Prophetic Pabulums

Straining Bones

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Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living. -—Jonathan Safran Foer

There are emotions that strike when you soak up his ﷺ stories. Suddenly, you feel unforgivingly faulty, floundering between what you are and what he ﷺ was for us to emulate. So we emulate his motions, hoping to fold ourselves into his beautiful mold-—“one day, perhaps”-—every missed prayer and fit of anger, every shortcoming folded into his mold of his human perfection.

[his stories, and your bones straining under the weight of the life you are not living]

-—how he raced to prayer in the face of every danger. How he dressed so humbly. Dry fibers itching his skin. How he set a smile on a little girl’s face when he told her “pretty, pretty” in broken Abyssinian. She smiled. A memory nestled in her mind until old age. How he ate, minimally and gratefully. A handful of dates at times, and dry bread during others. Mostly, how he droned on in weary tones-—qiyām when the city slept-—meditating on mellifluous speech, the Qur`ān.

“Recite Qur`ān or don’t recite Qur`ān,” ʿĀ`ishah [رضى الله عنها] once told the tābiʿīn, “I used to arise with Rasūlullah ﷺ for qiyām ul-layl, and he would recite through al-Baqarah, `Āli ʿImrān, an-Nisā`; he wouldn’t pass a single verse regarding the good of Jannah except that made duʿāʾ [for it]; and he wouldn’t pass a single verse on fear [from the evil of Jahannam] except that he made duʿāʾ and sought refuge from it.”

What’s your favorite seerah story?

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