Archive for January, 2015

fathers and sons

yā Allāh yā Qahhār yā Jabbār yā Qawī

I am terrified at this moment.

You know that I have been a Muslim for 16 years

and I have tried to prepare myself to be a father

who could raise a righteous child.

I thought I was ready

but now I am not so sure.

For if Mu‘āwiya b. Abī Ṣufyān

and S‘ad b. Abī Waqqāṣ

were not able to raise their sons Yazīd b. Mu‘āwiya and ‘Umar b. S‘ad

to stay their hands from shedding so much sacred blood

then what hope is there for me?!

I want my son to love and honor al-Ḥusayn b. ‘Alī

the beloved of Your beloved

and his son ‘Alī al-Akbar

so where shall I find that tawfīq?!

I can only come as a beggar to Your Door

weeping and pleading

for You to grant my son what You granted to al-Ḥurr al-Riyāḥī

for through his story I now know more deeply

that You alone guide whom You will.

yā Hādī yā Karīm yā Wadūd yā Allāh

Obliterate the misguidance that comes from me

and replace it with the Guidance that comes only from You

and save my son and I from the punishment of the Fire.

Allāhumma ṣalli ‘alā Muhammadin wa ālihi wa sallim


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here i am.

age 36.

with a baby almost at his first birthday.

being with him roots me to this world, but at the same time he is a daily miracle.

his face was molded by a power beyond sight


“and He is the One who fashions you in the wombs however He wills. There is no god but Him, The Mighty, The Wise.” (3.6)

and yet all I see is his face – his laughs, his cries, his blank stares

his face is what I see before my eyes, not the One who fashioned it

I can go into a mystical state and see that the Real is more real than the time-bound reality that I am witnessing

but there is certain level of abstraction there

the constancy of his face – day in and day out – is what is overwhelming

he brings me back to the time before I was even worried about the meaning inherent in reality

when life was primarily about play

it all reminds me of the nihilistic strands of my youth, the ones that were overcome by being a seeker

like Abraham, upon him peace

“In this way We showed Abraham [God’s] mighty dominion over the heavens and the earth, so that he might be a firm believer. When the night grew dark over him he saw a star and said, ‘This is my Lord,’ but when it set, he said, ‘I do not like things that set.’ And when he saw the moon rising he said, ‘This is my Lord,’ but when it too set, he said, ‘If my Lord does not guide me, I shall be one of those who go astray.’ Then he saw the sun rising and cried, ‘This is my Lord! This is greater.’ But when the sun set, he said, ‘My people, I disown all that you worship beside God. I have turned my face as a true believer towards Him who created the heavens and the earth. I am not one of the polytheists.’” (6.75-79)

Look beyond the “reality” of things to the Reality of the Maker of things.

But things are still there.

I read recently in a book by ‘Allamah Tabatabai that even after the annihilation of the self, things remain. That really got me down. I want to look into a thing, and look past it to the cells that make it up. And look past the cells to the quarks and so on that make them up, and all the way past to the base of reality and beyond that veil to the Infinite Beauty and Majesty and Power and Glory that pervades this entire realm of creation.

لا إله إلا الله

I can say the words, and my mind can travel to the edge of the observable universe, and I can reflect on the manifestations of Mercy (al-Rahman al-Raheem) and Justice (al-‘Adl al-Hakam) and Expansion (al-Basit) and Contraction (al-Qabid) and Fashioning (al-Musawwir) and Bringing Together (al-Jami’) that I have witnessed, and ponder God until the point of bewilderment (hayra). But I cannot rend the veil of the world – the same world that existed without reference to the Divine from when I was a little boy until I began to ponder meanings in my teenage years. 15 or so years the world was a stable entity, as it is.

يا قيوم

Perhaps that is one reason the story of the cave of Hira is so powerful. For 40 years, Muhammad lived in the same world as the rest of us. And then one night, it all changed. Forever.

If I ever see an angel, I’ll let you know.

Allahumma salli ‘ala Muhammad wa ali Muhammad

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