al-salaatu wa al-salaamu ‘alaa rasoolillah, wa ‘alaa aalihi, wa sahbihi ajma’een.

We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry

—W.B. Yeats

My name is Abul Aarfeen Zeshan Syed and I am a descendant of the venerable Prophet Muhammad. My mother is a Hussayni, which means her ancestry descends from the Prophet’s grandson al-Hussayn; whereas my father’s lineage is Hassani, a descendent of the older grandson al-Hassan. Technically, a person with both lineages (the Holy Prophet’s bloodline descends from these two grandsons) is classified as Najib al-tarfayn. Since my father’s ancestry also includes the renowned Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani—founder of the Qadiri Sufi Order—I am also a Qadiri by blood.

In 2012 I received formal permission (ijaza) to practice master-level Sufi invocations (dhikr), meditations (shughul), and vigilances (muraqabah) for three of the four major Sufi Orders (Chishti, Qadiri, and Naqshbandi) after completing a master class with our Shaykh who himself has authority in all four (the three Orders mentioned above as well as the Suhrawardi Order).

In 2014, I finished the epic The Marriages of Hadhrat ‘Uthman, alternatively titled The Caliph. A year later, the first print publication was released in late 2015.

This year I am preparing the epic’s End Notes and working on prose material. I am studying poetics and poetry in the Masters of Fine Arts program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

I make my home in the Chicago suburbs with my wife and three children.

Contact me at this address: Z(at)

al-salaatu wa al-salaamu ‘alaa rasoolillah, wa ‘alaa aalihi, wa sahbihi ajma’een.