Unspoken Words | Poem

I long for your presence.
My feet guide me to you with ease,
anxious and wanting.
Your eyes are closed
Breathing in and out, lips moving
Whispering praises of God.
I sit and watch
I wish that you’d beckon me to sit beside you.
My arms yearn to wrap themselves around your worn shoulders.

Finally your voice rings
My breath halting,
“Why are you here?”
I answer stupidly, “I don’t know.”

I miss you. I want to be a kid again. I want us to talk with ease. I wish we would love one another openly.

You respond by reaching for the wooden prayer beads at your feet,
Your body turning away from me.

Heaviness floods what is left in my chest,
I fold my hands together awkwardly
Attempting to fill the spaces of my fingers myself.

I miss you. I want to be a kid again. I want us to talk with ease. I wish we would love one another openly.

I know you feel the same way.

Light Is a Gift & a Mercy

At a point in my life where I was feeling extremely low, I would sometimes go to the nearby masjid just to feel some sort of peace. I would go alone and attempt to avoid any interactions. I would try my best to slow down the negative thoughts that ran through my head. Doing this every so often would be the bit of comfort that I needed to urge me to continue on.

On one of the days I was there, a sister who I met for the first time greeted me with the warmest of smiles. She mentioned that I didn’t look at ease, and without further questioning me, she began chatting with me as though we were long-time friends.

Every word she spoke, and every story she shared with me instantly tugged at my heart. I couldn’t stop myself and ended up uncontrollably tearing up like a baby. It was as though my heart found her familiar, and finally opened up after so long.

This embarrassing moment of crying into a stranger’s arms and “randomly” bumping into her on various occasions after that (it was always whenever my heart needed it), was a constant reaffirmation to myself: that people truly cross your path for a reason, and you are sometimes given reminders at moments when you may either be looking for them or not – but in hindsight, when you need them most. And this is one of the biggest mercies.

When my sight becomes a bit foggy and someone with a light like her’s helps me to see His Light a little clearer, this is without a doubt a gift that I am a million times grateful for.

May we all become reflections of His Light for those around us, even for strangers we may speak to only briefly.

• • •

God shows His love and presence through His signs.

21 Things I Learned in 21 Years

I turned 21 in August, and after some time of reflection (and mourning of my childhood) I wrote down a list of things I learned:

  1. Sometimes things may take longer for you than they do for others, and that’s okay. Trust the process and find peace in whatever pace life is going at for you.
  2. Doing acts of service for others, whether it’s acknowledged or not, rewards you with a unique kind of joy. Do it often.
  3. Showing emotion and vulnerability doesn’t make you a weak person. It makes you authentically human.
  4. You’ll meet people in your life whose warmth and love feels almost unreal. You’ll miss their presence every second you’re separated, and rejoice every time you meet. Understand that it may not be written for them to be around you longterm. Learn from them while you can, and strive to become that presence in someone else’s life later on.
  5. It’s inevitable that there will be moments in which your faith hits low points. Our hearts go through seasons, and that doesn’t mean it’s the end for you. Although the physical acts of worship may feel routine at times, keep going. It will get better and it’ll be sweeter than ever when it does.
  6. The Creator doesn’t seek perfection from you, He seeks your utmost sincerity and striving. Know that perfection is an attribute only He encompasses.
  7. People can be going through things you could never imagine and still put on the brightest of smiles. Constantly ask the people around you how they are doing. Be a safe and open space for others. Gently let them know that you’re there for them, and actually be there when they need you.
  8. Being uncomfortable isn’t always a bad thing. Getting out of your comfort zone leads to an abundance of growth – and in aspects of yourself you may not have even thought of. What you are afraid to do is a clear indication of what you need to do next.
  9. The things you go through, God may be preparing you for what you’ve asked for.
  10. We often forget that our parents are dealing with struggles of their own, and we see them as infallible and strong beings at all times. When in reality, if you don’t look close enough you may end up ignoring their fragility, unspoken fears and brokenness that they may never outright reveal to you. They are so very often worrying about us that they neglect themselves. Do good things for them regularly, and try to be a factor that helps their Hereafter.
  11. If you haven’t figured out your purpose, you have no other purpose than to find that purpose.
  12. When God loves you, He overwhelms you. You are put through hardship to become stronger, more resilient and changed. Being in darkness for a time is a prerequisite in order to bask in light. Proof are the stars – they are invisible only until they are in darkness.
  13. You can be the poorest person in the world and still be the happiest. Money is a good side effect of success, but it doesn’t amount to anything in the end. Know what will last, and make those priorities.
  14. Not knowing “what’s next” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The unknown can be beautiful if you change your perspective. Trusting in the journey and thriving (not only surviving) through the experience is what is necessary in order to grow. Look forward to this moment: when you will be able to look back at everything that has led you to where you wanted to be, and every part of you is wholeheartedly grateful.
  15. Some people may go great lengths to destroy what is good. Protection, prayer and gratitude are your friends.
  16. Although everyone seems different, if you look a little deeper you will see that we are more similar than we think. We’re all reaching out for sunlight, reaching out for warmth – we’re branches of the same tree. If you look past the superficial facades that divide us, we all just want the same things.
  17. Finding comfort in solitude doesn’t amount to loneliness. These are the moments that oftentimes allow you to figure out who you are; you don’t always have to be surrounded by noise. Find peace within yourself, by yourself.
  18. Everything is temporary, both the good and the bad. It’s a bittersweet, but also reassuring reality.
  19. Sharing a genuine smile is the simplest way to lift a person’s mood. humanity is truly in a depression. Revive the prophetic smile and give it out in abundance.
  20. Things happen at the right time and the way that they are supposed to. Adopt patience, breathe, and increase your trust in God.
  21. You will only receive what you put forth. If you want something, do the work. If you do the work, know that you will be rewarded some way or another.

Steadfastness Is Our Superpower

I often used to wonder why people lost faith until I realized how easy it was to do so.  It’s so easy to fall off the right path. It’s easy to stop doing the right things, indulge and follow our desires.

Having the freedom to choose between right or wrong is difficult. I honestly sometimes wish we didn’t have that privilege. At times, I think of it as a burden.

A little part of me envies the Angels because they earn God’s pleasure with ease. They were created to worship Him, and they never once disobey Him.

Having the freedom to choose between right or wrong is difficult. I honestly sometimes wish we didn’t have that privilege.

Thinking this way though, I often forget that the Angels root for us. Despite our differences in creation, they are in awe every time we go against our nafs (self) and rush to worship.

There was once a moment when the Angels showed hesitance about our very existence. They asked God—out of pure curiosity, if He was really going to make a Creation that causes destruction and sheds blood on Earth. God responded by saying, He knows what they do not when it comes to the disposition of mankind.

I often forget that the Angels root for us.

Us humans are infamous for our constant forgetfulness. Interestingly enough, the word for human in Arabic is ‘insan.’ And the word that it is derived from is ‘nasiya’, which literally means ‘to forget.’

Now, remember the response that God gave to His Angels?

He knows what they do not.

This is a testament that God believes in us, day in and day out—every moment we mess up, every moment we forget. He clearly sees our potential, even when we may not. His presence never wavers, and He always waits for us to come back to Him when we turn away.

The good that we can do despite the distractions around us, is proof to the Angels every time. I always have to remind myself that the one whose love for God is greater than the desires that tug at their heart will be given gifts beyond measure.

The good that we can do despite the distractions around us is proof to the Angels every time.

When I see those struggling, or even leave faith—or at my weakest moments when my mind wanders to things that displease Him, those are the times that I tell myself I desperately need to keep striving. Because in a world that causes us to forget, faith is irreplaceable.

#OurThreeBrothers & Beyond: Silence Is a Form of Injustice

إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعون
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raaji’un
Indeed we belong to God, and to Him we shall return.

It’s difficult to not let the anger that we inevitably feel when we hear about horror stories such as this to consume our heart. When my eyes and ears have to witness sweet souls sentenced to their death without warning, it’s disheartening. Mothers are mourning for their children, crying until their eyes swell shut, and their bodies numb. This happens far too often. They don’t give us time, no time at all to mourn, to heal – we are constantly bombarded with tragedy after tragedy.

Adam Kamel Mekki (20), Muhannad Adam Tairab (17), and Mohamedtaha Omar (23), all of Sudanese-American backgrounds. 2 Muslims, 1 Christian. Our Three Brothers. Found in a home, murdered execution-style. No media coverage for days after their deaths. I heard about this after THREE LONG days of silence. This was a silence that was deafening. A silence that was heartbreaking. And a silence that will be remembered.

Beloved, beautiful, black young men and women are stripped of their future every day. They don’t only face erasure, but are also subject to many forms of violence. Selective mourning exists, there is no denying that fact. And it needs to end. There is no tragedy that holds greater importance over another. A life is a life. The Prophet, peace be upon him, told us that we are like one body. When a part of us is in pain, all of us should feel it.

What is heartbreaking, is that families are alone in mourning for their children while we are fragmented as a people. A brother of mine said…“For those of you who heard about this incident and assumed gang violence or drugs, you are part of the problem. For those of you who needed a justification to mourn, shame on you. And for those of you who remain silent, were they not souls?” As a community, we should care, regardless of reason. Adam, Muhannad and Mohamedtaha lost their lives. That alone should be the sole reason for us to stand up in solidarity.

It was reported that a funeral passed by the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and he stood up in respect. When he was told that it was the coffin of a Jewish man, the Prophet beautifully replied, “Was he not a soul?” He taught us that all lives have worth, and that every person has value in the eyes of God.

We may never forget the ache that has lived inside us for so long. And we shouldn’t. It has flowed in the veins of the strong men and women who fought for us to feel a sense of peace and belonging in this world. Our mothers and fathers who have been tested to the point death nestled itself in their throats, attempting to silence them from voicing against hate and injustice. Do not let their struggle be in vain. We will wait for justice. Justice that will soon come. We all share this commonality. Let this sense of hope consume our hearts instead of the anger. May the many Adams, Muhannads, and Mohamedtahas always be remembered.

Honing Your Spiritual Wisdom In Times of Despair

When you beg for Allah to guide you in a matter, you may not always perceive His response to be clear. Your understanding may be distorted by your desires, or your eyes may be blind to the truth that He has unveiled in front of you.

But Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God), He is ever so merciful as to send you clarity. In a way that calms your greedy hands, and softens your confused heart. You must learn to look carefully at His signs, and understand that He always wants the best for you. You must assure your heart that His will is not one to lose faith in.

See nothing but beauty and wisdom. Your affairs are in the hands of the One who is Most Loving and Most Wise.

My First Home

Once I arrived at my long awaited destination, I attempted to open my eyes. I instantly regretted it, for I was welcomed by brightness that shot at me mercilessly. I closed my eyes and relied on my other senses to take everything in.

A layer of cold enveloped me and rudely left harsh goosebumps that raked every inch of my body. I then felt warmth, and soaked in the heat that cradled me from the cold but didn’t dare take a look. I heard voices, each tone laced with various emotions. I could tell the people around me were excited, and felt exposed with the unwanted attention.

My senses were vivid, and I listened as the people around me made comments such as how precious and plump I was. Suddenly everything became too much to bear, and the blood in my body rushed to my cheeks as I flushed a bright red and let out a cry.

I needed an asylum. A home. Abruptly, I felt strong hands lift me up and lightly drop me into a pair of noticeably tired, yet protective arms. I was hungry and quite impatient, but those feelings were momentarily dulled the minute I felt wet tears dropping on my face.

I was clearly aware of the impossibly large amount of love that was radiating from this particular person. I opened my eyes once again, fearing the light, but was instead shaded by a face that gazed adoringly at me. Feeling a curve that felt foreign to me grow slightly on my face, I took in my first real deep breath and knew I was with the happiest of them all: my mother.

God & His Servant: It’s an Odd Relationship

“And He gave you from all you asked of Him. And if you should count the favor of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, mankind is (generally) most unjust and ungrateful.” —Surah Ibrahim [14:34]

My mind cannot wrap around the fact that the Most Merciful allows me to speak to Him, cry out to Him, and to ask of Him. I am not worthy.

Surely a sinner doesn’t deserve mercy? But Allah—whom none can compare to, is our Lord. Even though you feel most undeserving, He still gives. He smiles upon you, wishes the absolute best for you and His sustenance for you never once falters, even for a bit.

He accepts. He understands. He knows. He is the Most Merciful, even when you have foolishly turned away from Him.

Do not turn away from Him.

Do not wrong your soul, and instead, take a step towards the Ultimate Source of Love—unconditional and pure. Walk towards His mercy, care, understanding and acceptance. And He promises to run towards you.