Friday, February 17, 2006


first of all, for those of you who aren't familiar with it, watch K'naan's video "Struggling", available at www.thedustyfoot.com ... its a powerful piece of art.

i was just reading some of haroon siddiqui's columns in the Toronto Star (again, highly recommend) and - a feeling i am sure we have all come across, perhaps more so recently - was overwhelmed by the discussion around "muslim" and "islam", terms which are so much a part of me.. so this is my attempt at verbal expression, and it feels a little strange sharing it with the world, but here goes none the less.

to be muslim at this point in history
words hold my heart inarticulable
to be muslim across divides of politics and racism and exploitation without
to be muslim across struggle reform intolerance and frustration within
where to focus my energies
the quest to convince my parents to accept my definition of "religious"
the yearning to see my community accept gender equality
the state of emergency overwhelming all reality
with prisons and power and patriarchy and poverty incessantly incessantly unendingly overpowering
and which i have no power to prevent
yet what kind of muslim will not try

to be muslim when i am splashed on every screen
print paper magazine website academic journal trashy tabloid revealing truths?
i do not know where to begin
i am still finding my own faith
i am trying to answer questions
i am dealing with 4.34 and taqlid and being a vegetarian
and what in Allah's name could possibly be the point
when Palestine screams in my head bursting for justice
to be muslim when cartoons of my Prophet can embody the globalized struggle against neo-fascist imperialist bigotry
to be muslim when people are curious and when
i do not even have the answers for myself

to be muslim when i greet with salam knowing there is no peace around me
there is no PEACE at war time and we are embroiled in so many wars
i am slowly dismembered
being pulled in all directions
and i no longer understand the fastest way to makkah
and i see myself flashing in millions of pixels
everywhere i turn

and for Allah is the East and West, so wherever you turn, there you will find the face of Allah

to be muslim when my childhood madrasah classes
are featured in saturdays globe and mail
and ayatullah seestani is on BBC's who will rule your world
i do not understand what must i do
what must i not
how CAN i not
and tell me why do i not suffer i am muslim too
why am i so lucky to find myself
my mother father siblings friends the muslims that i love
not free of danger and yet
what blessing is this and who am i to overcome
if solidarity flows within my veins
how can i possibly traverse mountains to turn it into some
some tangible difference?

to be muslim is not now, it is always
but i am 19 and consciousness has been creeping upon me
and it is now exploding deep within
may these emotions forever drive resistance
and muslims of the world, together i pray

3 comment(s):

  • Thank you for this beautiful poem. It brought tears to my eyes. May we be together in our struggle.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/18/2006 11:37:00 AM  

  • mucho gracias! es muy bonita.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/20/2006 10:22:00 PM  

  • after i've read the poem i can't resist myself to write a comment.
    though it is little late.
    the poem has shown the general picture of many muslim women, specially teen agers. they are very confuse about themself and their surroudings.we should have a specific guideline for them.muslim leaders should think about it.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 10/21/2007 01:53:00 PM  

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