I am a Muslim writer and English teacher. I have written poetry, short stories, a play, and I am currently working on a novella. My subject matter and themes are related to Islam, Sufism, politics and also my job as a secondary school teacher.
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Was salaam, Peace
Recollecting and treasuring the knowledge That your teachers shared before Is not merely nostalgia Nor is it a sign of your acquiescence Of your teachers’ future errors Verily, your remembrance is simply gratitude For the enlightenment you received And a consolidation of ideas You deem indispensable Your gratitude for the past is fundamental And if your past teachers now thrive, Gives thanks and praise And if your teachers now have erred, Pray for their deliverance For how much of an ingrate is the one Who once lingered and traced their shadows And now sticks a proud nose up in the air Oblivious of the debts you can’t repay For the inner light of knowledge and progress…. And do be careful, now, my compadre As on this theatre of inconsistencies Who knows if you’ll slip far with ease… So don’t be so impatient to condemn The ones who gave you such benefit before…. Advise your seers should they transgress And prosecute should they oppress But never forget the good that you received…
Some would-be sailors reported abuse by a line of skippers, and returned to the shore, heartbroken, anguished, and perturbed.
One of them said: “We must bring them to account! We have been wronged! Looks like there are no true skippers anymore….”
The ocean listened patiently, heard their pain like a mother, and spoke from within the rising and falling waves:
“Wrongs must be addressed…. You must act with unrelenting fairness.. For all who embark upon the journey deserve a fair hearing.”
Waves ascended majestically and then fell, like swooning dervishes; the water swelled, then settled, proclaiming:
“But there will always be true skippers, who have navigated the ocean, who have travelled far, far, far through me and can show you the way. And there have always been false skippers, full of names for my waters, but full of hot air within. So why do you give in? Was I your goal or was the skipper’s good pleasure your idol? Did you pine after my vast mysteries, or were you just enjoying the cruise? Did you think I would let you voyage upon me without some stillness, without the currents throwing you off course, without assailments by pirates dressed in a skipper’s cape? Perhaps there was nothing wrong with the skipper? Perhaps he was a true guide, and the problem was in your self?”
The ocean grew into an almighty breaker, falling with a thunderous clap, then rested and rocked hypnotically:
“Keep your hearts with me, and I will send you everything you need… Keep your attention on my waves, and I will move you further ahead… And absorb the beauty of the light of my full moon… But remember this, the point is not the skipper, the point is the Sea. If I am no longer your one desire, and it’s just all about you or the skipper, then either you are off, or the skipper is off… So, seek redress with the law, if crimes and oppression were perpetrated, for the pirates in the garb of skippers must be rounded up, but keep your gaze on me; make me your one and only concern, make my vastness your dreams.. Remember the signs of a true skipper, and if you gained from any of the skippers on this sea; if you were guided further through my waves, you must show thanks and send your sincere supplications their way- for they are my special ones; I have brought them closer to me…. But also know this, my skippers can never be as vast and as perfect as me…. Never lose hope in the ocean… And enjoy the resplendence of my full moon, which brightens my waters and fills your hearts with light!”
The ocean breathed out like a hidden saint and then slept soundly, like a sleeping baby. They turned their eyes from their troubles, and looked out- the waves shone, like hearts…
An almighty, streaming, surging downpour enveloped Medina Baye, flowing onto the streets and roads, washing away the memories of past days. It showered through homes, upon the elderly, upon mothers and fathers, upon children, drenching them in a water that they could not see, and clearing the air, and refreshing the hearts…
Idris Wuld, with the troubles of the world resting on his shoulders, rushed by Medina Baye, on his way to meet an official of the municipality. A singular old man stood in his way, raising his hands in the air and rubbing his face, as if catching the rain. Idris halted.
“What is wrong with you, old man?” He asked unkindly, regarding the clear sky and shifting his shirt in the spring heat.
“Oh! the rain! The rain! It’s everywhere!” Cried the old man, once again, staring at the empty sky, and welcoming the air into his arms. Idris sighed with irritation and moved briskly ahead, “Crazy fool…” He muttered.
Two hours later, Wuld passed by Medina Baye again, a wide smile on his face; his eyes confident and contented. The meeting went splendidly, and his financial troubles had been taken of. And once again, the strange old man came into his path, shifting from side to side, raising his hands in the empty, stifling air, rubbing his palms on his eyes and cheeks, while the awesome, majestic minarets of Medina Baye, stood behind him, like tower giants watching them. Wuld stopped in his tracks.
“So, what is it with you and this rain old man? Have you gone mad?” He joked.
The old man lowered his hands and looked deeply and intensely into Wuld’s eyes. “You will understand the rain I allude to if you do this one thing…”
“And what is that?” Wuld smirked. “Go to Sayyida and say what needs to be said…” And he walked off.
Wuld stood frozen, as the minaret giants looked on. The old man had spoken the name of his wife, and of the thing which was hidden cancer in his soul: his pride. He understood immediately and rushed off.
At home, whilst the children played outside, and his wife was engaged in the labours of her life, suddenly, she dropped her work, for her husband, Idris stood before her; his eyes in a way she had never seen before for a long time. He spoke: “Sayyida, my wife, and the mother of my children…” She leaned against the washing machine, her fears growing- had he found another woman? Another woe upon the woe this man had given her. “What I mean to say, my wife, and I mean this, I have been a cold man to you, for a while, and you have been a good woman to me. Forgive me. Let me make amends. I will take you to see your mother and kin on the weekend…” His eyes were remorseful and true- she could see it… She could see the shame and discomfort in every trace of red in his eyes. Finally, he saw her, the way he used to see her before. And she collapsed in his arms, the tears not stopping, the pain leaking out into his frame, being replaced by warmth, and love, and cheer.
Later, Wuld, having lost track of time and place, since his revelation to his wife, wandered over to Medina Baye, and suddenly, without warning, water fell from the sky, enveloping the whole expanse, covering his head, and washing away the pride. He looked up, feeling the rain flow over his head and face. The old man appeared next to him. “I told you it was raining,” he said, as people walked by, regarding them whimsically, on this, the driest day of March so far….