Lost in Prayer

When it’s good, pray. When it hurts, pray. When you don’t have the words, pray.

Some times it’s hard to face your Lord with your pained heart and everything you’re carrying, but who else can you go to with it except the One who created your heart and everything it holds?

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Notes To Self

Dear Ruqaiyah, this moment you’re in right now, this is the moment to do something. To start something. Stop waiting for tomorrow, next week, or next month. Start now.

Dear Ruqaiyah, happiness is here. Right here, where you are now. It’s not a destination you need to reach ‘someday’. It’s not some place you need to travel to, or arrive at. You simply have to be here, now; you simply need to breathe in, breathe out, and remember your Lord. Here, now. Be happy.

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This World

Some people have said it’s a scary time to be Muslim right now, for obvious reasons. And I don’t know about that so much, but I do think it is a scary time to be human. It’s a scary time to drive on the road or stop at a traffic light; it’s scary to be in your house, even with burglar bars; it’s scary to walk into a corner shop or even in the mall; it’s scary to even watch the news.

The world is a scary place.

Yesterday, I watched a video of a young boy, 13 years old, being thrown around and kicked and stripped naked by prison guards in a prison in Australia. It crushed me. It angered and infuriated and enraged me. I couldn’t do anything to fix it. Today I saw a video of a small, tiny baby, not more than a couple weeks old, being wildly swooshed around in a bucket of water, held by the arms. Crying painfully. And I cried. Painfully. Real tears. I was writhing in my seat and couldn’t stand the aching that video caused me. It aches now recalling it. I was screaming silently at my screen while I watched. And I was angry that I even saw it at all — what good did sharing the video do? Does it stop the abuse? We don’t even see the identities of the women, so what can be done?? Why did you share it if nothing can be done about it?! I didn’t need to see it!

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Making up for a whole month

“I’m making up for a month of fasting,” she said, humorously.

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Eeeek. :/

The day of Eid arrived, signifying the end of a month of daytime fasting. Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims who spend it (primarily) by abstaining from food and drink from sunrise until sunset (among other nitty gritties). But from sunset until sunrise, all (halal) food is allowed. So when people are stunned at the ‘no eating for a WHOLE MONTH?!’ thing, I’m kind of confused. Like, huh? You missed the part in the memo about ‘from sunrise until sunset’? It’s not thirty (or twenty-nine, depending on the moon) straight days of no eating.

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A Delayed Day Two

It’s day 4 of April, yes, but this was the poem I wrote for Day 2 of NaPoWriMo but just haven’t posted until now.

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Wings

by Ruqaiyah Davids

In the tower of tenderness the wings unfold,
Slowly,
Gently.
Until they’re sure and strong.
They unravel and spread their beauty.
Boldly.
Courageously.
The wind carries them,
To parts unknown.
They travel with faith and with hope.
They soar and glide;
There is no end to what they may find.
They will reach the ends of the earth
With faith and with hope.
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NaPoWriMo Day 29: “I Love it When You Talk Foreign”

Yes, I know it’s very late. Very, very late. And it’s not even April anymore. But well, it’s here anyway. Read it or leave it.

(I know you’ll read it. :))

So NaPoWriMo originates in the U.S., and the ‘national’ part of the term refers to the nation of America. But even so, there are many, many poets and participants in the challenge who are not from America. Because it’s not only Americans who love poetry. And I am one of those ‘foreigners’ who gate-crashed the party. So the lovely people over at NaPoWriMo decided to honour us by asking everyone to write a poem which contains at least five words of a different language. I chose Arabic. It’s the closest I’ve come to speaking a foreign language — though, truly, it’s not foreign to me. It’s the language of my people, of my Book, of my land, and of my Lord.

I’ll be leaving for ‘umrah soon, in sha Allah. The minor pilgrimage to the holy land of Makkah. A journey my heart can hardly wait for anymore. And this poem is about that.

Sabah an-Nur

by Ruqaiyah Davids

It’s almost time to go
To a land my heart already knows.
Ahlan wa sahlan!
I will stand on the Mountain of Light
And see the rising of the sun.
Sabah al-khayr!
Wa sabah an-nur!
Joy upon joy!
Light upon light!
My heart will rejoice at the sight
Of the Ka’bah,
Standing tall and strong.
It’s been there all along.
And I will prostrate
With my head and my heart
And pray for a new start.

Translations:

Ahlan wa Sahlan: This is a common Arabic phrase used to welcome someone, however, its literal translation is not just ‘welcome’ or ‘hello’, as it is widely used. For a better understanding of the meaning of the term, go here. Or here, for a much more in-depth look at the term, its origin, and some very interesting and enlightening information on its implications.

Sabah al-khayr: Good morning.

Sabah an-nur: A reply to ‘sabah al-khayr‘, literally meaning ‘morning of light’.

Ka’bah: A sacred building in Islam; the direction to which all Muslims, all around the world, face while praying. For more reading on this, go here.

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NaPoWriMo Day 27: The Pen is Mightier than the Sword

NaPoWriMo Day 27

The Pen is Mightier than the Sword

by Ruqaiyah Davids

The distant sound of your treachery
Rudely shakes me out of my reverie.
My life is in jeopardy.
The story told
Is a fable old.
You’ve lost me again in your conspiracy.
True, this!
I am lost in the abyss
Of your lies and your myths.
Ignorance indeed seems like bliss.

The pen is mightier than the sword
And the lies you write have me floored.
And for the record,
This ending has already been told.
Unequivocal.
Not radical—
It’s emphatical.

Mightier than the sword
Is the Promise of my Lord.
The truth is a whisper
While your lies roar.
But hold on,
Just wait.
No, we won’t retaliate.
We won’t duplicate
And replicate
All your lies and hate.
We’ll only try to educate,
And abrogate
Your inaccurate and distorted
Version of this story.
And we’ll restore our glory—
No, not by the sword,
But by the Pen of our Lord.

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