The Book of Longing

In the name of god, the most gracious, the dispenser of grace

This is a book of a soul bent double before a blustering gale, but with a heart full of deep longing for Allah.
This is a book of a soul destitute and unable to pay the toll on traditions' roads and is thus journeying across country.
This is a book of a soul in the lowest state pleading for mercy yet unable to lift itself from a state of complete dereliction.

The five pillars

In the book of longing, the shahadah is the story of a diamond trawl-net tangled around a stony heart on the ocean's bottom. The heaviness of the heart stretches the net's crystalline fibres into a translucent plastic ever more pliant the more the net is towed. The only chance is all-stop and the fisherman to become rescue divers, risking their lives 'n' souls as they tumble overboard into the frothing brine. To begin with, they try to buoy the scabrous cardium with the Qur'an, until the silence exploding from the dense, submarinous ink is broken by the sound of the heart slowly scratching ayat onto the ocean floor.

In the book of longing, salat cannot help but abandon everything except niyyah, fatihah and the dhikr -- astaghfirullah. Other than qiyām, there is little hope of purity or ritual. One is sometimes driven to salah with skin and clothes spattered with semen and urine, according to the desperation of the moment. Sometimes, an entire day is devoted to weeping supplication and the next  the heart is like a cold empty larder. In the book of longing, the mu'min offers ibāda to Allah alone, even though all he has to offer is the most humiliated of minds.  Taqwa is like rape and the reader of the book of longing welcomes it.

In the book of longing, zakat is a percentage of one's sanity donated to forgetfulness, an abstraction from meaning made meaningful. The destitute and derelict have nothing to offer except their own futility and selfishness, follies best hidden but too often the object of glorification. Threaten perversion! A gram of neural fibres is sawn loftily from the cerebral cortex, later revealed to be a shirk-offering to the great-cosmic-non-entity-flesh-machine metaphysical-gene-mathematics now calls human. An Alzheimer's of the ego is what is required. By divine justice, zakat donates the poison back to the poisoner.

In the book of longing, sawm is the ultimate hope. The last refuge is to hunger for detachment from desire because the state of the reader's soul is a pure tyranny. All this desperate, reckless, excremental rebellion is in recognition of the immovable stature of that reigning despot - that gloating, bragging ego. It wants the reader to give up everything, but it feeds on giving up. It wants the reader to drink the enemy's blood, but it gorges on drunkenness. Yet even without hope, the ego can still be thwarted in moments of insurgent glory. The book of longing is a guerrilla fighters' soul-food pocket handbook.

In the book of longing, hajj is a journey back to a normal life. In a state of complete dereliction, we are prisoners with only one thing on our minds - survival. The book is a place of endless deserts, a time where clock faces sport niqabs. We long to be workers and students, functioning members of communities instead of crippled minds and marginalized isolates. We long to participate in the cycles of the moon and sun, stone police stations and end each day with a sense of sacrificial completion. Each of these buckled pillars is a small, dysfunctional step on a heartfelt quest to thus unite all of humankind.

Thus is written the book of longing.



     Julian Yaqub 2016