“Throne’s Lament” (*لبّيك يا حسين)


My grandfather was not but a stump, but for him I’ve naught but jealousy,

for upon him stood the blessed feet of he who was sent, all worlds’ mercy.

Thou art from him, and he from thee – what gladder news received a man?

And what need hast thou of me when thy throne is thy kabristan?

“O Hussain! O Hussain!” my wooden heart cries out to thee;

and though but of wood, it so longs to serve, but never didst thou long for me.

And what am I but two slabs of wood, no matter how I’m dressed,

upon which tyrants’ crooked backs and deflated egos rest?

O second of two lords of Garden’s youth! O second of two fragrant blooms!

Woe betide the one whose stick prodded thy prophetic face in my very room!

Woe betide who called to thee, knives poised at their own neck,

only to turn them round on thee, and bury them in thy back!

“O Hussain! O Hussain!” my wooden heart cries out to thee;

and though but of wood, it so longs to serve, but never didst thou long for me.

*عليه و أبيه و جدّه سلام

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“Woe to the Rebels!” (ويل لكم يا شباب الخوارج)

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Ukiyo-e of the Battle of Kawanakajima by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

You dreamt of days of cavaliers upon
heaving chargers, lances levelled, swords drawn,

ripping through ranks of worthy foes arrayed;
martyrdom’s price would not go left unpaid.

But you’re no knight, the bit’s between your teeth;
corrupted hands you placed your reins beneath.

They grip and rip and tell you where to turn
and spur you headlong into what you’ll earn.

But you have a choice, a gift you’ve abused
along with all of God’s words you’ve misused.

So, better to be the lifeless cold steel,
not to account for the blood it will spill,

than the owner of the hand raising high
that tarnished blade that’s brought my ummah’s night.

So woe to you, O heedless foolish young!
The martyrs are the ones you kill – their ranks you’ll never be among!