the gift of words

by Aqeela Naqvi

words, the breath of life. like anyone fascinated by the power of language to translate thoughts into magic, to awaken the energy of hearts, to call forth the dance of souls – i am always searching, ravenous, hungry, for new words.

words, written in such a way that you walk into them one person, and walk out another.

words that bring you to your knees like gusts of wind in staggering summer storms, roaring with the voice of jet-black waves crashing against the shore, calling forth great and terrible beauties from whirling skies…

whistling rain in your hair on your skin along the ancient sketchings of your hands as you raise them upwards in exultation – leaving you awe-struck, breathless, the taste of the ocean in your mouth.

for any words person, to come across such a piece of writing…

on shabaan 5th, Muslims celebrate the birth of Imam Ali ibn Hussain, so well-known for his dedication to worship that he was given the title Zaynul Abideen – “the adornment of worshippers.”

amongst the many aspects of his legacy is a compilation of supplications and whispered prayers known as “as-Sahifa as-Sajjadiya.” reading this text as a person of faith is a heart-wrenching experience – i can easily say that the mastery of his compositions surpass anything i have come across in other readings of prayer.

but even stepping outside of seeing it through the lens of worship, it is impossible not to appreciate this collection for the linguistic feat that it is. as someone who is only able to access it in english, every sentence still leaves me breathless. so i wonder, if one were to understand the original arabic? to feel the depth of every letter, the way it was said and meant…?

a teacher of mine once said: if you are a writer, hold fast to this work of art – this collection of the most romantic letters, whispers of a lover beseeching his Beloved. speak through it, and it will reveal to you secrets.

so, on the anniversary of his birth, a gift from the writer himself, to all wordsmiths and lovers of words…

turn the page—
become lost in the fragrance of rain.