Total Pageviews

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

on the 18th of Zilhij.......

The test gets tougher each day –
The dividing line between the right and wrong gets faint by the minute
Confusion reigns – both friend and foe flaunt identical faces.
This is difficult.
I am not going to think too deeply.

I close my mind.
Busy myself in ‘petty intricacies’ of being ‘religious’
‘Waters shouldn't mix – my wudhu is batil’
Yet a brother sleeps hungry and sister dies of starvation.
‘Not my neighbour – What can I do?’
I console my clamouring mind.
Oppressors are extolled while injustice reigns,
Innocents are exploited – and I watch it all – Silent.
Is my life ‘batil’?
I wonder.

Today is Yaum e Ghadeer – and I, the follower of Ahlul bait
Proclaim loudly my allegiance to Imam Ali (as).
Yet it's actions that speak louder than words:
What do my actions speak?
I wonder.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

'Testing' Times

I am doing my test – second time round –
– because I failed the last time.
I am not prepared – I might fail again.
At my time in life that is a frightening prospect – I might fail.

I am tired. I like my comfort zone – the fixed and familiar.
And now – I must stir the coals, rekindle old fires,
Probe and prod my memories
archived in the corners of my brain.
O the pain of reliving past failures.
All in the name of Research.
It’s preparation – I’m doing a test.

Why me? Why now?
Just when I had found my niche; feathered it
It’s exam time once more.

My friend says: tests bring with them rich experiences
– struggle and anguish are befitting teachers, she says.
She says I’ll survive – but will I pass?
There lies the root of my agony.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

All people live ....... a few make the difference.

Through our journey of life
we meet all kinds of people.
Of them all, some are good.
A few are extraordinary - they are Special.

Special because they are not simply
good themselves –
but they bring forth the goodness
that is in all those around them.

Like stars they radiate warmth and positive energy
in all directions, wherever they may be.


A man is what a man does ..............

An act becomes infinitely more worthy
when it is done for the pleasure of Allah (swt).
The size of the act is of no significance –
a smile given, a word spoken, a kind gesture, a pure intention –
is sufficient to raise you and place you
amongst the pious –
if it is done to please Allah (swt).

Make Allah’s (swt) pleasure a habit –
it will be source solace and strength
in your hour of need.


I also think that .............

A pious person is like a flower
whose fragrance of peace and contentment
spreads all around him
like a breath of freshness that enlivens
the withered, the wasted –

You can bring back to life
everything that is fading around you

You can define the reason for living
by making a conscious effort in the way of Allah (swt) –
By embracing piety.


I think .............

Desire for change is the seed
that grows into the tree of success.
Every step you take
towards becoming a better ‘You’
is step towards victory.

The one who consciously ensures
that everyday is a step forward,
is the uncontested winner in the game of life.
Therefore, never stop in your quest for excellence.


Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Allah the Almighty Lord

A is for Allah the Almighty Lord
B for the Beneficence He has bestowed
C is for the Compassionate Care he takes of us
D is for Dear Master so generous
E is for His Existence Eternal
F is for the Forgiveness He grants unconditional
G is for the Greatness that is His
H is for Helper, a Donor of bliss
I is for Incomparable, Ideal beyond Imagination,
J is for Justice, tempered with compassion
K is for Kindness a virtue so noble
L is for Love, for Life he has enabled
M is for Mercy He has for Man
N is for Nature, which was His plan
O! Great Master, hear our prayer
Punishment from You is out despair
Quell not our Hope, let it shine like a torch,
Reveal the Right Path, Oh Refuge of the lost
Safeguard us from evil, Oh Supreme, Oh Sublime
Teach us to be gentle, be honest and kind.
Unite us together, and with warm love bind
Verily You are the Greatest, Oh Master! in Might
We worship and adore You, for that is Your Right!
X’cuse our sins, Lord, and pardon our faults
You are the One we love above all
Zealously we thank You for everything for All.
Afshan Ali

Are we ready for the great coming?

Are we ready for the great coming?
Are we genuinely ready for him?
Are we leading a pure and clean life?
Is it free from all error and sin?

Look into your very soul friend,
And search right thoroughly.
Is your call one from deep within
Or a blind travesty?

Examine your every action;
Scrutinize your every deed.
Study your driving desire;
Inspect your ardent need.

Is it a call ‘cause you truly love him?
Do you call ‘cause you truly care?
Do you call from a force of habit?
Or is it a phony dare?

He’s our living Imam, living right here,
Sometimes walking amidst us, unknown.
Sad that his very own people
Haven’t visions enough to discern.

He expects taqwa from his momin,
And piety that will always endure.
So if your claim is right and genuine
Be careful and always make sure.

That contentment shines from each action,
Devotion comes forth with each prayer,
Unquestioned acceptance of God’s will,
And an unstinted desire to share.

Spread the message of love and loyalty,
Serve the sick, the aged and the weak.
Save your friends from the mire of ignorance,
Let the light of true knowledge speak.

Don’t be stingy when granting a warm smile
Don’t be greedy when you have to share
Don’t forget be it business or pleasure
To be righteous and scrupulously fair.

Grudge not your neighbours their success.
Envy not their wealth and their style.
Wish not for ill winds to strike them,
Though jealously may drive you and rile.

Learn to reason and judge for yourself,
Recognise what is right and what is wrong.
Let your inner voice take complete control of you:
Let it guide you and lead you along.

Down that one and only straight highway,
Where you can be very sure to find.
Your leader, your friend, your true guide
None but the Imam of your time!

Friday, 24 October 2008

Momin You’re lucky!

When Allah had sent all His Prophets
And His religion Islam was complete
To leave man at satan’s mercy
His bounteous love wouldn’t permit.

Never to leave man unguided
Never to leave him alone,
Allah devised His Imamat
So justice could conquer and reign.

It’s His Mercy that we have a leader
His generosity that we have a guide
His love that we have our Imam
On this earth with us to abide.

He gave us the perfect Maula
To turn to in moments of strife,
Endowed with knowledge and wisdom
In whose hand we can submit our lives.

It is true that we cannot see him
Also true that he seems so abstract
Just call out to him from within, though
You’re sure to hear him call back!

You are a momin, he’s waiting
Waiting for you to call
So he can right your faltering step
And help you lest you fall.

The decision is wholly yours though
Whether you reach out or not
Whether you turn towards him
Whether you spare him a thought.

If you’ve made your contact
You’re secure to the end
Whether it is now or the hereafter
You have an eternal friend.


Thursday, 23 October 2008

The story of my, and every other commuter's, life.....

I reach Clapham Junction just in time – I surely can make it to the 8 05 on platform 2! So begins my dash through the subway. Dodging briefcases and elbows, my rucksack thumping my back, I trundle along weaving my way through the multitudes that descend into the netherworld each day. Out of breath and gasping, my knees unsteady with fatigue, my muscles burning from, ‘anaerobic respiration’, (that’s the scientific term for the fire that rises up your muscles when you drive them beyond their capacity!) I trudge up the final flight of steps; waves of joy ripple through the region of my heart – I’ve made it! I rush blindly to the nearest door – only to find the train packed and bursting with passengers............ no doubt from having had the previous train cancelled of course. You might think I am cynical – but then you don’t travel on the on the Silverlink-turned-Overground; do you?

Just two minutes before the doors close – and I am running up and down the platform – in the hope of seeing a reasonably sympathetic face that would say: O you poor one can get in here.

Morning commuters, however, are already at the end of their tether – they’ve probably had a tough morning and there is no guarantee that the rest of day is going to be any better. They have no sympathy for anyone – leave alone me – a woman in hijab. There isn’t a single kind face at any door.

That's it. I‘ve decided. I have to be firm. I close my mind and eyes to all the discouraging faces. I place one foot firmly on the edge of the entrance, hold on to the bar on the side, and raise a cry: Can you move down into the carriage please?!

No one budges – there is no place to move. I am not concerned: my decision’s been made clear. Everyone knows now that I am here to stay and will not dislodge myself from the carriage door – no frown or sneers will move me. Everyone’s resigned and I get comfortable.

There’s one more hurdle though – the doors are yet to close. I take my rucksack off ( I don’t want it to get trapped in the doors) turn my back on the indifferent faces and get ready. The tooting starts and I brace up. The doors close; we are all packed in: as tight as sardines – if you would over look the cliché – nothing can describe it better. I am squashed on all sides. My nose is stuck to door, steaming the glass and reducing visibility. I can see nothing. I cannot move a muscle.

But I am happy. I will make it to school on time today!


Friday, 17 October 2008

An accident of chance?

O sceptic do you not see the universe obey
The Almighty’s command every step of the way?
Every star, every planet, every moon on its path
Compliant and punctual, disciplined and prompt.
No time to linger not a moment to tarry,
Each on a mission a job they must carry.

Wide open spaces: no beginning no end,
Absolute darkness we can’t comprehend,
The immeasurable ocean of perpetual night,
No sun to steer your course: no ray of light.
Have you ever wondered how they find their way –
The stars and the planets – are they ever astray?

There are no collisions, no accidents in space
Not one moves off the track in this incessant race.
There is law, there is order, there is peace amongst all
There is compliance – no questions – absolute concord.
Yet man, the poor planner, the creator of chaos
Stands up to say boldly – I think there is no God!

Look! The moon, the sun and the earth are in line,
Congregating together – a perfect moment in time.
The eclipse – you say – is a phenomenon of nature -
Yet time and again they assemble ..... then scatter.
They journey through space on a course with no marking
And line up when called no slip-ups no stopping.

You say there’s no planner – we just happened to be,
Evolved from a cell, way, way back in history.
But where did that cell that you talk of come from?
Who gave it life – its shape and its form?
Who gave it the power to multiply and change,
To advance and develop into complex brains?

You agree planning’s needed for experiments and wars
Years of planning needed for the exploration of stars
You need a good planner for your town or your city
With no proper planning you’ll fail – that’s your ditty
Yet the universe (you say!) the animals and plants
Exist with no planning – are an accident of chance!

Afshan Ali

(written sometime in 2005)