the grace of your names

by Aqeela Naqvi

Masters, whose nobility is found in their unsurpassed servitude; whose uprightness is found in their bent prostration. who, in life and in death, are souls at peace. you are the rhythm of my heartbeat – but if i have stopped listening, what am i but a living corpse, walking in the world of the dead?

. . . how ashamed am i – to have forgotten the gentleness of your touch, the intonation of your sweet voice. how unfortunate am i – to have lost the grip of your hand in this world of illusions, a wanderer in an empty desert; letting go of reality to reach my hand towards a mirage; starving myself, quenching my thirst with water from the sea – while all the while a majestic river surges wildly around me . . .

(O Muhammad al-Mustafa, the beauty of the moon; Fatima tuz-Zahra, the brilliance of the sun; Ali al-Murtadha, the traveler of the stars; Hassan al-Mujtaba, the calm amidst stormy seas; Hussain Sayyid ush-Shuhada, the purest desert rose; al-Sajjad, the secret of the night; al-Baqir, the revealer of mountain mysteries; as-Sadiq, the cleansing scent of rain; al-Kadhim, the patience of flowing streams; ar-Ridha, the reaching expanse of sky; al-Jawad, the melody of the breeze; al-Naqi, the tender roots of my tree; al-Askari, the glow of twilight upon my skin . . . al-Mahdi – breaking apart the darkness, a slowly pinkening sky; the promise of a rising sun.)

your stories rush over me, the relief of cool water against the heat of my skin. reminding me: remember. ‘remember who you are. remember what blood runs through your veins. do not search for leaders to find truth. search for Truth, and you will find its leaders.’

may God make me – may God make us all – worthy of this grace.