by Naila Sheikh

Today, our Local Ijtema Competitions took place. Since I've been already in a poetic mode this  month; some of it forced on to myself by ME in the insane challenge  to  (hopefully)  delve into my creative-self and start writing. The sort of writing you do without  reservations or second thoughts to embrace the raw, more organic and sometimes intense emotions that have been floating within or are trying to burst out but haven't yet been put to surface, nor given any meaning. So that's that.  And of course, another part of me is taking advantage of the events featuring  poetry recitings, almost as if I am waiting to be inspired. It definitely is food for the soul and I am very happy, so far, to have accepted this challenge on behalf of my weaker/procrastinator-self,  ...(eeeehhhh, yikes!). 

I can't emphasize enough the importance of Nazm recitals and the beauty of our Urdu language. I am blessed that my mom treated our Ijtema Competitions like the Olympics and so I have vivid memories (and home videos!) of my sister and I recording our Nazms & speeches on tape and listening back to them for very strenuous practice sessions held at our mosque in Holland.

To this day, I can not skip the Competitions unless I am swept away in a snowstorm or eaten by a shark. No, really. I can not. It's ingrained in me, in my blood and engraved in my mind forever. For this, my Ammi, is to be awarded for; for all her hard work and dedication in raising us with so much devotion for  our religious community and the love for performing which inevitably instilled confidence, public speaking, and master level pronunciation skills in us.  

Singing poems, I urge to all of us parents, either to recite by ourselves in solitude, but most importantly,  to  instill the love for Nazm in our children as well as the keen understanding & magnificence of Urdu.  My passion does not derive from the performance aspect alone, but to really understand Divine Poetry in all its beauty and glory. Truly, Kalame-Mahmood, Durresmeen, Kalam-E-Tahir are exemplary in containing verses that touch the heart and soul and really leave one awe of pure righteousness.

My selected poem/verses for today are pasted below -- (scroll down for Nazm recording at the end of this Blog Post) ...and yes! I made it to the Regional Competitions. ;)

Here's my attempted version of its translation.  (Update:  my  brilliant friend texted me back with the proper placement of the words from Urdu to English, yay! :)

"Leave all pride and arrogance, for God's fear and obedience is in.

Becoming like ashes, that is God's satisfaction.

The root to Holiness is in humility to God.

Virtue, the all-encompassing condition is in piety."