To Whom it May Concern

Something I wrote yesterday but didn’t share…

Shyd k teray Dil mein utar jaei meri baat.

*Thursday, 8th Ramazan*

A few hours before I go to get my mother discharged from the hospital, I try to purge my feelings. Wipe my mouth after the acidulous vomit and carry on with the daily chores…

Alhamdulilah for the less-read and simple people. Because of them, the world is still functioning.
Two kinds of people have let me down; the religious lot and the intellectuals.
The religious are more concerned with matters that they think are more worthy of earning reward. Like charity. Like fasting (for it is Ramazan, ofcourse), and praying and reciting Quran. And taraveeh. All noble acts.
I’m reminded of a few Surahs and ahadith SAW highlighting the importance of being there for a Muslim brother over all these acts.

But I think I’d refrain- for ofcourse if it *ever* mattered, these self-proclaimed Ustadhs and Aalims and brothers and sisters, the proponents of Islam would be practicing it.
Islam hasn’t let me down. It’s Muslims. But I guess it’s okay. For these very Muslims have let their brothers down in other dire situations. Syria. Burma. Myanmar. Palestine. Kashmir. Watch the faces of these brethren while you chomp on your popcorn.
Me? I’m just a small fry.

Coming to the intellectuals…
The so-called visionaries. The ones who change the world. But sadly. They change their own little world. Discuss ideas. Post a few bookmarks. Post a few books. Engage in intellectual discourse for movements that never touched their own lives.
But- if someone they know of is suffering with severe illness or in need of blood for their mother’s surgery the next day, oh they’d rather contemplate on the intracacies of poesies of Jaun or Ghalib sighing over lost-love.
You know what is the malignancy of our generation? Indifference and advanced education. Why do I say this? Highly qualified intellectuals, I’ve observed, have a selfish attitude. ” The *Me* Syndrome.”
Mujhe yeh mil jaei.
Mujhe yeh na kerna paray.
Mujhe Kia Mila?

Did these well-read individuals- the custodians of literature and language, ever consider doing any meaningful action?

Think. Think some more.Keep contemplating while some one you might know, gives up on life.
On hope.

So, to the intellectuals and the religious lot:

Allah Kisi k kaam Nahi rokta. App Nahi honegay. App k bajai Woh Kisi ghair se kaam ley le ga. Charity begins at home.

Good afternoon.

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The ‘Never Ending’ Car Ride

The ‘Never Ending’ Car Ride

Strapped by force
In the back- seat of a car.
Going to a destination
That’s been told
‘ It’s not too far.’
‘ We’ll be there, before you know it
And have a picnic
In the park.’

Little does the ‘little one’ know,
The lapse of time
For boredom easily grows.
Insipid interiors
Memorized to every cranny.
Even the hair strands of Mommy,
Visible from the back.

“Are we there, yet?”
You cry out.
“Not yet, dear-
There’s a distance to go.”
Traffic on highway.
Cars and lights.
Take their shape into
Mirthless skies.
Scorching heat
Sweaty palms
” Can we turn the AC on?”

“Are we there, yet?”
The mother sighs.

And the child
With no reply
Learns to distract himself.
Sings a song.
Count the trees.
Pick out shapes
In the fluffy clouds.

“Are we there, yet?”
No reply.
So, the child drifts off to sleep.

Sooner than he knows,
He’s out again.
Unbuckled,
And carried in arms.
Carried off to the destination,
He had waited and dreamt for so long.

Once awake,
He will play again.
With butterflies
And gaze at rainbows
And raindrops
That he can taste.

The journey of life, my dear-
Isn’t too long.
You keep asking
“Are we there yet?”
And you’ll be at the park soon.
Run, skip and laugh
With your friends in joy.
Paradise is only a patient car ride away.

©Dr Hafsa Siddiqui

Photo: Dubai ( 2011)

 

 

Scars

“Scars”

Men with scars
Etch their own marks
Onto the souls
And bodies
Of the women they meet.
Like a blade
Knows its own way
When it meets the skin,
Men with scars
Know the path
To trace onto new flesh.

Men with scars,
End up themselves as scars,
Onto a bleeding derm.
They hurt you,
And then stay
Forever onto your skin
Reminding of the pain…
The sweet ache
That a scratch brings.
The uneven skin folds
That a scar tissue forms
Forever changes
The terrain of your skin
And soul.
Twisted and distorted;
With its own beauty-
Like a beauty mark.
Or a signature of the pain.
That’s done its duty.

©Dr Hafsa Siddiqui (2017)

Lessons from the Birds

Lessons from the Birds

Have you not seen
The birds flying in a flock?
Held in mid-air
Soaring on the air currents,
By Al Rehman?
Have you not seen…
That when one is tired
And flies low…
Leaving his position
Of the leader of the flock,
He glides back
To fly in
Another’s tutelage?
But doesn’t give up.
The air pressure decreases
As does the strength.
Taking turns
To migrate to a favourable place;
Their destination.
But they don’t ever give up.
They remain;
A flock.
A team.
A pack.
So, when your brother is hurt or dismayed
Pull up your socks
And be there.
For one good deed
From you is all it takes.
A few kind words
To help him get back up.
A dua …
To raise his ranks.
A shoulder
Onto which he can momentarily rest.
Perhaps, this little deed will be the one
That puts you in Paradise.
And let you hear the words
“Razi Allahu Anhu wa Radu.”*

©Dr Hafsa Siddiqui (2018)

 

* “Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him.”

“To the Ones Who Only Pray”

“To the Ones Who Only Pray”

I’m not innocent Maryam AS
Who bore a child and faced inhumane slurs
On her chastity.
I’m not Yusuf AS who fought against desire,
And won after seeing Burhaan from Him
While Zuleikha tempted,
Tearing at his shirt.
And, I am not Adam AS
Whose loneliness
He saw and blessed
With a loving companion.
A desolate, woman
I am buckling under
And struggling to get back on my feet,
Half-heartedly.
And to the ones who pray;
I’ll tell Him
On The Judgement Day
To question those
Whom I approached for help.
“What did you do when
My slave came to you for help…?”
Will your answer suffice that:
“Lord, we prayed for her. Nothing else.”
Remember.
For I will, too.

©Dr Hafsa Siddiqui (2018)

The Shopping Basket

The Shopping Basket

 

Stretched before a bustling supermart;
Busy people, busy lives.
Shopping for food and supplies;
A single woman
With empty hands, cries.
With money scarce
And love scarcer.
With words abound
But emptiness abundant,
She looks at families
With tearful eyes.
Shopping carts full
Of brand new toys,
Maybe a rack of lamb
To roast for the kids.
Chips and veggies
For the family dinner.
And then she looks at
Her own single servings.
Half a kilo, at max
Of everything.
Enough to last a week.
Her eyes span, again
On the horizon cast.
Toddlers in the aisles
Picking up stuffed toys
And with tantrums hoist.
Two little tears
Make eyes moist.
Eyes look down to her
Grocery Basket,
And with her lips
Escape the sighs.
She remembers well
Her siblings’ fights
Good natured
After awhile that reconciled.
But gone are the days
She weeps alone.
No shoulders
To rest her weary crown on.
Loneliness; has finally
Found home.

 

Hafsa Siddiqui