The Host

Adi, the son of Haatim Al-Tayy, was a leader among his people, a Christian from the proud tribe of Al-Tayy. His sister was among the notables who were captured in a battle between the people of Al-Tayy and the Muslim army. When the Prophet learnt that she was the daughter of Haatim, renowned for his generosity, he let her go, as he did all of her people. And he paid tribute to Haatim’s character. Adi had fled with a small group following the battle, but when his sister bid him return and advised him to go to the Prophet, he relented. And he set off for the City of the Prophet. And his life changed…
A few words pass between them
They walk now, the pace compelling the guest to lag.
The host is brisk.
I squint past the body of people bustling about the busy day
To catch a glimpse.
As they draw closer, I am hit by a first wave of what I see;
And it amazes me.
A questioner enters my scene and stops my party in its advance.
He turns towards the source of this interruption
And engages in dialogue, guest in wait.
Questioner, host and guest, they all interest me;
I focus on the host to use my chance,
The entirety of his features weigh down on me,
Driving me into the earth beneath my feet,
As if to underscore my presence there with the ink
Of inconsistency sweet.
His face is brilliant,
Hair, black and curling some at the shoulders,
A lock floating, now wafted up by a stray breeze,
Eyes round and wide and attentive,
Skin smooth and soft, if only I could touch it, please!
I give a moment of thought to the men and women
Who would gladly give their lives,
Merchants their stock,
Scholars their thoughts,
Mothers their children,
All for my host kept from his walk.
And the angels flock to his aid, offering service
Before the softest sigh may escape those lips,
Only to find them thankful, never complaining,
So much to complain about, but never complaining.
Bless the hearts of hate that turn over
Into hearts of love,
Some when they see,
Others when they hear,
Others when they touch.
And now Adi.
The host returns to his guest,
A brief word, and the walk resumes,
Now abreast, now lagging again,
Despite the effort the guest assumes.
Destination mud house behind me.
A scent fills my being as my party is ever so close.
I do not doubt its source, and inhale,
Seemingly forever.
They have now reached my stand.
They step on my shadow
And vanish behind the doors of the mud house.
The crowds are gone,
My shadow is gone,
My shoulders are heavy,
My fancy wanting,
My eye wet.
SallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

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