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Archive for the ‘Ahl al-Sunna’ Category

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

ya_hussain_ibn_ali__by_wewanttobe-d5lc8nm

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how can i find the words to express what i feel

my road to Muhammad goes through Husayn

it can be no other way

Karbala is Madina

Madina is Karbala

 

how can i sleep

for when i wake

something may distract me

from thinking of you

all i have is these moments

with aching legs

wishing to walk to you

and bloodshot eyes

longing to see you

 

in my heart

i can imagine the scene

one foot on earth

the other in Heaven

but i can only see a glimpse

of the beauty revealed

to Zaynab

 

i ultimately care not

for centuries of discourse

nor cultural continuity and contestation

they are only a means

so may this poem be obliterated to history

if it is nothing more

than a paragraph in someone’s dry essay

about 21st-century English lamentation poetry

 

what matters only

is if there is any sincerity

– a secret known only to al-Khabir

behind the tears welling in my eyes

and the burning in my chest

as i dream of standing before your palace in Heaven

my fist about to knock on your door

a long journey’s end

 

what would i do at that moment

when you opened it

would i throw my arms around you

and sob on your shoulder

or lower my head in awe

unable to move

until you tell me what to do

 

i am nothing compared to you

nor will i ever be

but hope in Mercy

means it is all possible

 

please

whatever happens

and however my life unfolds

and in whatever state i die

i simply ask that you overlook my manifest faults

and take me by the hand

to introduce me

to your grandfather

 

i can no longer imagine visiting him for the first time

without you

 

“…Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn…”

 

Allahumma salli ‘ala Muhammad wa ali Muhammad

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41_33

And who is better in speech than the one who calls to God, and does righteous deeds, and says, “I am most assuredly one of the Muslims.” (41.33)

There is a group of Muslims who claim to represent all of us. They call themselves “The Islamic State (al-dawla al-islāmīya)” and they ask us to pledge our allegiance to the person they consider their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

On this blessed day of jumu‘ah, in the blessed month of Shawwāl, in the Hijrī year of 1435, I firmly reject the pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. I do so out of fear of the Lord of the worlds, Who will ask me about what I did on this day. I do so out of love for the Messenger of Allah, upon him and his family be blessings and peace, who I long to sit with in the next life. I do so out of hope for Jannah, in which the utmost limits of my dreams reside. I do so out of my joy at being a member of the vast and diverse Ummah of Muhammad, upon him and his family be blessings and peace, which includes Sunnis and Shi’is, Sufis and Salafis.

And I call all humanity to study the teachings of the Messenger of Allah, upon him and his family be blessings and peace. He was sent by Allah to all of us, white and black, male and female, American and people who are citizens of other nations – without exception. All of humanity is welcome to freely accept Islam if it moves their heart, and simultaneously reject the tyranny, ignorance, and brutality that is done by those who have pledged their allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

I am prepared to meet my Lord with this statement in my book of deeds, and I ask the Eternal and Everlasting Refuge (al-Ṣamad) to accept it as one of the best of my deeds. I invoke the Protector (al-Ḥafīdh) alone to protect me and those I love. I do not need armies, nor intelligence services, nor police forces for our protection – all I need is our Lord, in whose holy Name I have written these words onto my heart. hasbunā Allāh wa ni‘ma al-wakīl.

R. David Coolidge

New York City

26th Shawwāl, 1435 AH

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Dearest God, send blessings and peace upon our master Muhammad and his family

There is something I keep thinking about, and the more I think about it, the more profound and beautiful it becomes. It is the story of the first revelation. Muhammad was up on the mountain when it happened. He came rushing down to Makkah into the arms of his beloved wife of 15 years, Khadija. He was overwhelmed and afraid – a completely understandable response to what had just happened! He found comfort in his wife’s arms, and opened his heart to her.

Imagine if it happened to you. Imagine you burst in the door and told your spouse, “Cover me with a blanket!” Then you said that you had been in the presence of an angel who had delivered to you God’s Speech (kalām Allāh). You shared your awe and fear with honesty. What would your spouse say? I have to imagine that for most of us, our spouses would be highly skeptical, and rightfully so. They have lived with us for many years, and they have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. And that is one of the reasons why I am always blown away by Khadija’s response.

Khadija did not even hesitate. She was the closest person in the whole world to the man who had just outwardly become the last Messenger of Allah to humanity. She had shared so much with him before this night. So when he shared his experience with her, she immediately said, “God will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your kith and kin, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guests generously, and assist the deserving calamity-afflicted ones.” She bore witness to the truth of his message because she had seen the sterling example of his character year after year. She knew he would not lie. She knew he would not concoct this story for personal gain. She knew he wasn’t seeking power, wealth, or pleasure. She knew he wasn’t a delusional person. He was a person of immense character, selflessness, and intelligence, and so she immediately became the first believer in him.

How poignant it is that his wife was the first convert. What greater testimony to his character can there be than the testimony of the one who had the greatest access to who he was behind closed doors! And how poignant it is that she highlighted the following attributes of his way of being:

  • Keep good relations with your kith and kin (i.e. friends and family)
  • Help the poor and destitute
  • Serve your guests generously
  • Assist the deserving calamity-afflicted ones

The Sunnah (way/example) of the Prophet Muhammad is built on this foundation. Before he was ever a Prophet in this world, he was a man of humility, nobility and grace. Our mother Khadija has taught us about the Sunnah that came before the Sunnah, embodied in the way he lived for 15 years as a husband and father before he was called to Prophethood. She has highlighted the primary importance of being such a good person that those closest to us, including our own spouses, will testify on our behalf.

Khadija is hinting to us to be people of Muḥammadī character, so that we may be fit to understand, embrace, and realize the truths of the Muḥammadī revelation (i.e. the Qur’an and the Sunnah). She was a wife who did not need to be commanded, coerced, or duped using a religious justification; rather, she had no doubt in her heart as to her husband’s pure intentions. And Muhammad was a husband who valued his wife’s viewpoint and support so much that he relied on it to adapt to the process of becoming a Prophet. As he said later in life, “She believed in me when none else did. She embraced Islam when people disbelieved me. And she helped and comforted me in her person and wealth when there was none else to lend me a helping hand.”

Dearest God, send blessings and peace upon our master Muhammad and his family

Khadijah

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