Azaleas of the south

It is summer in the south.  July with its intense heat is beating on the windows demanding to be let in. I am home for the summer, once again entering a house full of non-harmonious energies of the six people who once lived in this house………

I walk up the circular staircase and enter Tariq’s room. I am looking for a waistcoat for Rehan. I open his closet and his tan suede jacket in a hanger beckons me. I touch the soft suede and I am transported to Argentina where I was once invited by the World Federation of Neurology to plan their meeting. I had taken Tariq with me.

I am walking the shopping street of Buenos Aires,  which is lined with shops with suede jackets,  real mink coats and jackets. I pause in front of a black mink coat, its glossy elegance seductively beckoning me. Tariq pulls at my sleeve, his hazel eyes filled with firmness “ No Mom, you are not buying any mink, it is cruelty to animals the way they get the mink” I look at him, twelve years old and already an environmental activist. Regretfully I let go of the mink coat and we walk on.

We come upon the tan suede jacket hanging in one of the open bazaar type shops which now hangs in his closet. He puts it on and instantly falls in love with it. “It is too big” I say, “its ok Mom……..” his eyes pleading. His hazel eyes reflected in the golden tan of the suede, his pitch-dark hair tousled, his two moles on either side of his lips standing out against his pink cheeks, he looks full of hope and promised beauty.

Buenos Aires fades, as do the 250 waterfalls that we experienced together in Iguazu. What remains is his intense presence in this jacket, which is why I have not been able to part with it.

I stand rooted in front of the closet, the reason I had opened it forgotten. I have given away all of Tariq’s clothes except a few that still hold him in them…….

Quran Memorization Valide Atik Cami

Quran Memorization Valide Atik Cami

Much later in another country, I am in a fellowship of Islamic studies. I  am in class with the Sheikh. He is talking about intercession, tawassul and tabbaruk and why people visit the graves of the saints and Awliyas and all the sacred texts related to these subjects.

Suddenly the whole concept of individual energy sinks into me. Dead or alive, the individual energy of a person is never destroyed. The quality and light of the energy being refined and purified by the Hands of the Divine, He gives His Light to some and not to others.

Matter is never destroyed….it just transforms. Dust to dust…… is made of dirt and to dirt he is converted upon death, yet his energy clings to his personal objects like a tan suede jacket hanging in Tariq’s closet.


Back in Istanbul I step off the ferry to visit the Maqam of Eyup Ansari (RA). He has been the nearest to the Prophet PBUH and it is the closest I can get to his energy by being in his maqam which in addition houses the tabarakat of the Prophet PBUH.  It is the closest I can physically get to the DNA of the Prophet pbuh………

Entering the precincts of Eyup Sultan mosque and maqam is indescribable. Hundreds of people mill around his maqam and yet the light emanates from it and hugs me if I can focus and rise above the technicalities of being in a crowd.

The intense feeling of peace that engulfs me is such that I do not wish to leave, but I see the Turkish guard showing me his watch and politely nodding his head towards the exit. I nod as I meet his eyes that are filled with a compassionate understanding of why I want to be here.


Returning to Uskudar on the Ferry from Eyup Sultan

In the winter I am in Uzbekistan on a ziyarah of the famous scholars and saints of Islam that are concentrated in this this small country of Central Asia. After Imam Bukhari I am in a daze and as I enter this maqam of another Saint in Uzbekistan, I pay no attention to his name. I sit down on the carpet around the marble of his grave and the diluted sunlight after asr enters the clean pristine, ascetic room. As my companions recite the Dhikr of Allah, I feel the fingers of Light filled energy engulfs me, hug me and comfort me as one by one they lift the layers of the dark drapes of my anxieties, fears and deep sadness and fill them with Light and the gentleness of compassion.

The energy of the Saints is much stronger and longer lasting then us mortal ordinary beings and yet even for us the goodness in us emanates in our energy in life and in death.

In a similar manner evil or negative energy also can fills a home or place and you can feel it when you enter such a place. It is not necessary for a violence or murder to have been committed somewhere for the place to be dark and dank in its character. It could be a place where positive energy is missing and the place has become occupied by evil, negative energy by default. It can be converted with a lot of Dhikr.


I shut the door to Tariq’s closet, and his energy dims.  One by one I lay down the musallahs in the cleared space in his room, hoping to create Light in his room as he did for us in his short life.

July is leaving and I can breathe again……..




  1. I am feeling the positive energy in Istanbul and your friendship, dear Asma. I felt what you wrote of positive energy , Alhumdulillah, at the Ayub Ansaari ( radi allahu unhu) mosque Subhanallah and every small and big masjid in Turkey. I totally understand, experiantially, what you mean by non harmonious energies….I have been on both sides – as victim and perpetrator.
    May Allah increase you and give you solace and serenity for all times to come. Aameen.

    Liked by 1 person

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