Blog post 2

O Muslim, spend not thy day in repose alone,

But keep that Ancient Text by thee.

Let its words divinely revealed

Refresh thy soul all through thy days.

 

O Muslim, read not thy text in leisure,

But in standing at thy mosque recite its words.

Make no haste its pages to render,

Recite at pace that lends remembrance.

 

O Muslim, pass not thy week without reciting,

But in reciting the whole, mark thy week.

Write its words upon thy tablets,

Fret not the dots and marks to use.

 

O Muslim, race not through thy recitation,

But in slowness render each word.

And without some tears complete not thy reading,

Or else force thyself to weep.

 

O Muslim, neglect not thy prostration,

But in every stance comply with the text.

Before you read, request His protection,

Lest poor Satan on thee attends.

 

O Muslim, recite to thy hearing,

But be careful others are hearing.

Let thy voice adorn the text,

Yet stretch thy voice without excesses.

 

Islam started in the days of Prophet Muhammad with an interesting relationship between the prophet and poets. Zuhair opposed the prophet until the turn of events, when the poet’s ode in honor of the prophet was well received by the prophet. Many Muslims continue to explore poetry as one of the ways to demonstrate Islamic piety, be it in the marriage-themed Hindu poems in honor of the prophet or in copying over Busiri’s Burda with supplemental requests to be met with Allah’s blessing. My creative exercise for the second blog post employs this tradition of poetry. My poem attempts to capture another ubiquitous demonstration of Islamic piety: recitation of the Qur’an.

The first word of the Qur’an revealed to Prophet Muhammad was “iqra,” commanding the prophet to recite after the angel. In many Islamic communities, it is not uncommon for the inhabitants to listen to recitations of the Qur’an on the radio; indeed, in some communities like Indonesia there is an appreciation of the recitation of the Qur’an as an art form, but all Muslims understand that both the oral and aural experiences of the Qur’an are more than mere art forms, as it’s discussed in Kristina Nelson’s work. In light of this appreciation of the aural experience of the text as beyond art, there have emerged rules – mostly based on the prophetic sunnah and hadith – to characterize the appropriate ways for reciting the Qur’an. One prominent voice is these set of rules is Al-Ghazali, whose piece from section discussed the 10 rules that must guide recitation of the Qur’an.

My poem poetically entreats Muslims to appreciate and appropriate the 10 rules of Qur’an recitation from the Al-Ghazali reading. The first stanza of the poem urges the Muslims to appreciate the holy writ. The next five stanzas contain two of the 10 rules each in the order that was discussed by Al-Ghazali. The second stanza tells Muslims to recite in the mosque and in proportions of the text that allow remembrance and meditation on the text. The third, fourth and fifth stanzas implore Muslims to read the text often, at the appropriate pace, and in weeping. The last stanza deals with the voice with which to recite; some communities of interpretation like the Wahhabis oppose excessive adornment of the recitation while other communities appreciate the beauty of the voice used in reciting the text. Al-Ghazali’s stance, as is captured by the poem, is to avoid excessive adornment of the recitation.

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