Archive for October, 2015

love of guidance

There is a conversation going on in my head

Aqeela says: “the pain of separation is agonizing”

Rizwan says: “express your desire for death, if you are true”

I say: “God, take me now”

Rend the veil between me and ‘Ali

Let me embrace Husayn

Bless my eyes to see Zayn al-‘Abidin

If the choice was between another 50 years in this world, and those 3

there is no choice

my God would look after my son and wife

al-Razzaq al-Kareem al-Wahhab al-Hadi al-Raheem al-Qadir al-Muqtadir al-Muhyi

I do not cry out of discontent with Your decree

I cry because my body cannot contain the yearning

there is only one valve to release the pressure – my eyes

and so I cry

accept these tears, my Lord

and let them pave the way to the abode of men

in front of whom I am nothing but a bewildered lover

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Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem

Allahumma salli ‘ala Muhammad wa aali Muhammad

al-salam ‘alaykum ya Aba ‘Abdillah al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali

I pledge my allegiance to you eternally, hoping in Mercy, fearing Justice, longing for the Garden, terrified of the Fire

I seek your companionship in this life and the next, O Sayyid Shabab al-Jannah

I testify before the sacred presence of the All-Knowing that you are one of the “ulu’l-amri minkum (the holder of authority amongst them)” to whom obedience is owed for the sake of Allah

I testify before the sacred presence of Habeeb Allah, blessings and peace be upon him and his family, that Allah loves those who love you.

I see no other epitome of love for you but following you on ‘Ashura.

In my heart and with my words, I make complete tawalli (allegiance) to you, and complete tabarri (opposition) to those who stood against you, at the head of whom was Yazid. You had the right to rule, and the one who sought your submission had no right.

I have so much still to learn about what it means to follow you, but I will follow you until the end of this world, with Allah’s permission.

My pledge to you is my pledge to your grandfather, the Best of Creation, blessings and peace be upon him and his family.

Ask Allah to make me one of your truest servants in history, for in the words of one of your servants, “it was here that I found the meaning of life, and every day after was in this meaning spent.”

Labbayka ya Husayn!

For the following of our Prophet
For the obedience to our God
You are the one I have been searching for all these years

You are my commander and what a blessed commander you are!

Your servant,

Robert David Coolidge

Allahumma salli ‘ala Muhammad wa aali Muhammad

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The usual combination of saying subhan Allah and alhumdulillah and Allahu akbar has a meaning that many overlook.

Subhan Allah means that Allah is completely different from the material creation. It is often translated simply as “Glorified is Allah.” Theologically, it is connected to tanzih, which is to make a thorough distinction between Allah and the creation. Allah is exalted above any comparison to the creation.

On the other hand, alhamdulillah – often translated as “all praise is due to Allah” – is theologically related to the opposite of tanzih, which is tashbihTashbih is to compare Allah to the creation for the sake of understanding something about Allah. For example, we talk about the “mercy” of a mother and the “Mercy” of Allah, and we say that Allah’s mercy is far greater than the mercy of mother (as is stated in many hadith). So when we have a good meal, we say alhamdulillah because we recognize that ultimately it is Allah who has given it to us. In some way, it is from Allah and so we attribute its praiseworthiness to its Owner.

Tashbih and tanzih form a dialectic, a back and forth that creates mental and emotional movement. We know that Allah is not the deliciousness of food nor the beauty of a sunset, and yet we enjoy food and sunsets as reflections of Allah in some way. When we recognize that Allah is distinct from the world, we say subhan Allah and when we see Allah’s presence in something we say alhamdulillah.

Allahu akbar breaks the dialectic – it affirms that Allah is greater than both tanzih and tashbih. Allah is beyond all dialectics and dualities. The Reality of the Real (al-Haqq) is greater than any conception we can form of Reality. Allah is both intimately connected to and transcendentally disconnected from that which is not Allah in the greatest of ways. Allahu akbar.

All three are true, and saying them together complements each other and leads one closer to that which all three phrases have in common: الله

سبحان الله الحمد لله الله أكبر

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