Posts from the “Ziyara” Category

becoming human

Posted on September 30, 2019

There is a special bottle I keep, tucked away in the corner of a hidden drawer: Use in Case of Emergency. A deep shade of pink, three-quarters full, sparkling with a liquid more precious to me than most of my possessions — not for the contents themselves, but for where they take me. Four years ago, on a summer night still with desert heat, a dear friend set off on a quest into a bustling market. Searching through alleyways, combing through side-shops, until she came across — there, what she had been looking for. Heart in hand, she returned, and gifted me a bottle of perfume, the same scent as that which is used in the sanctuary of Imam Hussain. In that moment, I…

kindred spirits

Posted on December 20, 2016

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 eastern seas. I follow the meditated pattern of their sweeping lines, marveling at their intricacy – musing on the intricacy of the path of my life that has been unfolding: a thousand hidden alleys, a thousand secret moments, a thousand twists of twine, a maze interwoven with the stars – all, to bring me… here. I think about how, in the span of a few weeks, the course of…

from every mountain top

Posted on October 25, 2016

To think – of our names, on your tongue…when the sins that weigh on our backs, the shadows that whisper in our hearts, make us unworthy of even speaking yours. Of ever claiming you as ours. But to think, when we whisper, “Mawla Hussain, we are here,” standing next to your body… to think, that you respond? Knowing every curve of every letter of our names? The 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…

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…