A Poem in Devotion to God

March 12th, 2018

Medium: Poetry.

Week 7: Muslim Devotion in Local Contexts.

Title: A Poem in Devotion to God

Zikr Kerna Na Mumkin Hai

It is impossible to praise you

Shukr Kerna Lazim Hai

But an obligation to thank you

Hisaab Kerna Na Mumkin Hai

It is impossible to account in front of you

Jawaab Dena Lazim Hai

But an obligation to answer you

Subah Se Shaam Hojaey

As dawn descends into dusk

Zindagi Tamaam Hojaey

And my life recedes into nothing

Shumaar Kerne Beythoon Toh

As I sit down to praise you

Lafz Bhi Tamaam Hojayien

Even words amount to nothing

This course has particularly emphasized the importance of artistic expression in Islamic tradition. We have learned about how this artistic expression is expressed within the local context and how local cultural and traditional practices are incorporated into an expression of religious devotion. In Week 6, we saw one particular example of this in the Ta’ziyah among the many others we have seen throughout this course.

In this piece, I’ve tried to carry through with this idea of artistically expressing Islam by incorporating local tradition, which in my case is South Asian poetry. I’ve written this short poem in my native language Urdu and have provided a translation of the poem in English as well.

The central idea behind this poem is that God’s magnificence is incomprehensible to the human mind and how this results in a, seemingly, insurmountable challenge for Muslims.

In this short poem, I mention some of the obligations that a Muslim has to fulfill in this life and the afterlife and how, when viewed from a broader lens, they seem almost impossible. For example, by saying that it is impossible to praise God, I call on the idea that God’s positive attributes are infinite, and a mere human being can never fully comprehend God’s splendor let alone do justice to it through his praise.

Furthermore, I also write that it is impossible for a human being to for his actions in front of God, making an indirect allusion to the concept that a mere human cannot withstand God’s presence. This particular point was evident when the following Quranic verse that narrated Moses’s encounter with God was mentioned in class:

“When Moses came to the place appointed by Us and his Lord addressed him, he said ‘O my Lord! Show yourself to me that I may look upon You.’ God said ‘By no means can you see Me; but look upon the mountain; if it abides in its place then you shall see Me.’ When his Lord manifested His glory on the mount, He made it as dust and Moses fell down in a swoon.” Quran 7:143

Yet, even though both tasks are impossible they are also an obligation to every Muslim. This idea of having an obligation to do what seems impossible further underscores the many challenges that Muslims must overcome in their daily life, challenges that truly highlight the meaning of the term Islam – submitting to God’s will.

One Response to “A Poem in Devotion to God”

  1. Roberto Says:

    Awesome Poem … I just Love this Poem …

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