I didn’t know it would be like this. I’m sorry, I can’t.
I understand… I’m sorry I changed.
No, I don’t think you did. It was I who never really knew you. But now I do. Goodbye, brother.
Nowadays I tend to forget,
Things that happened three seconds back
Nowadays I tend to forget,
Things that happened three seconds back
Nowadays I tend to forget,
Things that happened three seconds back
Treasure your mediocrity, it’s all you’ve got.
Hello, I am Adam and this is my mind. Mind, this is my friend _______.
I shouldn’t treat them the way I wanted to be treated, but how they want to be treated. But what I had that was good for me, they now have a choice at having too. I must accept that they may not agree with me on a lot of things.
I was seen doing something when someone approached.
“Why do you do that? It is very odd.”
“For such-and-such reasons.”
“Is that not taking it too far?”
“But so-and-so used to do it too.”
“But he was a saint!”
“Would it not then make sense to conclude that his actions amounted to that rank and not the other way around?”
He tried his hand at watercolors but found he was much better at painting with words.
My attention was broken by the arrival of a man dressed plainly who very shamelessly began walking through the seated crowd to reach the front of the gathering. My heart was filled with disgust. Who does he think he is? I thought to myself.
Just as we were nearing the end of the class, our teacher called on him, to my surprise, to read the closing supplication. I was shocked. Who was this man?
As the class ended we stood to kiss our teacher’s hand and to my shyness there he was beside my teacher. Everyone kissed his hand too.
When it came to my turn I didn’t know where to look as I kissed his hand when he suddenly pulled me into an embrace. He kissed my cheeks then said in my ear Sometimes the outside distracts us from the reality within.
He smiled and gave me a wink and I left dumbfounded, chastising myself.
The man who lived down the street was a saint of the highest order but few knew it thanks to his very low profile and normal behavior. I knew for a fact he would sometimes go without food and drink for weeks when his income was low and only enough for him to give charity. What we gave him he gave away also. Yet he was by no means frail or weak and that amazed me.
“In my studies now they claim we cannot go without food and water for a certain period, it is unhealthy and even fatal sometimes. I disagreed and they asked for evidence. Would you consider presenting yourself as a living specimen?”
“I would rather not actually.”
“But then you’d be able to know what’s special about your body too,” I offered.
He smiled warmly. “I know exactly what’s going on. It’s them who will be so puzzled that they will be distracted from turning towards Him, and I can’t be party to that.”
Allaah took the friends who were near me and put them far away so that I would feel lonely, and through that, seek Him. And through that, realize that He is close and has always been, and will always be.
They say the bad boys sit at the back of the bus, but they’re not really bad. They’re just cool like that.
Uncle was my neighbour and he was a very nice man. When I was a teen I realized he was am esteemed and well respected man who always could somehow see through you and speak of whatever was in your heart. It never felt weird or scary, but was something you kinda only felt when you looked back at the memory.
When I was a young man I finally understood fully what my father meant all these years when he would tell me that Uncle was a Wali.
One day I plucked up the courage and went to speak to Uncle. I wanted to know how he became a Wali.
He looked at me with his warm, friendly eyes, and said words I will never forget:
‘I didn’t look even though I wanted to look, and for that Allaah opened my eyes.’
I understood him then but the words sink deeper into me every time I find myself staring at what I should be averting my gaze from.
The more I lowered my gaze, the louder his words sounded in my head. I am still weak, still trying and failing, but God willing I’ll never stop because now I have hope.
Wha woul i b lik t writ word withou thei las letter. Wha coul tha tel u abou ho ou brain proces readin? An wha abou acros language?
Cain went right up to Harvey and in a voice that was unnervingly calm, said:
‘Take off your glasses and defend yourself,’
Harvey’s anger gave way to brief confusion.
‘I said take off your glasses and defend yourself, because I’m about to beat the crap out of you,’
Harvey was thoroughly confused yet seemed to belief what the other was saying.
‘Come on man that’s rubbish man, get away from me man,’
Cain persisted, still calm, while Malcolm tried to wriggle away.
Then in one smooth movement Cain pulled out Harvey’s glasses and tossed them aside, pushed the guy back and then went right back in, fists now up and pummelling the other. He was so fast, persistent and ruthless that Harvey fell into a curled position.
That was his cue to stop and Cain just walked away.
Some people need to swing like a pendulum before they settle firmly upon the middle path.
I said think rationally, not think like a machine.
Good Sir I think before you make a big mistake, I suggest you stop right there. I want you to know very well that I will not tolerate any such nonsense henceforth. I will take drastic action should you fail to heed my warning. Sure, I might get thrown in jail or lose my job, but that’s temporary. The time will pass and work is always to be had, and I’ll be a happy man. But you Sir, won’t be so lucky. Every time you stare at your broken face in the mirror, all you can think of is me. My ghost will haunt you in your own reflection.
Take heed, or so heaven help me I will prove to you definitively that I am a man of my words.
He lived to the ripe old age of Nothing. He mattered no more and nobody wanted him, not even himself.
The red of my blood runs deep in your veins.
Hayy, Ilm, Iradah, Qudrah, Basar, Sama’, Kalam
Fana” vs Baqa”
Our relationships aren’t defined by the gifts and things we left each other. Instead we must turn to the bond and love that we shared.
If you need an item to remind you of someone you loved then your heart isn’t working right. Objects are incidental. Sometimes though we cannot let go of them because it seems paramount to letting go of the person themselves.
An old comb is an unwanted thing. But that same old comb, if it was your late mother’s, now becomes a treasure. It is hut what we know that gives things their value. The item is merely a vessel, it’s worth entirely a construct in our minds or perhaps a manifestation of a deep, spiritual and emotional link.
Every time we got to Eid, us children would meet up in the noon and go around together, visiting our neighbours. There was an old lady who never would turn us down, instead always happy to see us. She lived in a remote corner of the village, too far out for people to pass by, too quiet a place for anyone to go, but well within the interest of adventurous children.
The first time we went there she only served water and apologised profusely for having run out of food. When we got up to leave, gave us colourful handmade envelopes. They were always empty.
You’d think we hated her and mocked her.
We were young but not foolish. Lacking in wisdom but not mentors. And once we even caught the biggest boy in our gang crying in the toilet after we’d left her house.
It was some time after that day that we learnt how this old lady had been getting by the whole time. She lived off the land behind her house, occassionally going into the woods to forage for wild plants. It turns out too that every week at least one of the two nearest families would send a representative over to check on her and drop off some supplies. None of them really had much but we all had enough, you see.
That was the sort of community we grew up in. Like i said, nowhere short of mentors.
As the years passed one by one we grew old enough to work. We continued to visit the old lady, sometimes every month, and those who had money would give what they could. She always cried.
We cried too as she was the next closest thing we had to family.
As we achieved more in life, so did the comfort we could afford for her and a few more in our village as well.
She became an important person to us but we only realised her lofty status and extent of her piety the day she passed away.
It was the day of the inaugural Grand Maulid at our mosque, and all the big scholars and teachers graced the event. And they all did the funeral prayer for her, the biggest scholar leading, and the thousands of attendees following in congregation.
Many years later and i had a child of my own. It was his first Eid as a young boy and he just got dressed. He came to me all cheery and bubbly, kissed my hand and hugged me. We exchanged some nice words and i reached into my pocket for his envelope. I made it myself a few nights before, crafted with care and love.
I gave it to him. He kept it and I got up to give him a chance to peek into it. From the corner of my eyes I saw his expression as he opened the packet to discover it empty.
The rest of the day my boy was quiet, obviously deep in thought. That night when i tucked him in he held my hand and looked me in the eye.
‘Dad I love you. I know you love me too. I want you to know it’s okay if you don’t have money to give me for Eid. I have you and mom and that’s already a really good present.’ He smiled and I felt an overwhelming surge of love and affection from him.
I pulled him into a hug.
That night when I prayed I thought about a lot of things.
The next morning after breakfast i sat my son down to speak to him about the significance of the empty envelope. I made it clear to him that we had enough money but that i was extremely proud and grateful to him for his mature response.
Then i told him how it all started. I brought him back through time to when i was not much older than him. The story went on and on and finally, i reached its end.
‘That old lady taught me so much and if you think about it, it’s quite amazing really. She didn’t really have anything and she was of a very low profile. But somehow, she was such a blessed person, as we can infer from her funeral, and the blessings i got from her i have just shared with you.
‘The thing you must remember, my dear son, is that all the important things in live are much bigger than the physical things most people hold so precious. Love is shown not by the things we give or the presents we buy but the feelings we have for one another. The heart speaks its own language so don’t get distracted by the noise of this world. Allow your heart to listen, and respond.
Many years later…
I’m cleaning out my belongings, ready to start packing for uni when i come across a colourful paper envelope. Immediately i’m brought back to the day my father gave it to me on the morning of Eid, empty. I smile as everything comes rushing back. And then it finally hits me. I finally understand.
I walk over to the bin and throw the envelope away. I stand there, perfectly still.
I’m quieten my mind and think about my father. I feel the warmth of his love mixing with the rush of respect, love and awe i have of him. I feel my heart beating and i listen.
My dear father, i understand now. It took me so long but i have finally learnt the first lesson you taught me all those many years ago.
Then i reach into my pocket and pull out my phone.
Kids are running, afraid. There’s a boy following behind, screaming and his eyes are wide open, stick in hand. He would be silent every few seconds, but the screaming always continued. Loud and terrifying.
Flashback to an hour ago when the boy first showed up; he was normal and happy.
Back to the present; a man appears out of nowhere with a gun and presses it to the boy’s belly, telling him to shut up. The shock of the encounter snaps the boy out of his episode and he starts stuttering something. The man shoots anyway and the boy falls, eyes open.
Zoom in to the eyes. There are knives and blades brought close, the eye is wide and fearful.
Sudden zoom out, knives disappear. There’s a man. He’s weak, and calling for help.
The scene is a lab or clinic of sorts. A woman comes in dragging a thick plastic bodybag, except that it’s open and a living man is inside. Barely alive, actually.
She rests the edge she was pulling and yellow-orange fluid spills out of the bag as the material settles. She runs to the doctor or staff, can’t tell who they are. Please, you have to help my husband. I found him at location 1044.
1044? But that hospital was overcome by madness! You can’t be serious!
He looks at the woman and her dying husband, obviously reluctant to do anything.
The woman bends over the table beside her, exhausted, cradling her head. Sad, tired, helpless.
I just… i was hoping… she sobs.
She is silent and completely still.
Suddenly, and with a loud cracking, several black splotches appear on her back. Then again, and just as her body begins to twist and contort almost as if about to explode, the camera hastily exits the room.
I practice excessive minimalism.
When I was in high school we got wind of a new club… The Loners’ Club. They hung out and had events and stuff.
They weren’t really loners. They were losers, and thought the ‘loner’ label was cool. But all us real loners laughed at them from our quiet, empty corners.
The fact of life is that there are a ton of stupid people around. They just get by like moss, existing but not thriving. They earn through grinding and spend stupidly, which ironically drives our economy.
It’s so easy to earn some money and dress like someone else that some of them think they’re more than what they really are.
There’s no shame in being a commoner but it’s disgusting to be pretentious.
The best of the parvenu are those who learn and eventually bring more value to the table than most of those who were born into privilege.
Stagnation and false progress are indeed our true enemies.