by Aqeela Naqvi


Labbayki ya Zaynab (s). Damascus, Syria – Burial place of the granddaughter of Prophet Muhammad, Sayyida Zaynab (peace and blessings be on them and their family).


peace be upon the strength of women.
the warrior with roses on her tongue.

the mountain that stood, head unbowed,
in a howling desert wind.

peace be upon the sister who watched from afar as her brother was surrounded and murdered. the mother who was left to listen to the wails of her children’s final screams. the daughter whose veil was drenched in rivers of ash and blood – but whose tears continued to whisper: I saw nothing but beauty.

peace be upon the princess who was led through alleyways in chains. the face of dignity who broke her shackles with the strength of her soul. the peak of patience whose voice rose to challenge tyrant’s swords; the roar of a lioness tearing apart the palaces of oppressors.

my loyalty stands with the unwavering courage of this heart—red as the sorrow which covered the desert, yet forever pulsating with the rhythm of beauty.

peace be upon you, my leader, my namesake, my beloved.

peace be upon you,
ya Aqeela-e-Bani Hashim.

peace be upon you, ya Zaynab.

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Rendition of “The Evening of Ashura.” – Mashhad, Iran. July 23 2015.