AhlulBayt News Agency: Miss Nihal Valji, a poet living in London, in a conversation with the Ahl al-Bayt news agency, said that today, the British Shia artistic community tries to express its love for Imam Hussain (a.s.) through poetry. She said: There are many poets who regularly write poems in English for Imam Hussain (a.s.) and describing the incident of Ashura, and this community of poets is growing and increasing.
Miss Valji, whose poem titled Karbala today was chosen as the selected poem of the International Festival of Religious Poetry in Tehran, considered writing poems in English (instead of translating Persian and Arabic poems) to be a necessity and said: In Western countries, due to the distance that Caught between Shiites and their mother tongues, many people want to express their feelings towards Imam Hussain (peace be upon him) through poetry and in English.
Expressing his satisfaction with the opportunity that was given to him at the 7th General Assembly of the AhlulBayt World Assembly to read his poetry, he said: providing such opportunities can help the growth of English ritual poetry.
The text of the poem read by Miss Nihal Valji in English at the 7th General Assembly of the AhlulBayt World Assembly is as follow:
Eyes glistening, blood-shot and sore
Heart-broken, soft and forlorn
Chest beaten, red and raw
Feet, heavy, as I walk to the door.
I stop; take in my surroundings once more
Candles flickering, black drapes on the walls
Dimmed lights, banners, flags galore,
Ambience sombre, gathered to mourn.
Enraptured, relentless, like moth to a flame, drawn
Every Ashura, the grief is reborn
Every Ashura, we lament until dawn
Weeping, wailing, in sorrow adorned.
We gather to remember, to grieve, to pray
The dark night consecrated by the lover's wail
Rushing to the mosques like swarms of bees
Drawn to the sweet sacrifice of Hussain’s legacy
Never tired of the pain, internally we burn
As we remember, for our Master we yearn.
Fellow mourners bid me farewell and I sigh and shut my car door,
But, something simmers inside, my soul screams for more
Shrouded in sadness – is this all it’s about?
Ceremonial ardour – I may be devout
But achieving his mission? Am I held to account?
Or do I limit my perception, unable to transcend, to surmount?
Another year, another Moharram has passed us by
I shout “Labbayk ya Hussain!”, but heeding his call – how hard do I try?
Am I just in love with Hussain’s name on my tongue?
Content with traditions to which I’ve so tightly clung
Not delving deeper into his sacrifice for me:
For the continuity of Islam, he stood against Yazid’s army.
Hussain taught patience, steadfastness and virtue
Never bow to oppression but to your faith stand true
Famished gaunt children – Yemen – we’ve seen on the news
Occupied Palestine, settlements, the Zionist ruse
Saudi, Bahrain, Pakistan – violence on the rise
Our brethren are suffering, for their love they’re chastised
Hussain’s call for help is being echoed today
Silent, resonant, unanswered, we have yet to obey
How many Abbas’s will charge to their death
Unwavering, selfless, right until their last breath
His love for his brother caused him to abstain
Thirst unquenched, refusing to drink before Hussain
How many Zaynabs who symbolize strength and nobility
Eloquent, defiant, yet leading with humility
Endowed with steadfastness and fortitude
Seeing beauty in Allah’s will, filled with gratitude
Still, how many times my salah do I disfavour?
The arrows rained down yet his companions did not waver
Instilling the importance of salah but I continue to delay
Captive to worldly endeavours, how long will I stumble this way
Prioritizing the dunya, to my living Imam’s dismay
Yet year upon year, I commemorate
Walking miles to those blessed domes we gravitate
But maybe it’s time that I start to look within
Allow my soul its revolution to begin
His inspiration dormant as I submit to my whims
At last, let the lantern of his guidance set me free
From the shackles of my negligence as I embark on this new journey
To embody the action, mind and spirit of a true Hussaini
I pray for guidance and resilience to stand firm to my pledge
Of allegiance to my Master, for whom so long I have alleged
Love and devotion that now must translate to action
Not be misled by false altruism and benefaction
May I never again utter “Labbayk ya Hussain” lightly
Over the centuries, his example has shone brightly
Woe upon me, my eyes were averted,
A creature of habit, around my duties I skirted
May my love truly soar to the heights he deserves
For his cause, may I strive to lovingly serve
For generations to come, his principles may we preserve,
May I finally embark on the ark of Hussain’s salvation
Using his teachings as my compass to my final destination.