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looking down on the earth

what can be seen

blue and green

lights at night

clouds swirling

 

the sun in the distance

does not move

rather

the earth spins

one half bathed in light

 

right now

the sun is about to rise

on baghdad

while new york city

has settled in for the night

 

so let me pray

to the One who knows all this and more

that this new day brings good

to every human soul

in iraq

 

39,203,499

that is how many souls are estimated

to be in iraq right now

 

i only know a few of their names

and those whose names i know

i barely know the faintest outline

of their life story

 

most of all

i wanted to move there

but my intention could not pierce

the wall of the Decree

 

but i am thinking right now

of certain faces

who i may have known

if i had been given the chance

and i am wishing them well

 

these are the times

when i realize my dependence on my Lord

because i do not have billions of dollars

to spend on your wellbeing

i do not have the power

to make you safe

i do not even have the opportunity to move there

and get to know you

and learn from you

but i can pray for you

 

i can pray to the One who knows

each and every one of your names

and the joys and tragedies of your stories

and the shape of your fingertips

and everything your eyes have seen

 

the One who can teach me everything i need to know

and protect me from every harm i have ever feared

and grant me every longing i have ever felt

and more

 

i can pray to the One that made all of this possible

and caused the sun to rise upon you

and the darkness to cover me

to give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter

and to save us from the punishment of the Fire

 

for even though i feel in exile

from my heart

the truth is that i am a servant

and there is no real loss

when one serves the Master of the tigris and the euphrates

S2000245090716.L1A_HOMA.Iran_Iraq_dust_md

This is the third and last video on spirituality. In it I discuss the concepts of Beauty (جمال) and Majesty (جلال) and our hope and fear in God. I pray that you find benefit in it, and that God accepts it from me, ameen.

how can a son honor his father

it seems impossible so why even bother

 

but the truth of gratitude can only be found

through trying to count the blessings that abound

 

without him there would be no David standing here

neither I nor my son on this Earth would appear

 

so with that fact so clear we can see it is true

that every blessing that I have has flowed through you

 

but more than just biology you have engendered in me

there are the years spent teaching this man that you see

 

basketball and baseball, my father was there

leaving work early to show that he cares

 

striving to win but also accepting defeat

for strength and gentleness, in my father they meet

 

taking me to Colorado’s mountains and Kenya’s great plain

showing me the world instead of seeking more gain

 

he could have worked more and achieved a higher lot

but his family came first, something I never forgot

 

even when at Andover, or Princeton or Brown

I always knew he’d be there if I ever felt down

 

and when my life’s work took me places he did not know

he never stopped trying to help me grow

 

He taught me to do right and give it my best

but his actions spoke louder than all the rest

 

for I have never doubted he wants the best for me

and he has done right by us, for all to see

 

so on his birthday we honor our father and friend

and try to pay a little back on a debt that never will end

20180503_102027

My father, me, and my grandfather at my high school graduation.

humanity’s story

from beginning to end

is written in pages

no human can amend

 

from where did we come

and to where shall we go

there are so many details

that only One can know

 

but I do not need

to know the whole plot

for my heart is lost

on the same spot

 

in the sands of Iraq

under the blazing sun

I find deep conviction

in the promise of One

 

at the feet of my Imam

in love with Husayn

the pathway to pleasure

is riddled with pain

 

so I’ll saddle my horse

once again I must ride

in the comfort of friends

I can no longer hide

 

to distant shores I must travel

miles to go before sleep

to offer what I have

for my life is not cheap

 

I will only spend it

on a life without fear

in the abiding trust

he is always near

 

my Husayn come with me

please stand by my side

so that my studies and labors

will fill you with pride

 

the tears I have cried

inspire my work

fighting against whispers

that always lurk

 

Muslim scholars once studied

more than just their own faith

so embracing diversity

should not feel unsafe

 

a false choice to choose

between mosque and the world

when in history’s pages

Husayn’s flag was unfurled

 

for the whole world’s a stage

and we can never forget

the scene of 680

when two armies met

 

one was for truth

filled with family and friends

and the other for falsehood

seeking the basest of ends

 

and even though death

fell hard upon the first

it left this seeker

with an undying thirst

 

as if Husayn’s absence

is a void in human life

that can only be filled

in that land without strife

 

so what can you give me

o people of Earth

instead of showing me Husayn

you offer far less in worth

 

I was created for Heaven

and my Lord set the price

my life for His Gifts

I don’t have to think twice

 

no matter how much I travel

or read or love

nothing will slake me

except my Master above

 

at the end of my days

with nothing left to give

I hope I’ll look back

at the life I choose to live

 

and see how Husayn

gave me both earth and sky

and promised me victory

through every tear I cry

 

even though the end seems far

soon it will come

and I pray for acceptance

at the work I will have done

 

my dreams can be found

near gardens and rivers that flow

but I will only get there

by being fearless here below

IMG-20160218-WA0006

In this second video, I discuss the concepts of taklīf and taqwā and their foundational role in our spiritual life. The upcoming fast of the month of Ramadan is highlighted as a practical example of the reality we are trying to understand and embody.

 

Yesterday two friends who I love for the sake of Allah each encouraged me to return to a more public teaching role. In response to their request, I have decided to start a video series on spirituality that I hope has the same ethos of the writing on A Mercy Case: free, available globally, honest and personal.

Over the past few years, I have come to realize how influential videos are in global religious discourse. Increasingly, people do not like to read much. As such, I hope that these videos will be a complement to my writings. May Allah accept it and put benefit in it, ameen ya Nafi’.

for You

You need nothing

and yet

let me offer this to You

Creator of my soul

Provider of my consciousness

Giver of a promise to all

 

i cannot even fathom what lays hidden

but what i have heard and seen and felt

is already so beyond words

 

so let my gratitude flow through these words

using what You have given me for Your sake

to glorify You to the extent that You have opened my heart

to understand You

 

only You know Yourself truly

for us the approach has no end

so bless my works in this short life

for how can i claim anything

when i did not create my hands or my mouth or my mind

 

 

You

forever You

always You

never me

 

have mercy on David

for he is who You chose me to be

and were i to thank You

with every breath remaining in my time on earth

it would not even approximate

the reality of Your Generosity

 

يا كريم

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