would that i were with you

by Aqeela Naqvi

there is a certain emptiness of the heart that is only filled by standing at the gate to your harram, ya Ali. would that i were of the lucky ones who are standing there now – stepping forward with heavy, yearning steps; hands on their aching, restless hearts; heads lowered in salute to you; eyes transfixed on one point: the door that leads to you.

would that i was not where i am, but rather thousands of miles across desert and sea. entering your vicinity, feeling the warm winds of Najaf whip gently across my skin. would that i were holding firm to the door to your courtyard, kissing its solid wood, trailing my fingers across each wall (for to lovers, even walls and doors are worth embracing when they lead to the one that they love).

would that i were standing at this gate again, asking your permission to enter. because as God himself has said, “O you who believe! Do not enter the houses of the Prophet until leave is given to you…” (33:53).

and as i believe that in death you still live (2:154), would that i were speaking to you now, knowing that you were looking at me, were listening to me, were responding – though the weakness of my heart kept me from hearing the grace of your reply. but despite this weakness, to know that you were still embracing me, were still resting your noble hand upon my unworthy head as i spoke these words…

“i testify that there is no god but Allah…and i testify that Muhammad is His servant and Prophet, peace be upon him. peace be on the Commander of the Faithful, the servant of Allah and the brother of the Prophet.

my master, O Commander of the Faithful, this servant, daughter of your servants, has come to you seeking shelter in your sanctuary. she has set out for your shrine, turned toward your station, seeking your mediation with Allah, the Most High.

may i enter, O my master? may i enter, O Commander of the Faithful? may i enter, O trustee of Allah? may i enter, O angels residing in this shrine? O master, allow me to enter with the best of leaves that you have given to your friends…for though i am not be worthy of that, it is indeed worthy of you.”