* This was written for our spoken word performance at Mercy Mission’s Being ME (Muslimah Empowered) Conference 2013.
Script written by myself and Mubina Shafqat Ali.
“You had me at Salaam” she wrote
It was an innocent “Assalamu alaykum ukhteeee”
Which turned out to be not so innocent
In the lines that precede it
“May I tell you zat your posts 3an al- Islam on ze Fesbouk
is ze feri feri good. How many juzu have you memorized
ya ukhty jameelah? Ta3brneee. You can call me abu sa5ar
I can give you 100 camels for your mahr habibty-
anything fer you,
ya nour el ainee. Ya3nee.. anything fer you….”
“You had me at Salaam” she wrote
It was an innocent “Salaamu alaykum sister.”
Which turned out to be not-so-innocent
In the lines that precede it
“I am completely blown away by your beauty
and intelligence. Your akhlaq is MashaAllah-
Top notch- 110/100
If you marry me, I promise to make roti and chai for you in bed
It was a Facebook chat that started
with a work-related issue
an exchange of “How are you”s
A “peace be upon you my sister in Islam” and a “peace be upon you too, my brother”,
It started with an encouraging comment on my depressing tweet
It started with a discussion on bid’ah- oh who knew to what it might lead
It then grew and stretched to an hour or two
Soon before we know it, we were chatting at night, past two
Although the conversation revolved around “Islamic scholarly matters” (or so we thought)
And we both knew if a man and a lady were alone, the 3rd person is not you who’s eavesdropping!-
the 3rd person is the devil shaytan who’s been whispering!
Who would have thought- us two “under 25 inspiring youths”-
To whom SOME might look up to
Would be caught up in this web of “Haram” too?
Everyone knew we wouldn’t let our guard down
Nope not even for a second.
Because no one’s seen us out together in town,
And neither of us has ever spoken to each other out in public,
Never even dared to look at each other in the eye
Because aye, it’s called.. what is it again?..?..!… yea, “lowering the gaze” innit?
Because if we were really about that Sunnah life,
We would not want to be seen even talking to each other
You wouldn’t even get in the lift if I’m already inside…. with my friends
You would rather take the stairs and
I insist on wearing the abaya and you, a thobe,
But it’s okay for me to ask for a picture of you working out?!
And to return the favour, I send a picture of myself
When I was 12 because “oh that’s fine, I didn’t get my period yet then”
But that picture just happened to be one of the best captures of my brown locks and my pierced ear? Sure..
For that split moment where i thought,
That split moment where i believed,
That split moment where i tell myself,
It would all just, just go away, the heartache.
But no, it doesn’t.
So, I, slipped.
Ringing through my ears, the words of my beloved mother “Don’t even get CLOSE to zinah”
But then I look to the west, and they tell me to
Listen to your heart
when he’s calling for you.
Listen to your heart
there’s nothing else you can do.
I don’t know where you’re going
and I don’t know why,
but listen to your heart
before you tell him goodbye.
Well that makes sense!
As a rebellious teen, rebelling from within, out of the earshot of my mother, “we’re just texting”
“Late at night” the devil may add
So, continued it did,
Shoving the advice from my mother under the lid,
Guilt consumed me, but I brush it off.
The notion of a life laden with hypocrisy, seeps through my very being, I ignored it.
This filthy web of a relationship I found myself trapped within, I chose to let it slip.
See, I have this ability, something I take pride within myself,
The ability to block out pain and worries.
Nothing would affect me as much as it would others,
I consider myself strong for having such gift,
NEVER have I envision it to be the cause of my downfall.
I’ve hit rock bottom,
I try lying to myself,
That my emotions, feelings and connection towards my lord
Would all be unscathed,
But in true reality,
I see, how detrimental it can be,
How corrosive it is to my very being.
But I let it slip,
Not realizing that it was my deen that took the fall.
This longing that I, you, us, seek and scout,
In the form of a companion, a man,
When found, I won’t deny, fills up the “so called” empty cavity,
Patching each hairline crack at a time,
With glue WE thought was as strong as cement.
For that split moment, I felt whole again,
For that split moment, I felt happy again,
For that split moment, I felt invincible
I have everything that I want! Nothing can stop me!
Well Wonder Woman you can kiss my —- POETRY!
As time progresses however,
having God out of the equation,
brings about an uneasiness like no other,
Problems arise which threatened the deluded and dreamy state I’ve been in.
Nudging me and injecting me with guilt yet again.
Little did i know that a nudge will send that cavity into a downward spiral,
Shattering into millions of pieces,
Fragile, brittle and delicate.
I now realize that my hand hold was of the wrong substance,
Oh what went down when he asked her out for lunch?
Did she panic and think –oh to hell my rep-This might be it
What if he says “let’s marry” – oh is this how she imagined it?
Oh well we slipped, but we’re good when we marry
And this burden we’ll no longer carry
But does the ends justify the means?
I ain’t putting you in the spot,
But neither am I letting you rot
but do you know what marriage means?
I’m not trying to rhyme like Boona,
But girl, this man isn’t trying to get to know ya
All I’m saying is that if he’s serious
he will ask your dad,
I’m just being honest, please don’t get mad!
Look- it’s ok if you messed up, I’ll show you how to clean up
When you find yourself down a path less blessed
Take charge of yourself, stick your chin up and
Move on to that path you overlooked
We were meant to make mistakes
Mistakes – they are our best teachers
As youth we may be engulfed with some pride and ignorance
And charging mad desires
But hope… is not all gone yet.
And faith… is not all torn yet.
You and I can aspire to soar for excellence
Break free from worrying about what OTHER teenagers are doing
WE need to stop settling for less when we can have more
I am a product of home, school and homeschool
I come from a background of mixed ethnicities- about which I’m cool
I have been favoured here and there because they needed to please mom
But I matured regardless, found out the truth. Puh-lease, I am not dumb
Hi, hey, salaam, how are you?
What? Wait, you’re 18?! No way, you?!
18 yes sir, I am 18.
Save your skepticism and you may close your mouth now,
18 is a number- I have 18 pencils, I have 18 friends, I just ate 18 apples,
But people react to it like I must be lying
Im not trying to brag
But I think know my own age, *whisper; more than you do ;) * thanks for asking!
Yasmin, the point of this exercise is…???
Really, guys, really..??
18 is not “too young”
18 is not “inexperienced”
18 is not “underage”
18 is two decades minus two
18 is half of 36,
only 4 years to 22
18 is 6,570 days of breathing,
18 is 157, 680 hours of living,
18 is 7 years of accountability for me
18 is 7 years of sinning
18 is also 10 years of telling my parents….
“I….. llooov* need to throw up” during car rides.
We need to free our minds from
Underestimating the youth
Setting the bar this high
Will only produce quality of this high
Raise the bar
And expect more from the youth
And don’t get me started on the young Sahabahs.. MashaaAllah
Instead of trying to convince me that I am not 18
…Take me in your hands and guide me
With your eyes that have seen more of the world than mine have
With your hands, I see they have on them maps of dishwashing detergent, traces of tears and sweat and small burns from the flame or excitement of cooking
With your feet that have taken you to more places than I ever have been
All the wondrous nooks and corners of the world from the stories you’ve told me,
The best places to form life-long friendships over coffee or tea,
with your pace I promise I’ll try to keep up, so Teach Me.
I am caged by Desires
I am bombarded by Expectations
Together- we are the epitome of the most pretentious teenager!
We are the driving force behind teen depression
Who cook up lies and deception
Who slit their wrist after gorgeous George ends the relationship
Who spend money that we don’t have, buying the things we don’t need,
trying to impress people we don’t even like!
As the youth, we are pretty much pretty victims of many many pretty things.
We’re pretty much blinded, but the problem is, we pretty much don’t see it,
Nor do we admit it.
How are we so comfortable with the life that we’re living?
Devoid of Allah’s blessings and Noor.
We’re deluded by thinking that just because we have Muslim names, we would enter Jannah by default.
Our names are not Jannah access-cards that we can swipe through at the gate like we do our mansions and office buildings.
Our likes for Islamic posts on Facebook don’t mean a thing if it don’t affect our actions and our Faith-book
Who are we compared to the likes of; Khadijah, Fatimah, Sumayya, Khawlah
May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon them all
They who tremble at the mention of Allah,
They who never hesitated a second for Jihad
They who never lost focus on raising leaders
They who would not even think twice to the question of hijab
And here we are so easily
Questioning whether the hijab is even mandatory!
Why are we not allowing ourselves to bloom and flourish like these past women leaders?
Are we complacent?
Or are we merely content with settling for less instead of more?
Our sins, they weigh us down,
Standing in front of Allah, heads bowed in shame, Slumped with guilt, –
Like a loser. –no seriously, we are kinda lame.
Remorse is one heavy facial mask!
Sometimes we have the cheek to ask “Will my sins ever be forgiven?”
But why do we underestimate His capacity to forgive?
His capacity to Love and His capacity to be Merciful?
He who holds the skies up and cause the birds to fly,
who makes the sun rise and set without fail , creating what we know as light and night,
and how we’re able to communicate, argue and debate, how we’re able to feel, love and hate?
Relying your happiness and self-worth on a man..
-girls, you can do much better than that!
No? Well then, look at it this way.. How can I be pleased with myself when my Lord-
The Lord of the Universe is displeased with me?
..I miss my connection towards my Rabb.
And I really really miss the sweetness of prayer
Ever felt that you could fly so high even rockets can’t stop you?
Ever felt that you could conquer the world; seize the oceans
and have battalions of… unicorns.. ??
When you feel unstoppable; like nothing can deter your new-found strength and confidence?
This is the sweetness of prayer.
When my forehead is lowered to the ground-
all my burdens and worries fall off my shoulders.
I complain, I surrender, and I submit to none but the one who created me
I come out of that prostration with a lighter heart
and a mind filled with clarity and certainty.
Don’t you long for Allah to be your ears with which you hear,
your eyes with which you see
your tongue with which you speak,
and your hand with which you touch and feel?
You are all our witnesses,
And Allah is A witness to that,
On this day we promise to fight our weaknesses
To prepare ourselves for the day when there is no shade
except in the shade of Allah’s throne,
where only seven groups of people will find themselves
under His Shade. Today we pose to you this question- will you see us
under the group of youth who were raised worshipping Allah or will you see us under another group of youth?
Is there anyone who can answer this for me?
Is there any soul who is brave enough to come up and guarantee me this?
If you see us that day,
Remind us of this date where we stood helplessly asking for the first time
And if you don’t see me,
Ask for me.