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.
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.
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.
A close-up of the Ka’bah, taken from the ground, looking up. (Picture is not my own.)
The Ka’bah from afar, with hundreds – very possibly thousands – of people performing their religious rituals around it. (Picture is not my own.)
Jabal an-Nur, The Mountain of Light. The mountain where the Cave of Hira is found. (Picture is not my own.)
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.