I Walk for Husayn

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I walk
I walk through the valleys and the shadows of the death that surrounds me
Entrenched in the smell of blood lingering in my soul
Searching for their stories repeatedly told and simultaneously ignored
And I walk
I walk and I stumble on the remains of those who passed before me
Sacrificing their life for that eternal glory?
No, to them death is sweeter than honey
And I’m taken back by the feeling that overwhelms me

As I walk and spot Husayn sitting in the dirt
His face buried in his hands
His back slouching at the pain of the loss of his brother Abbas
His eyes searching for the sight of Ali Akbar
Unable to count the losses on his hands

I move closer
I trip over my mind as it becomes enthralled and captured by their sight
As a shiver runs down my spine and the blood drains from my face
I am suddenly freezing in the summer heat of the desert land that is Karbala

I am inching my way closer to a man who’s lost all
And I’m wondering at his pain
Unable to muster up a call to him,
I’m shaken
I hear Husayn mumbling to himself
Captivated, I listen intently
I listen intently eager to hear a complaint
Yet all I hear is praise

I ask him “O Hussein,
Have you ever felt insane?
At the sacrifices that you were ordained
How do you bear this wretched pain
Without aggression and disdain?”

He utters not a single word in my direction
Filled with awe, I follow as he walks in his direction
And takes me to the body of al-Abbas
I’m standing next to the river
My arms, they quiver
Perhaps alluding to Abbas’s pain
I follow and hear the sounds of the river crying out for forgiveness to the Almighty
Not leaving out His praise
Yet grieving for the arm-less who was slain at its bay
And I understand
The strength those arms carried can preserve Islam’s name till eternity
So who am I to question his tragedy?

We move further along where lies the body of Ali Akbar
And as pangs of discomfort clutch at my heart
I see his body with a mark on his chest
And yet the light of the Prophet emulates in his face
Suddenly, I hear the call to prayer in every morning and every night
and every morning and every night
until the hereafter
For the adhan of Ali Akbar on the fajr of Ashura
Is still ringing in my ears to this day

I walk after Husayn who takes me to the grave of Ali Asghar
I sit next to him
He says, “To Him we belong and to Him we shall return”
And I am smiling at His magnificence
When a six month old can give to He who is infinite and great
Where am I in the struggle to maintain that grace?

And Husayn’s mumbling is invariably new
And the mumbling of Husayn is invariably new
I hear praise of the Almighty and the justice that’s due
And I walk with this love ingrained for Husayn
In the midst of what’s grave and mundane
I walk for Husayn
I walk for Husayn

*This piece is dedicated to the Hazara Shias in Afghanistan who were recently killed and all oppressed Shias around the world who carry the message of Imam Husayn (as) relentlessly despite the threats.

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