A Mother's Last Words

2 Oct 2010

This poem was my submission for a Ramadan Poetry Contest last Ramadan (August-September 2010). I managed to get into the finals (top six) but sadly I didn't place in the top three.

Compare, if you will, two flowers the same
Except one is vibrant and fresh, the other crumpled and plain
They lay in my hand, one in each palm
And looking at them, I experience a strange calm

My mind goes back in time, I begin to reflect
And I realise I have a lot to correct
I ask myself, ‘when was the last time you prayed?’
‘And when was the last time you freely gave aid?’

I sit down then, right there on the grass
I start crying, the tears come fast
I don’t know what made me feel this way
So sad, so helpless, so full of dismay

I stare down bleakly at my balled-up fist
I feel confused, surely there’s something I’ve missed
Something is wrong, there’s something I should know
I struggle to remember, my confusion grows

I grow frustrated, I clutch at the flowers
Then breaking through my rage, a sound that empowers
I hear my Mother’s gentle voice, so near, so treasured
And my tears run freely as her last words, I remember

She died in the month of Ramadan, the very last night
And even though she was in pain, her face was lit with light
She clasped my hand and brought me near
And whispered to me, her voice frail, yet clear

She told me of Ramadan, her favourite month of the year
And of how everyday she would spread hope and cheer
I remembered vaguely of her always being away from home
Always in Ramadan, she would go out alone

She told me of what Ramadan brings
Peace, Forgiveness, Happiness, Blessings
She told me to make sure others know
She grasped my hand tight and begged me to go

She told me to continue on after her death
She was staring at me as she drew her last breath
Then she died with the Shahadah echoing on her pale lips
And in her features I could see the toll of many hardships

I didn’t carry on her work
I refused to acknowledge her last words
I closed myself off from the whole of Islam
I had left the straight path for the path of harm

And as I stood there with the flowers in my hands
I recalled a story my Mother had taught me from our homeland 
Three dates she gave me after Iftar
She asked me to identify their differences, I thought it bizarre

I did as she asked, I examined all three
And when I was finished she asked for my decree
I told her the truth, one was fresh, one dried
And the last was cracked, brittle and split down the side

She smiled as if pleased and gathered me close
She then asked me how the rest of the lesson goes
I look up at her, uncomprehending, confused
She smiled again, picked up some dates, just two

One was the fresh one, the other was the dried
I gave no response to my Mother’s wide questioning eyes
‘The fresh date represents a true Muslim’ she said
‘The dry one is a disbeliever, instead’

She pauses before picking up the last date; she waited for a reaction
Then she holds up the last date, the one which was hardened
She waits for a little longer then she slowly tells me
This one represents a Kuffar and a hypocrite, do you see? 

I didn’t get it then but I sure get it now
I finally understand and will now make a vow
I called myself a Muslim while doing nothing at all
And now I will save myself from this head-long fall

Because that lesson my Mum taught me so long ago
Was not just a lesson but a life echo
What she showed me using just three dates
Is really what we are all trying to create

With this simple lesson we can learn
What is the key we are all trying to earn
The key to Paradise is simple to get
Just try to be the fresh date in each set

I cradled the flowers as I ducked indoors
I have to apply what I learnt to my life and more
I filled up a vase and placed the flowers inside
And ran to make wudo with Allah as my guide

That prayer was a first for a very long time
I had just started my prayer when the clock began to chime
I was full of thankfulness, cheer and more too
I’d realised I was free of the wrong I’d been going through

When I sat and studied Islam that night
I felt like a new person, full of radiant light
I looked out of the window out of pure chance
And when I saw what I saw I felt like doing a dance

For hanging up there in the heavens, was an inspiring sight
Glimmering softly against the blackness of night
 Moving slowly across the sky, slim and new
Was the brand new beautiful Ramadan Moon

Since my Mother had died I hadn’t fasted a day
But the present was different, before I had been astray
But now I didn’t fear Ramadan like I had in the past
Now I gladly went around preparing for my fast

That night long ago, when my mother breathed her last
She had told me the secret to the blessed month of the fast
I had nodded, pretending to comprehend
I hadn’t, and now I must make my amends

I am proud to be a Muslim, let everyone know
The lesson taught to me by my Mum so long ago
Stay away from harms way, try to do right
Especially in Ramadan, the blessed month of light 

A Mother’s last words everyone should heed
Often a little advice is all that you need
Follow my Mother’s lesson and pave your way clear
Build your Iman and make it sincere

Ramadan is not to be dreaded and feared
As many different things its not what it appears
Sure it’s about fasting all day
But it’s also about who you obey

Do good in Ramadan, be your best
As we all know, life’s only a test
Be a good Muslim, keep up the good deeds
And maybe one day, we shall all succeed

Peace, Sincerity, Forgiveness and more
This is what Ramadan brings to every Muslim’s door
Do what my Mum told me all those years past
“Treat every Ramadan as if it’s your last”


Anonymous said...

Masha'allah Hadiyah! gr8 work yet again!
a good reminder and very true!|
ur huge fan

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