WINNERS ANNOUNCED! Check them our here!
Alhumdulillah, the finals are finally here! The wait must have been incredibly long for some, especially those who participated in the contest with their entries. We've been through five groups of semifinalists', with voting done for each group to narrow it done for the finals. All voting for semifinalists is now closed.
Before we go on to the actual finalists, it's important to let you know how much we valued each and every entry. It was humanly impossible to do justice to the beautiful poems mailed to us! Some were better than others in terms of creativity or the varied messages they carried… but really, all were heartwarming as they were about Ramadan, the best month of the year.
For the finals then, we've taken the top two most-voted poems from each semifinalists' group through to the finals. Please note:
1. You're now voting to decide the winner and two runners up (you have to cast just one vote though, to make that clear!)
2. Voting will be open for three days. Polls will close on 0000 hrs Pacific Standard Time on 8th September.
3. The winner and runners up will be announced on 'Īd day.
A Journey to Ramadan
By: Simeitsa Stamoulas (Maryam Noor Stamoulas)
A Month of Mercy
is upon us.
And I remembered back
when I was young
about how I felt being able
to fast the whole month.
I thought, “How wonderful!
All the reward is in my grasp!”
I realized I should
plan for this blessed month.
So, I went in my room.
And I wrote a list.
I will pray my soul to rest.
I will fast with strength greater
than the one who wrestles men
My remembrance will
only be of Allāh.
And can't forget the coming 'Īd
I just kept on thinking how
I can just soak up this month
And as I wrote, my father
entered my room.
“Oh Baba! I am preparing my
list for Ramadan. Come see
what I have written.”
My father examined every detail.
And when he looked up he smiled
then said, “Ya bunayyati (O my daughter),
these are all great things you have listed,
but I think you are missing something.”
I said, “Missing something? What do
He stopped for a while,
and asked me to come with him.
My father took my hand.
And we traveled into the city.
It is not something I experienced often.
And I observed the status of its condition.
I saw walks of life with no homes.
Children in rags that had seen better days
on some other child that had thrown them away.
I saw a dinner plate between a mother
and her four starve stricken children.
A plate only consisting of two
decomposed dates found
and split into four halves.
And then we stopped.
I looked at my father with tears saying,
“Where are we Baba?”
He held me close and wiped my trickles.
“Bunayatti, when I saw your list indeed I was
pleased, but Ramadan is not only
about you or I. It is about the people
around you who need you the most.
It is a second chance. It's a reminder to mankind
that forgiveness is near.
It's about self reflection, and unity.”
From then on I learned that Ramadan
was not about how many prayers I did.
The clothes I bought.
Or even the strength that
I had to fast.
It wasn't what was sitting on the dinner
table, but who was sitting around it.
It was about us all gathering together
and crying out, “Ya Rabbana!
Your Mercy is as the river flows.
And Your Bounty has no limits!
Make this the month of great
treasures for them!”
It was the peace on their faces
after telling reciting the verse to them
“Verily, with every difficulty there is relief”(94:6).
It was Allāh letting them know
He had never forgotten them
Nor had He left them not
even for a blink of an eye.
I say to you,
Ya ayyuhal Mu'minun(O you Believers)!
Don't be missing something this Ramadan.
We are the Heirs
By: Mariam Arif
How beautiful the scent it brings,
A wave of calmness, an air of peace,
Our hearts are driven to the King of kings,
Our chances of paradise will increase.
It's time to read His mighty words,
A single letter is ten times more,
I crave the prize, I reap rewards,
I need that heaven we all adore.
Refraining from food and drink is one,
To refrain from sin is greater still,
To teach us patience, to discipline,
Let's see who has the greatest will.
And don't forget Al-Qadr night,
When souls seek guidance and purify,
The winners pray and long recite,
For they were chosen by the All-High.
I raise my hands and close my eyes,
May God accept our fast and prayers,
By the end of this I want the prize,
Which God has promised, we are the heirs.
By: Emad Hamdeh
In the day I struggle and sin while You watch me
Forgetting what I promised Thee
That I won't do it again
I have come to realize that being far from You is disgrace
Now being near to You is the only place
I wish to be, please grant me my wish by Your Grace
All others closed their doors
You are The Most Generous, please open up Yours
Allāh allow me to wake up at night
I have sinned much in the daylight
Please my heart needs to come to you in flight
My desire of sleep I shall fight
To prostrate to You in the nights peak
Complaining about my heart being so weak
Bless me and let that tear leak
Down this sinful mans cheek
Let my tongue ask for forgiveness, for all the evil it did speak
Let my arrogant nose
Go on the floor where peoples feet and toes
Walk, where it belongs my forehead goes
Let my prostration be lengthy and my tears plenty
My back is getting weak, as the sins on my shoulders are so hefty
Please Oh Allāh let me be among those who are awake while others sleep
I carry heavy sins and the road to You is steep
They are holding me down and making me slip and fall
But Your name I will always call
Allow me to prostrate to You in the dark
As sins have left on my heart a great black mark
Allāh I beg You not to leave me to myself
For clearly I cannot see
My sins have left me roaming blindly
Guide me to Your Light
I miss prostrating to You at night
Now I tear, because I fear
Not tasting the sweetness of being alone with You and so near
Oh Allāh I haven't prayed Qiyam in so long
Since the last time, I have done so much wrong
Oh Allāh without You I can't be strong
Being away from You I can no longer take
From the chains and yokes of my sins I want to break
Oh Allāh grant me this request
Though of your servants I am so far from the best
Oh Allāh I am so sinful compared to the rest
Please let me pass this test
Oh Allāh don't deprive me of standing between Your Hands
A place a sinner like me never stands
My sins are enough to cover the lands
Let me be pleased with Your decree
Whatever happened was meant to be
Whatever I missed was not meant for me
My only strength and courage is through Thee
Accept from me my prayer
Oh Allāh my heart aches
Being alone with You brings back great memories
Remembering those days takes
My heart into different states
Oh Allāh my heart misses You so much that it is about to fall and break
The thought of how much I disobeyed You makes me quiver and shake
Oh my Lord, please give me my wish and inspire
Me to do good so I may be saved from the fire
Oh Allāh I can no longer speak
My heart misses You so much it has become weak
Oh Allāh How Revered You are
You are so near, but I chose to be far
Allow me another chance to be close to You
To drop another tear while prostrating before You
My sins covered my heart with a dark thick layer
Remove it with Your Light
Allow me to come back and stand before You at night
Return to my heart its sight
For it is weak and losing the fight
Help me as You are my only Power and Might
La Hawla wala Quwata illa Billah
A Mother's Last Words
By: Hadiyah Stephens
Compare, if you will, two flowers the same
Except one is vibrant and fresh, the other crumpled and plain
They lay in my hand, one in each palm
And looking at them, I experience a strange calm
My mind goes back in time, I begin to reflect
And I realise I have a lot to correct
I ask myself, 'when was the last time you prayed?'
'And when was the last time you freely gave aid?'
I sit down then, right there on the grass
I start crying, the tears come fast
I don't know what made me feel this way
So sad, so helpless, so full of dismay
I stare down bleakly at my balled-up fist
I feel confused, surely there's something I've missed
Something is wrong, there's something I should know
I struggle to remember, my confusion grows
I grow frustrated, I clutch at the flowers
Then breaking through my rage, a sound that empowers
I hear my mother's gentle voice, so near, so treasured
And my tears run freely as her last words, I remember
She died in the month of Ramadan, the very last night
And even though she was in pain, her face was lit with light
She clasped my hand and brought me near
And whispered to me, her voice frail, yet clear
She told me of Ramadan, her favourite month of the year
And of how everyday she would spread hope and cheer
I remembered vaguely of her always being away from home
Always in Ramadan, she would go out alone
She told me of what Ramadan brings
Peace, Forgiveness, Happiness, Blessings
She told me to make sure others know
She grasped my hand tight and begged me to go
She told me to continue on after her death
She was staring at me as she drew her last breath
Then she died with the Shahadah echoing on her pale lips
And in her features I could see the toll of many hardships
I didn't carry on her work
I refused to acknowledge her last words
I closed myself off from the whole of Islam
I had left the straight path for the path of harm
And as I stood there with the flowers in my hands
I recalled a story my mother had taught me from our homeland
Three dates she gave me after Iftar
She asked me to identify their differences, I thought it bizarre
I did as she asked, I examined all three
And when I was finished she asked for my decree
I told her the truth, one was fresh, one dried
And the last was cracked, brittle and split down the side
She smiled as if pleased and gathered me close
She then asked me how the rest of the lesson goes
I look up at her, uncomprehending, confused
She smiled again, picked up some dates, just two
One was the fresh one, the other was the dried
I gave no response to my mothers wide questioning eyes
The fresh date represents a true Muslim'
'The dry one is a disbeliever, instead'
She pauses before picking up the last date; she waited for a reaction
Then she holds up the last date, the one which was hardened
She waits for a little longer then she slowly tells me
This one represents a Kuffar and a hypocrite, do you see?
I didn't get it then but I sure get it now
I finally understand and will now make a vow
I called myself a Muslim while doing nothing at all
And now I will save myself from this head-long fall
Because that lesson my mum taught me so long ago
Was not just a lesson but a life echo
What she showed me using just three dates
Is really what we are all trying to create
With this simple lesson we can learn
What is the key we are all trying to earn
The key to Paradise is simple to get
Just try to be the fresh date in each set
I cradled the flowers as I ducked indoors
I have to apply what I learnt to my life and more
I filled up a vase and placed the flowers inside
And ran to make wudo with Allāh as my guide
That prayer was a first for a very long time
I had just started my prayer when the clock began to chime
I was full of thankfulness, cheer and more too
I'd realised I was free of the wrong I'd been going through
When I sat and studied Islam that night
I felt like a new person, full of radiant light
I looked out of the window out of pure chance
And when I saw what I saw I felt like doing a dance
For hanging up there in the heavens, was an inspiring sight
Glimmering softly against the blackness of night
Moving slowly across the sky, slim and new
Was the brand new beautiful Ramadan Moon
Since my mother had died I hadn't fasted a day
But the present was different, before I had been astray
But now I didn't fear Ramadan like I had in the past
Now I gladly went around preparing for my fast
That night long ago, when my mother breathed her last
She had told me the secret to the blessed month of the fast
I had nodded, pretending to comprehend
I hadn't, and now I must make my amends
I am proud to be a Muslim, let everyone know
The lesson taught to me by my Mum so long ago
Stay away from harms way, try to do right
Especially in Ramadan, the blessed month of light
A mother's last words everyone should heed
Often a little advice is all that you need
Follow my mother's lesson and pave your way clear
Build your īmān and make it sincere
Ramadan is not to be dreaded and feared
As many different things its not what it appears
Sure it's about fasting all day
But it's also about who you obey
Do good in Ramadan, be your best
As we all know, life's only a test
Be a good Muslim, keep up the good deeds
And maybe one day, we shall all succeed
Peace, Sincerity, Forgiveness and more
This is what Ramadan brings to every Muslim's door
Do what my Mum told me all those years past
“Treat every Ramadan as if it's your last”
By: Syed Muneeb Shere
I wonder how you welcome Ramadan
Do you wait for it with open arms?
And when it comes, give it a welcome warm?
Or do you grumble and believe that harm
Is hunger to health or is thirst too hard?
And it fascinates me how you treat your fast
Do you wake up grumbling before dawn?
To eat a morsel, on your face a frown?
And then do you pray, with a sleepy brain
Your morning prayer, before the time is gone?
And do you sleep, through out the day?
Or does your fast get in your way
When you are told to do some work
Other than chatting, or gossiping, or play?
Does your fast stop when you lie?
Or does the fast pass as every normal day?
In entertainment, untruths and useless bray?
Is that how you treat Ramadan?
Or when fast is broken, do you eat your feed?
Without caring about those in need?
Is a day's hunger not sufficient to make you heed
Or your heart yearns not towards a good deed?
Or does it not pain you, your every bad deed?
Is not Ramadan, enough to take lead?
Of your misguided selfish deeds?
Is that how you treat Ramadan?
And in the mosque, at the time of night
When is recited, the book of light
Do you spend the time in flight?
From your Lord and in useless fights?
Does not your conscience bite?
Your heart or is it too much still
To make you stir for the path which is right
Is that how you treat Ramadan?
Beware the month of forgiveness and mercy
Do you not take from the hell fright?
Or do you not wish to be pure and white
To rush towards your Lord and the guiding light?
Return before you reach the height
When time is over and your insight
Becomes frightfully clear and bright
O Man waste not your Ramadan
Iftar Table Musings
By: Sohaib Baig
The medjool dates are ready, so is my glass of water
I sit with my watch
a million thoughts slide by
as quietly as the distant, setting sun
the day's struggles
the tedious incomplete work
the forthcoming night
my eyes close, but my mind stays awake
my stomach growls, counting the time
as if it can be counted
What is time, but a hideous distraction
An anchor pulling us back to this gargantuan world,
cutting it into small, edible bits
but there really is no time – only timelessness
for this is not really a world – only an evanescing phase
our souls are on an eternal journey,
created from long before, headed for something much greater
we have to weave our way
maneuver past this world's tight fist
stamp out our cold, befuddled shivers
open our eyes for the first time, truly
then bask in the tranquil openness, and warmness
inside rivers with no banks and valleys with no peaks
under a sun with endless streams of light
and gaze at our Lord
freely, peacefully, unendingly
and all alone.
we all have been marauding around
like uninvited guests, though we were invited
eating the forbidden fruit, hiding behind leaves
few, if ever, see through the deftly-woven branches
and notice the rays of light and Mercy
streaming, encompassing our nomadic worlds
giving life to our automated lives
He offers us forgiveness
all these Ramadans, all these Prayers
all this Qur'an, all these Qiyams
but we deftly press the snooze button
how far we are from Him,
yet how close He is to us.
By: Hind El-Ayoubi
It's the feeling I can't explain
The way that it made me forget my pain
With every breath that I take
Never in my life have I ever been more awake
The way it made its presence known
Sent a chill down to my bone
As I look up and ask God to witness this miraculous time of the year
Reassurance accompanied me with tears
Ramadan how I've counted down the days
Until you came and cleared up the haze
The month of mercy and forgiveness it is
Puts me in an unworldly state of bliss
The Qurʾān which was revealed on this day
To understand it all and live by it for this I pray
The Maghreb Moment: A Ramadan Poem
By: Adem Carroll
It is within you. And it comes again
The sweet, mysterious breath of
The inner heat of secret light
Like the green within the flame.
No fear, no paperwork or mountaintop,
No borders stop this Ramadan;
Witness the heart's uncertain trek towards waking
Through seasons, sands– small wandering child with drum.
Come home, my heart, this evening
As loved ones gather in the kitchen warm with steam;
Our loving mother is the cook
And God is He who sent the Book to wake us from this dream.
In need we find the treasure:
Beyond consuming or consumed,
We may drink the green life here
Before we are entombed.
In the desert, “ain,” the word for eye, oasis is the same—
But as one will empty one will fill.
Yet now these evenings out of the darkness comes
All life to share the source in peace…
And the drums are still.
Ramadan Oh Ramadan
By: Zuha Mirza
Ramadan oh Ramadan how I miss thee
You come for one month and leave us for an 11 month spree
You bring us both blessings and control from the shaytaan,
But eventually leave us, anticipating next year's Ramadan.
Ramadan oh Ramadan how I miss thee
Waking up with tired eyes for suhoor and some tea
Frying samosas and filling up our plates in time for iftaar with glee
The sweet and savory taste of the kajoor
Keeps me filled from iftar to suhoor
Ramadan oh Ramadan how I miss thee
Taraweeh and ibadaah, I perform with Allāh's decree
I make du‘ā’ with immense faith and concentration
Hoping this Ramadan's fasts will be accepted without any hesitation
Ramadan oh Ramadan how I miss thee
I hope to meet you this year, so I can welcome you contently
Ramadan oh Ramadan how I miss thee
I hope I can meet you the next year, so I can keep fasts in honor of HE
Ramadan oh Ramadan how I LOVE thee
That I keep missing you, even when you're not here with me
Where hope lies
By: Miriam Islam
Engulfed in the blackness of despair, drowning with deeds beyond repair
The sinner walks a lonely path
A desperate effort to heal the wounded aftermath
Chased by the demons of desire
The dunya led him closer to the fire
The glitter of pleasures and death never pending
Threw him into sins never ending.
So great is the shame, marred with emotions unnamed
How can he dare to call upon his lord again?
With a heavy heart and eyes downcast
Dreams of carefree days go past
A time when it was so easy to raise up hands and freely request
Innocent pleas and simple decisions, praying Allāh would ease the rest.
Requesting from his Lord most high, most bountiful
Who made all good things seem possible, and the evil unthinkable.
So when did the light of goodness fade into darkness?
Was it through the extinguish of the conscience
Or did it diminish with the weak voice of reason
When overshadowed by the shout of Satan?
So the sinner walks a lonely path,
No longer seeking wrong or right, only hoping for a ray of light.
A light of purpose, a light of redemption
A lamp of guidance, leading to the road of salvation.
A way to repent for the time unspent
For the obligations unfulfilled and the book unread
The deeds which rendered the weak heart dead.
So what can revive the stricken heart?
Allāh set a month apart.
A time of healing, a time of hope
A time when everyone can grasp a lifeline boat.
Drifting to Allāh's mercy, escaping to the plains of tranquillity
Wherein lies a night, better than a thousand nights.
Containing beauty and power concealed from sight.
A time to walk through a new door and emerge with vows of “no more”
And so the sinner walks a lonely path
Towards renewal and amendments for the past.
Through doors of repentance and levels of submission
Allāh's mercy leads him to the doors of admission
The promise of two gardens for taqwa for a lord unseen
In the prevention of a fearful deed.
For O son of Adam if your sins reached the sky
But you called on your lord just one time
You would be forgiven as if you had never turned to transgression.
So never despair of the mercy of Ar Rahman, turn the key in Ramadan.
Reignite the former glory of īmān.