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Fiction

At Dawn – A Poem

Published

By A guest author.

One morning after praying Fajr, I found that I couldn’t fall back asleep. So I sat at my desk. Beside my desk is a huge window that I enjoy looking out of whenever I have the need to just think. This is what I was doing when Allah SWT put the following words in my heart, and I picked up a pen, began to write, and out came this poem:

With every passing day,

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The world shatters

A piece of morality and truth

Breaking off the mould

The days go by

With harshness,

Cruelty

Hatred

Coldness

Seeping through my ears,

Eyes

Mouth

And mind.

The sun brings little comfort

As the world beneath it breaks

A slow moving crack

Breaking off all sense,

Bringing forth confusion.

The nights fall with darkness—

Not lack of light,

But lack of love

Acts of immorality,

The implementing of fear

For gain,

The raw, tight clutch

Of greed,

Power used

For gain of power,

As acts that bring sorrow in the morning

Take place.

The moon brings little comfort

As the world beneath it crumbles

Bit by bit

Piece by piece

Each piece lost

Adding another shade of grey.

For these reasons, oh Allah,

I thank You.

I thank You for waking me

At the time when all is quiet

When twilight shows her beautiful face

As birds sing Your Praise.

Peace whispers,

For just a fleeting moment

As I remember only You

The sun is rising,

Pure for now,

The moon may take its rest

As I wake to see the wonders of nature

Reign for a moment or two.

And I thank You.

Allah, I thank You

For waking me

At Dawn

When all else is asleep

Save for those who remember You

And peace lingers long enough

To brush

My heart

Reminding me of a better place.

I smile.

I am tranquil.

Because I know of

A better place.

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. Abd- Allah

    February 23, 2010 at 7:30 AM

    Nice poem.

    In general, English poetry sucks when compared to Arabic poetry. It lacks structure, flow, and a sense of balance. Arabic poems are not easy to write and need an expertise in the field to be able to produce quality work. Not to mention that some Arabic poems contain knowledge, so one can review what they know and enjoy listening to the poem at the same time.

    One thing with poems though is that the more the reader understands it the more he will appreciate it. So if a person can’t understand the poem, chances are he won’t like it. I guess that is generally true with everything in life though.

  2. Mirza Shahbaaz Baig

    February 23, 2010 at 8:08 AM

    Bismillah.
    i am not into much poems. haven’t read them in years but i think i liked this. jazak Allah khayr.

  3. alhamdulillah

    February 23, 2010 at 11:02 AM

    I like this poem alot..so beautiful especially the ending, how beautiful I have that same feeling when I watch the sunrise… a better place… think of a better place…

    May Allah reward us all jannat al ferdous

  4. Ify Okoye

    February 23, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    Who’s the author?

    • amad

      February 23, 2010 at 12:23 PM

      oops… someone failed to add the important intro and the author’s name!

      it’s up now.

      mashallah, the author is only 16… she has a bright future ahead of her… may Allah bless her.

  5. Abs

    February 23, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    Jazak Allah khair yakhee. Ma sha’ Allah quite an impressive poem!

  6. Hafsa

    February 23, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    MashaAllah! This is so good! :)

  7. Amatullah

    February 23, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    really nice mashaAllah!

  8. Moona

    February 23, 2010 at 2:04 PM

    Impressive! mashAllah

  9. Aurora

    February 23, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    This made me teary… The dawn is definitely something else… SubhanAllah.

    May Allah reward you and give you the strength to write more wonderful poems. :)

  10. Mahfara

    February 23, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    Jazak Allah khair for the comments…this has just made my day. :)

  11. farhan

    February 23, 2010 at 4:53 PM

    simply i am just so proud of her,feel like its so similer her feelings with mine!!allah bless her

  12. Nazaneen

    February 23, 2010 at 6:35 PM

    Amazing poem, Mahfara.
    She’s my friend, and she is an amazing writer. Her poems are phenomenal <3 (:

  13. Ibn AbuAisha

    February 23, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    Jazaki Allah Khair for the beautiful words. May Allah grant you peace and tranquility in this world and the next.

  14. Ameera Khan

    February 24, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    Beautiful, Jazakillah. I love Dawn time too, when everything seems just perfect and you can forget all the wrong happening around you. Spending time at the window, watching the sky turn brighter with each passing moment… it’s a real joy, Alhamdolillah. The way you described it, I’m sure you and I share some interests. As for me, I loved Dawn and the pre-Dawn time so much that I named my blog along that theme. :)

  15. farooq

    February 24, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    Very nice! I too am not into poems very often but this one was written very well. May allah continue to bless her and give her better than the better place she thinks of.

  16. Wael - IslamicAnswers.com

    February 24, 2010 at 2:20 PM

    As-salamu alaykum sister Mahfara. Your writing has a lot of potential but you’ve fallen into some classic teenage traps. With a few small improvements this could be a very memorable and striking poem.

    I’ve been studying and writing poetry for 30 years. I can give you some constructive criticism if you like, either publicly (in this space) or privately as you prefer.

    • Mahfara

      February 24, 2010 at 3:20 PM

      Walaikum Salam,
      That would be most welcome.

      -Email removed… we can send it offline. Otherwise you’ll be spammed to death! -Editor

      • Wael - IslamicAnswers.com

        February 24, 2010 at 4:31 PM

        Here you go, and I have emailed you as well.

        As-salamu alaykum sister Mahfara,

        You’re off to a good start as a poet, ma-sha-Allah, and the first rule is to keep on writing, because the best way to become a better writer is to write.

        The second rule is to read critically. Read the works of well known poets, whether classical Muslim poets like Rumi, modern Muslim poets, or western poets like Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Dorothy Parker and others.

        Read these poems with a careful eye, trying to understand what makes them good. I recently read a book of collected works by modern Palestinian poets, and it was very good, very powerful, full of real images and experiences.

        If you get a hold of a detailed Seerah like Seerat ibn Hisham, you can even read the poems written by some of the sahabah about many events in their lives. You will find them full of gory details about battles, images of wild desert animals, descriptions of proud fighters, etc. It’s great stuff.

        Also, when you get to university make sure to take some courses on creative writing and poetry.

        Alright. Now, one of the things that “brings a poem home” so to speak, that allows it to penetrate a reader’s heart and capture his/her imagination, are details. By which I mean concrete images. Sensory input. Specific things that you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. These are the heart of all writing.

        Let’s look at the beginning of your poem:

        With every passing day,

        The world shatters

        A piece of morality and truth

        Breaking off the mould

        The days go by

        With harshness,

        Cruelty

        Hatred

        Coldness

        Seeping through my ears,

        Eyes

        Mouth

        And mind.

        The problem is that there are no concrete images here. It’s all very vague. In what day does the world shatter every day?

        If you had said,

        With every passing day
        the world shatters,
        another acre of rainforest falling to the axe,
        the tall, majestic trees splitting like thunder.
        Another child dying of hunger,
        belly distended, forgotten in a dusty refugee camp.
        Another drug addict shivering
        in an urban back alley, his pain hidden
        behind a dumpster.

        Do you see the difference? These are concrete images that a person can imagine. I cannot picture the world shattering every day – that’s too vague, what does it look like? – but I can picture a tree falling, a hungry child dying, a drug addict shivering.

        You say the days go by with harshness, cruelty, hatred, coldness. Again, this is too vague. You are not really telling us readers what you are talking about. It would be better if you give specific examples of these things. Some teachers express this by saying, “Show us, don’t tell us.” In other words, don’t tell us the world is harsh. Show us how it is harsh by describing it.

        Of course I don’t know the details of your life, but for example these are things I have actually heard from some young people:

        The days go by:
        an old woman on the street calls me a terrorist because I am wearing hijab.
        A friend at school tells me
        she had a relationship with a boy
        now she feels corrupted
        and talks of suicide.
        I get home and my mother says
        I am useless because I did not do my chores.
        I feel my heartbeat in my ears.
        I cannot breathe.
        I feel empty.

        So you see, this is showing, not telling. I never mentioned harshness, cruelty, coldness, etc, but the reader feels it because of the concrete details. In the end I broke my own rules and said “I feel empty” which is non-specific and not concrete, but sometimes you can get away with that if you set the foundation with enough concrete imagery.

        I won’t go through the rest of the poem line by line but I’ll mention a few specific things:

        I like your line, “A slow moving crack.” to describe the dawn. It’s interesting.

        With all of this part:

        But lack of love

        Acts of immorality,

        The implementing of fear

        For gain,

        The raw, tight clutch

        Of greed,

        Power used

        For gain of power,

        Again it’s too non-specific, and at times it sound like you are speaking of things that at your young age are beyond your realm of experience (for example, power used for gain of power). I do believe that you have experience with lack of love – something about this rings true in your poem – but we need some specific, concrete examples of what you are talking about.

        I really like your sudden transition:

        For these reasons, oh Allah,

        I thank You.

        It came so abruptly that at first I wondered if I missed something. But I like that feeling of surprise and wondering where you are going with it. Once again, however, we need concrete imagery in the following lines:

        When twilight shows her beautiful face

        As birds sing Your Praise.

        You can improve this by making it more real, for example:

        When twilight outlines the Sierras in the East,
        reaching for the sky with their immense grayness;
        a red cardinal poses cheekily at the top of a maple tree
        in my front yard; a robin preens on a telephone wire
        and calls, “Cheerily? cheer up, cheerily? cheer up,” repetitively.
        the air smells clean and sharp
        and my heart is quiet now, my eyes relaxed…
        And I thank You, Allah,
        I thank You

        Etcetera. If you don’t know the names of the trees outside your window and the birds that sing in the morning, learn them. Look them up. These details are what make a poem real. I’m not trying to rewrite your poem, just to give you ideas for how you can improve it.

        You have an excellent idea for a poem, a good outline, and a lot of genuine feeling, some good lines, and a really nice transition in the middle. If you replace the vague descriptive terms with specific real images from your own experience, it will be very strong.

        Don’t worry about being a voice for something that is beyond your personal experience. Your own experience is significant enough to interest us readers, even at your age. Be your own voice, and that of your generation. Speak from experience, because it carries the weight of authority. It informs, and cannot be argued with.

        Keep it up! You are further ahead than where I was at your age, and I can see you become a really talented writer Insha’Allah.

        • Abd- Allah

          February 24, 2010 at 4:43 PM

          I’m sorry to say akhi that you ruined her poem with your modifications. I believe that each poem is unique the way it is, and changing even a few words changes the entire poem and the message it sends out. Honestly, I liked the poem better the way it was originally, but I know that you had good intentions and wanted to help the sister out, so may Allah reward you for that.

          • Wael - IslamicAnswers.com

            February 24, 2010 at 4:55 PM

            I knew I would get some comments like that. That’s okay. My suggestions were not “modifications” – that was not my intention. If you read all of what I wrote, then you would understand that I am suggesting that she draw from her own personal experience to improve the poem, using specific details from her life. The few bits that I wrote were off the top of my head, and were only intended to be illustrative of the concept of using concrete imagery.

            I have written and published poetry in national literary journals for almost 30 years. I’m confident in my understanding of the poetic medium. But of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion. If the sister does not like my suggestions, she is free to ignore them. I did ask her first if she wanted my input, and she said yes.

          • Amad

            February 25, 2010 at 2:50 AM

            Wael, jazakAllahkhair.
            I really appreciate your tips here. I was going to ask you to share it with us if you had done it only by email.
            Poetry is an art and like all art, training can only make it better.
            Please do keep enlightening us with your comments. Your comments have been great.

            w/s

        • Umm Bilqis

          February 24, 2010 at 5:09 PM

          Sister Mahfara, Masha’Allah well done!
          How beautiful and you are so young as well. Masha”Allah, Tabarak’Allah
          Brother Wael what a sincere effort to introduce the use of imagery into Mahfara’s poetry and I know how difficult it is to do so and yet you made it effortless. I’m saving your comment and instructions perhaps you can make a small booklet?
          Jazak”Allah Khairan.

          • Wael - IslamicAnswers.com

            February 24, 2010 at 5:18 PM

            Jazak Allah kahyr, Umm Bilqis.

            I want to emphasize again that I was not attempting to modify or rewrite sister Mahfara’s poem. I only wanted to explain the idea of using actual sensory images, sounds, smells, and experiences to make a poem more real. If the sister can do that from her own experience, using images that are significant to her, she can turn an already good poem into a great one.

            I also tried to point out lines in her poem that I really liked. The sister asked for my input, and honest criticism is not saying, “The whole thing was fabulous,” but saying, “Here’s what I liked, and here’s what I think could be improved,” and then as always the writer is free to take it or leave it.

            And if some of you readers loved her poem as it is, then ma-sha-Allah, that’s great. The wonder of poetry is that it means something different to each reader, and every person reads it from their own personal experience.

        • Mahfara

          February 24, 2010 at 6:30 PM

          Jazak Allah Khair. I’ve always wanted feedback from an experienced writer, so I’m really grateful for your advice and I understand what you mean. For the past while I’ve been experiencing a bit of writer’s block, and I think this will help me a lot, Insha Allah. Not offended at all.
          May Allah reward you for this!

        • Mahfara

          February 24, 2010 at 6:31 PM

          Jazak Allah Khair. I’ve always wanted feedback from an experienced writer, so I’m really grateful for your advice and I understand what you mean. For the past while I’ve been experiencing a bit of writer’s block, and I think this will help me a lot, Insha Allah. Not offended at all.
          May Allah reward you for this!

        • Faiza

          February 25, 2010 at 3:47 AM

          Wow, that’s some really good advice. I think this is one of the few long comments that I’ve read on MM. Jazakallah Br. Wael.
          And that’s a nice poem, Mahfara. I loved the second part.

  17. TheSussist

    February 24, 2010 at 2:33 PM

    Indeed, that was dawnicious to read.

  18. Fihsak

    February 24, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    mashallah.

  19. menal

    February 24, 2010 at 6:46 PM

    Hi Mahfarah!!!

    GREAT JOB!!! AMAZING! BREATHTAKING!!
    MASHALLAH!!

    You have a serious gift!

  20. Saghar

    February 24, 2010 at 9:23 PM

    Ohmyallah, that was amazing and creative writing Mahfara!
    Great job, I am very impressed and I’m only eleven.
    I wish you luck on your future writing. You will be an amazing writer!
    I agree with everything that has been said, you were born with a talent.

    -Saghar (from Madresa/Building!)

  21. Dawud Israel

    February 24, 2010 at 10:07 PM

    I think many of us can relate.
    The dawn brings the Ruh of the day…you can just bask in it, totally still, alhamdulillah for Fajr.

    “wa subhi idha tanafas- by the dawn when it breathes”
    (Quran)

  22. Umm Bilqis

    February 24, 2010 at 11:39 PM

  23. Fahim

    February 25, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    Nice poem, Masha Allah!!!

  24. Nofear_hawk

    March 1, 2010 at 10:21 PM

    People ! Appreciate beauty !!!

  25. sumbul

    March 4, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    its very very nice! i dont have words 2 explain!

  26. Jameel

    April 22, 2010 at 10:35 AM

    Assalaamu alaikum,

    How do you submit poetry? I write quite a bit myself and would consider sharing some of them.

    JazakAllahu khayran,

    Jameel

  27. sultana

    April 26, 2010 at 2:09 PM

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    I stopped reading poems years ago but this was truly beautiful. You captured the beauty and tranquility that the time after fajr holds.

  28. sarah

    July 27, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    mashallah
    wow great poem so beutiful

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