Modern Madness

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

December 2014


*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).




Filed under Arif uz Zaman: Poetry, Poetry

3 responses to “Modern Madness

  1. jim-

    The massive about of busy is tough to watch every day. One more bag of trash.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jim-

    I like the old analogy of the timeshare salesman. “Selling solitude and wrecking it at the same time”. Hope we can hold on to some beauty for future generations.

    Liked by 1 person

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