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.


Abez is a 50% white, 50% Pakistani, and 100% Muslim. She is also chronically ill and terminally awesome. She is the ever-lovin Momma of: - Khalid, a special little boy with autism - Iman, a special little girl with especially big hair -Musfira, an especially devious baby Spoiler, Abez is also Zeba Khan on Muslimmatters.org.

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