The scholars give their volumes up to hear The warriors their arms that they may touch The children all their toys to just be near This man. No man was ever loved so much. And now ‘Adiyy bin Hātim son of Tayy Of line defining generosity Found himself in Madinah standing by A grandmother who kept his company He watched him standing on the dusty way Conversing with that frailness bent with years Unhastening despite the long delay Attending reassuring calming fears ‘Adiyy received more than he ever gave Came looking for a king and found a slave
The winds just need an opening to blow
Into your secret rooms where you conceal
Your cryptic and subversive plans below
The floorboards creaking every time you kneel
The rains survey the weakness in your roof
And seek a path to fall into your space
Where moisture plays its wrinkles into truth
Well hidden in the patterns of your drapes
And where the wind and rain may find admission
There, the cold will follow in the end
To plunge your quarters into indecision
That oft accompanies the rain and wind
Repair the roof and windows, seal the door
And let your weary forehead warm the floor
When we consider generosity,
We think of those possessed of wealth and time
Who give with or without the vanity
That often taints a gift with hues of crime.
And then we hear the term afresh from those
Who saw its splendor in prophetic light,
For giving matters when the giver knows
The value of what’s given, all despite
The ignorance and bliss ingratitude
Of them who walk the earth in heedlessness
While harvesting the riches that accrued
Upon the breaths of those who do with less.
SubhanAllah is charity that turns
The world despite the punishment it earns.
The ummah is as one body.
We wonder where the hate we see begins;
We blame the haters and their mentoring,
But seldom see the damage that our sins
May wreak upon the hearts they’re entering.
We hate our children when we fail their cause;
We hate our spouses as we burden them;
We even hate our siblings, all because
We give our selves a love we cannot stem.
So hear the words the minbar sends our way:
“Allah! He does not change a people who
Refuse to change their selves.” Should we not say,
Your family should matter more than you?
A thorn on Cherry Street by any means
Can cause a vein to hemorrhage on Deans.
But words are such a different projectile
For even do the deadliest of drones
Annihilate the living in a while
But, words: they lodge themselves within a heart
In some dark corner that the jinn know well
And there they linger as a poison dart
Secreting the intoxicants of hell
Remember now when he with tongue so mild
Had turned, a brokenhearted man, to Ṭāʾif
To be rejected, driven and reviled
In what was then his weakest time in life
Yet when the wrath of angel sprang above
He held it back with words of patient love
The silence of the night is loudest when
The sounds of sleep and timber creak are one;
To rise as rebels, wont to fall again
As if their song of rise and fall were done,
For silence is a failure of the mind
To hear what it refuses to let in:
A creature that by nature is defined
In terms of what is absent though met in
The captivating charms of solitude
That free the soul unto the forest lush
With sapling thoughts that spring from soil imbued
With nourishment endowed in waters’ gush.
The silence of the night is soft and mild
When chanced upon the breath of sleeping child.
I often wonder how to reconcile
This paradox in knowledge that I see:
To slog through books in earnest, all the while
Admiring the unlettered Nabi.
And then I heard this wisdom: all the toil
The seeker puts into sincere seeking,
The sleepless hours burned by midnight oil
To brave a climb that’s marked by endless peaking,
Produces such sophisticated minds
Well honed upon the stone of scholarship,
But even what the mill of learning grinds
Despite its many tries to take a sip
Can’t reach the fountain flowing beyond sins
To where prophetic intellect begins.
Is this the brand of greatness we desire
Will all this madness make us great again
Dividing hearts and setting lives afire
And separating kids from parents when
It’s hard to find a job and wages slide
While markets are more fragile than before
It doesn’t matter what we claim beside
The daily plight of citizens galore
We’ve fractured every friendship we held dear
And stepped on wounds by elevating tyrants
We’ve seen this all before but now it’s clear
The dream autocracy has broken silence
It doesn’t matter much how great we’ll be
Once we have slaughtered our humanity
This came about while watching my son as we waited at the airport a couple days ago.
My life is like this chocolate milk delight
So complicated just to open up
The seal won’t break: the cap is screwed on tight
I wish they served it in a paper cup
I ask my dad to help but he says no
So here I am determined and committed
To part this bottle from its cap and so
I carefully examine how it’s fitted
I slide a nail into where seal may give
It does and I repeat this little move
Till seal descends into a plastic cliff
My digits work a counterclockwise groove
Till cap comes loose at last – now gentle sips
That eulogize this cocoa off my lips
The circle of humility is small
And only those who cannot see it, enter,
For such an entry makes the humble fall
Into a spot where circle is as center.
You cannot then become it overnight,
Or over weeks, or even over months
Like mirror that reflects a mirror sight
And on, till all reflections come at once.
To mock and shun the virtue is a vice;
To give it up an even greater flaw;
Embrace it till you make it your device
And practice like you want to make it law.
We’ll be upon this journey till we see
There is no circle of humility.