune owned. More and more she was sure that when the time came she wanted to become a full member although she was a little apprehensive – yet also excited – about the restraints and the necessity of marriage. She decided to speak to Amina about it one day after work.
Oh Kate, it’s nothing to worry about, in fact, it’s the best thing about the life here in my opinion. Again the ego is destroyed as we have no choice whom we marry, and nor do the men. Instead all our names are entered into a draw and we marry who is pulled out. Then we have the joyous wedding celebrations; all the brides in white and – as they are single for a few hours – allowed to sing and dance with any man or woman they want to, and then we are led off by our new husbands for the wedding night. That night the sex is conventional and it’s always great as you know it’s the only time like that for a month and perhaps he is the best at making love for years. After that it is life as a wife, which means being covered in bed as well, and although you can have sex as often as you like it‘s very different. I find it quite exciting actually, a mystical experience going on in your mind, because you can’t see him and he can’t see you so it is – and please, I don’t wish to sound blasphemous here – but it can be as if you are copulating on a cloud in Heaven with the perfect lover. With the total destruction of all self you feel for a time that you have entered Paradise!
“But how exactly are you covered then?”
That you must learn when you are a wife, Kate.
About a week before she was due to become a full member of Sheikh Rumi’s commune, Kate had to undergo a full medical. The Sheikh was very worried about STDs which are prevalent in India and made it his duty to ensure that commune members were as clean as possible due to the fact that everyone had multiple partners. Kate however, had nothing to fear and so she was ready to become a full member.
When the day came Amina came to see her in the morning. As she was no longer a wife (all the temporary wives were ceremoniously divorced at midnight the night before) she could walk around without a blinding veil and gag. She was wearing a beautiful white embroidered wedding burqa due to her own impending new marriage and she handed Kate one for herself as well as matching gloves, stockings and lingerie. Kate felt the soft material in her hands and marvelled at the intricate embroidery on the burqa. “I made it myself for you,” Amina explained. “When the Sheikh told me that I would be having a novice to mentor I started and it has taken me a full month. I hope you like it.” Kate of course loved it and she hugged her friend with joy. This was the most wonderful clothing she has ever worn. The gloves and stockings felt like a second skin, and the silky soft fabric of the burqa caressed her wherever she was not already covered, especially she loved feeling it on her cheeks. This burqa, in fact the entire wedding set, seem to have none of the annoying drawbacks of being fully covered. Kate kept telling Amina that during the day and each time Amina leaned chin to chin for them both to feel the fabric even stronger.
That evening was the time for the ceremonies. Firstly they all went to the central hall of the commune and Sheikh Rumi presided. The novices who were becoming full members (Kate, another girl and a boy), had to stand and be welcomed formally into the community. They were then given Islamic names. Kate’s was ‘Noor’ which means ‘light’ as she was a light of joy and hope to other commune members. Then all the names of full members not in permanent marriages were put into two baskets, males in one and females in the other. One by one the partnerships for the next month were drawn out. Noor (for she is no longer Kate) was drawn a man called Hassan who was Western like her and about twenty-five. At the end she noticed that there were some female names left over and so these were distributed amongst the men who had permanent wives’ as second wives. Noor wondered what it would be like to share a spouse with someone else.
Then came the dancing, partying and festivities. Music was played and the whole commune danced around a giant bonfire. Men and women among each other, and with each other without touching, except for a few ‘stumbles’ but the women were veiled. Noor held hands with Hassan, although hers were gloved, and they chatted in the moonlight for on wedding nights speech is allowed. Then she was led to his dwelling where he slowly undressed her. He looked very pleased when he for the first time saw her face and body and then they made love. This was the first time that Noor has had sex since she’d done it with Dave at the backpacker hostel in Amritapuri and it was a beautiful experience. Although Hassan was only an average lover, the wait and the fact that it was a form of prayer that both knew would never be repeated in this marriage made it all the more exciting and they explored each other’s bodies with gusto several times before both fell asleep exhausted in the early hours of the morning.
The next morning Hassan helped Noor prepare as a wife for the first time in her life. She put on her underclothes, then stockings and gloves, then brown harem pants and shalwar kameez. Then was the gag, a large rubber pear with a strap that Hassan securely fastened behind her head and locked with a small padlock. The gag had a tube through the middle to aid breathing and also allow drinking but nonetheless, wearing it felt strange and at first Noor wanted to gag and rip it out but the comforting hold of her new husband helped calm those fears and get her used to its presence. Next came an abayah also in brown, with a khimar and ruband with two tear-shaped grilles. She was now looking like she was used to see Amina and as such ready for the sight of other females, and this was the way her husband would see her from now on. It was all thicker, warmer, heavier and less breathable than the novice attire, but Noor had expected this. A wife is more knowledgeable than a novice and has to be more covered to reach further towards understanding life and herself. She fell on her knees in front of Hassan to immediately turn in the direction of Mecca and then they both prayed together until Hassan brought her the additional brown wife burqa for being where other men could go. It had no grille at the front and blinded her completely. Hassan led her around the compound so that she could get used to walking blind. At first it was very disorientating but Noor reminded herself of how such acts help to destroy the ego and thus release the soul and it made it easier. But still she was soaked of fear and heat when returning to her new home and would have had serious breathing problems if not the gag had the tube that gave her just that extra oxygen.
Life changed greatly for Noor now that she was a wife and full member of the commune. She had to be led everywhere by Hassan and her work was different as she could only perform tasks such as embroidering, sewing and other household duties in her new attire. The spiritual training continued apace though and with each session Noor felt more confirmed in her knowledge that the path she had chosen was the correct one however hard it might be to follow at times.
The hardest times at first were the nights. Around six o’ clock Hassan would give her the key to unlock her gag and she would eat her meal alone. Then she would bathe before changing into her night attire. This was a full body suit in black cotton. After closing the back entry zipper with a padlock the only openings were with zips at her crotch and derrière, so that she could use the toilet and engage in intercourse, and a round hole at the mouth. This was then filled by a red ball-gag and Noor wondered what a sight she must look like to Hassan dressed thus. The headpiece of the suit had extra layers of cloth over the eyes so she was totally blinded and the ears were padded so she was virtually deaf as well. Once ready Hassan led her from the bathroom to the bed where she lay down and had her ankles and wrists fastened to the four corners so that she was laid out like a starfish. Then Hassan climbed in with her. Some nights they would just sleep, others they would have intercourse through him opening the crotch zip. Occasionally he would also remove the gag and they would kiss passionately. These were the times that Noor enjoyed the most, that rare skin to skin contact, which was always carried out without her uttering a single word. She enjoyed the other sex too though, as Amina had said, there was something incredible about being laid in this fashion, events totally out of your control, the imagination running riot. Noor soon longed for her nightly sessions with Hassan. As the month passed she gradually reduced the time spent for meals and in the bathroom to get to bed earlier and earlier. She learned to walk blindly from the bathroom, lie down and tie her feet and one wrist to be deep into a world of pleasure when Hassan entered the bed.
Fridays were even harder physically. After attending the jummah prayers at the mosque, she would stay in her blinding wife burqa when coming home, and Hassan just lifted the layers necessary to have her arms bound together in a single sleeve behind her back and was then placed with her back up against the wall to stand there until the evening meal. During the afternoon Hassan would periodically read the Quran for her to hear. In between, when he could control his urges no longer, he would lift her front layers below the waist and make love. The rest was silence, confined and in darkness. Such a lifestyle was so alien to everything that Noor had known previously in her life as Kate but she grew into it quickly, this existence of helplessness, of complete dependence on a spouse she barely knew, that within weeks she could not imagine going back to her old life, and on Fridays she folded her hands behind her back as soon as she was being guided out of the mosque.
Noor has now been at the Sheikh Rumi Centre for Spiritual Fulfilment for four years. Over that period she has had forty-eight husbands which includes being a second wife on three separate occasions, including once as a second wife to the Sheikh himself. Once upon a time she’d have seen that as a great honour and it would have puffed her up with pride to think that she was wed to the greatest spiritual teacher in the world since the Prophet himself, but her ego is now so diminished, so obliterated that she just views it as another step on her marvellous journey.
To be fair, she’d learnt a lot about men over the past years, before she’d never realised how different they could be. She’d had sexually experienced husbands and virgins whom she’d had to guide and reassure on their wedding night; she’d had one who was obsessed with using her arse and another who was obsessed with her feet. One husband had been so randy that he’d expected sex five times a day whilst others only wanted to talk and one just wanted to play backgammon all the time. Some talked only of God, whilst others went on about their travels, football, other commune members or music. She truly realised how everyone is at a different stage on their spiritual journey. Always being gagged her contribution to conversations was always just nodding or shaking at the right moments and now and then show her gloved hands to gesture a comment such as ‘oh no’ or ‘what else could be done’. But if her husband talked about a place he had visited she could make a personal contribution gesturing ‘I’ve been there too’ or if he talked music ‘I like that too’.
Despite all the sex she never got pregnant. That was reserved for permanent wives as the Sheikh had decreed that children needed a stable upbringing with both parents at hand, and so all temporary wives were on the pill and their spouses used condoms. One excellent husband – Mustapha – had asked for her to become a permanent wife and she was tempted to accept. He was kind and caring and a fantastic conversationalist. In the outside would she’d have definitely accepted but she was on a journey now, a journey of the soul. Another also offered permanent marriage but as he was the one obsessed with using her from behind, (his reasoning for asking for her hand was that he’d never seen an arse like hers!), she knew definitely to reject. Of all her husbands, he had travelled the least distance along the Sheikh’s holy path. But nonetheless, gagged, often blinded and controlled in all aspects, she enjoyed her life as everyday brought her nearer to that sacred goal, the destruction of her ego.
Today however, she has requested a meeting with the great Sheikh himself for she has a problem and she doesn’t know how to solve it. Dressed in her brown blinding burqa, she waits patiently outside his house until she hears a door open and a hand guides her in. Then she sits on the carpeted floor and her blinding burqa is removed. Through the two meagre grilles of her ruband she can see only a thick curtain. Behind the curtain is the Sheikh himself.
“How can I help you Sister Noor?” asks the Sheikh.
Noor takes out her pre-prepared script and hands it to the dove grey novice who acts as the intercessor between her and the holy man:
Great Sheikh, I have come to you with a problem. I have received two offers of permanent marriage from men, one of whom I am not ill-disposed to. However, I am unsure as to whether this is the correct spiritual direction for me to take. I have been at the commune for four years now and have deepened my spirituality greatly over that period. My ego is now much diminished and I feel closer to the Almighty than ever before, union being so tantalisingly near. However, to progress further in my spiritual development I feel I need to take a different course. I feel that I have gone as far as I can as a standard member of the community and a temporary wife. Therefore, it would seem that perhaps becoming a permanent wife might be the answer for me but I fear that it could lead to a reversal. Permanent wives develop a deep and loving relationship with their spouses and beget children which of course is all for the long-term good of this beloved community, but I fear that for me it might just be a distraction, a route back to the world and away from Allah. Therefore, I come to you today for your advice. Should I embrace permanent marriage, should I continue as a temporary wife or is there another route that I can take on my long and glorious spiritual journey?
The Sheikh looked at the note for a good length of time, then sat back and thought, stroking his beard meditatively. Then he sat up again and pronounced his verdict:
“Sister Noor, your dilemma gives me much joy for it is proof that you have progressed far on your spiritual journey, farther than the vast majority of the seekers who come to this place. You are right to question whether temporary marriage is still suitable for you – I personally believe that it is not, it isn’t for most people who have dwelt here for more than three years – but conversely, the standard route of progression, that of permanent marriage I believe also might not be what you seek. You ask of another route, well, one exists, but it is an arduous one, very difficult indeed. However, if you are up to it, then it might just be the perfect path for you to follow. It is called the path of Non-Being and essentially if you follow that path you become a non-person whilst still physically living in our community, you devote yourself solely to the absolute and complete destruction of the ego. You lose your name, your identity, you merely exist. As a matter of necessity – for all women, beings or non-beings – require a provider, you shall be married, permanently, to me, but we have no contact save that of intercourse which again is a necessity because, as I have often told you before, it is a form of prayer. However, this intercourse is the only form of contact we have, and indeed your only contact with the world. For the rest of the time you are veiled, restrained, wholly dependent and spend your life in spiritual contemplation. Food is liquidised so you do not even have the solace of meals. As I said before, it is an arduous path, few seekers even dare to contemplate it, but it may be what you require. Are you interested in this path, Noor?”
Noor took out her pad and wrote a simple word.
“Very well then, come the start of Rajab you shall be initiated as a Non-Being. As a Non-Being you shall remain until the onset of Sha’aban whereupon you shall be asked if you wish to remain in that state or if you wish to return to Being status. Do not fear, not all Non-Beings stay in Non-Being state for eternity, many return and there is no shame in it. The question shall be repeated at the start of every month and if you need to change to Being status, it is fully understood. Do you have anymore questions Sister Noor?”
None Sheikh Rumi, and thank you.
The first day of Rajab was strange for Noor. On that day she officially ceased to exist. Instead of dressing in her wedding outfit and chatting with her friends as she always did on the first day of the month, she was led into a small chamber by her husband where Sheikh Rumi was stood. Then she was divorced and wedded to the Sheikh except that this time it was not Noor who was married but a Non-Being with no name, no personality, no ego…
After the wedding she stripped in front of her new husband and then got into what would become her second skin for… for as long as she wanted, perhaps even eternity. It was an all encompassing body suit, like a zentai that left her completely blind. After it was zipped up by the Sheikh (and padlocked), he demonstrated the openings; one for her derrière, one for her vagina, and one for her mouth. Then she was given an enema. The Sheikh explained that these would be standard from now on. Non-Beings do not use the toilet. Afterwards she was ‘fed’; a pipe was pushed through the mouth-hole and down her throat. Some liquid that she could not taste was sent through. She soon felt full. After the feeding, a heavy inflatable gag was inserted through the hole and inflated so that the cheeks bulged outwards. Then came the other clothes, those which she could not see, only feel, robes – probably an abayah and khimar and more – they were even heavier and hotter than her usual wife outfit. The Sheikh informed her that they were in black, a non-colour. Then came sandals on her feet linked by a short chain. Her arms were placed in a single sleeve behind her back. She was completely helpless and isolated and that excited her. Her only contact with the world was a muffled sense of hearing. She wondered why a Non-Being was allowed that but then it became clear. She was led to another room and told to sit on the floor. A tape of the Quran started playing – after all, she still needed to hear the Word of God!
Time had no meaning for the Non-Being, minutes and hours merged into one, only the beautiful poetry of the Quran meant anything. The Non-Being drifted into a trance, into a heaven much more real than previously in bed…
Then it was shaken out, ordered to stand, and led to another place. The voice of the Sheikh was heard. “Non-Being, this is how you sleep. In the mattress of my permanent wife, there is a hollow. You shall be put into it. It is covered over. The only link with the world is the tube through which you breathe and, when I want, a small hole above your vagina that I shall utilise for intercourse although, as you do not exist, this does not have to be nightly as with a wife. Now, to bed…”
The Non-Being was laid in a cocoon of padding, spread out like a star but padded on all sides, and on the top. Then silence. It waited. It felt a weight on top of her. It moved slightly. ‘It must be the permanent wife,’ the Non-Being reckoned. Later there was a regular movement. ‘Probably the Sheikh copulating with the wife,’ the Non-Being thought. Once it would have been jealous, now it did not care. It just acknowledged there was night and day in heaven as well.
That night the Sheikh did not copulate with it. The next day it was woken, fed and enemaed and that was it, cocooned in swathes of cloth it sat and listened to the holy book. That night it was the same although the Sheikh used the Non-Being. He opened the opening above its vagina. It felt a slight breeze and then his member entered. It knew that it was coupling with Himself. It needed this although it didn’t feel like human contact this, it felt divine. It revelled in it’s silent bliss and then it was over and it returned to Non-Beingness.
That was three months ago. Tonight the Non-Being lies in the same position in the bed of the Sheikh, under his Second Permanent Wife. He wonders about it, never has the Sheikh seen such devotion, such destruction of ego. Since the commune was established, the longest anyone has lasted as a Non-Being is two months, yet the current has just started its fourth and this as full of determination as ever. He moves his Second Permanent Wife’s legs so that she can roll over, he gains access to the Non-Being and then stiffens his member. “It is an honour to copulate with such a creature,” he mutters to himself, “the one who is closer to Allah than any on earth!” And then, after a short prayer and recitation of Surah 112, he plunges that member into the Non-Being, who is neither awaiting nor aroused nor indifferent, but just is…
Copyright © 2010, Dave Potter