Tere ishq nachaiyaan kar key thaiyaa

9:03 AM | 17 July 2019

It’s a strange feeling resting heavy on the heart. Hurried anticipation for the near future. The kind that doesn’t let you sit still and makes you want to get up and pace around the room. A few deep breaths every other second does no good. Your feet also begin to hurt. Where are the words to describe this discomfort?

Everyone and everything around you is fine. Your aunts and uncles are sharing happy good mornings on the family WhatsApp group and there is love and warmth all around you. But do you really feel it?

How can emptiness feel heavy? But it does! I promise you that! It’s a puzzle, the heart. The missing piece is just your soul demanding to go home. And this home is not in the dusty streets of Karachi or in the shimmering ones of New York or in the rainy ones of London. This home is in His remembrance. Just remembering Him, thinking about Him, His mercy. More than the problems that keep you awake at night.
This home is in the smile you gift to another human being, it is in the ease you create for another, it’s in the comfort your words and actions gift to another. It’s in the noise of the waterfall, in the humming of the meyna, in the sea-shells washed along the shore. In the gratitude you offer as you wake up from flashbacks of a ghostly – or ghastly – past life. It is also – and I’m sure of this – in the guidance we seek, every morning.
And in love. And in Love.

“Ais ishq di jhangi wich mor bulenda/
Sanu qibla ton Ka’aba sohna yaar disenda/
Saanu ghayal karke phir khabar na laaiyaan/
Tere ishq nachaiyaan kar key thaiyaa / thaiyaa!”
(“A peacock calls in the grove of passion/
It’s Qibla, It’s Kaaba where lives my love/
You asked not once after you stabbed/
Your love has made me dance like mad.”)
– Bulleh Shah


Photo: Aleena Zahid Naqvi

A little of God, a little of the angels, a little of Iblis.

Humans are so strange. A little of God (His ninety-nine names within us: Mercy, Kindness, Justice, Unconditional love), a little of the angels (because sometimes, like the angels, we really have no control over the good that we do. Because we do it unconsciously. Something like that?), and a little of *Iblis.
So we do spend our whole lives torn between these three. But I’ve always wondered how many Iblis are really there inside us, parading around as piety and hiding behind the charity.

I wonder how many Iblis are there inside us because it’s like even they compete for the greater evil. Like Iblis number 1 says, “You gotta lie about this merchandise!”. Number 2 says, “No! You gotta steal a better one from XYZ!” Number 3 says, “No, no! Just kill the dude and take it over his business, too!” While Number 4 tells number 1 and 2 to shut up and let number 3 take over. Which one is the scariest? You guessed it: the one that tries to strangle your conscience as you shed the blood of your own kith and kin, of the birds and souls, of humanity.

We only know who wins when we stand on the prayer mat. In the middle of the night. And we know what **dua we are making as the peace – or lack of it – in our hearts whispers to us.

It really is like the Sufi whirling. Have you ever seen it live? Only when we lose ourselves into it – in the loveliness, in the loneliness, in the solitude, in the desire for the divine love that holds your hand till you discover human love – that we truly meet our higher selves.

So. Let’s get ready for the litmus test: what will give you peace on your deathbed?


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