Everything is dying: the cats,the dogs --- the people. Only birds live because they have the sky. Where there are entryways, there are stones. Walls are wretched gaping mouths to potential enemy lines. It was a sniper that got my sister and struck my mother, picked them out as they ran with water for the thirsty in their hands. Is this what fate looks like? The bus is on loan from the king of Jordan. He would not send his men, but he would send a bus for the thousands fleeing. I board the bus and take a seat in the middle, in case it blows up at the front or back. My brother Adel is racing down the street. Don’t leave me, he is yelling, his face caked with dirt and blood. He is all I have left. In his hands he holds a bag of bread. Women lay over rubble in their thobes like dead moths. Silence catches its breath between the sting of bombs that hit my heart.
I used to love lamp light; the moon of the studious in university windows overlooking commerce and industry. I used to admire prophet like professors anointing the ignorant with prose of peace. Why do we leave? Because we must, if we wish to put our eyes on the heavens and claim a spot to call our own on this earth. I want to live. I want children to remind me of what happiness and joy sounds like because in these wars, we are robbed of everything, but hope.
May 28, 2020
Where is our Hira’?
We may not have dessert caves in abundance, but we don’t need them. Location is convenient, but not necessary. At home and in our own minds, there is space and there is time. We need to seek it, create it and use it. The seclusion we need is more than just that of relocating oneself; it is the I’tikaaf (spiritual retreat during the last ten days of Ramadan) of the soul that we require, not merely the physical.
Our souls crave precisely that – to experience the discomfort of breaking away from those things which are constantly tempting our physical senses, to feel the strain of spiritual discipline, to demand a shifting of the paradigm through which we view the world. These nights are a challenge, an opportunity, an invitation to migrate back to your lords gentle hands. As did prophets did before us.
We often wonder why we are so overwhelmed by life; the environment is suffering, the virus is raging, morals are disappearing, people are dying by incomprehensible numbers – in body and soul. What have we done? What can we do? Usually, we shrug and turn back to our daily distractions before even beginning to answer these questions.
Yet today… tonight… and every night of Ramadan after this, do something different. Isolate yourself from the pundits and celebrities convincing you to think about the shallow and the vapid, and instead go back to the ultimate source of wisdom, the only true answer to all our problems: the Magnificent Words of Allah, the Criterion, the Revelation, the Qur’an.
This Ramadan, discover your own Hira’.