A letter for her (XX) – subha bakhyr

9:01 AM | 27 February

I’d like to imagine that right now – at this moment – I’m watching the sun rise here and set far away.

Slowly, gracefully, the orange semi-circle of the centre of this known universe rises. The darkness of the previous night shies away as hope and love begin to dawn. It’s going to be a new day, another day, anything can happen! Anything at all! Do you see how big that is? How amazing that is? Good Lord!

It keeps on ascending the azure, singing hymns to the seven skies, admiring the hues of the wild blue yonder, nodding “*subha bakhyr” to all who woke up to say “thank you for another day” to the God who sends little miracles along their way, each day, every day.

And once it’s up there – majestic and all – it just shines down on everyone. The rich, the poor, the weak, the strong, the sad, the happy, the sinful, the pious. And just knowing that it’s there up there, helps you breathe deeply, slowly, calming that erratic heartbeat and sweaty palms and racing thoughts and the doubts and fears. It’s a little hard to believe but when you peek at the crystal mirror, you see your reflection smile in gratitude for another chance at life; for tearing away the heavy, heavy mask that was taking your life away; for this magical walk on the clouds when you lightly put your feet in front of the other and dance carefully, unbelievably light, not believing that the long path behind you is really now that: behind you.

Skipping heartbeats, grateful **sujoods, peaceful eyes. Really, “***Allah O Akbar”!

Love you more!

2019-03-10 08-764379492..jpg
Sandspit, Karachi

* good morning
** prostration
*** God is great



A letter for her (VII) – the light years between mortality and Adam’s twilight at Barzakh

*Nani Jaan!

It’s early morning here and I’m wrapped in your white chicken-karri **chaadar. You know the one that you used to wear while praying? Yeah, that one. There’s so much peace in your room; maybe the walls of this room are beginning to love your memories, guarding them, frequently tossing them our way. There’s always someone to catch them here!

Your rooster still gives his early morning call to prayer. The familiarity and comfort of his loud cock-a-doodle-do reminds me of the warmth of the sunshine on wet, shivering humans drenched by the first winter rain. The heart grows accustomed to strange things, doesn’t it?

You knew I wouldn’t get to say goodbye to you. Is that why you cried in my arms on the Twenty-third? I’m really sorry. I’m sorry.

It didn’t hurt too much, right? I know it didn’t. Can you help me prepare for mine?

I wonder how I’ll feel when I am about to join you. Where will my tired, tired soul seek an exit from? Which limb of mine will let go of its last breath first? Will my eyes flutter with uncertainty? Will my tongue testify to His Oneness, too? Will my soul be pleased with deserting my body? “And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and we are closer to him than (his) jugular vein”. Will my last heartbeat – my very last heartbeat – fly out from my jugular vein? And diffuse into the stardust suspended around my earthly self, slowly covering the light years between mortality and Adam’s twilight at Barzakh? How will I feel as my soul breezes out of the home it has known so well – the last breath caught in my throat – and my eyelids prostrate one last time? And the last beats of my only heart following the tinkling in my toes, the final sense of emptiness moving up through my body as little by little, the miracle of life leaves this flesh and bones? Will the loneliness just get deeper as they carry me away? Will they suddenly become more real and will I just diffuse into the air around, the memories in the hearts, another empty space in another house? How will it feel in that triangular house of mud? How dark will it be? Will it be scary? I’m scared of spiders and snakes. How will all this – this traffic of meaningless gatherings and false colours and loud music – finally end?

There are a hundred billion sunsets waiting on the horizon, and the Known and the Unknown are shaking hands.

Do you think the sea on our earth is the sky of our skies?

Miss you. Love you.

Yours ever.

Photo credits: Vashma Junaid

*Maternal grandmother

** traditional shawl

Allah k banday


Photo credits: https://www.instagram.com/ax2mir/

Sufi music has a very distinct sound to it, a different ‘samaa’, the kind that seems to beckon you to something you seem unaware of. Like a magnet pulling you towards the realisation of something great, something life-changing, something so beautiful that you are scared of how – and how much – it can change you. What if my entire life was a lie? What will I do then? What – if any – will my ‘before and after’ be like?

Kailash Kher’s ‘Allah k banday‘ does a little something like that.

“Toota toota ek parinda aise toota
Ke phir jud naa paaya
Loota loota kisne usko aise loota
Ke phir ud naa paaya”.

(Broken, a bird was broken such that
It could never fix itself
Stolen, stolen who stole it
Such that it could never fly again!)

Birds fly towards a destination felt only by the heart, the bottom of the heart; that old forgotten house standing at the end of the lane, romanticised by young men and women struggling to live, but breathing easily. Doesn’t that remind you of Attar’s ‘Conference of the Birds’?

“Kho ke aapne par hi to usne tha ud naa sikha
Gham ko aapne saath mein ley le dard bhi tere kaam aayega”.

(After having lost its wings, it had learnt to fly
Take the grief with you, this grief will be helpful)

There’s something incredibly beautiful about grief and pain. “Verily, with every difficulty there is relief!” (Quran. 94:5) Because waiting for the warmth of summers after the harsh, frost-biting winters, is the easiest way to wait for His Love and the most difficult way to survive. Because that’s what you do, you don’t live, you survive.

Photo credits: https://www.instagram.com/shehrozkhan_/

“Tukde tuke ho gaya tha har sapna jab woh toota
Bhikre tukdon mein Allah ki marzi ka manzar paayega”.

(Every dream was shattered when you fell
In broken pieces, you will find God’s will!)

Broken dreams cover the earth under your feet like pieces of glass spread out to make your soles bleed. You look down, hunting for your reflection. You see destiny smile at you, gently, lovingly, confidently. Walk carefully, okay?

“Allah ke bande hasde allah ke bande
Allah ke bande hasde jo bhi ho kal phir aayega”.

(God’s man, smile. God’s man!
Gods man, smile.
Whatever happens, tomorrow will come again.)

Do you smile with your heart? Feel it laughing? Feel the weight of Love dancing around in your blood, pumping itself through each of your cells, blowing into it another soulful love? Maybe you will now that the marriage of your will and God’s will has been celebrated.

I read about the power of prayers and duas, the magic of sincerity, the mysticism of faith. And I wonder if my will became His, or His Will became mine?

The prance of the Perseids 

This post first appeared on http://www.mirakee.com/arfamasihuddin


The sun sets and with it the fear
of losing the dust within.
Another day has gone by,
and we loom here, over the mortals;
looking into the telescope for
the gush of the Elysium waterfalls and
the prance of the Perseids.



The soft, soft clouds of AL-WADUD

Eve’s Reflection looks up at the sky.
It’s blue and white.

Do not the soft, soft clouds remind you of this world, child?
And does not the blue of the sky
racing behind it, mirror
the speed of your life, child?

Do the heart and the soul not yearn
to caress the softness of this wool?

And your heart, O’ your heart, craves the AL-WADUD
but to find your AR-RAHMAN, the AR-RAHEEM,
you know, you just know
you must listen to the shattering of souls.

And that is like the scratching of nails across a blackboard;
the shattering of souls.

You watch the white Wool of the sky,
floating softly,
and then at the speed of the blink of an eye.

A corner of your heart whispers,
“Hush, it will come to you!”

Hopeful eyes, scared eyes,
a faithful hand reaching out.

You touch the Wool into water
your heart smiles.

Eve’s Reflection was whispered a dream,

The soft, soft clouds are HIS who is ASH-SHAKUR,
Our Reflections are HIS Who is AN-NUR,
The Dervish is HIS Who is