I wrote this poem on shaam-e-gariba, its always the most painful of nights for me, the night when the world relaxes after grief, and the ones who never knew continue existing in ignorance. Below, is a track taken from ‘Karbala, the unspoken word. I’ve included this not only to highlight the desperate need that exists for English noha/poetry, but because I think these guys have done a magnificent job at encapsulating both the tragedy, but also the mystery of Karbala. May Allah (SWT) place us among those who mourn in this world with all we possess, and are rewarded by closeness to the Ahlulbayt (A.S) in the hereafter, Insha Allah.
After Ashura …
A woman weeps for you in the depth of the night,
Far from the crowd, hidden from sight.
Her tears blind her vision, yet they go unseen,
The 10 days are over, and the tears they have been,
Dried from the eyes, the chains put away,
The majliss can wait for another day.
Shaam-e-gariba, and then they sleep,
The tears they could cry will surely keep.
For another day, another year,
Till the moon of Muharram will once again appear.
Its not enough for this woman, she continues to cry,
In the depth of her sorrow she wonders why?
Why has the world continued to turn,
The music keeps playing, the candles still burn.
They come for muharram, but when its all gone,
They close up the masjid and prepare to move on.
For Hussain he was martyred in a terrible way,
But I did my amaal, that’s what they all say.
She doesn’t understand how they turn their back,
Waiting only for the day they can stop wearing black.
Somewhere a woman cries, she begs ya Hussain,
I ask that you grant me this life again,
For all those years that I didn’t know,
My displays of mourning I could not show.
Give me ashura, all over again, and I swear to Allah it won’t be the same.
I’ll cry and I’ll cry till my tears are all spent,
And then be reborn to repeat this lament.
Gift me ashura, and I’ll be sincere,
Or else give me life is a blessed tear,
The kind that falls from a mournful eye,
or make me the blood that fell down from the sky.
Or else give me life as a powerful chain,
Used in Azadari to a sad refrain.
Or give me the life of a cloak or a cover,
So that I may aid Zeynab when she is without her brother.
And when that is done, make me a chadir again,
So that this time I may be a shroud for Hussain.
Or give me life as a masjid table,
Which carries tabaric to feed to the faithful.
Give me life as a bird, so I may fly,
I’ll arrive in Karbala, make tawaf in the sky.
Create me in gold, to be crafted by man,
Mould me in to earrings, for Sakina in Shaam.
Or else give me life as a poet’s pen,
And I’ll write down the tragedy again and again.
If nothing else ya Allah, just create me in sand,
So that I may furnish the sorrowful land,
Karbala’s dust, that’s all I desire to be,
On which Hussain gave his life for humanity.
1400 years have past since Zeynab lost her brothers,
And the trauma of their martyrdom has long-since been haunting others.
Yet when all is said and all is done,
The so-called shias still return to their fun.
Muharram is reduced to a ritual to follow,
These 10 days become vehicles for a temporary sorrow.
She cries for the future, what we have already become,
An eternity of ashuras and it wouldn’t be done.
Grief, noha, matam, should never end,
The broken hearts should never mend.
The shia has no strength for celebration,
His soul incapable of desensitisation.
And so, a woman cries, in the depths of the night,
And if tomorrow comes, she’ll continue the fight,
She’ll devote her existence to a jihad of tears,
And though her face becomes worn, distorted by years,
She continues to lament, to moan, and to cry,
Continues to ask the question why,
For 10 days in Muharram, shias still come together,
But this woman is different, her ashura is forever.