Kawthar

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Shrine of Sayyadah Massuma (a.s), Qum, Iran. A father looking at his daughter. Jan 2016

I have often wondered what it must be like to be a father,
To look at tiny hands clinging onto your fingers,
As if they were to these hands, the very meaning of Love.

I have often wondered, what it must be like,
To love one so much that your heart itself would be
Bewildered by the love it had secretly witheld thus far.

And whenever I would share these thoughts with him,
My brother would always smile and utter these words :
When you become a father, Reza. When you become a father…

And it so happened that my brother himself had a daughter,
And I became in one night, the uncle of an angel named Kawthar.
And that is the closest I have ever felt to becoming a father.

Kawthar,

Ever since you have rested your head peacefully on my chest,
My love, your uncle has never been able to breathe again,
As if forever longing to inhale, the fragrance of your soothing breaths,
As if each one of them came down like raindrops,
Bringing the rugged corners of my soul to life.

Kawthar,

Ever since I have held you in my arms and felt
The beating of your heart pulsating at the rythm of mine,
I have thought to myself, How can I let her go,
It is nearly time. My brother needs to sleep
And I have to go home. But, Kawthar, How can I leave you?
How can we part now. Now, that we had become one?

Kawthar,

There was a day when you were resting on my chest,
And you had started to bite me when about to fall asleep
I had felt the pain, but my face was smiling:
My love for you had won, and so my body had surrendered.

Kawthar,

I have indeed, often wondered what it must be like to be a father,
And now that I had felt a glimpse of that love,
When the time had come for me to part with you,
As I was holding onto the lightness of your being,
When calling for your father to help us part from each other

A sudden pain had taken over me, for my mind
Had busied itself, wandering in the alley of the greatest
Love that had ever existed between a father and daughter.

Kawthar,

As our paths had momentarily diverged, I had now started to ponder
What it must have been like to have been Hussein on the day of Ashura,
To have to part with Sakina. To have to die, before death had even come.

Kawthar,

I couldn’t sleep all night for I could still smell your fragrance on my neck
And whenever I did so, Hussain’s daughter would come to my mind.

Kawthar,

We have often met again and like every time we did,
You would walk towards me raising your hand
As if recognizing my beard and the fingers you trusted.

And whenever you did so, my love, I have thought of a child,
Lost, in a foreign land of desolation, a battlefield of pain,
Running aimlessly, forever looking for the hand
Whose shadow had always given her a reason to live.

Kawthar,

I have often wondered which one of two was the greatest,
The love of Hussain for his daughter Sakina,
Or the pain felt by Sakina when losing her father Hussain.

And as much as I have tried, I haven’t been able to answer this question.
And perhaps that is why, whenever I have met you again,

Kawthar,

My eyes have always shed two very different kind of tears,
One shed remembering a father’s love.
While the other remembering a daughter’s pain.

Kawthar,

I have often wondered what it must be like to be a father
To look at tiny hands clinging onto your fingers
As if they were to these hands, the very meaning of Love.

I have often wondered, what it must be like,
To love one so much that your heart itself
Would be bewildered by the love it had witheld thus far

And whenever I would share these thoughts with your father,
He would always smile and utter these words:
‘When you become a father, you will realize:
Hossein himself will teach you, Reza,
Hossein himself will teach you, Reza.’

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