The word potential as defined by the dictionary:
Qualities and abilities that lead to future success or usefulness.

But I define it a little differently
To me potential is every student here
Every soul invested in this atmosphere
From the youngest at merely sixteen
All the way to the grandma to be
From the young high school kid
To a professional with a Ph.D.

My classmates are the exemplification
Of true Islamic education
An embodiment of excellence
With talent that’s endless

I can’t help but truly admire
The way each of you can inspire
The confidence you instill
And your unwaivering will

I’ve learned so much from each of you
About life, giving, and virtue
This life is about more than you
And I see it to be true.

I ask our Lord, up above,
To shower you all with mercy and love
I ask Him to bless and give you success
In every step you take and every change you make

Stand tall my friends.

This poem was written in honor of each and every one of my classmates this year. #Qalam2015

NaPoWriMo Day 16 – A Poet’s Secret Garden

Sometimes a poem is private
Sometimes lines are silent
And at times words are a riot
That you want to keep quiet

Either you’re not ready
Or the topic is too heavy
Maybe it’s for somebody
Perhaps you just feel empty

Every poet has a collection
That’s only for a selection
We all have
A secret garden section.

I’ve been doing a lot of writing but alas it is not for public eyes.

NaPoWriMo Day 13 – The Capable One

I have been featured on the Virtual Mosque (formerly Suhaib Webb) and wanted to share it here as well:

Have you ever
had your heart broken,
chest opened
reached in
pulled out
until you bleed?

Have you ever
cried for a lost one?
Mother, brother, daughter, son,
tummy in a knot
and all you want to do is run?

Have you ever
struggled with the news?
Murder, massacre,
guns and demolition crews.
It’s like a game,
which tragedy do you choose?
Which tyrant
do you root for to lose?
Can you just turn off
or at least snooze?
Because you just.can’t.even.

So you, turn to a friend:
mentor, teacher, or anyone else
Because you feel absolutely hopeless

You ask them: What should I do?
And they say, make du’a’, you know pray
So you’re like, yeah yeah
But, no, what should I do or say?
You brush it off your shoulder cuff
Like du’a’ just, isn’t enough

You move on, not
recognizing what you’ve done
That you’ve left behind
The truly capable One

You forget – that Yahya
was the answer
to his father’s
constant prayer

You forget – that Yunes
chose prayer
Over despair
inside the whale

You forget – that Ayoub’s
was removed
through du`a’

You forget – that Badr
was nothing short of
from the heavens

You forget—that power
lies with Him alone
That strength comes
through His will

That He is the
Sustainer, the Maintainer,
the Provider, the Protector,
the Just, the Judge

You forget – that He is
the only capable One

Original post on VirtualMosque: http://www.virtualmosque.com/miscellaneous/poetry-fiction/the-capable-one/

PS. I have given up on prompts it seems.

NaPoWriMo Day 12 – My Filisteen

Skipping the prompt yet again! I actually wrote this poem a few weeks ago for an event I performed at yesterday (Palestinian Cultural Night by Students for Justice in Palestine at University of Texas Dallas). I didn’t want to share it before I performed but here it is.

It’s an incredibly personal piece and is very dear to my heart. For a lot of Palestinians, Filisteen or Palestine lives on in us.

My Filisteen

I dream of my grandfathers land
Of where my grandmother would stand
I dream of olive trelets being planned
Gently lowered to the ground by hand

I remember my grandmother’s scent
And along with it, her white dress,
Small knit sweater, and shawl
That she would wear, oh so tall

And my grandfathers pride seen from miles
Underneath his black and white hatta
And in his sweet brown eyes
As he stood, oh so tall

I wish for a day in their shoes
Bc no matter how many reviews
I read and pictures I see
Its not the same as when I use
My two hands, to pick
The olives off of their trees

I miss my dear Palestine
The home, I can go back to
A home I call mine

I miss my beloved Filisteen
Despite it being a land,
I have not yet seen

NaPoWriMo Day 9 – The Glass is Full

Today I skipped the prompt
And wrote directly from the heart
No I’m not writing of butterflies
Or love sprinkled daffodils

I’m thinking of how good
I got it
There’s a roof and food
And everything is just good.

There’s work and class
And family and laughs
I’m looking at a full glass.

NaPoWriMo Day 7 – Is Time Worthy?

Day 7 NaPoWriMo prompt: Wallace Stevens famously wrote that “money is a kind of poetry.” So today, I challenge you to write about money! It could be about not having enough, having too much (a nice kind of problem to have), the smell, or feel, or sensory aspects of money. It could also just be a poem about how we decide what has value or worth.

Here goes:

Is time worthy?

Have you ever heard the saying:
that time is money?
Have you ever really thought about
what it really means?

Is it the idea that lost time
means less dime?
Or the that a minute passed
could be your last?

Keeping it short and sweet today!

NaPoWriMo Day 5 – (no poem)

Day 5 NaPoWriMo Prompt: Today’s prompt (optional, as always) is a variation on a teaching exercise that the poet Anne Boyer uses with students studying the work of Emily Dickinson. As you may know, although Dickinson is now considered one of the most original and finest poets the United States has produced, she was not recognized in her own time. One reason her poems took a while to gain a favorable reception is their slippery, dash-filled lines. Those dashes baffled her readers so much that the 1924 edition of her complete poems replaced some with commas, and did away with others completely. Today’s exercise asks you to do something similar, but in the interests of creativity, rather than ill-conceived “correction.” Find an Emily Dickinson poem – preferably one you’ve never previously read – and take out all the dashes and line breaks. Make it just one big block of prose. Now, rebreak the lines. Add words where you want. Take out some words. Make your own poem out of it! (Not sure where to find some Dickinson poems? Here’s 59 Dickinson poems to select from).

Ok, here’s the poem:

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!

Here it is without line breaks and punctuation:

There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away nor any coursers like a page of prancing poetry this traverse may the poorest take without oppress of toll how frugal is the chariot that bears a human soul

And I tried to make something new but I’ll be honest, I think it’s time to just give it up. 

NaPoWriMo Day 4 – Today

Day 4 NaPoWriMo Prompt: ove poems are a staple of the poetry scene. It’s pretty hard to be a poet and not write a few – or a dozen – or maybe six books’ worth. But because so many love poems have been written, there are lots of clichés. Fill your poems with robins and hearts and flowers, and you’ll sound more like a greeting card than a bard. So today, I challenge you to write a “loveless” love poem. Don’t use the word love! And avoid the flowers and rainbows. And if you’re not in the mood for love? Well, the flip-side of the love poem – the break-up poem – is another staple of the poet’s repertoire. If that’s more your speed at present, try writing one of those, but again, avoid thunder, rain, and lines beginning with a plaintive “why”? Try to write a poem that expresses the feeling of love or lovelorn-ness without the traditional trappings you associate with the subject matter.

This reminds me of the frozen song Love is an Open Door with silly lines like “finish each other’s sandwiches”. Love and the lack there of are truly personal. I am going to be diverging from the prompt for the day though.


Some days start with smiles,
others it takes a while.
Today was a smile kinda day,
and it lasted all the way
from dawn until bed.
Not because of words said,
or thoughts in my head.

But because that’s what He chose
for reasons only He knows.

I did a radio interview for National Poetry Month a couple weeks ago (to air 4/13) and the host asked me how my poetry has changed since diving into seminary school. Poetry is fluid and as I grow, it does too. I am so much more comfortable verbalizing my dependence on the One up above and that brings me so much comfort and joy.

NaPoWriMo Day 3 – My Season

Day 3 Prompt from NaPoWriMo: Today I challenge you to write a fourteener. Fourteeners can be have any number of lines, but each line should have fourteen syllables. Traditionally, each line consisted of seven iambic feet (i.e., an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable, times seven), but non-iambic fourteeners also exist. The fourteener was popular in 16th and 17th century England, where it was particular common in ballads, but it also is the form in which “Casey at the Bat” is written. The form is versatile enough to encompass any subject matter, but as the example of “Casey at the Bat” shows us, it is particularly useful in narrative poetry, due to the long line and the step-like sense of progression created by the iambs.

This reminds me of a poem that I wrote a few years ago with my first attempt at the Iambic Pentameter. The poem ended up hating on structure poems since I’m so used to free-verse poetry. But, here we go again. I’m honestly not sure where this will end up. We’re in this one together. 

Butterflies fluttering and tummy churning inside out
Years on end of questioning myself, filled with endless doubt
Is it me? Or life? Is it what’s meant to be forever?
Or is my time changing , just as the leaves fall in November?

Alright, I have to say, I am loving the longer lines. I could really see this going somewhere amazing but since it’s midnight – time’s up!

NaPoWriMo Day 2 – STARS

Day 2 Prompt: Today, I challenge you to take your gaze upward, and write a poem about the stars. You may find inspiration in this website that lists constellations, while also providing information on the myths associated with each one, as well as other salient information. Your poem could be informed by those myths or historical details, by the shapes or names of the constellations, or by childhood memories of seeing them. Any form or style will do


Silent nights
Tell me to look above
At God’s creation in space
Right now, I see