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
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
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.