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Category Archives: Poetry

No Hands

No Hands

The lion sleeps

The Lion Sleeps

The Four Quls

Al Falaq Al Kafiroon An-Naas Al Ikhlas

Past and Present Tense

Past and Present Tense

Stick and Stones May Break My Bones.

Sticks and Stones


Last Night


An Najm

AnNajm Poem


 Surah An-Najm, The Holy Qur’an 

Life after death before death



“O you who have believed, respond to Allah and to the Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life.

And know that Allah intervenes between a man and his heart and that to Him you will be gathered.”

The Qur’an, Surah Al Anfal, line 24







The Gardener’s Submission

The Gardeners Submission

A non-poem.

I want to write a poem
I want to turn this pain
Into something beautiful
But my hands are tired
And my tools are bent.

Ode to Musfira, which is like joy, but sweeter. And with sprinkles.

You are my Cupcake with cupcake sprinkles
Sprinkle stars in my eyes
Your tiny laugh twinkles
And if, Cupcake
(with cupcake sprinkles)
You should ever feel lost
You should know that you’ll find me
Begging the Baker
who made you to let me
See you in Jannah
Where stars in your eyes
Will reflect diamond skies
My Cupcake with cupcake sprinkles
With the light of your laugh that twinkles

The enemy within

Rubaiyaat xx & xxi

i-xix here

He whispering, withdraws

To divert you from your cause

The snow-white lamb of ‘later’

Has strangely wolf-like claws.


He took the path of arrogance

And insists you follow suit

To plant the seed that grows the tree

That blossoms rotten fruit.

Random Rubiyaat

Fight the world if you have to

Even yourself if you must

Forgiveness is for the forgiving

And mercy is owed to the just.


(Bi Iznillah)

How can I fault the world

For the turmoil that’s within it?

It’s all of what He said

And none of what He didn’t.


Will ye laugh and yet not weep for the years you’ve lived asleep-
Asleep to numb your fears,
and numb to soothe your cares,
Living in day dreams to escape the day nightmares.
Will you play but never try to remember why you cry,
Using life as your excuse
For living without thought.
Did you know that your Lord knows what you know not?
Your Lord He grants you laughter and He also grants you fears,
And when He grants you death,
He will grant your loved ones tears.
And if their eyes are open, their sadness brings them light,
And if their eyes are closed, the shock may bring them sight.
No bearer of a burden may bear any but his own,
And you sat with friends before,
But now you stand alone.
The last of us and the first of us, the best of us and worst of us
Will be raised as we have died, and will die as we have lived.
So laugh a bit but weep,
And rouse yourself from sleep
May you wake as you have died- eyes open wide.

Nablus Now

Nablus Now

In Auschwitz it dripped
In Nablus now it drips
From flesh it freshly flowed
As in Nablus now it rips

In Auschwitz she cried
In Nablus now she cries
Hated hands held her and hers
As in Nablus where she lies

In Auschwitz they moaned
In Nablus now they moan
Hear the hunger haunting them
As Nablus orphans groan

In Auschwitz he fell
In Nablus now he falls
Bullets bounce from boy to brain
In Nablus off the walls

In Auschwitz they died
In Nablus now we die
And you call this land Holy Land?
In Nablus, we call it Auschwitz





The believer is not broken by sorrow
Any more than a mountain is leveled by wind
And neither are battered, but shaped
By the force of storms they would weather

Bebe’s first Poem

Bap Bap Bap
Said the baby
With the raisins
In his lap

Fresh from the Poultry Farm

Carseat Lullabye

Cuts and bruises, bruises and scars
That we got from toying with other cars
When the road was more than enough to share
And really, they could have gone anywhere
Rather than both try to fill the same spot
On a Tuesday so tired when the road was so hot
And the glass was all glittery there on the street
And the witnesses helpful and caring a sweet
And the sky sunny blue and your cheeks teary pink
And the spots on my skirt rather fetching, I think
And the wail of the sirens not louder than yours
That rang from the hospital’s ceilings and floors
Bruises and cuts and thank God nothing bad
(Not like the man in the other room had)
Cuts and bruises, bruises and scars
Can you keep a secret about other cars?
I can see as they speed up to pass from the side
That they’ve hit us again and someone has died
The emergency room is now miles away
And the scream on your face will not go away
Cuts and bruises, bruises and more
The hot on my hands is smeared on the door
Cuts and bruises, bruises and God-
Cuts and bruises, bones and blood
The screech and the crash and the pain and then
The car finally stops and we’re home safe again
And I, for the hundredth time, happen to find
That we’ve died just a little, just in my mind.

There are some hills over there…

Excuse me while I build my ark,
I haven’t got much time.
Fast the flooding waters rise,
Go find a hill to climb.
Do you mind not standing in my light?
Hey, give me back my tools!
Must you insist on sabotage?
Keep away, you fools!
The hand you lend, it hardly helps.
I need no Three-Piece Messiah
All I need is One Good Lord
For when the waves get higher.
Don’t preach vicarious atonement
For when this day is through
I highly doubt you will have found
Someone else to drown for you.

explain thyself

The poem titled ‘From the Homely Brother’ was not written to be overtly sexual or deliberately offensive, but to explain behavior that is so often misunderstood by people- he doesn’t look at her, he must think men are better than women. He walks in front of her, what does he think he is, superior? He won’t even say her name, what a religious weirdo!

My intention was to show how these behaviors were not callous or extreme or chauvinistic, but motivated by respect and geared towards preventing any debasement of a sister’s character. He doesn’t look at her because he respects her too much to lust after her. He doesn’t walk behind her because he won’t leer at her. He keeps his distance out of respect, in spite of the overwhelming emotion he has.

It’s for Islam, not spite it
That I will not meet your eye
And it’s not romantic cowardice
That keeps my smiles shy

When I wrote this poem three years ago, I had been trying to see inside the heart of a person facing temptation in love but resisting for the sake of Allah and for the sake of the sister’s dignity.

But sister my devotion
To your honor is foremost

We have enough of people giving in to temptation, of letting their desires override their morals and letting love be a higher god, this was supposed to be different. This was a brother dealing successfully and patiently with what he feels, not letting it go towards haram, but waiting to make his relationship halal, and until then, doing his best.

So until Allah, He blesses me
And you become my other half
I will always close my ears
To the melody of your laugh

Why am I explaining myself right now? Well, apparently this poem has been misunderstood. Because I wrote it, what I meant is crystal clear to me and I therefore had no mental pause about posting this publicly. But the way people have been interpreting it has been very off from what I meant.

‘I love you,’ is what this brother is saying, ‘but for the sake of Allah and Islam and you, I will keep my distance until Allah makes you mine. And until that happens, don’t think my behaviour is rude or chauvanistic, I’m keeping my distance out of respect for you.’

I seek refuge in Allah and seek his forgiveness for sins I have committed against others or against my own soul. Any good is from Allah and any bad is from shaitan or my own self, astaghfirullah wa atubu ileih.

From the Homely Brother

I want you too much to take you
And cherish you too much to cheapen
So sister accept my distance
And watch my love slowly deepen

I am but one man among many
Who longingly thinks to savor
Your warmth, your eyes, your smile,
And wonder at its flavor

My place among them is common
Of merits, I cannot boast
But sister my devotion
To your honor is foremost

And I alone among them
Nearly burst with wrath
When he of lusting eyes
Stood and blocked your path

When he of thieving hands
Stole a caress from yours
When he stood damn close to you
As he would with common whores

As I stood in my rage
You stood in virgin shame
I’d come to your defense
If you’d only call my name

If only you would see me
As more than just a beard
If only you could think of me
As more than religiously weird

It’s for Islam, not spite it
That I will not meet your eye
And it’s not romantic cowardice
That keeps my smiles shy

It’s not because I fear you
That I will not call your name
And when I call you sister
I’m trying to be tame

It’s not that you’re inferior
It’s just that I’m so base
I haven’t the control
To gaze into your face

Without my heart missing beats
Without forgetting to be ‘brother’
Without wishing your love
Was for me, and no other

So until Allah, He blesses me
And you become my other half
I will always close my ears
To the melody of your laugh

I will always close my eyes
To the beauty of your face.
I will kindly ask my heart
To beat at normal pace.

I will walk a step before you
And cast no looks from behind
I will move my lips in zhikr
To keep yours off my mind.

For I want you too much to take you
And cherish you too much to cheapen
Sister, accept my distance.
Sister, watch my love deepen.

-Zeba Khan

(Dec 7,2002)

Rubaiyaat xiii-xv

xiii- (Regrets)

To think that I have wept for the fourteen hundred years
That have passed between the time of the Messenger and I
Yet spent my night in play while he in longing tears
Lord guide me by his piety before I too should die.



If ever you should find me
In prayer, in tears, at night
Don’t ask me what’s wrong
For once, things might be right.


xv- (The intellectual is sometimes suffocated under the weight of his own arguments)

Seek seek seek, and man says ye shall find
But man for all his seeking has left his faith behind
Swiftly how he races now in philosophical discontent
Tightly how his eyes closed now to plain truths that his Lord has sent.


Rubaiyaat iix-x

Faith need only whisper

Lips need barely part

The angels of your Lord

Write the longing of your heart


Place gently, my young worshipper

Your head upon the floor

God asks that you be humble

Not limb-weary and sore


Kneel gracefully, young worshipper

For it is no less than art

And the motion of submission

Is a still and restful part


Rubaiyaat vi & vii


I seek refuge in Allah

From evil and my self

Being this month same

And I alone to blame


Arms, legs, limbs

Arranged around a hole

And still the empty body

Not as hungry as the soul.

Rubaiyaat i-iii

Rubaiyaat iv & v

Rubaiyaat iv & v

Let all vice be abolished

I say we need it not

I do not need to burn myself

To know that fire’s hot

You say I cannot know

Unless I partake as well

I say I can know heaven

Without being first in hell

Rubaiyaat i-iii

All Praise is for Allah

Who burdened me with pain

And bent my stiffened neck

Into sajda once again

The weight upon my shoulders

Pushed me closer to the floor

Facedown on the earth

I found refuge once more


All praise is to my Lord

Who permitted me to sin

I thank Him for repentance

And the love I found therein

– Abez



There is a nagging gnawing on the inside of my self

It’s the feeling of my body giving up before its time.

In the quiet twilight hours between one prayer and another

Once I prayed for health

Now I pray for peace.

There is a writhing moaning in the deepness of my heart

It’s the devil down within me who wants me to complain.

But I have built a fortress with the patience of my faith

And I will shelter there

However harsh the pain.

There is a desperate longing in the reach of my embrace

For life and love and happiness and gentle many years

But I shall fold my arms around the comfort of my prayer

And I may often cry

But never bitter tears.

The gears that should be working

Should be cranking out the stuff

But they’re busy turning turbines

And they have no time for fluff

So forgive my lack of update

And instead accept this rhyme

And if you enjoyed reading it

And if you have the time

Feel free to leave your own verse

Don’t feel shy you guys

It’s Sensei’s Rhyming Rumble,

And you may win first prize!

(wah wah wah)

(mukarrar mukarrar)

And to get the poultry…err…poetry juices flowing, here are some classic poems that have been recited in my house since time immemorial. Well, here are two that don’t require too much censoring anyway… What can I say, I have two brothers. :p

There once was a man from Pakistan

Who had six fingers on each hand.

He said, “This is great,

But I’d rather have eight!

If I cut two in half, then I can.”

There once was a man from ‘Pindi

Who habitually et too much bhindi*

And too many greens

And way too much beans.

Of course, they made him, uh…you know.

He broke his wudu a lot, ok?