Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dangerous Faithfulness

I have left the café tonight
mad as a hornet
having listened for far too long
to proud men boasting about their piety.

I cannot bear to hear another travelogue of the hajj
or of how Allah has blessed them with riches,
while I know for a fact that their own neighbors
went to bed tonight with bellies strangled from want.

They will not heed my warning, however.
If I protest they will mock me and turn me out into the street.
After all, what am I but a foolish dervish?

But because Najat has read the Holy Qur’an,
and has treasured its wisdom in his heart,
he knows this for certain:

Righteousness such as theirs is a growing stockpile of coal
that they will carry with them into Hell.
Even Iblis was banished for his faithfulness.

Translator’s Note: Iblis is the name given to Satan in the Qur’an. When Allah created Adam, he commanded all the angels to bow down and worship the first man. Iblis refused to worship any but Allah, and was cast out for his disobedience. 

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