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20 August 2022 / 22. Muharram 1444

Muharram in Gaza

Updated 13 November 2013

Dedicated to the victims of the Gaza Massacre - 2008/2009

As we commemorate Imam Husayn's revolution of truth and justice, this poem considers our role as Hussaynis in a world wracked by oppression.

Muharram arrived with piercing screams
Playing children bombed to smithereens
Torn limbs shrouded in ash
Lost in the deafening blitz, blinding flash

I heard the echoes fade
As I sat in the mosque and prayed
Safe in His house of peace
Far from the blood and screams

Clearing my heart and mind
Of haunting images and cries
I willed myself to concentrate
On the tragedy of the Ahul Bayt

I wept for my Imam’s compassion
His sacrifice for justice, his passion
I heard his call to follow, to rise
Reject apathy, inertia, and strive
And in that moment, I cried,
‘Labbaka Ya Husayn, I’ll try!’

And so I strove, week upon week
To don black and mourn and weep
To hear the lamentations, 
Attend commemorations
Join the processions
To fulfil my promise and pledge

Yet, as I sat longer and cried harder
My tears did not douse the flames in Gaza
Nor did they cool the burning, searing pain
Of lives destroyed and children slain

I tried to be a Husayni, I did truly
I loved and mourned my Imam duly
Yet love without vision, action - is weak
A candle without a wick
It does not burn, nor serve, nor give

How much more slaughter, oppression
From Palestine to Bahrain, Pakistan to Yemen
Before my tears smoulder and ignite
A burning love that acts, resists, fights?

Will I be a moth to Husayn’s flame
Subsumed by the justice, light of Husayn
Or will I coldly turn away
And let humanity bleed and burn and decay??

By Fatema Valji - UK


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