Blessings Upon You
Still grappling with the dissertation, but lucky enough to have colleagues who suggest new avenues for writing. The passage that follows may not make it into the final project, but it's something that makes me smile:
You do not know the moment of your death, much less know that your grave will be lost to view. You do not know that emperors and princes will drink from the waters of the spring beside your tomb, naming it blessed for its healing properties. You do not know the man who will find your grave in a dream, nor can you see the two great plane trees that will rise in the courtyard before the tomb that is built upon your grave. You do not know the men and women who will visit you in the centuries to come, who will tell stories of you, of your faith and piety, of your protection of this city to be. You are Halid bin Zeyd Ebu Eyüp el-Ensârî, Companion of the Prophet (upon him peace), His standardbearer, now come to lay siege to this Byzantine city, now aged and nearing death. You know nothing of the village which will grow from the kernel of your name, nothing of the district it will become. You know nothing of these things, and to the men who come to you with doubt in their voice and weariness in their eyes on those damp nights, you say only, as you have said before, Blessings upon you, and the mercy of God.