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Islamic Arts Feature: Poetry Day [1/29/11]

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This week we’re featuring some poems you, the readers, have sent in recently. The Arts’ section is open to creative submissions of all kinds so if you’re a budding poet (or poetess!) and would like to see your verses here, send in your poems at art[@]muslimmatters[.]org.
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Let Me Be True

by Wael Abdelgawad

When it all comes down,
let me be true.
When seas thicken to brown,
and the world grows dim,
and love scatters
like ash on the wind,
and every man lies
to protect his skin:
let me be true to You Allah,
let me be true.


To the Messenger,
let me be near:
when in a dream I sat by him
against the beam of a wrecked ship,
he in a green turban, and a battle clashing…
we drank water, and breathed,
then he turned to me, and said,
“It’s not what you speak that matters
but what you do.”
To my heaven-blessed hero
let me be true.

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To my love, let me be sincere.
I stand beneath a lamp
in a sphere of light
on a desert road. I don’t peer
into the night. I listen,
beard dewed with rain,
for the footsteps of her soul.
Let me lead her to Jannah
and fulfill the shepherd’s goal.
Let me soothe her sight,
carry her through storm,
and stand like a lion
as armies swarm on.

To my little daughter,
O Allah I implore you,
let me be forever true.
When she laughs and exclaims,
“You’re so strong, Baba!”
When I speak God’s name
and she listens solemnly,
when she leaps and believes
that I’ll save her…
To her nature and her dreams,
let me be true.

To myself – the greatest dare –
let me be real as earth.
Through the cinder heaps
and broken cities of the world
let me sweep, through black smoke,
eyes streaming, striding
like a bear. Let me hold on
to book and pen, knife and drum..
Let me bow down on the roadside,
true to the Lord of the Dawn.

Let me rise, head up,
bloody and torn
but voicing truth
to the livid eyes of death.
Dress me in taqwa.
Feed me dust and bone
and find me where sea meets stone
at the Western edge
when, finally, every secret is dredged,
and the world is used and done.
__________________________________________________________________________________

Blue Solitude
by Farah Chamma

The night lingers, yawning,
Stretching its limbs across the sky;
It lies there so silently, so languidly
As if awaiting the early rays of morning
To come by – I wake –
I wake to the sounds of silence and
Like the night, I linger in my bed.
Nothing appears to me but darkness –
Darkness that twirls a million times
‘round my head.

Upon these cold, air-conditioned tiles
I find myself walking so slowly, almost
Crawling into the darkness.
I hear my head talking- talking so loudly
Even amidst all this silence.
How am I to know – how am I to know
Whether or not this whole night is but a dream?
A mere dream so trivial that it almost wakes me
And makes me part of its darkness.

From my window I see the night –
I see it lying there, painting all other
Windows with dark threads of sleep.
I even feel my eyes getting heavier,
Yet something –
Something endeavors to keep
Me awake through this night.
I continue to stare outside my window
Still listening to the haze of my thoughts.
How come all that is should be? And
Why are you, you and simply not me?
It seems that this darkness is not willing
To just let me be.

( Pause)

A voice – a voice recites its calmness through
This night and slowly approaches my
Window. I see it – I see it coming
My way, touching
My window, stroking the
Darkness away.
My thoughts once again begin to bellow
And say:
How come all that is should be?
And why are you, you and simply not me?

I succumb to the voice, regardless –
And deem my thoughts forgone.
On my window it slides –  the voice –
Almost so artistically drawn. I stand upright,
Facing away from the night which has now
Become withdrawn –
I slowly kneel down, whispering prayers to
The cold-tiled ground
And finally it comes –  Dawn.

(Inspired by a Al Fajr Prayer)

____________________________________________________________________________________

Leave me alone, you hypocrite!
By Halima Ali Ahmed

You cry out and say YOU ARE for women’s’ right
Respect and advocate for the advancement of women
And would die if my rights, as a woman, were violated

Then why must you fight against my rights to cover myself
Wear a scarf on my head
Adorn myself in Islamic attires

If you would die for my rights
Then why must you advocate for laws that restrict my freedom
Why must you murder my freedom to decide for myself
My freedom to wear what I desire
What I deem to be proper
Or is your fight for freedom for ALL but Muslim women

The most essential part when fighting for someone’s freedom is LISTENING
to what THEY want; and not what YOU want for them

Why must you turn deaf ears to my desires
And speak for me?

Why must you label my choice, my freedom as a sign of oppression?
And why must you assume my father, my brothers or my husband are the culprits who take away my freedom
When it is you, YES YOU, who is clearly trying to steal away my freedom

Therefore, today I tell you
Leave me alone
Go away
Knock at different doors
I do not care for you and your women rights argument
For they do not speak
Represent
And respect me as a Muslim woman.

My freedom resides in obeying my Lord
My Sustainer
My Creator
The most Merciful and Beneficent Allah Ta’aala.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Fatimah

    January 29, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    Wow mashallah these are wonderful poems!

  2. Fatimah

    January 29, 2011 at 9:56 AM

    Mashallah these are wonderful poems!

  3. sister

    January 29, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    I like the first poem :-) It is clear and honest… yet deep.

  4. Rafa

    January 29, 2011 at 10:18 PM

    Masha Allah, real gems these poems are! Love the second one, its like introspection wrapped in words. SubhanAllah. :)

  5. Wael - IslamicSunrays.com

    January 29, 2011 at 11:19 PM

    Lol, I saw the link on the home page and thought, cool, poetry, let me check it out… and the first one I see is my poem. To my pleasant surprise, since MM never confirmed approval of my submission… I figured it was not right for the site. No worries though.

    Comments on the other poems:

    Blue Solitude: I know the feeling of not knowing whether you’re awake or dreaming, and I like that your poem distilled that feeling. And the contrast between the night – described so vividly – and your active mind… Then the approach of the dreamlike voice, and the resolution: Fajr. Very nice.

    Leave me alone, you hypocrite!: A loud and clear condemnation of the hypocrisy of some women’s rights activists. You framed the issue beautifully.

    Ma-sha-Allah.

    • Wael - IslamicSunrays.com

      January 30, 2011 at 10:00 PM

      P.S. I know some writers get very defensive when criticized, but I actually like to hear about any problems readers may have with my work, because it helps me improve my writing and understand how it is being understood. So if there’s anything about the first poem that doesn’t work for you, do let me know.

      • Fozia

        February 4, 2011 at 7:10 PM

        I love all your poems Wael, especially this one. You sat with the Prophet in your dream, you talk about truth and of all the things most important to you, Allah, the Messenger(saw), your future wife, your daughter, the Ummah. Beautifully and eloquently written, MaashaAllah.

  6. shiney

    January 30, 2011 at 9:08 PM

    masha’Allah these are such wonderful poems! Really deep and filled with emotions—keep ’em coming=)

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