Poets’ Corner: My betrayal

27th Sep 2013

My betrayal


O Lantern of compassion, mercy

You eclipsed the darkness of enmity

With the light of selfless unity


Before your radiant grace

I hang my head in shame

I am not a Muslim except by name


The light of your love, I have betrayed

Amidst the darkness of discord and pain

I am neither your torch nor flame


The classless brotherhood you created,

I have rejected

The Ummah you cemented,

I have fragmented


You embraced white, black, poor and rich

My love is reserved for kith and kin

Your Ummah was open, inclusive

My world is ethnic, defined, exclusive


Blinded by false conceit

I grope in the darkness of self-deceit

Clinging to tradition and prejudice

Sinking into intolerance, norm’s abyss


I am hardly inclined

To embrace difference, strengthen ties

God and community serve me, and I

Serve myself and mine


Muslims malign and murder each other

When they’re not busy rejecting, isolating each other

I cluck in sympathy, sigh in dismay

But to challenge the Ummah’s decay,

I’m too busy; I have kids to raise, bills to pay


What is the Ummah to me, except a catch-phrase?

Are the oppressed in Mali, Pakistan, Bahrain …

Anything more than striking headlines,

Ten-second sound bites

Sanitised TV images flashing before my eyes?


Of course, you would think

That given the moral disorder of things

I would yearn for your Successor, the Mahdi

To restore justice, peace, humanity


But perhaps I am quite alright

To stick to my comfy routine of a life

Struggle’s best avoided, justice over-rated

The Ummah’s plight is surely exaggerated …


O my Imam, I want to help you set things right

It’s just … now’s really not a good time

Give me a few years’ respite

To live, enjoy my life

And then I’ll be all set, ready

To serve by your side


Fatema Valji

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