Poets Corner: My Betrayal

25th Jul 2014

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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