I wrote this poem to highlight that the way present-day Islam is perceived by some is not as black and white as it seems – as in terrorists versus moderates. I believe the very spirit of Islam is not fully comprehended by many, and this is due to capitalist, imperialist, patriarchal and multiple cultural forces.
This poem is not directed at Muslim scholars who are genuinely studying and educating about Islam – but rather at the oppressive attitudes perpetuated by some Muslims.
Some say Islam is hijacked by terrorists,
I say it is hijacked by all.
For most Muslims are not terrorists,
And other factors are at fault.
Islam throughout history,
One version of today is post-colonial patriarchy.
Women are merely seduction,
Their equality is dysfunction,
Their voices unheard,
Their histories untold.
Seen only as homemakers,
Abortion is seen as always corrupt,
Do they not fear that scholarly history will erupt?
Another is “moderate” Islam,
The ally of capitalism,
Blind to Indigenous suffering,
Possessing modern-day slaves,
As the Arab Gulf states.
Or “Moderate”, “Western” Islam,
An ally of pacifism,
The self-internalizer of racism,
Through doing what is needed to conform.
We admit not that Islam permits armed resistance to occupation,
We are ashamed to say much more.
We know not 1400 years of scholarly history,
Of cultural and religious pluralism,
Of various views,
How little we access truth!
Truth in Islam is not only the worship of God,
Or to say Muhammad is a prophet,
Or to abstain from terrorism,
Or to say Islam means peace,
But to also question the depth of ourselves,
To question hierarchies,
And privileges amongst ourselves.
To question the future of generations,
To establish connections we have lost with the earth,
And admit that regardless who speaks,
We still require a rebirth.
Islam itself is rebirth,
The caretaker of the earth,
An agent of mercy,
And of a love diverse.
Alas! We are either conformists,
And capitalists and hyper-nationalists,
Or “Western” minded pacifists,
Or patriarchal extremists,
For to be other than of today,
Is to be alienated,
To become a stranger unto all;
And that is the price of seeking truth.
“Islam began as something strange and will revert to being strange as it began, so give glad tidings to the strangers.” -Prophet Muhammad
“And if you obey most of those upon the earth, they will mislead you from the way of Allah [God]. They follow not except assumption, and they are not but falsifying.” (Quran 6:116)