Free thy will

Enduring the tension of the paradox is the conductor of the transcendence to Jannah

Life consists of dualities that seemingly clash, a tug-of-war that we’re made to be suspended in the midst of by Divine decree. Giving in to either opposite dissipates the tension, but so does the self transcendence needed to purify one’s heart before the time is up.

حُفَّتِ الْجَنَّةُ بِالْمَكَارِهِ وَحُفَّتِ النَّارُ بِالشَّهَوَاتِ

“Jannah is surrounded by hardships and the Hell-Fire is surrounded by desires.”


The ability to hold space for the opposites is what transforms conflict into faith. A paradox is a symbiosis through which our free will is nurtured by making the decision to endure the tension of being open to the truth, instead of collapsing into the mindless pull of unconscious forces.

About one of the fundamental rites in Islaam, the udxiya after Hajj that commemorates the symbolic sacrifice prophet Ibraahiim calayhissalaam made of his son:

لَن يَنَالَ اللَّهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلَا دِمَاؤُهَا وَلَٰكِن يَنَالُهُ التَّقْوَىٰ مِنكُمْ

{Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but rather what reaches Him is piety from you.}

(Al-Hajj 22:37)

This to reiterate the meaning behind the original call for sacrifice being the detachment of what we love from our egos. Detachment doesn’t entail playing it cool or being indifferent, but it’s to leave controlling the outcomes or the desire to not lose it to Allaah. Thus, it’s a reminder that the heart must remain unblocked if one’s actions are to be of spiritual benefit.

If we say that all sincere action must stem from the action of the heart, then our only power is to either receive the impulses that are divinely inspired or to resist them. And if this may seem overly simplistic it’s only because the most difficult tasks in life are plain and simple in nature.

وَ اتْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ نَبَأَ الَّذي آتَيْناهُ آياتِنا فَانْسَلَخَ مِنْها فَأَتْبَعَهُ الشَّيْطانُ فَکانَ مِنَ الْغاوينَ

{And recite to them the story of him to whom We gave Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), but he threw them away, so Shaitaan followed him up, and he became of those who went astray.}

(Al-A’raf 7:175)

وَ لَوْ شِئْنا لَرَفَعْناهُ بِها وَ لکِنَّهُ أَخْلَدَ إِلَي الْأَرْضِ وَ اتَّبَعَ هَواهُ فَمَثَلُهُ کَمَثَلِ الْکَلْبِ إِنْ تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْهِ يَلْهَثْ أَوْ تَتْرُکْهُ يَلْهَثْ ذلِکَ مَثَلُ الْقَوْمِ الَّذينَ کَذَّبُوا بِآياتِنا فَاقْصُصِ الْقَصَصَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَکَّرُونَ

{And had We willed, We would surely have elevated him therewith but he clung to the earth and followed his own vain desire. So his description is the description of a dog: if you drive him away, he lolls his tongue out, or if you leave him alone, he (still) lolls his tongue out. Such is the description of the people who reject Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.). So relate the stories, perhaps they may reflect.}

(Al-A’raf 7:176)

Allaah nudged this man towards a portal of enlightenment and all he had to do was to move towards it by being receptive to what his heart is guided to. But that was a too steep a price to pay and so difficult was it to endure the cognitive dissonance that he preferred to repress parts of himself in order to remain in his comfort zone. So he chose to forego transcendence in order to remain in the womb of unconsciousness. And it is through this self-inflicted blindspot that shaytaan has influence. The only realm of influence, may I add.

Allaah continues on by explaining the dire consequences of rejecting enlightenment :

ساءَ مَثَلاً الْقَوْمُ الَّذينَ کَذَّبُوا بِآياتِنا وَ أَنْفُسَهُمْ کانُوا يَظْلِمُونَ

{Evil is the likeness of the people who reject Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses and signs, etc.), and used to wrong their ownselves.}

(Al-A’raf 7:177)

مَنْ يَهْدِ اللَّهُ فَهُوَ الْمُهْتَدي وَ مَنْ يُضْلِلْ فَأُولئِك هُمُ الْخاسِرُونَ

{Whomsoever Allaah guides, he is the guided one, and whomsoever He sends astray, those! They are the losers.}

(Al-A’raf 7:178)

وَ لَقَدْ ذَرَأْنا لِجَهَنَّمَ کَثيراً مِنَ الْجِنِّ وَ الْإِنْسِ لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ لا يَفْقَهُونَ بِها وَ لَهُمْ أَعْيُنٌ لا يُبْصِرُونَ بِها وَ لَهُمْ آذانٌ لا يَسْمَعُونَ بِها أُولئِکَ کَالْأَنْعامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ أُولئِکَ هُمُ الْغافِلُونَ

{And surely, We have created many of the jinns and mankind for Hell. They have hearts wherewith they understand not, they have eyes wherewith they see not, and they have ears wherewith they hear not (the truth). They are like cattle, nay even more astray; those! They are the heedless ones.}

(Al-A’raf 7:179)

What is the difference between a sin and evil? How impervious the heart is to its consequences. To feel the brunt of one’s actions is to assume responsibility for the only thing one has control over : perception. But to perceive reality correctly is to relinquish control, and that’s an illusion that seduced Adam in the garden with the forbidden tree that promised immortality and power. Allaah has put in place all the devices and stacked the odds in our favour to receive the guidance when it comes, and it’s only the most crude of hearts that still falls to the pull of base desires when transcending oneself is where ultimate meaning lies. When Allaah says that He sends them astray, it’s not because He forcibly blinds them but despite their resistance He does have the power to turn them around, but He wills not to. Because free will is something He decided to give us and He won’t transgress that by forcing something that we haven’t come to. Insight only comes when we receive it.

And those impervious to growth, of course they are worse than animals! Because animals don’t possess the faculty of free will and perception. All they have is instinct and their impulse and actions are congruent. You won’t find an animal defying its impulse.

So what to do when you want to transcend but you doubt yourself and leaving the herd seems too scary?

وَ لِلَّهِ الْأَسْماءُ الْحُسْني‏ فَادْعُوهُ بِها وَ ذَرُوا الَّذينَ يُلْحِدُونَ في‏ أَسْمائِهِ سَيُجْزَوْنَ ما کانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

{And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allaah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny (or utter impious speech against) His Names. They will be requited for what they used to do.}

(Al-A’raf 7:180)

Having integrity extends beyond just what you espouse ; you also have to be cognizant of whether your company is congruent with who you are. And if not, why do you hang out with people who’d choose their egos over the truth? You do know that when push comes to shove, they’ll throw you under the bus to save themselves?

وَ مِمَّنْ خَلَقْنا أُمَّةٌ يَهْدُونَ بِالْحَقِّ وَ بِهِ يَعْدِلُونَ

{And of those whom We have created, there is a community who guides (others) with the truth, and establishes justice therewith.}

(Al-A’raf 7:181)

No one is an island. No matter how ‘woke’ and independent you are, you are in need of a community that would support you in your quest and bring out the best in you.

وَ الَّذينَ کَذَّبُوا بِآياتِنا سَنَسْتَدْرِجُهُمْ مِنْ حَيْثُ لا يَعْلَمُونَ

{Those who reject Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), We shall gradually seize them with punishment in ways they perceive not.}

(Al-A’raf 7:182)

The blind and detached choices that are only motivated extrinsically and for what serves the ego, IS the punishment. Not being able to gauge life properly gives rise to meaninglessness. And there’s nothing worse than meaninglessness.


Don’t look down on the heart, even if it’s not behaving well.

Even in that shape, the heart is more precious than the teachings
of the exalted saints.

The broken heart is where God looks.

How lucky is the soul that mends the heart!

For God, consoling the heart

that is broken into hundreds of pieces is better than going on pilgrimage.

God’s treasures are buried in ruined hearts.

If you put on the belt of service
and serve hearts like a slave or servant,

the roads to all the secrets will open before your eyes.

If you want peace and glory,
forget about your earthly honors and try to please the hearts.

If you become a helper of hearts,

springs of wisdom will flow from your heart.

The water of life will run from your mouth like a torrent.

Your breath will become medicine
like the breath of Jesus.

Be silent.

Even if you have two hundred tongues in each hair on your head

– Rumi, The Forbidden Rumi

Move… Meant

Vessels have been handed down the generations to be filled by a woman’s essence

To have her desires and soul urges extracted

And with each generation, the vessels become deeper and the women more hollow

The echoes of their hunger pain reverberates the depths of their being, but never escapes their lips like a shameful secret

Silenced by a stillness that absorbs but doesn’t reflect

My biggest battle has been one of void, absence

I’ve been ravaged by my acidic essence needing to fill, not knowing how to be still

Or perhaps it’s not my essence that is acidic, but the sensation of feeling my being is so foreign and unheard of that it stings me

Emptiness lines the sides of a woman, I was not prepared for this

I wanted to empty myself of my self, but no vessel could hold me

Even dissociation abandoned me


Like Bertrand Russell, my life has been characterized by the longing for love, learning and empathy. Yet, Allaah postponed my finding the objects of my search, so that I could embody my essence before giving it away.

I sought love, instead I became intimately entwined with it in all its depths and magnitude. I came to live in its nesting during the long winters

I sought the apex of academia , but instead I was taken down the ancient paths of phenomenology and into contact with unadulterated realities and truths through experiential knowledge.

I sought to help people and for years I felt helpless and powerless because I couldn’t do much about the pain I’d feel in them. So I sat with their voices, let them carve out deep caverns in me like rivers

And I found that instead of filling, I just *am*

Instead of covering up my hollowness, I brim over with love, even if a bit loud and clumsy

Instead of wishing on an outcome to redeem me, I flow flow flow

In timelessness and yet I’m still

A stillness that doesn’t sting

A stillness that holds but doesn’t oust

A stillness that reflects but doesn’t absorb

A stillness that is silent but doesn’t mask pain

A pain that doesn’t hinder but signals to me when I need refilling

From the divine fountains

Knowing you was a divine encounter

A million years ago

My truth is all I own in this world, please understand that.
It’s the only space in this world that no one can oust me from
it’s the only thing that nourishes my soul
And it’s the only thing that I’ll take with me to my grave

I’ve found that anything I add to my truth, detracts from my essence
So I travel light, in preparation for my next call to adventure
My soul inherited the somali nomadic proclivities that my homebody and introverted self vehemently rejects
My mind is always wandering, my heart wondering

I really hate travelling, I do. I hate change because every day I awake to new truths that I have to try on outside my comfort zone
So it’s a counterbalance I guess
The worst part about being a nomadic soul is that no one can accompany you.
Most people would never see what I see, nor could I explain to them in an inviting way because it’s an experiential knowledge

I’ve always been afraid of that, since I was 4. I sensed this immense inner universe that would force me to part from others and I spent half of my life blinding and numbing myself to it because it’s the scariest shit ever. What if I get lost and never come back? Or worse yet, what if I come back and I’m no longer welcome?

But like a nomad, my soul’s survival depended on me moving and everytime I would move to new truths, I had to die to everything I had until that moment
I always have to move from a zero point field
A place where all the lessons are absorbed, obstacles dissolved, incongruencies resolved

When I write, it’s never to make others,you, understand because I can hardly understand it myself. But my writings are landmarks and souvenirs I leave behind to remember the vast truths I’ve traversed and to honour everything I’ve sacrificed, suffered, sought.

Writing is a séance I perform to channel the ghosts of everything I’ve been
Writing is a balm for me, a soul no one understands, a sensitive soul that needs to know that there’s something bigger in me than my fears and doubts
No one else can do that for me
Writing is my Nightingale
My dream catcher
Nightmare comforter

The map of my soul is only intelligible to the naked eye seeking to be whole.

Analog existence

What do you see in the void?
What do you perceive when fear clouds your world and worries clutter your mind?
If you’re in denial about drifting off to sleep, how would you know that you could wake up when you’re having a nightmare?
How could you ever trust that a pleasant dream isn’t just the beginning of a nightmare?


I hope I transcend this
I hope my life is meant to be a little more than a string of stop signs and false alarms
I’m not a freeloader
I didn’t ask for symphonies or sympathies
I house my dreams in my heart
I’m a freelance dreamer
My imagination guides my faith
My hope knows no bounds
I often wonder if I’m deluding myself with the limitless optimism
And then I realize that I am, but all of life is a delusion until the moment when truth unveils itself
Since I can’t have certainty, I’ll pick whatever feels right


I used to obsess about the epistemology of right and wrong, losing myself in wormholes of intellectualizations and calculations and approximations of the truth. Until I discovered that each day would disappear with all my recorded and unalterable mistakes and flaws, never to be recovered and each morning would meet me disgruntled, ashamed, begging it to go away until I could figure out how to live a day without mistakes. But no.

And every time I arrived at a piece of truth it simply pushed me into a new realm where the unknowns only multiplied exponentially. All the while, my heart was paying the price of being a scribe for a ruthless dictator. I learnt that my feelings were the perfect heuristic system for me to learn what I needed, when I needed it. It was never about arriving at perfection or omniscience because what began incomplete can’t grasp perfection. But it can grasp its own nature. And that’s all that matters now, that I learn to be in alignment with the self and to be the transmitter of my own frequency, not just the receptor of static junk.

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