Image by Dorota Kudyba from Pixabay

The farthest mosque

Migration is metaphorical.

My actual body lies somewhere I cannot trace.

Two generations back existed on different soil two

generations back existed on different soil two generations

back existed on different soil

two generations back migration

was never about a body’s movement.

Migration is my inheritance.


Isra. To speak of the first metaphorical migration.

The Prophet Muhammad travelled from Makkah

to Jerusalem on a white winged horse. Buraq

flies a man to lead a lineage of prophets

in prayer.

I would like to kneel in Masjid-al-Aqsa, at the mosque

where the last prophet went, touch

forehead to courtyard dust. Too bad

my passport prohibits me.


Did the Prophet’s body leave Makkah?

Did mine ever exist in Karachi?

A piece of paper stops me nonetheless.

If we place a microscope on Mount Arafat

we’ll see body

upon body, every body

since Adam and Hawa found each other

in the dust storm called Makkah

The Prophet led the last prayers

of his life there in the company of his companions

and every single person born since the first man.

Every body stayed. Only rooh wanders.


Call it soul or spirit or any other English word

that falls short.

rooh, rooh, rooh.


al-Miraj. The second migration.

The self resurrects into a form that is not the body

because the body has never existed.

rooh carried upwards with Jibrail.

rooh can walk but it can’t fly.

The Prophet sees Adam sees Isa sees Yusuf sees Idris sees Harun sees Musa sees Ibrahim

sees Allah. Well, we learn

sees because

not in English not in Arabic not in Urdu

nor any human language

do we have a word that is the opposite of body.

We call it rooh. This is inaccurate.


Historical accuracy is inaccurate.

Suleman’s temple did not really ever exist.

It was never truly destroyed.

al-Aqsa has always been a stretch of desert and ice

inhabited by rooh-e-azadi. There is no dome. There is no

brick. Claims to sand and water are tenuous too.

People made of clay and blood

root themselves, uproot others. Whatever people are, they

are cruel.

To lay down my self there

the same as laying it down where my feet currently touch.

This doesn’t explain the paper prohibiting my body

from crossing the threshold.

The Farthest Mosque then is the Farthest Mosque now.


The Prophet is ready to accept fifty prayers a day.

Fifty sets of movement, of aligning

our bodies with each axis of tangible and intangible world.

Fifty becomes five but carries the same weight.

Five crystalline rocks instead of fifty feathers.

Everyone is handsome in their bodilessness.


If I have a chest it will be risky to cut it open

to replace the water molecules in my bloodstream

with Zam Zam.

If all I am is rooh, this is not an issue.

Metaphorical water cleanses metaphorical body makes peace with not existing anywhere.

I worry about where I am now and let

my ancestors worry about where we were.

We share our worries over soil and borders.

I can’t reach some of my ancestors.


Buraq does not care about human walls.

He flies me there.

There’s the first sea that drank my saltwater tears is the first brick of a house is the first grain of sand to escape a desert is the first prophet

on Mount Arafat. After the fall, when the only thing left

was love. After every

seduction and loss

we’re here. I descend the white winged horse.