lament, the death of lions

by Aqeela Naqvi

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“We have the determination to resist your injustice and we will not surrender. The most you can do is kill us, and we welcome martyrdom for the sake of God. Life does not end when one dies. Real life begins when one dies. Either we live on this land as free men or we die and be buried in it as pious men.” -Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, executed today for standing in defense of the oppressed, protesting the brutal regime of Saudi. May the House of Saud fall soon.

i am not just saddened, not just grieving
but writhing, screaming, deep inside
did i do enough? or did i abandon
the flag-bearer of Hussain (a) in my time

i close my eyes and see your face,
how much of your blood is on my hands?
can God forgive me my heedlessness,
while you were tortured in savage lands…

you were in prison, but never imprisoned
even behind bars you were of the free
as you leave us, the soft flight of birds
i realize the true prisoner was me

when my every breath was not for justice
my every action not for my Lord
when i did not do all my hands could do
to halt the executioner’s sword

when i have not understood the price
of this soul that is pulsating deep in me
in the way, O noble Lion, you did,
risking your freedom so we’d be free

your loss leaves my sleep restless,
striking this blaze, raging in my soul
to grasp the hands of those still imprisoned,
those still oppressed around the world

with their sword they thought to end
the branching out of your fragrant tree
they thought with death you’d die as one,
but you’ve risen as millions on the breeze

to tyrants: hear now this warning
even in death calls to truth will never die
you spilled our blood and gave us Karbala
that blood is keeping us alive

the heart is heavy as a weight
sinking deep in stormy seas
the world was not worthy of al-Nimr,
so came:
O soul at rest, return to Me…

in the skies i see this picture
al-Nimr rising above this pain:
a land of gardens and flowing rivers,
a welcome,
the tender embrace of al-Hussain (a)

“And think not God to be heedless of what the unjust ones do. He only respites them to a day when the eyes shall be fixed open [staring up with terror].”
-The Holy Qur’an 14:42


Hussain: bears witness to those who have been martyred by oppressors throughout history, heir of all the leaders fighting for freedom and equality and the seekers of justice, from Adam to himself — forever the messenger of martyrdom, the manifestation of bloody revolution.
Zaynab: bears witness to all of the defenseless prisoners in the system of executioners — the messenger left after martyrdom; the manifestation of the message of revolution.
…Remember Ashura to humiliate the ruling group who call themselves the inheritors of the traditions of the Prophet – for the remembrance of it will prove that they are the inheritors of the killers and murderers of the Prophet’s family. It will show you a path of action, and provide an answer to the recurring question: “What should be done?”
It will help you to decide on the best agenda for the struggle against the rule of tyranny. It will avoid allegiance to cruelty…It produces the revolutionary cries of Ashura and the aggressive mobilization of the masses against existing conditions…It keeps alive the hope of ‘redemption after martyrdom’…faith in the ultimate downfall of tyrants and the decrees of destiny against the ruling powers who dispense justice by the sword.”
—Dr. Ali Shariati