In this short life I sought virtues and love, So I asked those who knew and those from above, They told me to go to a land of blessing and sorrow, The land in which no soul wants tomorrow, So I took on this journey and stepped onto this land, And I saw two shining domes standing upright and grand, But in my shame and my filth, I spoke just to the sand.
I asked this sand what virtues she carried, What treasures and gems within her were buried, She told me that there were too many to count, The virtues were more than her grains in amount, So instead I began asking my questions one by one, From the sight of the moon till the rise of the sun.
I asked, ‘In all your years, what friendship have you seen?’ She cried, ‘Only I have witnessed what true friendship means.’
When Habib came sprinting to the side of my master, Could anyone have come to his aid any faster?
This world knows nothing about the friendship I saw, For if they understood, they would have wept from its awe, No friendship exists like that of Habib and Hussain, Together they grew and together were slain.
Tell me, which others do you know who had such love in their hearts?
Which other man would come from such a distance apart?’
I fell silent for no other name came to mind, No other such friendship was I able to find, So I asked her what she knew of the virtue of love, And she said, ‘You see the attachment of a love stricken dove?
That is nothing, for true love is only for Him, Not these petty desires that come and go on a whim, The woman who loved was the young newlywed, Who gave away to her Lord what all women dread, She bed her husband Wahab farewell as she cried, And a widow became of this heart broken bride.
Tell me, which other young soul do you know, Who would give her husband away to a devil’s sword blow?’
Again, I fell silent, for I knew not such a soul, And my river of tears I was unable to control, I choked back my grief and asked her about youth, And she said, ‘If only you’d witnessed this truth, The women had wailed when Qasim had gone, For it was Hassan again who had passed on, But nobody in this world can truly understand, Unless they saw Qasim in his new armour stand, And Awn and Mohammed bidding their mother goodbye, But if you had seen this, from grief you would die, And the arrow in the neck of the six month old rose, The blood that drenched his small, infant clothes, More blood than the milk he ever drank from his mother, Yet this soldier was the youngest amongst all of his brothers.
Tell me, which other young men have you seen, Who sell their dreams for a reward that’s unseen?
Silence took over and I had no reply, Only the sense to lament and to cry, And then I asked, ‘But what of their mothers?
How could they see their sons killed by others?’
Karbala wailed before she started to speak, Her words filled with sorrow and her voice very weak, ‘The mothers…I don’t know where to begin, To put one above another would be a grave sin.
I am no mother and still for years I have wept, These mothers, never again in peace have they slept, For which mother can rest when her son lies in a desert?
No shroud and no grave and a bloodied red shirt.
Which mother to weep for, I did not know, Rubab, who’s Abdullah was only starting to grow?
Or Layla who’s Ali had been the chest of her dreams, Or the mother of Qasim, who’s face with Hassan’s light beams?
Or Zainab who herself had not gotten to weep?
And her tears in her heart, for Medina she’d keep.
I know you know no mothers like these, So I will not ask you that question of ease.’
My soul was torn between asking or not, For a spear of grief in my heart had been shot, But what sorrow was mine alongside of theirs?
What grief do I carry next to what their soul bears?
So I asked her the question that makes all hearts break, And her sobbing voice had started to shake, I asked her what loyalty she’d seen in this land, And she showed me the first dome that stood tall and grand, ‘No man has been loyal while Abbas’s name lives, For the meaning of loyalty, Abbas’s life gives, The father of virtues became the guard of Hussain, His eyes and his arms gone, and his body was slain, But I swear, oh visitor, this man is alive, Your Lord through His mercy made his great soul survive, For I have seen no one who leaves here distraught, Abbas carries any burden a visitor has brought, Through his own tears for the children, he wipes away yours, And the ailments of your life, this warrior cures.’
My tears flowed and I craved to touch his blessed shrine, But I saw the dome of the king himself shine, ‘And tell me, Karbala, about my master Hussain, For my questions, no words of mine can contain, Tell me of his greatness, and his mercy and love, Tell me of the words that come from above, Karbala, tell me what his visitors don’t know, Tell me those things which no human can show.’
Karbala paused in awe and deep thought, For it was eloquence to do justice to him that she sought, ‘Oh visitor, no words of mine can suffice, But I will give you some simple words of advice…
Oh visitor, go to him covered in my blessed sand, Gift him your tears of longing to be in this land, For Hussain is the king of kings in this world, The secrets of your soul by him are unfurled, Nothing you do will repay him a breath, For no man will see an end like his death.
His death was so holy that God gifted him three, And yet these three are for this earth that is temporary.
The first were nine other lights from his line, Nine other princes of lineage divine, The second is the cure that my sand contains, I swear I can cure the worst of your pains, They say sand is so humble and the essence of low, But by God, ’til this day, His miracles I show.
And the last and the third is where you should run For under his dome his answer is one, Whatever need you have in your heart, Go, oh visitor, and to Hussain you impart, Shed the tears of your life and tell him your sorrow, I am a liar if your heart does not rest by tomorrow, Run like you’d run to be saved from a flood, For the ark of salvation floats on Hussain’s holy blood.’
I tried to run but my feet would slow down,How could a beggar run to touch a king’s golden crown?
So slowly I went and I kissed his caged shrine, And nothing but peace washed this stained soul of mine, And the rest of this journey can’t be contained by this pen, Or the words of even the most eloquent men, But only one thing makes me hurt and insane…
The dreams where I see his great shrine again.