Woke & Loud: A Faith-Based Medley
of Muslim Poetry & Spoken Word
Edited by Laila Hasib
A ground-breaking collection of young and new adults and a few older folks
A kaleidoscope of visions, beliefs, voices, emotions and action
awaits within these pages.
One person talking to another
A collection of 36 Muslim poets and spoken word artists
First of its kind
A 463-page compilation of open-hearted dynamic souls
A never-before seen venture
Our future generations will be confident that these Muslim wordsmiths
actively sought a higher purpose and resisted wrongs with moral solutions.
You're in for a unique journey with a diverse group
of spiritual and revolutionary artists!
It is a forever book, one that future generations will read and savour,
one that will guide young and new adults yet to be born, one that will, inshallah,
send comforting spacious breezes into the authors’ graves and tranquility on their souls.
A Barakah Book!
A Fantastic Life-Changing Gift!
Aged 14 to 75, 75% under 40
64% female, 36 male
Almost 50-50 madhab mix
All but three live in the west
Social justice activists, community organizers, published authors, poet laureates, entrepreneurs, university graduates, Ph.D. holders & candidates, mothers, fathers, students, teachers, homemakers, retirees, prisoners, Imams
Ethnicities include: First Nations and Metis, Black American and Canadian, Kurdish, Qatari, Indian, Caribbean – Jamaican, Trinidadian & Guyanese, Iranian, East African, Sudanese, Sri Lankan, Malaysian, Ethiopian, Kashmiri, British, Pakistani, European American and Canadian
A little over 50% have dual/triple nationalities
Oppression, Injustice & Travesties, Revolution, Palestine, Purpose, Writing, Islamophobia, Pain, Dhikr & Salat, Colonialism, Racism, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), Role Models, Staying on the Path, Family, Mother, Father, Grandmother, Birth, Jihad al-Asghar, Leadership, Women, Hope, Identity, Peace, Karbala & Imam Husayn (a.s.), Unity, Journeys, Jihad al-Akbar, Resiliency, Martyrdom, Taqwa, Death, Homeland, Reality, Tranquility, Empathy, Love of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala, Allah’s Promise of Victory and Guidance
Editor’s Preface, Introduction, Poetry & Spoken Word, Acknowledgements, Contributors, Appendix, Glossary, References, Image Credits
Check out these spoken word artists’ contributions to our anthology:
Philadelphia Youth Poet Laureate Sister Husnaa Haajarah Hashim spitting Mortality @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6KlFfsmb4k
Brother Tyson Amir spitting Between Huey and Malcolm @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDU-WtYcHfI
Sister Nicole Najmah Abraham (Najmah53) spitting Lineage @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11AknpwI4Sg
Ottawa Poet Laureate Brother Jamaal Jackson Rogers (JustJamaal) spitting A Poem for Life @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFNMoO21zj0
(They have other work online as well.)
Check out these authors' written contributions to our anthology, along with some of their other work:
Brother Bariki Omowale Muhibullah's No Hurt Intended Mamma & Creative Insanity @ https://poeticwordsmith29.wordpress.com/blog/page/7/
Sister Papatia Feauxzar's A Wan(on)derer's Roots, The Writer & Yes, I'm a "Bidat" Person @ https://papatia.wordpress.com/category/poems/
Check out these spoken word artists and authors who have other spoken word and poetry online:
Kashmir Maryam @ http://www.kashmirmaryam.com/work/
Sister Nasim Asgari @ https://www.youtube.com/user/truthbeyondwords
Shaykh Ali Abu-Talib @ https://soundcloud.com/ali-abu-talib
Sister Zahra Nima @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhozQxuFRSA
Check out these authors who have other published work:
Imam Jamil al-Amin's (formerly known as H. Rap Brown) Die Nigger Die! @ https://www.amazon.com/Nigger-Brown-Jamil-Abdullah-Al-Amin/dp/1556524528 & Revolution by the Book: The Rap Is Live @ https://www.amazon.com/Revolution-Book-Live-Jamil-Al-Amin/dp/0962785431/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=revolution+by+the+book&qid=1568225445&s=books&sr=1-2
Sister Sahera Patel's I'm NOT a Celebrity, I am a Muslim: One woman's journey to a world of faith @ https://www.amazon.com/Im-Not-Celebrity-Muslim-Journey/dp/0992995574/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1568223427&sr=1-2 & Unveiling Arabia @ https://www.amazon.com/Unveiling-Arabia-Sahera-Patel-author/dp/1999912950/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
Sister Fatema Valji's Who Am I? A Selection of Reflective Poems @ https://www.sunbehindthecloud.com/shop/adult/poetry/who-am-i-a-selection-of-reflective-poems/?v=3e8d115eb4b3
Sister Papatia Feauxzar's so many books @ https://www.djarabikitabs.com & https://www.amazon.com/Papatia-Feauxzar/e/B00JH4H2V0
Sister Nasim Asgari's what was swept under the persian rug @ https://www.amazon.com/what-was-swept-under-persian/dp/1999468112
Brother Tyson Amir's Black Boy Poems @ http://tysonamir.com/black-boy-poems
Sister Husnaa Haajarah Hashim's Honey Sequence @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dP7TakQp6k
Sister Karimah Rahman's "Indo-Caribbean Identity Formation: Challenges of South Asian Authenticity" in Dynamics of Caribbean Diaspora Engagement: People, Policy, Practice @ https://www.amazon.com/Dynamics-Caribbean-Diaspora-Engagement-Practice-ebook/dp/B07L4WV3WJ/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Dynamics+of+Caribbean+Diaspora+Engagement%3A+People%2C+Policy%2C+Practice
Kashmir Maryam's Nafsi: Jihad upon my Self @ https://www.amazon.com/Nafsi-Jihad-upon-my-Self/dp/0692679367/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1521139505&sr=8-1&keywords=kashmir+maryam
Shaykh Ali Abu-Talib's The Curtain of Light @ https://www.academia.edu/31538479/The_Curtain_Of_Light_Final_Edit
Shaykh Husayn El-Mekki Abdullah-Aziz's "Dear American Immigrant Muslim" @ https://medium.com/@HusaynMekki/dear-american-immigrant-muslim-7a87d32edc18 and "The Effect of '9/11' on Islam in America" in The Student Journal of the Islamic College in London, UK @ https://www.academia.edu/37391790/
Ilyas Islam's (Dr. John Andrew Morrow) so many books @ https://johnandrewmorrow.com/books/, including The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World @ https://www.amazon.com/Covenants-Prophet-Muhammad-Christians-World/dp/159731465X and so many articles @ https://johnandrewmorrow.com/articles/, including "Malcolm X and Mohammad Mehdi: The Shi'a Connection?" in The Journal of Shi'a Islamic Studies @ https://pdfslide.net/reader/f/malcolm-x-and-the-shia-link and numerous on-line speeches
Nasim Asgari says
hi hello peace
i’ve been so excited to share that Woke & Loud by Inked Resistance Islamic Publishing is finally out after months of hard work by Sister Laila & available for purchase!
this is an anthology of poems by Muslims all over- whose work is deeply rooted in speaking the truth & standing for justice.
Sister Laila personally requested a piece of mine that i had written quite a few years ago. i am honoured so say that my work is a part of this project alongside so many sincere hearts & souls.
please support the book & spread the word.
& please support Inked Resistance Islamic Publishing, as we need to support one another & insha’Allah contribute to the growth of people doing the amazing work that is often missing amongst us that community can have access to.
KR-az Karimah (Karimah Rahman) says
The new book publication Woke & Loud: A Faith-Based Medley of Muslim Poetry & Spoken Word published by Inked Resistance Islamic Publishing contains three of my spoken words, namely:
- Dear Society - I am NOT a Costume: Cultural Appropriation
- The Trauma of South Asian Indentureship during the Colonization of Trinidad and Guyana
- Growing up in Quebec as a Muslim: Confronting White Supremacy.
I am so excited to announce this publication especially since it is during the blessed month of Ramadan!
My name/work/bio is featured on pages xiv, 139-153, 367.
Link to Book:
#GrowingUpInQuebecAsAMuslimConfrontingWhiteSupremacy #spokenwordisalegitimateformofresistance #spokenwordisanacceptableformofacademicexpression
#IndoCaribbean #SouthAsian #Trinidad #Guyana #IndoCaribbeanDiaspora #SouthAsianDiaspora
Timaj Garad says
Honored to be a part of this alongside so many of my favs
May 15 https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/t15/1/16/1f49b.png");">
Sahera Patel says
Poems in print https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/t80/1/16/1f64f.png");">?
Najmah53 (Nicole Najmah Abraham) says
#WokeAndLoud I’m proud to announce I am one of the 36 Muslim authors featured in the poetry anthology, ” Woke and Loud: A Faith-Based Medley of Muslim Poetry & Spoken Word” from the Canadian Publishing House,Inked Resistance Islamic Publishing,edited by Laila Hasib. This revolutionary book features poets from Canada,the US, the UK (& beyond) consisting of activists, Poet Laureates, Slam Champions, authors, writers, teachers etc. I’m honored to sit in a collection of artists (some of whom I’ve had the pleasure of sharing the stage with or whose writing I’m a fan of.) One of my poems mentions the names of great black activists including H Rap Brown aka Imam Jamil Al-Amin, so I almost passed out when seeing Imam Jamil’s work featured in this book along with my own! https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/t2e/1/16/1f633.png");">? This book includes a glossary of Islamic/foreign word terms for English-speakers, non-muslims to enjoy and understand the work as well!! It’s so well-done & is for anyone who appreciates great writing and poetry! Support the arts & check out my poems on pages 194-204!
To purchase visit the publishers website: https://www.inkedresistanceislamicpublishing.com/shop-mysto…
Or buy from Etsy.com (search “Woke and Loud”)
Holly Mara Gobelez says
Alhamdulilah... the poetry anthology book ‘Woke and Loud’ is released and ready for purchase! 5 of my poems are in here... and I can’t wait to get my hands on it (my copies from the publisher are on their way). Looking forward to reading the range of poetry in here! Thanks to all who have supported me throughout my poetry and publishing journey.https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/t80/1/16/1f64f.png");">?https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/t6c/1/16/2764.png");">❤️ If you’re a bookworm - Here’s a book to add to your reading list!
The poetry anthology ‘Woke and Loud’ is officially released! Just got my copies in the mail! ? 5 of my poems are included in this book of poetry... ? Elhamdulilah it’s been a dream of mine to be published for a while. I’d be grateful if you could spread the word and/or support by picking up your copy at www.inkedresistanceislamicpublishing.com - a great gift for a bookworm ? or anyone who wants some insight into the Muslim mind and spirit! May it benefit all who read it! I will post a video of a sample reading from the book soon! Stay tuned! What a beautiful Jummah gift! #jummahmubarak ✌?❤️#authorsofinstagram #author #published #newbook #writer #writersofinstagram #book #bookclub #writerscommunity #poetrycommunity #newbookalert #peace #wokeandloud #poetryanthology #publishedpoet #poetrybook #bookofpoems #poem #poet #poetry #muslimpoet #muslimah #hijabi #modestfashion #muslimwomen #spokenword #supportartists #authorssupportingauthors
Hiba Bint Babu Rasheed (Hibaysh) says
Alhamdulillah, I am so excited to share that four of my poems and bio are featured in this new book- Woke and loud: A collection of Muslim Poetry and Spoken Word. Alhamdulillah I am so grateful. Grab your copies now!
Papatia Feauxzar at Fofky's and Djarabi Kitabs Publishing says
#ThreeOfMyPoemsArePublished with many other amazing writers masha'Allah!
Thank you Laila Hasib!https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/t75/1/16/1f618.png");">?
#Fofkys #Daisy P Foz #Djarabi Kitabs Publishing
Abbas Jafri says
Alhamdolillah some of my work has been published by Inked Resistance Islamic Publishing in their Poetry Anthology: Woke & Loud.
I'd like to thank them, especially Sr. Laila Hasib, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to such a wonderful project.
May Allah(swt) reward them for their efforts.
Faria Jafri says
Masha’Allah!!! Sister Laila Hasib is an incredible, curator and publisher. Please check out her fantastic project. https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/t6c/1/16/2764.png");">❤️https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/t6c/1/16/2764.png");">❤️
Sakinah Hasib says
Al-Hamdulillah! Inked Resistance Islamic Publishing is pleased to announce the RELEASE of our anthology, Woke & Loud: A Faith-Based Medley of Muslim Poetry & Spoken Word.
PURCHASE A COPY OR TWO INSHAALLAH https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/t9f/1/16/270c_1f3fe.png");">✌?
A Peek Inside
From the Editor’s Preface
My youngest daughter, Sakinah, turned me on to poetry. Well, not just poetry, but the spoken word…
So when Sakinah invited her father and me to come out and listen to the poetry celebration of young Muslimah poets and spoken word artists, who’d spent time with an organization working through their emotional turmoils caused by years of abuse, trauma and stress, often leaving a gift of mental illness in its wake, we went. The excitement was palpable and not just with the finger snapping and encouragements when words were difficult to voice. The whole atmosphere was powerfully spiritual. It was a view into the frailty and strength of being human, of living, of understanding our place as Muslims in the convoluted space of western lies and world oppressions.
The unashamedly courageous multi-ethnic Muslim writers, with roots in Somalia, Iran, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Turtle Island, Sudan, Malaysia, Bangladesh and places in between, etched upon my heart a desire to be close to them and what they’d uncovered in their short lives already. The voices that were voiced, the emotional intelligence that was visible and the connections to painful losses and the joys of truths was so unnerving and enlightening that I had to hear more. They inspired me, also, to take a stab at penning my own.
Poetry is universal and often intense. It is musical. Spoken word is poetry with a flair of theatrics. They’ve been around since the beginning of time. Whenever people told stories, fables, folktales, with those voices, those inflections, those gestures, those get up and move stunts, that is spoken word…
Poetry from our Muslim young and new adults must be shared for it is the voice of the future of our blue planet. It is at once joyous and sorrowful, hopeful and torturous, gentle and angry. It’s a commentary on social justice, family, Islam, war, the treasures of observation and imagination and humanity’s relationships with Allah, each other and the world. Their words must be immortalized and recorded for posterity so future generations can be assured that they were on the scene, actively seeking a higher purpose and resisting wrongs with moral solutions, rather than passively responding. Our Muslim poets and spoken word artists are speaking to us, teaching us and sharing their innermost selves with us. And we must listen, learn and stop playing this masquerade we call life, inshallah.
One person talking to another. That’s what we do every day. We are all poets whenever we open our mouths. Be careful that your words are poetical and not shaming, offensive, hateful and shaitanic.
That’s the story of this medley. Inked Resistance Islamic Publishing hopes you enjoy the selections offered. But more importantly, we pray you’ll have renewed respect and love for the writers who’ve unveiled their souls so you can cleanse yours, inshallah.
From the Introduction
Poetry and spoken word are conjured in the heart, move to the head, come out the fingers and appear on a surface, expressed rhythmically or freely, and can be hidden, printed, bound, spit, energized, viralized, torn or burned. Poets are known for the ability to speak directly to the soul, to the heart, and their work can be loved, appreciated, ignored, shunned or criminalized.
The collection before you is essentially a commentary of the voices of today’s Muslim young and new adults, with a bunch of older authors who think like them thrown in. They speak about ponderings, express their deepest emotions and empower themselves through self-discovery and healing. Through poetry, they relay their stories. Through spoken word, they perform them. Sister Timaj Garad, an Ethiopian Creative Consultant, Arts-Educator, Community Organizer and multi-disciplinary storyteller, says her story performances are “my HEARTwork.” By staging her stories, she tells us, “I unearth my own story, embarking on the most feared but strength-giving of human acts - vulnerability…Many of my poems are clap-backs to negative thoughts I have about myself. These poems become public affirmations every time I perform them” (Timaj Garad website).
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s 2017-2018 youth Poet Laureate Sister Husnaa Hashim speaks of identity, a common theme in this medley, “about being multiple things at once - a woman, a Muslim, an African American. Authenticity is very important to me: I am all the things I am, all of the time. I’m here in front of you in a really, really raw form” (Timpane, 2017). Poetry and spoken word is “an all-access view of my life,” says Brother Jamaal Rogers, an Afro-Caribbean/Canadian, 2017 Poet Laure-ate of Ottawa, Ontario, arts educator, creative entrepreneur, director and performance artist (Muslim Link, 2016). “Being vulnerable through sharing our stories, allows us to heal, and ultimately, thrive, ” Sister Timaj and her dear Turtle Island born Black sister-friend, community, mental health and disabilities advocate, healer and educator Sister Sakinah Hasib assure us (Muslims Actually, 2017).
The authors’ works before you are their lives’ stories, narratives of “fierce family love,” political and historical awareness, “the violence of anti-black racism,” relationships with Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala, each other, society, our soul, belonging, resistance, beauty, “the personal in the political,” love, mental health, conformity, intifadah, unity, knowledge, Islamophobia, social justice, loneliness, purpose, birth, theft, white privilege, writing and “the yearnings of the emerging self” (Timpane, 2017; Muslims Actually, 2017). These poets and spoken word artists utilize their Allah-given creativity to sketch their stories’ influences, of Allah’s Messengers and their footsteps, pain and abuse and death, mothers and fathers and grand-parents, hope and tranquility and faith, lands lost and left and longed for, stolen lives and heritage, womanhood and manhood, magnificent martyrs, injustices, truths and lies, Islam and dhikr and Allah’s Words and Guidance. Some use poetry as a “survival mechanism,” “to empower me and also to save my life,” as Sister Husnaa confides, and to manifest “the magic within us” and “share our gifts with others,” Sister Timaj states (Timpane; Ogden, 2019; Timaj Garad website). Poetry’s “a prayer,” “to reach, teach, untie, unite,” to “heal all of you,” Brother Jamaal pens in A Poem for Life and Poems Should. Whatever the reasons, these are stories that have to be told. If they’re not, the poet suffers because like Sister Husnaa explains, “Poetry is inextricably linked to my mental and my emotional well-being and to my identity.. Poetry is something I do out of urgency because it sustains me” (Ogden, 2019). And if these stories aren’t told, the world loses since “All positive change starts with stories,” Sister Timaj proclaims on her website…
Anybody who comes to the west, except those enslaved and those with no choice but death, come because they think it’s better than where they are. Their lives may be crushed by war, violence, conflict, persecution, poverty, drought, lack of work and schooling, etc. - all caused by the very countries they go to, begun since time began, escalating in the “crusades,” rooted in the colonial oppression of Muslims in their own countries and its legacy and continuing by the domination of non-Muslim countries over Muslim peoples and resources, propping up dictators and creating terrorist organizations with the aim of extinguishing Islam and Allah-conscious people from the face of the Earth. So essentially, it’s a case of chickens coming home to roost, something Hajj Malik El-Shabazz said never made him sad, but rather made him glad (Malcolm X, 1964, p. 307; Malcolm X, 1994).
The issue is that a profusion of people believe the myth told by the west, the myth that the west is democratic, civilized, welcoming and just. But the west doesn’t announce its crimes. Each generation, whether western or otherwise, must learn the history of those atrocities on their own, a long, terrible, murderous blow by blow. The west and many people who come here deny that history and what they continue to do. Legends are made out of massacres. Lies are told to cover the atrocities committed. It props itself up as Christian nations, Christians who lied and said that Native and African Peoples aren’t people, Muslims are terrorists, those over there are always fighting each other, while the Peoples know they and the liars are all people, Muslims know who the terrorists are, those over there know who invades their lands, props up dictators, foments chaos and arms one side to fight the other, and it’s clear that the Christians were and are so uncourageous they can’t come to grips with the truth of their monstrosities. Their system of pretense, of fibs and justifications, has created a fake reality for them and destroyed their morality. (Baldwin, 2010, pp. 76-77) We know as Bantu Steven Biko, of the Black Consciousness Movement who was tortured and murdered in 1977 while in custody, explained in a few words in the South African apartheid court that it’s the west who’s always fighting each other [and everyone else], it’s the west who wants to paint the world white, it’s the west who lies:
Prosecutor: You did have tribal wars in this land of yours.
Biko: Well, what do you call world war I and world war II?
Prosecutor: You use words very cleverly, but there’s some-thing about it that scares me.
Biko: Of course there is, because in your world anything white is normal.
Prosecutor: The way the world is supposed to be.
Biko: And your real genius is that for years you’ve managed to convince most of us of that too. (Cry Freedom, 1987)
This “flight from reality” has caused the west to recognize one reality though - they don’t want to be treated the way they exploit, dominate, dehumanize and kill others. So they continue to make others pay by laying all the pain, blame, suffering and anguish at the feet of the oppressed so that they can escape it somehow. These people don’t want to hear about their wickedness cause they don’t want to pay up. The west isn’t innocent. (Baldwin, 2010, p. 78) Their continuous criminal actions, mass media and propaganda machines tell us who they are.
The 36 authors within this book are Muslims from many places, living mostly in the west, and thus have experienced, or at the very least empathize with and know the true stories about, either the injustices people face here or that and the injustices the west inflicts on their countries of birth and ancestry. They are appalled that nothing much has changed with the way the west treats human beings. And all these artists have held onto the mighty rope of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala for dear life and their poetry and spoken word reflects that. They understand why Muslims are being “let in” to the western countries - cause a Muslim you can “see” is a Muslim you can assimilate, secularize, beat the Holy Qur’an out of. They understand the agenda against Islam. And these Muslim artists, whether born in the west or not, vehemently refuse to be indoctrinated, assimilated, disassembled or beaten down, Al-Hamdulillah. They refuse to kneel down and submit to the tyrants or be content with what’s going on or give up. They use the two Allah-given wings of sabr (patience) and tawwakul (trust in and reliance on Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala), along with prayers and duas (supplications), always in remembrance of Allah, always seeking Allah’s Help, always asking forgiveness, to fly and survive, to ease the pain, to freshen our hearts, to repeatedly declare our loyalty to our Sustainer and our bara’at, our disavowal of and immunity from, those upon whom Allah’s wrath is and those who have gone astray (see the Holy Qur’an 9:1 and 1:7) (Khamenei, 2017, pp. 41-43).
These artists know our times demand writers as all times do. This is a chaotic, panicky time, full of fake news and falsities, joyless, in which those who espouse the rights of the individual are scared to speak, where people are caught up in their own comfort and safety and profit, continuing the lie of white supremacy, embroiled in the rat race, posting and tweeting, believing they’ve done what’s required, not getting too real, just muddling along with little wisdom and conscience, foregoing the true spiritual voyage that we must ride to be human. Many are bewildered, in a stupor, complacent, living empty and ugly and immorally, unable to meld who they are with who they innately know they should be. Too many are too comfortable, well-off and satiated. They’ve never lost anything, never been touched, frightened, broken, never been made to bleed, never seen death, holed up in their white picket fences, two cars, a spouse and two children and a dog, remaining a people without experiences, stuck in a world where everyone looks and acts like them, believing their world, their peculiar insulated lives, proves their virtue. And as American writer and human rights activist James Baldwin stated in Freedomways in the Spring of 1964, “People who have had no experience have no compassion” (2010, pp. 6, 12-14, 64)…
We artists speak with tawwakul in Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala<>span>, knowing that it does not mean “sitting and doing nothing, no effort, no movement, in the hope of some unknown future, with no faith in the powers and gifts Allah has bestowed” (Khamenei, 2017, p. 42). That tawwakul is over and over advised to us in the Holy Qur’an: “And on Allah let the believers put their trust.”, for example in 3:122, 159-160. This tawwakul “has a motivating, energy-giving and encouraging effect for striving further on the path of God,” not a numbing, painkilling, “opiating effect” (p. 40). We believe and have hope in Allah’s Promise as Allama Iqbal’s 1927 Zabur-i ‘Ajam so aptly expresses in the lines of his Of the hirelings’ blood outpoured:
Yet the weak are given at length
Lion’s heart and tiger’s strength;
In this bubbling lantern, lo!
Haply yet a flame will glow.
Revolt, I cry!
Revolt, or die!
We are trying to obey the Words of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala in the Holy Qur’an 22:77-78:
“O you believers! Bow down and prostrate
and worship your Sustainer and do the good so that you may be successful.
And strive for Allah with Truth,
a worthy striving. He has chosen you and has not
laid any difficulty upon you in your religion, the religion
of your father Ibrahim. And He named you the Muslims from before and in this,
that the Messenger may be
a witness over you and that you may be witnesses
of humanity. So establish the prayer and give the zakat
and hold fast to Allah. He is your Protector,
The Excellent Protector and The Excellent Helper.”
…Ayatullah [Ali] Khamenei, addressing a group of poets in the Islamic Republic of Iran on February 23, 2017, said:
…Fighting an oppressor is not limited to fighting with weaponry.
Today, world publicity has the upper hand and the oppressors can be fought
through instruments of expression and poetry. Over the past few years,
excellent and hope-giving examples have been produced in this regard…
In the face of these overwhelming attacks, it is not enough to simply fight back
by building a barrier around us. Rather, this duty can be fulfilled by elaborating on
Islamic lifestyles, concepts and fundamentals of morality, politics and culture, through poetry.
...Dr. Shari’ati expounded:
“The more conscious” an individual becomes, the more they “can sense the abstract
which” they represent. “Art brings consciousness to the unconscious soul of the human being
because art, awakening the sense of the abstract, allows us to come to know God…
The more abstract…art gets the more authentic it becomes. Thus sculpture, painting,
music and poetry represent increasingly higher grades of art, with poetry
being the most perfect, since ‘poetry is the absolute abstraction.’” (Vakily, 1991, 78)
...This exile, this place of humanity, where we exist, is a place of worship within reach of our Beloved, a prison crammed with allurements and temptations forever calling us away, a warzone of shaitanic beings whom we grow very weary of beating, a world we fear to love. Allama Iqbal illustrates the dilemma (Umar, 1998):
Leaving the moon and the sun behind,
I reached the presence of God, and said,
“Not a single atom in Your world
Is an intimate of mine
The world has no heart, but I,
A handful of dust, am all heart.
It’s a nice garden, but not worthy of my song!”
A smile appeared on His lips?
He said not a word.
This is the ultimate goal of the poets and spoken word artists within this collection. We are desperately trying to be a true human being, a hanif, a true and upright monotheist,clinging to and declaring Allah’s Subhanahu wa ta’ala Words: “I have turned my face towards The One Who created the Heavens and the Earth as a hanif.” (The Holy Qur’an 6:79) We have written in “the spirit of valiance, nobility and epic” because “in loving” Allah we are truthful, brave and dynamic (Khomeini, 2002). Sister Timaj makes it plain: We are working towards living “a more connected, intentional and balanced life surrounded” by loving people, with “habitual and less reactionary” self-care, feeling “spiritually fed, grounded, and ever-aware of God…a life with God-consciousness at the centre of everything” we do (Muslims Actually, 2017).
We lovers are attempting to disentangle ourselves from plurality, our nafs of desires, “shame and dishonour,” “unreal, untrue objects,” “the worldly idols we ourselves have created,” “the world of matter,” and focus instead on becoming immersed in the Beloved, our sole focal point, searching for that vision and insight, witnessing Paradise, becoming “ensnared, enthralled and enraptured” in The Precious Love, Beauty and Majesty, able “to see the Beauties of the Friend” (Khomeini, 2002).
Whether the reader finds this set of poetry and spoken words simple or complex, revealing or illusory, appealing or confrontational, vulnerable or ferocious, affirming or depressing is not the point. Each of us will view the words through our own experiences and visions, our own personal stories, and each will collect what they can or want from them. Each may contemplate “this ocean of insight and meaning according to” their own “capacity of understanding” (Khomeini, 2002).
The authors presented here are baring themselves for you, people who they don’t necessarily know, but people they care deeply about, trust and love. Otherwise, their work wouldn’t be included. It’s because these poets love and feel, because their masks are off and their hearts are open, they are able to share themselves. We don’t need to remind you to respect that.
Through sharing themselves, all these artists want “to inspire, provide solace, provoke thought, promote healing and hope, offer creative solutions, and bring people together in a meaningful way” and pray their “offerings can be a source of light and love that holds space for people to move towards their own purpose and towards each other with compassion” (Timaj Garad website). Readers of poetry and listeners of spoken word have their own reasons for spending time pouring over the words and hearing the performances. Perhaps you are a secret writer, a wounded soul, an activist, a lover or a revolutionary spirit or all of those. It is hoped that you will find within this anthology poetry and spoken word that touches you and makes you want to holler and get down on your knees and pray. We also believe you will recognize, as Dr. Shari’ati stated, that art is
“the manifestation of the creative instinct” which these authors use
to “make up for the lack that [they] feel in this world and thus…
diminish [their] disgust and… restlessness...” to “bear [the burden of] living
in this exile and interacting with the mass of strangers.” (Vakily, 1991, p. 79)
And by participating in their creativity, you may also withstand the weight. By witnessing their fight, you may also ask yourself if you’ve only watched it or if you’ve joined it and what more you can do, as Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala asks (4:75):
“And what reason have you that you should
not fight in the Way of Allah and for the oppressed
among the men and the women and the children,
of those who cry ‘Our Sustainer! Rescue us
from this town whose people are oppressors
and make for us from Yourself a guardian
and make for us from Yourself a helper.’”
…We are confident you will be able to see more clearly, speak with bravery and truth, love with compassion and devotion, believe with conviction and certainty and act with purpose and integrity. For that is what it means to be human.We pray in the words of Sister Timaj that you will have “beautiful moments of vulnerable sharing and connecting that …feels magical and outer-worldly,” therapeutic, replenishing, strengthening moments (Muslims Actually, 2017). And we pray that each of us will endeavour to be a true believer, one of
Those who believe have intense love for Allah.”
The Holy Qur’an 2:165
one of those who realize, as Imam [Ruhullah] Khomeini wrote in his 1985 The Sea of Annihilation from Sabu-ye ‘Ishq:
All that we’d heard or studied of
was vain, after I come to love.
and one of those who hold onto the faith as our Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) related:“The firmest handhold of faith is to love for the sake of Allah and to hate for the sake of Allah,to befriend Allah’s friends and to renounce His enemies”(Shomali, 2009, p. 135)…
For A Tiny Sampling of the Poetry & Spoken Word see SHOP
See also Blog Post #19, May 9, 2019 – Woke & Loud @ https://www.inkedresistanceislamicpublishing.com/our-blog/150-woke-loud
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(from Woke & Loud: A Faith-Based Medley of Muslim Poetry & Spoken Word)
Al-Asi, Muhammad H. (2010) The Ascendant Qur’an: Realigning Man to the Divine Power Culture(Volume 4, Al ‘Imran:1-120), pp. 241-243. Toronto: The Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought. Accessed from https://archive.org/stream/the-ascendant-qur-an-realigning-man-to-the-divine-power-culture-volume-4_full/the-ascendant-qur-an-realigning-man-to-the-divine-power-culture-volume4_full#page /n261/mode/2up.
Baldwin, James (2010). K. Randall (ed.). The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings. New York: Pantheon Books.
Garad, Timaj. Timaj Garad Website. Accessed from www.timajgarad.com.
Iqbal, Muhammad. (1927) Persian Psalms. (Zabur-i ‘Ajam). Translated by A.J. Arberry. Accessed from www.allamaiqbal.com/works/poetry/persian/persianpsalms/translation/index.htm.
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Khomeini, Ayatullah Sayyid Imam Ruhallah Musawi. (2002). The Wine of Love, Mystical Poetry of Imam Khomeini. Translated by Dr. G. Awani & Dr. M. Legenhausen. Tehran: Islamic Republic of Iran: The Institute for Compilation and Publication of Imam Khomeini’s Works.Accessed from www.al-islam.org/wine-love-mystical-poetry-imam-khomeini.
Malcolm X. (1964). The Autobiography of Malcolm X as Told to Alex Haley. New York: Ballantine Books.
Malcolm X (Film) (1992). Chicken’s Coming Home to Roost. Directed by Spike Lee. Youtube. Accessed from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjOopVs60F0.
Muslim Link. (2016). JustJamaal: An Interview with Spoken Word Poet Jamaal Jackson Rogers. Muslim Link. Accessed from https://muslimlink.ca/stories/just-jamaal-rogers.
Muslims Actually. (December 22, 2017). Timaj Garad: Using Poetry and Theatre To Bring Stories To Life. Muslim Link. Accessed from https://muslimlink.ca/arts/muslim-canadian-timaj-garad-poetry-theatre-toronto-spoken-word.
Ogden, E.K. (2019). “This Thing I Use To Stay Alive” – An Interview with Poet Husnaa Hashim. Ohio: Kenyon Review. Accessed from www.kenyonreview.org/2019/04/this-thing-i-use-to-stay-alive-an-interview-with-poet-husnaa-hashim/?fbclid=IwAR2qRoL4ZQgoCFaWUC_0OKvpVjeiks0tLUPkJEL8vqiGIrXW_tkd7Z4orc4.
Shomali, Mohammad Ali. (2009). Reason, Faith & Authority: A Shi‘ite Perspective. Message of Thaqalayn, 10(2), p. 135. Accessed from http://messageofthaqalayn.com/38-Reason.pdf .
Timpane, John. (September 7, 2017). Meet Philly’s new youth poet laureate, out of Mastery Charter. Philadelphia, PA: The Inquirer Daily News. Accessed from https://www.inquirer.com/philly/entertainment/arts/philadelphia-poet-laureate-husnaa-hashim-mastery-charter-20170907.html.
Umar, Muhammad Suheyl. (1998).Iqbal’s Concept of Love. Journal of the Iqbal Academy Pakistan,39(3). Accessed from http://www.iqbal.com.pk/component/content/article/944-allama-iqbal-studies/scholarly-articles/1651-iqbals-concept-of-love.
Vakily, Abdollah. (1991). Ali Shariati and the Mystical Tradition of Islam. M.A. Thesis. Montreal, Quebec: Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University. Accessed from http://digitool.library.mcgill.ca/webclient/StreamGate?folder_id=0&dvs=1572204463920~156.