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20130827-232930.jpgA few months ago, one of my best friends Nausheen and her husband Vaseem were blessed with their second child, a beautiful baby girl whom they named Hafsa. The meaning of the name Hafsa in Arabic means “young lioness”, and she has been quite a fighter masha’Allah. Baby Hafsa was born with a unique heart condition and was kept in intensive care for the first month of her life. For any parent, having to witness your child in such a condition is an immense tribulation and a complete test of faith. Although my friend will not agree with this when I say it, but despite the magnitude of her trial, she has shown an incredible amount of forbearance. As a way of expressing her anguish, she penned a beautiful poem dedicated to her daughter.

After seeking her permission, I’m sharing her poem on here in the hope that it inspires and brings much solace, comfort and healing to all those other parents who may also be dealing with tribulation relating to children.

It’s true how real love, tribulation, the loss of someone dear, yearning for something or someone is the natural driver to poetry. You have to be inspired by something significant that has happened, or is happening to you in order to write deep, meaningful and heartfelt poems. Just as Mevlana Rumi wrote his poems after being separated from Shams, Imam al- Būsīrī wrote the Burdah in loving memory and longing for our Rasul sallaAllahu alayhi wasalam. Poetry is a powerful expression of the human experience.

Baby Hafsa has a operation in the next few months. Please keep her and the parents in your prayers. 

Born on the edge, on a blade, on a thread.
Born with a time bomb, between life and death.
Born into love, born of passion and heat.
In the home that is built between two hearts that meet.

Born on a hope, based on trust and on faith.
Born with acceptance, yielding to fate.
Born into battle, born of pain and relief.
In the arms of two people who chose joy not grief.

From the depths of your eyes,
To the depths of our love,
To the boundless Mercy above.
From the fervour of prayers,
To the watchful eyes,
To the blood that makes these unbreakable ties.

It takes everything,
And takes nothing at all,
The sage and scientist,
To make your chest rise and fall.

Life fills your body,
My heart fills with pride,
A thousand whispered pleas fill the sky.
Wires fill your body,
We take it in stride,
These are your lifelines, we cannot cry.

The statistics aren’t wrong,
But your grip is so strong,
You want to stay with us,
Your fingers hold on.

Your patience,
I’m awestruck, there’s barely a sound,
Despite all their poking and prodding around.
Benevolence,
I’m moved, the blessings abound,
Love of strangers and family through you we’ve found.

From holding on tight, we’ve learnt letting go.
From reading and reading ’til there’s nothing to know.
From keeping feet grounded we’ve learnt how to fly.
From trusting God’s wisdom we’ve learnt not to ask why.

He made you, He shaped you with the simple word Be.
He made you perfect, rare, unique,
I’m honoured, so honoured, He entrusted you to me.

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Unveiled

By:Mona Haydar

Lovers are veiled from the beauty of a full moon
until they have their beloved’s face and form to compare it to.
It comes to be that there is nothing more magical
nothing more Majestic
than the voice of the beloved
calling their name.

And when they sleep
they see him,
and by day they pray
he will visit them by night
to bless them with his presence-
with beautiful dreams of his radiant face
and his regal countenance-
and so their lives become devoted
to that which pleases him,
so that they may deserve his companionship in a later life,
because in this life
they came too late to be enchanted by his physical light.

Cycles of the moon separate them and yet they yearn for him.

The moon burns and blazes brightly like the beloved’s legacy.
His path, rightly guided with the brilliance of the moon-
like the brilliance of his blessed face
a shining light, gently guiding towards freedom.

Only upon true tawhid is there a chance.
The contingency of this tawhid is that of belief in beloved:
First stemming from a respectful reverence
into a full blown deeply seated love affair,
where the shape of his generously granted smile is memorized
and mesmerized
is all there is.

He is all this world could ever dream to be
and so he came to be
and was
and made way for us.

Made it clear that the path to tawhid
is only through he, the beloved.
Man who consumes waking thoughts
and the dream world too.

Like the moon
he testified to truth.
Found and gifted annihilation
in complete submission.

Like the way he lived
when king was a title within his reach-
instead he reached for hearts,
with his touch so real and deep
he reached into centuries and destinies
and is a hearts to keep.

His legacy burns in hearts,
passionately blazes and lights the way
for those desiring the path.
He shines brighter than the moon,
the moon, which rises and falls
in memory of lighting his noble face.

He had:
wheat colored skin
because he was wholesome.
Solid and secure,
he was fashioned to become
the elegance
that blessed man with etiquette.

A body that shined like silver,
broad and beautifully built.

A toothy pearly brilliant white smile
that his noble face was rarely seen without.

Fully fleshed fingers and feet
and eyes
black like night.

Jabir (r) said: “I once saw RasululLah on the night of a full moon. At
times I looked at the full moon and at times at RasululLah, I came to find that RasululLah was more beautiful and radiant than the full moon.”

Split the moon in two-
and was more beautiful
than two moons could ever be.

So you see,
lovers are veiled from the beauty of a glorious moon
until they have Muhammad’s face to compare it to.

May we be from his blessed lovers.
Peace salutations and blessings be upon him.

© Mona Haydar, Rabi’ al-Awwal 1433/January 2012

I had always wanted to visit Konya, just so I could visit the blessed tomb of Mevlana Jalāl ad-Dīn Rumi, one of the greatest mystical poets of all times. I had been to Istanbul a couple of times before, but for one reason or another, I never got the chance to visit Konya; however this time, I was determined to make that extra journey and go spend a day in Konya. So, on the 28th December 2009, I got a flight from Istanbul to Konya. I had no knowledge of what Konya was like, nor did I bother to read up about the city, and to be very honest, I didn’t really care because my prime aim and purpose of the trip was just to visit the blessed tomb of Mevlana.

I arrived at Konya airport at 8am, and my tour guide was waiting outside for me. We headed straight to Mevlana’s Mausoleum first. Whilst driving up to the Mausoleum, I sensed a completely different atmosphere; the roads were empty and quiet, hardly could see people out and about, there were not that many mosques in sight, everything seemed a bit dull to me, it was totally different to Istanbul!

The weather that day was cold and cloudy, which didn’t exactly uplift my mood, but then my gaze fell upon the beautiful green done…..

“Come, Come, Whoever you Are

Wonderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.

It doesn’t matter.

Ours is not a caravan of despair.

Come, even if you have broken your vow

a thousand times

Come, yet again, come, come.”


The courtyard of the Mausoleum, which leads to the resting place of Mevlana…..

This is the main entrance of the Mausoleum, inside here are the tombs of Rumi’s family and descendants. The headstones for the male graves have either a green or white turban; the green represents the fact that the person is from the family of Prophet Muhammad salla’Allahu ‘alayhi wasalam, and the white represents that the person is just a descendant of Mevlana. The female graves obviously have no turbans on them, so you could easily identify them. At the corner, right beneath the green dome, is the tomb of Mevlana Rumi. Unfortunately, they do not allow you to take pictures inside the Mausoleum, especially of the tombs, therefore I do not have any to share, but at that point, taking pictures was the last thing on my mind anyway because I was feeling a bit overwhelmed…..

I stood there in awe, unable to hold back my tears, and still couldn’t believe I was standing at the grave of this great person who has moved, transformed, cured and healed many hearts and minds through his poetry, and guiding people to Divine Love. I first came across Mevlana Rumi about 5 years ago, when I didn’t really have any interest in poetry, or even Sufism at that point in my life! But something about Mevlana’s words had an impact on me, and I started reading more of his poems and quotes. I’ve often found great solace, and many answers to my problems/issues in his poetry and advice, therefore for me to visit his blessed grave was something very special and personal. I stood there giving salams on behalf of all those who had asked me to, and then made du’a. I cannot fully describe the feeling I got whilst standing there, one really has to visit and experience it themselves in order to understand.

Beyond Rumi’s tomb, there was another room which was used for the Sema (whirling dance) ceremony once upon a time, but is now used to exhibit old manuscripts (Rumi’s own poetry collection like Mesnavi, Divan etc), various types of Qu’rans, some were small as the palm of a normal person’s hand! They were extraordinary to see, especially since they had been handwritten! Also, to view were instruments such as the Ney, clothes, tasbihs etc. There was also a display with a small box which had the blessed hair of the beloved Prophet Muhammad salla’Allahu ‘alayhi wasalam.

‘Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”






“The minute I heard my first love story I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.”



“Sometimes, in order to help, He makes us miserable; but heartache for His sake brings happiness. Laughter will come after tears. Whoever foresees this is a servant blessed by God. Wherever water flows, life flourishes: wherever tears fall, Divine mercy is shown.”

My tour guide then took me around Konya. Here are some pictures I took:

Alaeddin Camii (Mosque)

 

The Alaeddin Mosque is the largest and oldest mosque in Konya, in fact, it was the first mosque made in Konya.

 

We then went to the top of the highest building in Konya (sorry folks, forgot the name!), just to get a birds-eye view of Konya:


Next on the sightseeing list was Shems Tebrizi Cami (Mosque)


All that sightseeing, made us a little hungry so we stopped at a restaurant to eat “Etliekmek”, the traditional dish of Konya. It’s basically a very long piece of bread with meat.

I was reluctant to try this because it didn’t look too appetizing, plus I’m not a huge fan of meat, especially not mince meat! However, I wanted to experience the complete culture and tradition of Konya, therefore felt I had to try it. I was actually surprised at how good it tasted, it’s quite similar to Lahmacun (Turkish equivalent of pizza), but slightly better in my opinion.

We then visited Mevlana Cultural Centre, where the Sema (whirling dance) takes place every Saturday evening:


 

In the winter, the Sema takes place in this hall which is inside the actual Mevlana Cultural Centre……..

And in the summer, the Sema takes place outside……

As the day went on, the grey clouds disappeared, the sun came out, and the sky looked brighter than it had when I first arrived in Konya. We then visited a few more mosques, and here are some of the photographs I took:

We then went to the outskirts of Konya, and here are a couple of pictures of some of the ruins we saw as we drove past…….

By 3pm, I had pretty much seen most of Konya, well most of the touristy places for sure. My flight back to Istanbul wasn’t until 8pm, and there was nothing else I really wanted to do or see, so I asked my tour guide to take me back to Mevlana Rumi’s Mausoleum because that is where I really wanted to be. The security man at the Mausoleum said that I could sit near the grave until the Mausoleum closed at 5pm. I had 1 hour 45 mins approx, so I found a corner where I sat and read Mevlana’s poems, and just contemplated. The Ney was being played in the background, I felt really relaxed and peaceful. Then the Magrib adhan was called out by the muezzin, it was so clear and beautiful that I wanted the muezzin to continue doing the adhan over and over again. By this time the Mausoleum was empty, I was the only one there. The security man came and said he’ll let me have a few more minutes just to say goodbye to Mevlana, so I tried to make the most of my last moments there….

Still had a couple of hours left before my flight, so I went around some gift shops- the usual stuff tourists do!

Prayer beads anyone?!

Handmade rugs

Before I left the UK, I remember a friend telling me that Konya is very industrial, ugly, and the only amazing thing to see is Mevlana’s zawiyya. I didn’t take much notice of his words at the time, but having seen Konya myself, I can somewhat agree with my friend. I wouldn’t go to the extreme of calling Konya ‘ugly’, but I felt that it didn’t steal my heart like Istanbul has, apart from the beautiful Mausoleum of Mevlana which has secured a special place in my heart.

I would encourage everyone to take the opportunity to visit Konya, simply just to visit Mevlana Rumi’s tomb, you won’t regret it! Feel free to contact me if you need any tips.

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”

“Patience is the key to joy.”

 

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