Poem: Lead Into Gold

Beautiful sunrise and hot air balloons

Lead Into Gold

Allah, giver of peace:
Your love has transformed me
like an alchemist’s dream
of lead into gold.
I was old, bent under the weight
of years of confusion,
but now I stand straight, far-seeing,
light on my feet and gleaming,
golden like a lion’s pelt,
a sunrise in my eyes.

– Wael Abdelgawad

Poem: A Peace That Sings

Dandelions blowing in the wind

A Peace That Sings

By Shireen

My soul breathes a breath it has never quite taken before
So crisp, so clean, so pure
And a giddy little grin will peak upon my lips
For no particular reason, just a peace within sings so deep
And though the meaning of life’s lesson is upon me now
I can’t help but feel that I know nothing of anything, but to God I remain, to God I bow
Time and time again we search, we befriend but in the end there are things that remain questionable
Should a friend really be so textable?
Really, is there nothing else to do other then keep us entertained
Twitter,or Facebook, Blackberry or Iphone, Google and Amazon E books
It’s all the same really, friends too many
One or two may know me
But never have they given me this feeling I feel
This ease, this lightness upon my chest, this gushing goodness of “man, God is Indeed The Best!”
Why? some may ask. Wasn’t that a test?
Yes, but a test is only a question mark away from a reward
Will you submit to that which you cannot control? Or will your choice be hard, and dramatic turmoil?
I resolve with, I need not fight if I have the angels fighting for me
I will not wander blindly when I have light making a way clearly
I will not speak ill of what’s meant to be, when I have the All Knowing watching over me
I will not be among the ungrateful, before I become alone just me and me
My life is a breath of fresh air for which I pray lasts until I return home
Though fears I have, it’s not something any human can console
For words don’t come when I try to speak it, just thoughts and only God Knows the Meanings
So I stop here, Praising the All Knowing, The All Wise
Hoping for the best, fearing my weaknesses and begging for success!

Poem: I Choose to Follow Him

Sunshine over a golden lake

The following poem is written by sister María M, a very recent convert to Islam. She lives in Spain.

I Choose to Follow Him

I choose to follow Him,
despite others opinion,
despite others judgment,
despite others whispering,
despite others look,..

I choose to follow Him,
surrendering to His Love,
claiming for His Forgiveness,
asking for His Compasion,
enjoying His Grace,…

I choose to follow Him,
falling to my knees,
puting my eyes down,
living His Word as
the air I breath,
being His Blessings
the blood in my veins,…

I choose to follow Him,
thanking for every step I take,
greeting everyone I meet,
conscious of my ignorance,
trying to be my best,…

I choose to follow Him
knowing that…
It was His choice not mine
that I choose to follow Him.

– María M, January 2 2011

Mighty Mighty Muslims

Huge sunrays in a blue sky

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

There’s a children’s song that I learned as a teenager, at the Muslim Youth Camp. It’s called, “Mighty Mighty Muslims”, and it’s just a little ditty, more of a travelling song than anything else:

We are the Muslims,
the mighty mighty Muslims,
everywhere we go
people want to know
who we are,
who we are,
so we tell them,
so we tell them,
We are the Muslims (and repeat).

By the way, some Muslims apparently chanted this at New York City’s annual Muslim Day Parade, and some non-Muslim observers took offense, as they found it to be supremacist or exclusive in some way. That’s nonsense. Chanting it at a NYC parade may not have been the brightest idea in the current climate of growing bigotry; but I never thought of this as anything but a children’s song, a way of helping kids to feel good and positive about their faith in an environment that is often discriminatory against it. It’s not about being better than anyone else or putting anyone else down.

The fact is that everywhere we go (if we are dressed in traditional Islamic garb like kufi caps or hijab) people do take notice. Sometimes they stare, sometimes ask questions about our faith, and sometimes cast insults. This song is a way of saying to kids, hey, it’s okay if people notice you, andyou have nothing to be ashamed of. Be proud and strong in your faith.

Who would have thought a little children’s song could become a political issue? SubhanAllah, things have gotten ridiculous these days. May Allah guide them.

Did you learn this song as a child? I’m curious how well known it is.

I decided to expand it just a little to turn it into a teaching song for Salma (my daughter) and other Muslim children. Here’s my expanded version:

Bismillah we say
when we start the day
and everywhere we go
people want to know
who we are, who we are,
so we tell them, so we tell them,
We are the Muslims,
mighty mighty Muslims,
no matter where we’re from
we say salamu alaykum,
we pray in the night
and at the morning light.

If anyone is desperate to know the tune, I could record it and put it on here. But be warned, I’m no singer. Maybe someone else could take it and make something really catchy out of it.

Poem: The Last Bison

American bison

An American bison

The Last Bison

You glow
like Venus in the delicate dawn’s light.
You are sunshine
on blue water,
a patch of sky, bright
on a winter day,
an aspen
shaking off snow.
A flash of flowing robe
and clear eyes.

I am a dark star,
a sculpted bronze
coated in tar,
a stranger than fiction
Truman Capote dream.
I’ve got bitterroot tea
for blood. I’m the last bison
on the vanishing plain,
struck by bullets
from passing trains.

Will I wake one morning
and feel strangely light,
the pain and fright of a lifetime
flooded away
as if by my native Nile,
leaving me scoured,
pure, blinking like a child?
Will I stand and stretch,
laugh in surprise, and then,
remembering my Lord,
bow and prostrate, purifed?

Wael Abdelgawad, November 2010

Poem: With Allah, in Islam

Giraffe with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background

With Allah, in Islam

You’re pushing your way through the crowd,
shining like a rough diamond,
chasing changes, gurus, clover, sound…
that thing to quiet the hidden doubt…

but you won’t find it in the avenues of man.
It’s with Allah. It’s in Islam.

You’ve got African earth in your eyes,
saffron under your nails, star fruit, indigo,
snow in your midnight hair,
American dust on your boots.

It’s not there, in the places of man.
It’s with Allah. It’s in Islam.

You’re seeking lightning, heat, serenade,
and quiet whisper, truth or lie… a sliver of jade,
a sighting of something real, some grain
that doesn’t turn, doesn’t die, doesn’t fade.

It’s not there, in the breast of man.
It’s with Allah. It’s in Islam.

Wael Abdelgawad, 2009

Poem: Going to Meet Allah

Rainbow over a beach rock

Going to Meet Allah

Where are we going today?
Why are we going this way?

What lies around the bend?
Where does this road end?

What is the sum of strife?
What is the measure of life?

How can we get free
from chains we can and cannot see?

We’re going to meet Allah.

Fear is a hurricane;
Imaan is a summer rain.

Hatred is a gnawing cancer;
mercy is the only answer.

Peace on me and peace on you;
trust Allah and we’ll get through.

Love Allah with all your power;
get ready for the final Hour.

We’re going to meet Allah, going to meet Allah,
going to meet Allah, going to meet Allah.

– Wael Abdelgawad, 2008

Poem: Bring it In

Beautiful farm painting

Bring It In

Let’s bring it together.
Everything moves in circles,
everything whirls, but sometimes
you cut across the tide
and find yourself in the light
of a strange sun. Bring it in.
Smaller circles, far from the din
of the city, we meet:
your breath and mine,
warm and sweet,
tighter, closer, moving in time
to the galaxy, earth, air,
until we are the center, paired,
and all turns in harmony.
Let’s bring it in, become
lion and lioness, oak and stone,
shelter and home.
Mother and father,
husband and wife,
lover and loved,
passion and fire,
dunya and deen,
family, hearth, laughter
and one true dream.

– Wael Abdelgawad, June 2008

“I Want” – a poem

Center of the Milky Way galaxy, as seen from Cherry Springs State Park

Center of the Milky Way galaxy, as seen from Cherry Springs State Park, one of the darkest places in the eastern USA. The Milky Way is a vast collection of more than 200 billion stars, planets, nebulae, clusters, dust and gas. Our own Sun and solar system are also part of the Milky Way galaxy. Brilliant Jupiter is the brightest "star" in the image, seen at left.

I Want

I want to travel back in time
and prevent my daughter
from jamming her toe in the shopping cart
and getting a blood bruise.
I want her to laugh so hard
she sprays her cereal and milk.
I want her never to shake her head
in shame or regret.
I want her to love Allah,
to raise hands in duaa,
to feel the deen in her veins
like a pulse.

I want my father
to be given the heart of a mustang,
and barring that
to welcome his Qadr with ease,
not squeezing his hands into fists
or cursing in pain.
Never mind what he thinks of me.
I want him to call on Allah
with joy and relief,
to find sweetness in the dusk of his life.
I want peace for him Yaa Allah;
caress him with endless rahma.

I want the Muslim people
to find their power, art,
science; and the quiet joy
of ‘ibadah and Allah’s love.
Let them step into the century
free from tyranny, standing tall
with Islam as hope and heart.
Let them drink from the bubbling spring
of the Quran.
Let them breathe.
Let them free themselves
and transform the world.

For myself, who knows?
Still I shake my head and laugh,
wondering who I am,
and when I’ll find my secret name.
I say with truth
that I don’t flinch,
no snarl crosses my face,
and I don’t lie about my past.
No acid fills my mouth. No fear,
no hate, no shame.
Instead, I want…
I want

to leap into the night sky
and grab a bushel of stars,
bring them to earth burning in my hands.
Once, in Tucson,
the morning sun turned everything
– the desert, the buildings,
even the men standing in line to eat –
yellow as an egg yolk.
I want to bottle that pure yellow
and drink it into my veins
until I’m hot and glowing
from heart to fingernails.

Laugh, I don’t care!
Yes I am a crazy man.
Let me tell you, somewhere
in a dingy cell a man is being beaten
and starved; somewhere
a sister is being raped;
I want to give my life
to put a stop to it,
and I offer it to Allah:
take it. I understand my words.
Use me for a purpose
and let me be remembered

for saving one life,
making one person weep in relief,
rescuing one soul from pain.
For myself I ask so little:
to be held in loving arms
and a sweet voice in my ear.
Is that too strange a dream?
To take a wife and hug her fiercely,
see my daughter learn the deen,
to graduate to black belt
after all these years.
To bring relief to pain…

For myself, so little.
In the end I forfeit all.
Yaa Allah, I surrender all
but your love! I give up
the stars and sun,
the run of time and coin,
and the embrace of love…
But for others:
my father, Salma,
and those I’ve lost; for the hurt and hungry
praying for relief… for them
I want, I want, I want.

– Wael Abdelgawad, July 2009

Springtime: a poem

Rainbow over mountain foothillsSpringtime

Springtime…
ocean air blows in fresh.
So much ahead:
green fields and blue skies…

Allah is kind
and He is still guiding you.
So be at peace, sister,
don’t you cry.

Innocent eyes watch you
and small hands seek yours;
they love you so much,
not knowing how you try;

but Allah knows all.
He sees your struggle,
and your sapphire soul
shines in His eyes.

One bright spring morning
you’re going to wake up singing
your heart so light
you could take off and fly.

You’ll walk up the hill
and come home to your true love;
you’ll dance and pray
and on life you’ll be high.

Until that morning
Know that you are precious:
a strong Muslim queen
with dignity and pride.

So hold up your head
and don’t fear tomorrow.
Be at peace, sister,
don’t you cry.

– Wael Abdelgawad, 2009

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