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letters to our daughters

10:01 PM. New York City | Stand clear of the closing doors please. With a leap, I slip through the subway car doors just before they close, grabbing on to the nearest pole for balance. Probably not the smartest idea, but then again, as a student with exams on my mind, the unforgiving bite of the […]

words, that changed everything

“when you stand in front of Imam Hussain (ع), remember: you are standing in front of the personality who changed Hurr. that same personality is changing you.” —ayatullah basheer al-najafi najaf, iraq.   july 7 2015.

the blood of Muhammad’s sons

“Whoever could recognize me—has recognized me, and for those who have not recognized me, by introducing my ancestors and my family, let me introduce myself to them: O people! I am the son of Makkah and Mina; I am the son of Zamzam and Safa; I am the son of he who, after lifting the […]

beloved of Ali

when i stood near the grave of Imam ‘Ali, i felt something in the atmosphere change— not when i cried, “Haydar,” but when i whispered: “Zahra…” هُمْ فَاطِمَةُ وَ أَبُوهَا وَ بَعْلُهَا وَ بَنُوهَا “they [those who are under the cloak during the revelation of 33:33] are Fatima, her father, her husband, and her sons.”

“carry on”

it’s easy to fight when everything’s right, and you’re mad with the thrill and the glory; it’s easy to cheer when victory’s near, and wallow in fields that are gory. it’s a different song when everything’s wrong, when you’re feeling infernally mortal; when it’s ten against one, and hope there is none, buck up, little […]

kindred spirits

it is a warm summer’s night in qom. i sit on the floor in masjid-e-jamkaran and look up at the ceiling, admiring the beauty of the architecture, the interlacing weaving of the arabic calligraphy – composed with such precision, but in its composition, somehow still as wild and free-flowing as foam rising on waves of […]

the taste of magic

when i open a harry potter book, i am eight years old again, starlight streams through the window, i can taste magic. “there are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.” -harry potter and the sorcerer’s stone- in sharing, a […]

some days

some days, i walk down the street like everyone else bundling my coat close to my neck waiting for the stoplight to turn “some weather we’re having” “isn’t that right” “in my day, autumn was never this chilly” some days, i go through the motions scribbling my name hastily across a paper filling in bubbles, a code i can’t […]

exhibition: “the steps of Imam Hussain (a)”

it is the day of Ashura. after performing morning amaal with the Muharram in Manhattan community at NYU, i board a bus to New Jersey – to Bait-Wali-ul-Asr: the Islamic center of my childhood and the community closest to my heart, with whom over two decades of my Ashuras have been spent. as i journey, […]

from every mountain top

“He (Imam Hussain) sees those who come to his shrine and he knows them by their names, their father’s names and their ranks in the eyes of Allah, the Glorious, better than you know your own children.” -Imam Sadiq (a)- to think – of my name, on your tongue…when the sins that weigh on my […]