Tag Archives: interfaith

Poetry reading at Royal Foundation of St Katherines, London 22/1/16

I have had a wonderful two days in the company of some inspirational individuals while staying at the Royal Foundation of St Katherines. Travelling with the formidable Anjum Anwar who has pioneered important dialogue development at Blackburn Cathedral, I was introduced to US ( United Society ) who were hosting a conference with delegates arriving from Kenya, Ghana, Sweden, Denmark and Germany. US work to encourage conversations between Muslims and Christians in Pakistan, Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania as well as locally within the community. 

Professor Dr Klaus Hock of PROCMURA, Archbishop Dr Josiah Idowu Fearon, Revd Dr Johnson Mbillah, Canon Chris Chivers, Anjum Anwar and Canon Steven Saxby all provided intriguing conversation on the positive work being done to foster productive relationships between the faiths. 

My role for the evening was to perform a commissioned poem that summerised worship, peace and service to close the event. Many heartfelt thanks go to Anjum who invited me and Rachel who was a fantastic host and now friend. A truly wonderful experience x 

Aalam-e-Arwah

If we could turn our backs on the chaos

Stop lynching humanity – bury barbarism and bigotry
in two equal lots with three measures of pure earth, 
imagine what we could cultivate.

And if we forget for a moment
the explosions of hatred detonated by madmen, 
cool the heat and brimstone searing the skin of all hearts,
ignore zealots adorned with crucifix and sword
And the oppressor’s tyranny as his weaponry roars.

 If we could forget about greed and money   

ban all murder and destruction,
make kindness the only mother tongue
each nation could understand,
there would be no hearts of stone to
chisel into false gods.

If we could walk backwards through history,

A straight line through time

Leave world wars with despots and dictators
And man made famine and diseases behind
Through the age of information
Keep trudging through the middle ages,
Bypass the iron, bronze, stone and it’s enlightenment
Claw through the darkness and hike through the ice
Marvel at the formation that six days would curate, 

We would return to that home before time began.
Step into the realm of that beautiful kingdom,

As familiar to us as the inscripted whorls of our fingertips

Aalam-e-arwah, home, sacred sanctuary,

Where all our souls were fashioned by the Creator
Yours and mine
Where we lived in harmony and love
Where time and space did not define us
Where crosses, crescents, stars did not divide us
Where we conversed, understood each other
Hands locked in unison, took oaths together – 
Who is your Lord? He asked
‘You are! You are! You are!’ we answered
And angels sang, Hallelulaj, hallelulaj
And we answered ‘There is no God but Him’
La illa ha, la illa ha …illallah

If we could go back and learn,

All that we have forgotten
From Muhammad, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus
Peace be upon them all
If we could remember that our spirits are inherently beautiful
If we could refill our vessels with belief
That we are connected on this earth too
That humankind is the only name we should ink upon ourselves
That we are mischpachah – families of this earth
Side by side, and we allow our inner light to shine

If we recognize why we are attracted to some and not others

If we remember how we forged ancestral friendships
If we ponder over our spiritual closeness with strangers we just happen to know  
What we could learn from a glorious past
Cultivate what’s already illuminated in the Qalb, my heart

If we explored the universe within

Go from my straight line to the only symbol needed
A full circle, joining you by divine love, to me
This is not a new beginning, we have met already
Jewels of humanity we carried all along
Come, let’s share the familiar story of our holy deference, revel in our oneness
We are love encompassed, lets make this home…

   

  

  

  

  

  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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When Saira Met Sarah at Manchester Jewish Museum

 Sunday 22nd November brought women writers from the Muslim and Jewish faith together to share their stories at the Manchester Jewish Museum. The gathering celebrated the anthology ‘When Saira met Sara’ published by Commonword featuring poems and narratives that highlight the experiences of women from both faiths. 

Myself, Yasmin Babiker, Sherry Ashworth, Jacqueline Lewis, Shamshad Khan and Becky Prestwich Hine shared our writing, a testament to the commonalities we share that are often forgotten. We were also joined by Tahara Amin, Qaisra Shahraz and Heather Fletcher from the Greater Manchester Muslim and Jewish Forum aswell as creative artists, Afshan Lodhi and Cheryl Martin. 

Afternoon tea at the Park Inn organised as a thankyou to us, ended what was an inspiring occasion, affirming the belief that love, laughter and tears can indeed bring us cousins closer together if we try. 

  
    
    
    
    
    
   

A celebration of writing by women of Jewish and Muslim heritages

It is not often enough that we hear of Jews and Muslims being under the same roof
in the same book sharing their creative and cultural heritage. 

On Sunday 22nd of November I will be sharing my poetry at this event. Come and join in the love with other guest poets and writers for the evening, Sherry Ashworth, Becky Prestwich Hine,  Julia Davis, Yasmin Babiker, Jacqueline Lewis and Shamshad Khan.

The collection was produced by Commonword under their Crocus books inprint.