WARRIORS + POETS

Category: Prose

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 subway doors is the least of my concerns. I fumble with my bags, pulling out my flashcards to study, the endless barrage of information quickly becoming a blur before my eyes. As I go through them, I glance up and catch a man staring in my direction. At my gaze, he looks away, but as I return to my flashcards, I watch as he continues to stare in my peripheral vision.

On the subway, strange glances and occasional stares tend to be a usual occurrence. What with the horrors taking place in the world (every night, it seems, another headline), villains masquerading as ‘Muslims’ (a statement which couldn’t be further from the truth), climates of fear fueled by media furnaces churning out specifically constructed hateful rhetoric…as a Muslim woman who observes Hijaab, such moments have, unfortunately, come to be expected. Such stares are neither justified nor warranted, but they happen…and quite frankly, after years of being on the receiving end, the only thing they really are is getting old.

When I was younger, the reactions of others to my presence used to preoccupy me. I had only been wearing Hijaab for a year when 9/11 happened, and, at a young age, it was difficult for me to understand what it was that made people sneer or mumble under their breath as I walked by. As I got older and the stares become more pronounced, not having the naivety of childhood to protect me, I would be lying if I said they didn’t affect me in some way. There were moments when I stood, staring at my reflection in the mirror, wondering if it would just be easier to let go of it all – if it would be easier dress the way my friends dressed, do my hair the way they did, walk down the street or stroll around the mall without catching a double-take;

…if it would be easier to be like everyone else.

***

It was in the same years when I struggled with observing Hijaab due to the opinions of non-Muslims that I also began to struggle due to the opinions of some Muslims as well. During those teenage years when all is thrown to the wayside beyond one’s physical appearance, it was difficult to navigate the ropes of what I knew Islam taught versus what I would hear some Muslims say. Already grappling with how I was perceived by others at school, I hoped to find refuge within my own community, but unfortunately, this wasn’t always the case.

Instead of watching many elders teach us girls to do and be better than what society expected of us, I watched as they, too, minimized us into the smallness of our physical appearances. At everywhere from weddings to community events, by explicit word or implicit action, we would hear – I’m looking for a girl for my son, but he wants someone who is fairer; Haven’t seen you in a while! Have you put on weight?; You know, you should wear a bit more makeup if you want boys to notice you; Don’t you think you’re taking the whole Hijaab thing a bit to the extreme?

I distinctly remember the first time I was faced with such statements – and it was like a blow to the stomach.

Comments from people unfamiliar with Islam I could handle. Their statements either stemmed from ignorance or pre-planned agendas, and either could be easily dismantled by the proper use of knowledge and intellect. But comments from Muslims themselves? People I had grown up with? Who sat next to me in the Masjid? How could I answer them? How could I dismantle this?

I did not know then, and I pray that Allah guides us all to learn how to address this exceptionally important issue now. But as a young girl, I remember biting my tongue, fighting waves of frustration, tears choking at my throat – thinking one thing: I feel so lost. Sayyida Fatima, I wish you were here.

***

Many years later, I would like to hope that Sayyida Fatima heard my cry, because now, all praise belongs to Allah, my Hijaab is still with me. And not just as a cloth or an obligation to be upheld, but as the dearest piece of my identity; the very life force that breathes within me. Getting here has, by no means, been an easy road, and I am still far from my destination; I am still far from understanding its true worth and perfecting it in the manner of Sayyida Fatima and her daughters.

But now, learning how to carry this flag is no longer a struggle; it is the greatest honor.

Despite this fact, I still wish that when I had been struggling, when I had been looking into bloodshot eyes reflected back at me in the still hours of night questioning this integral aspect of my identity…I wish someone had told me what I wish to share with my sisters now.

I wish someone had said: my daughter, there is a great secret to your inner dimension. Seek it. Do not fall prey to ideas of what this world wants you to become. Look to your role models – to women like Sayyida Fatima – to know who you were created to be.

My daughter, do not define yourself by your level of external desirability. Do not consent to this public consumption of your soul. The journey of being a woman in this society – Muslim or otherwise – is one that requires extreme perseverance. And the obstacles designed against you have been structured specifically so that you are kept from discovering the divine destiny you have been created for. Do not let them keep you from discovering yourself.

My daughter, do not abandon the revolution that is stirring in your soul – the one that this society will attempt to quiet by degrading you into nothing more than an object to be whistled at by passersby. By taking you, beautiful from the moment you are born, and spending every moment afterward trying to strip you of your beauty. Telling you: your words are not enough, your mind is not enough; that to be given an ounce of respect, to be allowed to carry the mantle of “liberation,” you must consent to being dissected by the scalpel of corporate desire. Forcing you to seek their approval on how to dress or talk or laugh; trying to meet their impossible demands to be all at once the nerdy girl sporty girl curvy girl skinny girl funny girl cool girl beauty-queen-girl-next-door girl – the everything girl as long as its anything but your true self. Do not accept this grave injustice to your soul.

My daughter, after bearing so many years of misogyny, do not do what the system would wish you to do and internalize the inferiority that has been forced upon you. Do not let it be that now, instead of others oppressing you, you learn to do it yourself – cutting other women down, so that even you – as a woman – take doing things ‘like a girl’ as an insult.

My daughter, do not accept the oppression of culture and tradition that says women are inferior to men – but at the same time, do not run into the arms of a more modern oppression that wants you to compete with men either. Your standard has never been men, but always your own soul – because Allah (swt) has never defined your value in relation to a man, but only in relation to Himself.

My daughter, the greatest woman that ever lived showed us that we must resist when our societies try to bury us alive. She showed us that a daughter is not a burden, but the greatest honor. A wife is not a servant, but a partner to spiritual ascension. A mother is not separate from society, but the very shaper of society. And this womb, this vehicle of creation, is not a hindrance to a woman’s potential, but the very source of her power – so that when a woman’s hand reaches out to rock the cradle of her child, she is in essence rocking the very cradle of humanity.

My daughter, there is so much to being a woman. This journey requires an immense amount of struggle, but if you allow it to, it can become a thing of beauty. Whatever stage you are on, keep with it; no one is perfect at first. Begin where you are comfortable and work your way from there. If you stumble or fall or get lost on the way, know that God’s forgiveness is greater than we can imagine – He forgives, so do not bind yourself to your mistakes. Learn to forgive yourself. Keep moving forward. It does not matter whether you run, walk, or crawl – all that matters is that you keep moving.

My daughter, allow your strength to stem from your modesty, both in dress and demeanor. But remember, this strength will not be strength if you use it to push others to the ground. The worst thing you can do for your soul is use your modesty as a means of looking down upon others. If you have embraced the physical covering, do not push away those who are not there yet. Do not walk the earth with an arrogant heart. Do not judge the modesty that you can see on another woman, because the modesty that is less visible – the one of her words, actions, thoughts – may far exceed yours. The woman who today does not observe Hijaab completely may one day observe it more deeply than you. But even if she never does, that does not give you the right to consider yourself better than her. Each woman is on her own spiritual journey – and your place is not to judge or outcast, but to uplift and help your fellow sister.

My daughter, this cloth is more than a covering – it is, in its essence, a stronghold. Protect yourself and others through its understanding. When the stares of strangers and the comments of friends become too much to bear, call on your Leader, Sayyida Fatima, and take strength from her name. Do not let them make you believe that if you walk in her light, you will be less beautiful. Do not let them prevent you from entering – or scare you into abandoning – this fortress.

Raise your voice with her strength and declare:

“The demand of society from a woman, the demand of a woman from herself, and the demand of a man from a woman all revolve around physical beauty. But the real beauty lies in the moment the society, man, and woman herself should demand from woman the beauty of the soul and the spirit and human qualities and talents…Islam does not demand beauty from a woman. It does not ask for an illusive appearance. In society, it does not demand physical, sensual, feminine features. No! No! Rather…Islam demands from you your existential value, and not sensual value…”

Because in the early days of your wearing this Hijaab –

“You may have accepted it without being aware of the responsibility of wearing this vitalizing dress, without having endeavored to realize the aims and message of this dress, without ever having tried to refine and reform yourself in order to deserve this dress, this attire. In all such circumstances, your Hijaab can never be Islam personified…It shall never be a revolutionary stronghold…except when you should have learnt Islam as a deen (a system of life), a comprehensive ideology, recognized it as such, and linked it truly and boldly with all your existence, your being, your life, your traits of character, your aims and objects, as well as your ambitions.”

But now that you are beginning to understand:

“Rise and revolt…with the help of your Hijaab, the depth of which you have now fully realized, which has bestowed upon you the infinite capacity of being human.”

Rise and declare:

“…I am free. I am released…With my Hijaab, with the heavy social responsibility of the commands to do what is good and forbid what is wrong…I enter the stage of society and conquer all its planes…The type of woman who you had yourself forged, had yourself trained, had yourself taught ideals – the way of talking, laughing, wishing, longing…you have now lost such a woman, such a stronghold…this stronghold shall never fall into your hands.”

Beauty of Concealment and Concealment of Beauty

***

To my dear sisters who are struggling. To those constantly being made to feel like they don’t belong. To those living under the constant threat of harm because of the religion they most publicly represent. To those standing, like the young girl I once knew many years ago, looking into the mirror, wondering if it would be easier to let it all go and be like everyone else…

Yes. It would be easier – to look like, speak like, talk like, everyone else.

For a while.

But believe me when I say that though it might seem easy at first, the most difficult thing in the world is spending the years to come watching your identity be chipped into pieces; standing there as you are sculpted and moulded by the hands of others, losing the very core of your self – and looking the other way.

It might seem difficult now. In fact, it most definitely is. But you are not alone. Your fellow travelers on this journey stand behind you; Allah (swt) is close by your side.

And if you want to know if it gets better? If it gets easier learning how to live life as your authentic and truest self?

It does. And it will.

“Verily, with every hardship, there is relief.” (94:6)

Relief will come. But in the meantime, we must master this hardship, reminding ourselves and the generations of our daughters –

You are beautiful because you were made beautiful. Not because another person says, ‘You are beautiful.’ You have the universe inside you, so a) do not wait for another to look into your eyes and tell you they see cosmos dancing there for you to believe it, or b) allow another to say that they see nothing there so much that you stop believing as well.

Do not insult your existence by seeking its validation from others. Your worth is not scribbled in pencil, a second-hand appraisal of an outer form. It is written in gold by the First Hand who sang the love song of your inner existence.

Your life is one—count it: one. Do not allow another to live two lives by means of subjugating yours. Your mind is your homeland. Do not allow it to be colonized into thinking that beautiful is ‘everyone else’s beautiful’ and not your own beautiful.

You—your journey—has never been about them: what they think of how you dress/talk/sit/stand/walk/laugh. Your journey has always been, and will forever be, only about you.

You are a bird that was created to sing in the freedom of the skies; not to trill in the cage of the opinions of others. The majority of birds sit with wings clipped—and, missing the taste of flight, would do anything to keep you, too, on the ground.

But you have wings, my daughter.

You have wings . . . fly.

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.”

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.

tiff

“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 friendship struck many years ago between three friends and a wide-eyed eight year old hiding in the stacks of a dusty library during lunchtime, coming across a book, the story of the boy with the lightning-shaped scar…

with the first turn of the page a nearly 20 year journey: lazy summer days spent with a bowl of ice cream escaping into a world sometimes more real than my own; hidden moments in autumn-crisped schoolyards and classrooms, heart racing to turn the next page; hiding under the covers late in snowy nights, the world silent and asleep, but surrounded by the conversation of friends.

this magical world i escaped into as a child, the companion of my youth, the nostalgia of my adulthood, has taught me this: read. be a lover of reading. allow your children to become lovers of reading. the stories of childhood are the ones we carry with us – flames at which to warm our hands in our colder hours.

let your kids feel constellations move in their souls. show them that magic exists, before the grayness of the world has a chance to convince them it doesn’t.

the potter generation – an entire generation, growing alongside the books. aging with the characters. and to this day, those, knowing that harry potter was one of our first glimpses into the meanings of love. friendship. loyalty. sacrifice. betrayal. disappointment. success.

as harry, ron, and hermione struggled to make sense of their world, so did we. as they grew up and realized – that not every friend is a true friend, that the people we look up to sometimes make mistakes, that there are great darknesses in the world – so did we.

but at the same time, we also realized that true friendship, though rare, does exist, and it is worth fighting for; that people may make mistakes, but it is not their fall that defines them, but their decision to stand back up; and that though there is darkness in the world, there is within us the power to defeat it:

the light of an even greater, undefeatable magic.

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, i go through old text messages with my sisters, pausing as i come across one in particular: “the Karbala exhibition is amazing. you need to see it Appa.”

throughout the first nine days of Muharram, i have heard much about the towering replica of Baynol Harramain (“Between the Two Harrams”) being constructed on the grassy lawn beneath the branches of the center’s aged trees. i have been messaged pictures of the historically accurate miniature depiction of the tents as they stood in Karbala over a thousand years ago. i have been told about the heartbreakingly beautiful reconstruction of the burnt tent of the Ahlulbayt – the replica standing, a weeping shadow, in the far corner of the exhibit.

for many days, i have heard much about this unique experience put together by a tireless, dedicated, and sincere team of volunteers and creative thinkers – but it was not until i actually stood before it that i truly understood its magnitude.

it was not until i had not just heard of it, but had seen it with my own eyes, that i felt the ground give way beneath my feet.

***

shortly after arriving at Bait-Wali-ul-Asr, i am taken outside by one of the main artists behind the project. as i follow her towards the reconstruction of Baynol Harramain, my heart – sensing something my body is not yet able to grasp – begins to beat rapidly. and when we finally stop, i realize why.

staring up at the giant reconstructions of the fronts of the holy harrams (sanctuaries/graves/burial places) of the sons of Imam Ali – Hadhrat Abbas on one side, and Imam Hussain on the other… all breath leaves me.

i look at her, finding myself at a loss for words. tears fill my eyes. chills shoot up my spine. my hands begin to shake.

the sun is hot on my face in New Jersey, but i am standing in Baynol Harramain.

with trembling hands, i remove my shoes and step onto the plastic mat that lays between the two towering walls – and when i close my eyes, i am no longer on the lawn of a center in a small town in America, but am standing on hot marble, oceans away – breathing in the scent of Karbala.

as is custom for many who visit Karbala, i turn first toward the replica of the harram of Hadhrat Abbas – the flagbearer, the lion, the warrior, the prince; Saqqa, the carrier of the water. in the center of the wall, beneath an arch and a banner emblazoned with, “Ya Abal Fadhlil Abbas,” is a magnificent, enlarged poster of the dharih (encasing) that surrounds his grave.

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i watch as a young child steps before me, climbing towards the photograph – gently, tenderly touching the image of the dharih and leaning forward to kiss it.

and in that moment, the photograph is not a photograph anymore. it is reality.

the dharih seems to enlarge from where it sits, dignified, silent in the picture – until it unfolds itself in all its magnificence before my eyes. as i reach my hand out into the empty wind, i can feel against my fingertips the coolness of its touch… and suddenly, my knees give way.

as i kneel on the floor, my heart begins to bleed inside my chest, and i am no longer in front of a picture, but journeying with the spirit’s wings to the grave of Abu Fadhil himself. if i listen closely, i can hear the chants called out beneath his dome, ya Abbas, ya Abbas! and if i close my eyes, i can smell his fragrance.

as i sit, the afternoon slips away. the time of the murder of Imam Hussain replays itself, over and over and over inside my head. my heart screams, oh lion who sleeps by the riverbank, awake from your slumber! ya Saqqa! oh my beloved, my Abbas! where are you, my warrior? do you not hear the wails of your sister Zaynab? will you not come to her aid as she screams? today, they are cutting the neck, they are wounding with spears, they are murdering your brother Hussain…

***

what seems like centuries pass in silence on the lawn. i let the grief wrack my body until it feels like at any moment, my soul might leave this world.

i let the waves of Ashura consume me.

for a long time, i remain where i am, because i know where it is i must journey to next – and i don’t know if my heart can handle it. i know that when i stand and turn across the walkway, i will see…

oh, my Mawla, Hussain.

as those who have been blessed to perform ziyara in Karbala know – (may those who have visited be invited to return soon, and may those who have not yet gone be called to this blessing in the nearest future, inshaAllah) – Baynol Harramain stretches as a long walkway of white marble between the graves of Hadhrat Abbas and Imam Hussain. after you convey your salaams at the grave of Hadhrat Abbas, asking his permission to meet his brother, your footsteps on this walkway towards Aba Abdillah begin.

footsteps: both exultant and heartbroken, excited and hesitant; the urge to run, the need to move slowly, absorbing every moment – one foot in front of the other in front of the other, until you finally stand face to face with the grave, the presence of the soul, the discerned figure standing before you,

the scent of heaven, beneath the dome of Imam Hussain.

similar to the replica of the harram of Hadhrat Abbas, the replica of Imam Hussain’s stands tall, majestic, noble. between beautifully constructed arches lies an even more beautiful poster, the dharih of Aba Abdillah al-Hussain.

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as i move slowly towards it, my soul is shorn to pieces. ya Hussain! i do not know whether i should rejoice at this opportunity to somehow feel like i am next to your grave again, or whether i should fall to the ground in agonizing pain, keeled over, gasping for breath, crying out to the skies – not yet, please! please, it is still too soon! still too soon to embrace your broken body. please, not yet, don’t leave me…

as i look up from where i sit, it as if the dharih moves close towards me. as i grasp onto its metal and kiss the encasing of his grave, i see before my eyes this heartbreaking apparition:

10th Muharram. the final moments. Imam Hussain bids farewell to his sister. hugs for the last time his daughter. mounts his horse to ride away from the tents, never again to return. 

the battle. the most glorious lion, charging into a battlefield of sheep. he moves left, the enemy scatters right; he moves right, the enemy scatters left. hundreds fall at the strike of his sword. the enemy panics. more archers are signaled forward. more swordsmen are prepared. arrows are released, darkening the skies like angry clouds, a savage storm falls upon my Imam…

wounds upon wounds kiss his skin. his blood falls in streams. a wailing arises from the depths of the desert sands. wolves begin to circle, teeth bared, snarling grins splayed across their faces. a lance is thrust forward, and al-Hussain falls towards the ground…

the tears choke in grief! the eyes shed blood! the heart’s sinews rupture and the arms clutch the chest in tatters. ya Allah! let the wailers wail! let the screamers scream! let no tear be left unshed as before history’s eyes a sword strikes and the earth quakes; as severed is the head, as is lifted high on a spear, as is covered in blood the beautiful face of Sayyid ush-Shuhada…

***

the evening begins to dim over the lawn. dusk begins to settle.

the battle is over. the dust of karbala is still. bodies lay unburied upon the ground. rivers of blood seep into the sands. the clamor that once filled the air is gone.

all that remains is silence.

the day of Ashura has come to an end, but the night of grief, Shaam-e-Gharibaan, is just beginning.

gone is Hadhrat Abbas. gone is Imam Hussain. but Imam al-Sajjad and Sayyida Zaynab remain.

the whispering entrance of a white tent beckons, and as you enter, the hollow stillness of the night pierces you. in the darkness, there is a red glow from lights and candles. inescapable, surrounding you – the atmosphere of grief. the scent of ash and flame.

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in the corner of the exhibition stands a lonely tent, burnt holes all along its sides. as you enter, you see the musalla of the ailing son of Imam Hussain, the sign of Allah on the earth, Imam Zaynul Abideen. the soul catches in pain at the sight of his green imamah… for just a few inches away lie metal chains, and when you see them, you cannot shake from your mind the image of the family of the Prophet being dragged as prisoners through the streets of Damascus.

just a few paces away lies the cradle of Ali Asghar, the infant son of Imam Hussain, murdered that morning. his haunting ghost rises before you: the sight of his small hands, his innocent tongue running over the parched brokenness of his lips…

as you feel the weight of Ashura’s aftermath settle heavy in your chest, you leave the tent, steadying yourself to stand – but your eyes catch on a movie projection depicting the final moments of Imam Hussain’s martyrdom – and as you watch him, a silhouette of arrows falling to the ground, you fall to your knees as well.

the scene replays before your eyes and you struggle for breath between your tears. a small crowd of the lovers of Imam Hussain enters the tent, candles flickering in their hands. they surround the miniature replica of the Battle of Karbala where small figurines are arranged as they must have stood on that day – the enemy camps, the tens of thousands of Yazeed’s soldiers, the blocked river Euphrates; the surrounded, glowing tents of Imam Hussain…

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a devotee amongst them begins to recite the mournful melody of lamentation poetry in Urdu, and another takes a candle and begins to set the tents of Aba Abdillah on fire. as they begin to burn and the ash begins to rise, the children sitting nearby cry out, “my eyes are burning from the smoke!”

and with these words, none who stand witness can contain their weeping. for this child, pain rising from the heat of a single candle’s flame… but what of your children, O Hussain? at this very moment, what ash must be leaping from your tents? what flames striking from those torches? what heat burning from that blaze? what heartwrenching screams of your children? from your young daughter, wa Hussaina! Oh Baba, where are you! please, save me…

***

the last time i felt like my heart could no longer be contained inside my chest, like it would explode, like it would shatter from such intense and unbearable longing, i was standing in front of Imam Hussain in Karbala.

i send infinite duaas to those who have so artfully recreated even an ounce of that feeling of ziyara, that connection to the Ahlulbayt, from thousands of miles away. through this beautiful exhibit: The Steps of Imam Hussain, so many have been allowed to have their hearts, rendered so tender by the grief of Imam Hussain, be broken utterly and completely. in a single moment, they have felt themselves not just speaking to Imam Hussain from afar, but standing before him – walking by his side, living in a new light the day of Ashura, seeing with a new sight the night of the aftermath, coming together to mourn the greatest tragedy in history – when Imam Hussain, the divine representative of God and the reflection of His attributes on earth, sacrificed everything – everything – in the way of Allah, without a moment’s hesitation.

if you have not yet had a chance to visit this exhibition, please make the effort to go. it will be open for two more nights this year before closing (inshaAllah to return next year and for many years to come). bring your friends, your families, your children – and allow yourself to be immersed in this transformative experience.

allow yourself to feel the arms of Imam Hussain reaching through the tapestries of time to embrace you.

let yourself feel his grief anew, and in feeling it so viscerally, allow yourself carry it with you as the torch to light the way even when caught in the depths of darkness.

break your heart open, and through this brokenness, make your spirit unbreakable. for a few hours, walk in The Steps of Imam Hussain; and for the remainder of your lifetime, carry the beauty of those steps with you.

may every volunteer and visitor who has participated in this project be granted the intercession of Aba Abdillah on that final day. may we remember him, pledge our allegiance to him, and pledge allegiance to his descendant, the Imam of our own time. may we live a life with soft hearts but strong convictions, being blessed enough to choose the Ahlulbayt in every moment of this life – inshaAllah becoming worthy of their embrace when we finally meet them in the next.

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 back, the shadows that whisper in my heart make me unworthy of even speaking yours. of ever claiming you as mine.

but to think, when i whispered, ‘my mawla Hussain, i am here,‘ standing next to your body… to think, that you responded to me? knowing every curve of every letter of my name?

my heart stops.

it still baffles my mind that to this lost traveler, so far gone from the path, wandering in a thickening fog, you still extended your hand. you still invited to stand by your side.

how can i ever thank you for saving me? how can i ever thank my Lord for attaching my heart to you – allowing me to attach myself to Him through you?

Mawla, i am so unworthy of loving you…
but you, are so worthy of being loved.

ya Allah,

allow me to be consumed by the love of your truest servants,
utterly and completely.
so that nothing remains of me myself and i,
and all that remains is You, Your pleasure, and Your beloveds.

make no speech of mine speech, nor action of mine action,
unless it is climbing, from every mountain top to sing,

‘i am in love with the one You loved and the one who loved You –
i am in love with the one named Hussain…’

the aftermath

s

 

your face haunts my every dream…
i wake from the fragrance of your embrace
to the scent of fire and weeping—
to the wailing of flowing rivers,
rivers of flowing blood.

.

“And think not Allah to be heedless of what the unjust ones do.
He only respites them to a day
when their eyes shall be fixed open [staring up with terror].”
 – The Holy Quran, 14:42 –

.

film: the caravan of pride

still far too soon

يا ليل طوّل ساعاتك
O night, prolong your hours—

let me for some moments longer gaze upon his face;

these hours of night,
still far too soon
these thousand years,
still far too soon
these infinite ages,
still far too soon

to embrace the
broken
body
of

Hussain.

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