From Ameena

Dear Beloved of God,

Maybe some people will find it strange to write to you on a computer but they tried their best to teach me about you, and that good part deep in my heart says that it will be accepted just as well as the other ones, written by loving and reverent hand on painstakingly sourced paper. How those letters must look! Trembling, shaking script in crooked lines, smudged in rivers of salt water. How I wish I could feel what they do, what I should feel. But something inside of me has grown hard and abrasive, like irritated human skin, like a scab to protect the wound, like the inside of my mouth did against the sharp wires of my braces. How shameful to use these non-beautiful, non-loving words in front of you! The soft part underneath the hardness roils and cries but I can’t take the hardness away. The pain has ruined it, and I used to hide away from talking to you because of it, but after all I’ve forgotten about you, I remember that I never did remember you turning anyone away. They told me that people swore to kill you and they hurt the ones you loved—and after that, they were allowed to attain a rank no one in my time ever could. I never wanted to kill you, and I was invited to talk to you, and how can someone refuse this type of invitation?

I feel so much shame. Shame at the non-eloquence of this letter, shame at the flat and withdrawn tone, shame that I don’t know enough about you to write this letter the way it should be written. Shame that even though my love belongs to you, it’s missing. So much shame because I don’t have the relationship with you that you deserve from me. Shame that I’ve forgotten, shame that I’m not good enough, shame, shame, shame, so much shame. I’m so sorry for this letter, I’m sorry for my life, I’m sorry for everything. I am so, so sorry.

But you invited me to talk to you and so you must want to talk to me. I’m so, so, so sorry that it’s not enough, but I thought that this time, instead of turning away, I might reach out, and maybe it’ll be a small step in the right direction.

They’ve been telling me about you ever since I was born, and maybe that good part of me has been retaining each and every bit, shaking it once to look at it, holding it up to the light, and then folding it away safely in the treasure chest for me to use one day. In this way, I’ve always found that I automatically do things to clear the way down the path, even if I never actually go down it. Maybe it’s time.

I used to stress out about going down the path but I suppose that no one goes down it themselves, they’re taken down. Maybe I’m being taken down the path right now. How glorious it is not to have to worry about it.

I wish I could tell you everything that is bothering me, but I’m just so full of despair and shame. My love has been misplaced. I know that it is in your tradition to love but there is a hierarchy of different types of love and mine is all askew. So much so that I’ve turned away from the whole structure, incapacitated by terrible wounds, torn away into strips that scream and weep and beg for healing.

I’ve never tasted anything as terrible, as devastating, yet as beautiful and sweet as this. I’m so scared and worried and I feel so alone. It’s holding me back and making me forget everything that is important. In fact, I don’t think I’ve thought about anything truly important in three whole years.

I wish I could tell you everything, but all the pain, the longing, the torture, and hopes have been buried too deep. They are embedded now, embedded in the hardness that grew in desperation to protect me from the pain. I know this isn’t right. I know I need to try harder, leave myself open, spend myself completely. But I just am so desperate to escape the pain—even if I know it is not really going to work. I have been defeated and broken.

I have never known anything like you. I’ve never known such purity and love, and I am sure there is absolutely nothing like it on the face of the Earth. I have never seen anything or anyone else truly unite the people as you do, from different backgrounds, different languages, complete strangers, all united in you. I can’t describe it. No words are enough, no words in of themselves, not only their meanings. Nothing on the face of this Earth can describe it. But everyone who has experienced it knows it, and if they were to see these words, they would understand.

I’ve never known lovers like your lovers. No celebrity or rock star can bring people to them like you do. Their whole insane, rowdy crowds love people they do not know and who do not know them, or else they are enemies of them. For you come people of all ages dressed in their very best, people who have longed for you their whole lives and weep for you at night, and jaded, lost youth, who have come even though they do not understand—all they know is to come.

I’ve never known anything like you.

I hope you will take care of me, and take care of the ones I love with all my heart. I have always loved dramatic and special things, and the reality of Hima Al-Mustafa has always rung something deep. It is real, I have seen it. Sometimes, in massive group of people, its mark is the only thing they share in common. People of all different skin colours, ages, backgrounds, and places of living, some from across the globe, mass together with but a single explanation: you.

I try to be like you as much as I can, and love what you loved. Even if it just means picking pens up off the floor, or the colour green. We have always been taught not to belittle the little things, so maybe they are massive steps down the road, not just the clearing of fallen boughs in preparation.

I am so sorry I was not able to finish 273 salawat each day of your month for you. I really did intend to, and it was going so well, as well. But then my French exam arrived and I was so scared because I had skipped so many classes due to the unbearable hurt. After that, the days kept accumulating, and then I lost track, then I lost the pink finger counter I used to use. But inshallah I will make them up for you, and continue doing 273 salawat each day until God eliminates my suffering on this account of love that I am currently suffering unbearably from.

It’s so hard to be patient. It’s so hard to breathe, to live, to even move under the weight of love. I am amazed that the pure pain did not just end my life long before this. I cannot imagine how your true lovers must feel.

There are so many things I do not understand. There are so many things that break my heart. Feeling lonely, rejected, or out of place. Seeing suffering, or even disappointment. My heart breaks in half because the hard part isn’t hard enough to protect it and it screams out in unbearable pain. I wish someone would comfort me. I wish I had someone to talk to.

Every day, I pray for my situation to be resolved. I know that God must love him too, and so must yourself, or God would not allow so many praises of you to be sent in his name. God would not allow his name to be mentioned in such blessed gatherings. His birthday this year fell in your very own blessed month; the anniversary of our meeting fell exactly on the beautiful, hopeful, joyous day of the 12th of Rabi Al-Awwal. If God did not love him as well, then He would not have allowed a small and regular donation for the sake of spreading you to the world, be set up in his name, to celebrate his day of birth, within your beloved month of birth. This gives me hope, and I pray every day to God, using your own name, that He rectify the affairs between myself and the young man I love.

I am grateful for this chance to speak with you. Let the ones that mocked you for being unlettered know that you read all the languages of the world, that you understand any tongue that speaks to you. No, but let them know that you hear and understand a language they believe no one can—the language of thought and feeling!

I hope that one day you will come to see me in my sleep. I hope that one day this will be the way it should be.

Until then, dear Beloved of God, I love you so much.

From a weak lover

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