Posts by Aqeela Naqvi

there and back again

Posted on April 4, 2020

It is, indeed, a dangerous business, going out your door. And it’s true, if you step onto the road without keeping your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to. Yet, the not-knowing-of-the-sweeping is a fate far preferable to the knowing-of-staying-still. Because rivers that move become oceans. And those that don’t? Slowly fade away. There will always be “the old tug at your ankles.” The constant buzzing in your ears. The many voices who wish to tell you where and how and for what you should live your life. But there is only one person who has to live it. Only one spirit which has to carry the weight of whether the version of yourself you are choosing to accept is…

what the night holds

Posted on March 15, 2020

It is the early hours of night. Dark clouds drift wearily across the horizon. The moon, wrested from her slumber, casts a forlorn glance across her shoulder before settling her face to the east. I sit in the darkness of a silent house, the glow of my screen reflecting pale shadows against my hands. I cannot sleep. Somewhere amidst the symphony of the night, a painful chord has struck against my chest. A certain name has been spoken, a hallowed grief has risen, and a buried memory has jolted me awake. Long has it been since I have allowed myself to think upon this memory. Long has it been, since I have immersed myself in its waters: arms splayed outward, the weight of my…


Posted on March 3, 2020

The rose thinks the garden is enough. Blossoming in its sun, it looks upward and smiles—   Oh, who is it who is richer than me?   The fish thinks the pond is enough. Flitting across its expanse, it looks backward and trills—   Oh, who is it who is richer than me?   The eagle thinks the sky is enough. Soaring over its heights, it looks downward and roars—   Oh, who is it who is richer than me?   The human thinks the world is enough. Chasing after its days, it looks onward and calls—   Oh, who is it who is richer than me?   The human thinks the world is enough.   Lowered into the grave, the soul looks inward…

what we claim

Posted on December 26, 2019

Would that I had been there in Karbala, My life would have been given for Hussain, How often does this thought upon me gnaw— My blood would have been spilled upon those plains. With confidence, I claim I would have been Amongst those noble few who lived to die, Unflinching, facing death, their band was seen— While I have often shuddered facing life. For my Imam, what arrows have I dodged, Allowing them to strike his heart instead? How often have I marked his rivals’ calls, Drawing the map which leads them to his tent?   Be wary, tongue, you are not crushed by what you proudly claim: For weighty is the status of the comrades of Hussain.

the shepherd

Posted on December 14, 2019

The shepherd has but gone over the hill,The setting sun has but few hours to rise—Yet with the dark has fled our pasture’s will,Waking is left now only for the wise.Our withered flock now wanders to and fro,While on the path few track our herder’s steps;We sit and wail, drawing the wolves below,While few seek higher ground for this night’s test.If day will come, our shepherd will come home,In what way will he find us on life’s plain—With heavy hearts will we now idly roam?Or will our grief drive us to seek his reign?Do not forget, our death calls to our birth:Muhammad’s son still walks upon this earth.

Elegy for al-Hussain ibn ‘Alī on ‘Āshūrā’, 391 A.H

Posted on October 19, 2019

  HISTORICAL CONTEXT Who is Hussain and what happened on Ashura? What happened after the Tragedy of Karbala?   These are the campsites of al-Ghamim so call to them, And after long restraint shed lavish tears. If you owe the trace-signs a debt, now pay it; If you’ve ransomed your heart’s blood to the ruined abodes, redeem it now. O, has a band of riders looking down from its highlands Quenched yet their burning passion? [Look! There is] a drainage trench curving like a bow, Before which stand black-cheeked [women], heirs to its ashes, And the place where the tent-ropes were tied, the place where [once] the young braves sat— All the tribe’s firebrands are now extinguished except for them—, And the place where…

always autumn

Posted on October 11, 2019

There is a moment at the end of summer when the light changes. It is a sliver of time so thin, that unless you’re looking for it, you’re sure to miss it. In this moment, the sunlit nets cast upon the waters of the world are reeled in. With them, the brightened hue, the flaxen bloom, the drenched blindness of balmy days, all begin to slink backward and disappear like lemonade twirling down the drain. What remains, are the rays of a sun more mature in her glance. The morning’s shadows grow faint, edged with a dusty gold. A dim glow laces the leaves, the red tone of a burning hearth dying into the night. Each year, I wait for this moment. And each…