Posts from the “Prose” Category

yourself with older eyes

Posted on September 11, 2016

I have always wondered what people mean when they say, certain stories greet you differently every time you read them. That as your story changes, so does the story for you on the page. A while back I took up the task of revisiting those many mandatory high school classroom reads – both the ones I loved and the ones I hated (except The Scarlet Letter… anything but The Scarlet Letter) – to see if they read differently the second time around. The first book on the list (which also happened to be the first book I had ever read for a high school English class) was A Separate Peace. Which I had picked up last? When I was fourteen. I remember being sprawled on the couch with the windows open, a light…

choosing for your friend a person

Posted on September 8, 2016

do not choose for your friend a person unless they wake you in the early hours of morning for prayer. unless their company moves you to the book of God as they share with you a verse that moves them. unless they silence your tongue if they catch it in vain speech, reminding you of more lofty conversation. do not choose for your friend a person unless they weep in your presence and you weep in theirs when matters of the beloveds are remembered. unless in your moments of weakness they remind you of your strength urging you to reach your potential. unless when your feet begin to give way, they steady you with their step – two souls, one goal, a path to eternity. do not choose…

ascent beckons

Posted on August 25, 2016

the task of a carefree summer’s day: to watch the sunset over the city of Qom by climbing to the top of Mt. Khidhr… a task so adventure-y i didn’t think twice about it until we were halfway to the top – when (of course) i decided to do the exact opposite of what every book/movie/story/piece of advice on heights ever says to do – and that is, look down. which is when i conveniently remembered a fact that had slipped my mind in all the excitement: my greatest fear – the frequent haunting of many a childhood nightmare – is heights. and by greatest fear i mean *the* greatest fear… as in, the second i looked back, my knees gave in and i closed…

whispered lessons from the dust of Najaf

Posted on August 24, 2016

is there any heartache for which i can lay out my heart that you do not already know, my Lord? is there any grief for which i can weep that you do not already know, my Lord? is there any separation wrought wound for which i can cry out in pain that you do not already know, my Lord?   (so then, how can any of these remain, when i know that you know, O Lord?)

the clock is chiming

Posted on July 17, 2016

the clock is chiming, marking the hour of separation and i am caught in a slow moving apart, a heavy gaze, a drinking in with the thirst of one dying the angles of your face, the wrinkles of your eyes, holding your cloth, breathing in the remnants of scent of the only person i have ever loved. the clock is chiming, marking the hour of separation and i am backing away, each footstep the crushing weight of mountains. “with each of my first steps, i was closer, now closer, now the closest to you in this world that i had ever been… and with my final ones, i am now farther, farther, farther from you than i wish to ever be…” the clock is…

the dust of the king

Posted on June 26, 2016

21 ramadhan 1436 | najaf, iraq it is shortly after Fajr prayers, the early morning of the day you were killed. i am standing, leaning against blue tiles in an archway of your haram, head resting against cool marble, tears falling like drops of burning oil upon my skin. glancing across the courtyard, it is impossible to see the crimson tide of carpets beneath the sea of lovers dressed in black – one person inseparable from the other as they move in unison, the steady ripple of inky waves in the blackness of a desert night. ‘haydar… haydar…’ the rhythm of hands echoes to the words of an Arab lamentation. like the steady beat of drums, each hand falls upon the chest – like the strike…

the tenderness of your name

Posted on June 24, 2016

“why is it that words like these seem dull and cold? is it because there is no word tender enough to be your name?” Asadullah. Haydar. Ali.   what i am most grateful to my parents for – after Allah the Most Merciful, and Muhammad the mercy to mankind, for teaching me the name: Ali ibn Abi Talib. for mixing wilayat with my flesh and blood. i remember being embraced by the warm winds of Najaf, this prayer for them leaping from my chest – thank you, for being my first teachers of this love. thank you, because without wilayat – without the gate of Ali – how would  i have reached the city of Muhammad? without the city of Muhammad, how would i…