Ramadan Rise. Image is a mashup from photos shared by Engin_Akyurt, Reimund Bertrams and 5hashank @ pixabay.com


my world cannot sleep
with the tinnitus of silence,
my 3 am soaked in the rousing scent
of lemon drops and apple cider vinegar
that dress up the onion and watercress
salad for the suhūr meal waiting
in the kitchen, while my wife
naps peacefully for a few more minutes
perhaps again murmuring in her dreams,
her conversation with a washing machine
that launders like the sea
we have not visited since the start
of this ramadan.

we do not mind what we cannot see
the drones stealing in the night
the silence of the tinnitus,
the intercept of ballistic missiles
crashing onto sidewalks and cartops,
we cannot see, except
when wannabe paparazzi decide
to splash the images on social media and
the morning news.

moments earlier at 1 am the masjid
across the street has been filled
with supplicants seeking
the night of decree, a night
greater than a thousand months,
prayerful behind the imam whose tears
while singing verses from the qur’an
could melt the sins from my hands, my heart
i still cannot fathom, but in silence
i move with rows of worshippers,
entrained and measured, to peacefulness
as we flow in, and at 2 am
flow out of the masjid, now empty
but for the suhūr meal in our kitchens
until dawn when the next prayer is called

for destiny to pull us forward
to prove an elusory determinism,
a quantum truth if truth be told,
that time does not merely bring us consequences
— we already know this —
but that time moreso flows backward
to fill in the gaps of explaining
our present as a mercy and a grace,
this fate, among many fates:

that in the early morning
a clear pastel sky would be softly diffused
by a gentle breeze across dreamy eyes
and emerging horizon.

–  © said sadain 2019


Suhūr – a light meal consumed by Muslims before the break of dawn to start them on their fast from dawn to dusk

Ramadan – the ninth month of the Islamic Hijri calendar, lasting either 29 or 30 days, depending on the sighting of the new moons marking the month’s start and end; a month devoted by Muslims to fasting and special night prayers

Masjid – Muslims’ house of worship, better known as the mosque

The Night of Decree (also, The Night of Power) – the Laylatul Qadr , as revealed in the Qur’an:

Indeed, We revealed [the Qur’an] during the Night of Decree. And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn. (Qur’an 97:1-5)

Imam – a person leading Muslims in a congregational prayer; he could be a king or a cleaner, an elderly or a young man, he is usually imam by virtue of how well he can recite the Qur’an

Qur’an – the holy book of Islam

Time-symmetric quantum mechanics – a deterministic theory of quantum mechanics which espouses that actions carried out in the future can affect the here and now. This backward causality has already been shown to be supported by empirical data since around 2009. Implication: there is such a thing as destiny that moves us forward. The margin of error in the empirical data however still confounds, but nevertheless, hints that there could be many such destinies to satisfy our craving for free will.

— SS, 3 June 2019 (29 Ramadan 1440)

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Picture is a mashup from Pixabay.com images contributed by Stefan Keller, Erik Reichenbach & Ulrich B.


oh, to bless the meek,
to inherit the earth,
to drown our hearts
in the raging sea.
to teach a man how to beg
and he will learn how to smile.
to teach a man how to fish
and he will learn how to kill.
and the bottom of our cup
remains fathomless as can be.

–  © said sadain 2019

Related reading

Scum of the earth

“We must deny them all their names, their goals, and their claims to legitimacy. The extremists in Myanmar that are carrying out a genocide against Rohingya Muslims are not Buddhist extremists. The extremists here in the United States that terrorize synagogues, mosques and black churches are not Christian extremists. The extremists that terrorized Sri Lankan Christians in their churches and people of various backgrounds in hotels this Easter Sunday are not Muslim extremists. All of the above are merely terrorist scum…. Our response to these attacks needs to be to give these terrorists neither the authority they seek in our faiths, nor the division they seek in our communities.

– Omar Suleiman, writing for The Dallas Morning News
Read the rest of his commentary here: Terrorists are not religious extremists, they are just scum

Is Islam a Religion of Violence?
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An invitation to a place of more understanding and less fear 

An invitation to a place of more understanding and less fear
A Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta (UUCA) talk about Islam by Rev Dr. M’ellen Kennedy

…We are being whipped up into fear of Muslims. And when we are afraid…. we’re operating out of just that reptilian part of our brain…. When we are afraid we don’t have access to our higher functionings, our whole self, the power of the knowledge in our hearts, our whole being, resigned to a small place of living. ….People are afraid of what they don’t understand, so my hope today is to share with you a little bit about what I love about Islam, in order to invite you to a place of more understanding and less fear….”

— Rev Dr. M’ellen Kennedy

UUCA Talk on Islam by Rev Dr. M’ellen Kennedy


At the 05:30 mark, the Reverend speaker demonstrated a portion of the Islamic prayer. This is the Qur’anic set of verses recited during this segment:


بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ
إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ
اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ


The short prayer, called The Opening (Al-Fatihah), is the first chapter of the Qur’an, Islam’s holy book. Below is an English translation. Further below is a transliteration, in case you wish to recite the verses in Arabic:

The Opening 

In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds,
The Beneficent, the Merciful.
Master of the Day of Judgment,
You (alone) we worship; You (alone) we ask for help.
Show us the straight path,
The path of those whom You bestow Your favors; not of those who earn Your displeasure, nor of those who go astray.

Al Fatihah 

Bismi Allahi arrahmani arraheem
Alhamdu lillahi rabbi alAAalameen
Arrahmani arraheem
Maliki yawmi addeen
Iyyaka naAAbudu wa-iyyaka nastaAAeen
Ihdina assirata almustaqeem
Sirata allatheena anAAamta AAalayhim ghayri almaghdoobi AAalayhim wala addalleen 






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mashed up from pixabay.com images of www_slon_pics and geralt: here, here and here


come brother and feel this pulse
rhyming with the flowing red.
its presence is evidence
that i have a heart like yours.

reach closer now and feel me breathe:
this chest heaves
with the warmth of the sunshine
in the morning chill,
it rages in the sultry air of
the noonday heat,
it freezes with the swelling
of the midnight breeze,
its essence is with the sameness
we inhale and exhale.

we rhyme in a flux of energy
bounded only by our imaginations.
feel this life if you must
that you may know
you are living in me,
dissect me and dissect yourself
if only to find out that we are of
the same chemistry:
we are one and our death
shall not be in vain.

–  © said sadain 2019


This is not exactly new material. This poem had been lying among old notes, unrefined, unpublished, faded and forgotten, except for the sad thoughts with which they were written during the conflicted times of my younger years. Nothing much has changed with the world since then, despite the angels & demons in the details of technological advances or the warming climate.  Just slightly modified.

— Said, 5 April 2019




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the seeds



a collage of the Christchurch community’s memorial for the 15 Mar. 2019 Al-Noor Mosque shooting victims, images lifted from various internet photos and videos

the seeds

the world is shrinking as we shake
from all the swelling and the aches
the hours are shorter, distances near
for all the borders we hold dear,
and as the world shrinks and squeezes us in
its membranes wrapped over our skins
we grasp for the haka of souls and spirits
to break through the sheaths, to let us breathe.

–  © said sadain 2019

Related links: 

“…hate will be undone, and love will redeem us.”
‘Broken-hearted but not broken’: Al Noor imam’s Christchurch speech in full     

New Zealand students honor shooting victims with haka dances

Haka – History

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talking to the sun


image is a mashup of photos by Leo Cardelli and Cristiano Bizzinotto, both @ pexels.com

talking to the sun

the cars stop at red, a momentary block,
as the gaunt but big-boned man
— with sun-baked face and arms,
hair and beard dangling wiry, crinkled
like loose threads of his faded-violet
duffel bag slung on a towering shoulder,
dressed in tattered flowing brown robe
that had long lost its sleeves —
crosses our part of the street on to the middle island
to teeter beneath the traffic light that worries about
the man dancing round its weather-beaten pole.

the man’s fierce eyes tell me
not to open my side windows,
as he, a soul from the middle island, shaded
by the red-eye traffic lamp,
raises his hands high to the sky
looking up directly to the morning sun,
alternately shaking his pointy fingers of doom
to shoot down the cosmic glare,
or opening up his fists into a graven cup,
to beseech the sun and his many moons
to come rest in his palms.

and with a sweep of one hand and his glowing eyes,
he addresses the cars idling on the road,
holding them as hostage to his pithy and rage,
and stretches the other hand to reach
into his weary duffel bag.
i hold my breath as he struggles
to pull something heavy out of the bag
— would it be a rock or a bottle,
a missile, an incendiary cocktail? —-
while the traffic lamp keeps its red eye peeled
unblinking, unbreathing, unyielding.

and the man addresses the sun again,
as he now pulls up a thick,
heavily-frayed book to shake at the sky,
his mouth frothing, his eyes intent
to part the clouds that gather.
and just as suddenly as he had made his way
to the middle island, he darts
to the other side of the far street,
lilting and prancing, disappearing into
the din of onrushing cars,
and pensively plodding pedestrians.

and in the interval between his coming and going,
in the wait to return back to my own journey,
a baby is born in a hospital ward not too far from where
a dying man, as he breathes his last, hears the baby cry.
in a forest, a pale sprout turns green to smile at the sun,
while unheard, a tree in all its glorious foliage falls
cursing to the ground,
and the many tensions of growth and decay
that span the breadth between heaven and earth
promise the same beyond, but remain reticent
to let me in on their arcane wisdom and deep secrets.

–  © said sadain 2019


photo by pexels @ pixabay.com



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photo of a signboard displayed at a borders store in Selangor, Malaysia. photography by ssj, 2019

‘nice to see, nice to hold,
once broken, considered sold.’  

— anonymously printed on a signboard at a borders store  

spells to sell

modern magic spells,
flasks of fortune to dispense
ancient human greed

stir up the cauldron,
lift the urns into the air,
there are no borders

longer than your smile,
wider than your appetite,
these spells are for sale.


–  © ssj 2019 


signboard displayed at a borders store in Selangor, Malaysia – no filters. photography by ssj, 2019



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