A Tribute To Rabi Al Awwal: The Story of the Trench

With a strike on the rock!

And the lights appeared!

And a smite on the block!

There’s no grief or fear!

In the fifth of the year

Deep in the Shawwal

Stirring hearts dug a trench

By the great Dhubab

Enemies far and near

Were conspiring high

To destroy the new faith

To observe it die

Outnumbered, facing death

Odds did not look good

But the hope did not die

And the Prophet stood

With a strike on the rock!

And the lights appeared!

And a smite on the block!

There’s no grief or fear!

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Sincerity: Inspired by Surah Ikhlas, Chapter 112, Al Quran

Pull your choler through the mud

Collar Beelzebub

Numb your Id

Benumb shrew blood

Succumb through and through to the One True Flood

Notes:

The intention of this piece is to highlight the absolute wonder and majesty of Surah Ikhlas vis a vis the limitations of human endeavour (ie- my own). I also love the sounds and aural qualities of Surah Ikhlas, and I guess I am trying to capture some of the sublime sounds of it within the English language.

Choler- formal- anger

Beelzebub- ancient synonym for the Devil

Id- from Freud’s theories about the subconscious- the Id refers to the hidden desires and obsessions within human consciousness

Shrew- refers to a rebellious personality

Wa La Nablu Wanna Kum

In appreciation of verse 155, Sura Baqarah, Al Quran Al Hakeem

I’d heard this verse

Many times before

But I fell in the world’s momentum  

And now I’m drawn,

Like a looping moth

To the light of

Wa La Nablu Wanna Kum

I’d heard this verse

So deep and terse

But I swayed in a sea of fevers

But now I am swept

Like a floating wreck

To the shores of

Wa la Nablu Wanna Kum

I’d heard this verse

With a heart immersed

In the dread of the world’s hysteria

But now the only thing to panic-buy

Is the key for

Wa la Nablu Wanna Kum

I’d heard this verse

In the Friday prayers

While my mind viewed conspiracy theories

But now the fake news

Needs to be rebuked

With the truth of

Wa la Nablu Wanna Kum

I’d heard this verse

In the universe

Of talks and the deen intensives

But now all the notes

And inspiring quotes

Need to act on

Wa la Nablu Wanna Kum

I’d heard this verse

When things were worse

For the poor folk mired in outbreaks

But now the vaccine

For my uncertainties

Is the pledge of

Wa la Nablu Wanna Kum

COVID 19 BY NOVID 77

Dear COVID,

I’m NOVID

And I’m older by 42

I’ve seen the SARS

Mad Cow disease

And AIDS and Avian flu

Bird flu, Man-flu, Ebola

I’ve seen them on the news

And now you’re here, Corona crown

Pandemic so epically 

Epidemic of our media age

Behaving untypically

Scourge of men and stock markets

Endemic to the earth

A pulsing strain of pathogens

You’re spreading round your worth!

Soon you may encounter me

Coughing through NOVID then

Coasting through my veins and blood

We’d meet and start to blend

COVID could imbue NOVID

Then I would be your host

Conflated with an acronym

Not such a thing to boast!

Now name-calls in registers

Could make me squirm in shame

People may remember you

When they gaze at my name

I guess if I spread ill like you

They’ll see COVID in NOVID then

I guess if I harass the weak

COVID in NOVID then

Your name could blight me, permanently

No cheer would my name give

Thoughts of dire suffering

By saying just: NOVID

But if I learn the art of love

Like Tiresias transcend

If I spread verse and elegies

OVID in NOVID then!

But If I learn to weather storms

Like Ulysses and his men

If I ride waves of discontent

OVID in NOVID then!

So COVID 19 here you are

With NOVID 77

Perhaps there’s poetic justice

Perhaps there is a blessing

Perhaps through you I’ll know myself

And wash hands for 20 seconds!

By Novid Shaid

Intermandias

For Shelley

I met a traveller from a digital land

Who said: “Two vast and wireless screens and phones,

Stand in some memories. Near them, on discarded toilet rolls,

Spread out, a printed message lies, with fonts

So micro soft, and typefaces for command prompts,

Tell that its printer well that software read  

Which yet survive, stamped on these paper sheets,

The ink that stained them and lines that smudged

And on the strips of rolls, it can be read:

‘My name is Intermandias,

Look on my works, ye ancients, and despair!’

Nothing online remains. Round the decay

Of this obsolete tech, boundless and rich  

The lone and loving souls stretch far away.”

The Walls- Short Story

Adam and Hira had just turned twenty, when they realised, they were in prison. Now they could see four monumental walls topped with barbed wire to the north, south, east and west. Now they could make out the prison officer uniforms on men and women they had not noticed before. Now they could see other prisoners around them, looking and behaving much like themselves. Fear and anguish grew chains around their hands and ankles; the couple struggled to move as the realisation took hold of them; their breaths quickened and sweat trickled on their heads. How on earth did they not realise this before? Why were they prisoners? What had they done wrong? As far as they knew, they had lived an average life in an average town, following the law of the land, most of the time, and keeping out of trouble. Yet now they found themselves languishing behind towering walls and barbed wire.

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