The modern city walls are constrainingly grey,
Prone to obviating the prospect of the boundless sky,
Delimiting the perspective for profundity,
Dulling my perception to the duniya.*
Its system is like the sewer:
A gridlock of choking roads that map the charring land
is smothering me. Is sickening me.
See the waste –
Made busy by the fuming bustle of consumption,
The capital blockage of frantic hours devoted to
The eternal sludge: the global rat-race of nonsense –
just stench: a putrid search in the narcissistic tunnels for a ‘beautiful’ life.
A material want for all the earth – man-made to excrement.
A lot of instinctual noise that defeans the sense.
But no fresh melodious voice, opening,
To adhan* the closing air? Yet it is there
Struggling to be heard amid the din,
But we are heedless of the deen*,
Because our hearts aren’t there to care,
To be aware. To beware.
And seemingly pretty pictures – even newer novella,
Fingers on I-phones, eyes on Instagram, reading Facebook by my Selfies,
Ears synched to ego’s tune, souls lost through cyber highways,
Scoring futile points, to hit that ‘win’: you lose,
Replaying and playing, online streaming our selves, gaming upon gaming in virtual light-year worlds
Away from here, till nowhere do us part.
Retail therapy to keep us sane,
Flushing away the pain through liquor and powder and our
Vanity fair. Being a being for all I care.
Living and living, working and working,
Seeking meaning in my all and nothing,
All – They all distract me from that clean reprise,
Where an Eternity of good will never cease,
Yet here I feed my addiction to pass-time,
My very own toilette lifestyle that will ruin me;
This vital substance of oblivion:
My pantheon of Self-idolatory.
By Arif uz Zaman
*Duniya = The World i.e. wordliness, materialism, illusions of what seems real – but being finite, the Duniya is contrasted with the Akhira (The Hereafter) which is eternal and therefore ‘more real’. Evidence: “No, you prefer the life of this world [Duniya], while the hereafter [Akhira] is better and that which remains” (Qur’an 87:16-17).
* Adhan = The Call to Salah (the Islamic prayer) articulated by the mu’adhdhin (or Muezzin).
* Deen = Way of Life (it is a more thorough word than religion, which is commonly understood to mean ‘privatised faith’ – but Deen implies ‘faith and action’ across the wide domains of Ibadah (worship) and Mu’amalat (social interaction).