Posts from the “Ziyara” Category

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…


Posted on April 18, 2016

alone, a traveler in a strange land, I found myself standing before you. like a small child, lost and confused I fell at your feet, stumbling upon the weight of my tears. the labyrinth of sorrows suffocated, twisting unbearable knots in my chest. I was bewildered, not knowing which way to turn. and then, I felt the tenderness of your hand. your reaching embrace, pulling me into your arms, the soothing whisper, I am with you now, Allah (swt) is watching, everything is going to be alright. with the touch of a mother you turned my chin upwards, my eyes to meet yours – and oh, such beauty, your face the moonlight, your eyes the stars… Sayyida Masooma! on a night like this, how difficult it is to be so…


Posted on April 10, 2016



“before i met you, i was wishing to meet you.
and after meeting you, i was wishing to never be separated from you.
and after being separated from you, i lost the desire to wish forever.”

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ

journey to the stars

Posted on December 28, 2015

This past summer, I was honored with the blessing of being able to travel to the holy lands of Iraq and Iran to visit the resting places of the descendants of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family), a visitation that is often referred to as “ziyara,” or “ziyarat.” “The word ‘Ziyarat’ is derived from the word “zawr” which means to deflect or draw away from something. A lie is called ‘zur’ because it deflects from the path of truth. The ‘za’ir’ [individual undertaking the ziyarat] is known to be so, because he deflects from other than “the one he intends to visit.”[…] And it is said that the reason why Ziyarat is referred to as visiting the saintly human beings, is…

sweet, sweet Samarra

Posted on November 22, 2015

the feeling, of walking through your door and into your loving arms. (the agonizing pain, of leaving, not knowing when i might see you again.) i cannot attempt to put it into words. will not attempt. because the words for that feeling do not exist. there are no words for the ocean to describe how it feels, finally reaching the shore. Grandfather – you saved me, in ways i never thought i could be saved. when i first met you, there was so much i thought i knew of love. a chest heavy with grief, and eyes weighted by tears, i thought i knew what it meant to possess heart that longed for another. to live with a mind always occupied with the thoughts of another’s name. but…

would that i were with you

Posted on November 1, 2015

there is a certain emptiness of the heart that is only filled by standing at the gate to your harram, ya Ali. would that i were of the lucky ones who are standing there now – stepping forward with heavy, yearning steps; hands on their aching, restless hearts; heads lowered in salute to you; eyes transfixed on one point: the door that leads to you. would that i was not where i am, but rather thousands of miles across desert and sea. entering your vicinity, feeling the warm winds of Najaf whip gently across my skin. would that i were holding firm to the door to your courtyard, kissing its solid wood, trailing my fingers across each wall (for to lovers, even walls and…