What brought this
sudden breeze, this
accidental windfall, this
unexpected immersion into
This feeling of life returning
after long illness and death?
Let me see
so if someone asks me later
I can tell them.
Imaan is caused by ‘ibadah
which is caused by motivation
which is caused by imaan, isn’t it?
Where did I jump into the circle?
Why does the mu’adhan sound
so very sad tonight
as if he is mourning the dead
as if he could see inside my head?
Is there anything but tragedy in this life?
Is not even joy and laughter but a mockery of pain?
If I get everything I want here
what’s the point of jannah?
Is it possible to burn with desire
to see God’s face, and nothing else?
And if it were, how differently would I live?
Perhaps the mu’adhan would make me smile.
Or perhaps I’m imagining all this
because the winter maghreb is so early.
The men here are
hard like rocks.
Clash with them like the sea waves
and they’ll break you every time.
But one day you’ll wake up
and see how far they’ve receded.
I still feel the lines on my cheeks
where the tears have dried
and the cold on my skin
where stone met my falls
because I clash.
I wonder how many other women
Is it true what they say, that
if someone hits you every day, say for half a century
then one day, they don’t
then you’ll miss it?
What about if someone suffers in hell for half a century
then one day their children invite them to heaven
could they come?
Or would old age leave them too petrified of change?
What if refusing it means refusing it to their children?
And their children’s children?
Their one decision determines the future of all?
Can they be considered mentally sound enough
to be entrusted with such a choice?
Especially when they’ve made the wrong one
so many times before?
And how can I live in a hell
and raise my children there
just because someone else wants to?
Just because others define heaven and hell differently?
It’s like you’ve always lived in a tunnel
And I live in a meadow in the mountains
You see a tiny light far at the end
And you think you’re enlightened because
You see the dim narrow way to get there
And I think I’m enlightened because
I have the sunlight everywhere
And an infinite view before me
You say « you can’t get lost in a tunnel »
I say « I’d rather find my way among
Sunny peaks and green valleys
Than be stuck in a tunnel »
How do I make you understand
How beautiful this is?
And now I am (‘praying’)
If salat can so be called
I’m almost terrified to write it
As though proclaiming it to no one
Might be a form of kibr potent enough to stop it
I’m not proud of it though
It’s a weak, rushed, haphazard start of a journey
Five years overdue
(Was I ever a Muslim until now?
How many months, years after
إقرأ بسم ربك الذي خلق
did the command come
و أقيموا الصلاة
If I was, then where was this yaqeen
all this time?
And when will ikhlaas follow?
If chemicals are responsible for this virtue
They must also be responsible for vice
And perhaps that’s all this life is, after all
Is learning to be the best chemist one can
Three days of silence –
I don’t know where it comes from but
it always accompanies spring
When I go out to get the morning milk
Only a handful of people drift by, like ghosts in the sun
And I, too, am a ghost
Perhaps the nascent heat seals everyone’s doors
pressing them close to the walls
Perhaps the promiscuous trees seal everyone’s lips
with their hypnotic scents
Perhaps it’s divinely ordained.
All I know is that somehow
Everyone has agreed the bird songs are sacred
and are too fearful to interrupt them