A Poem For His Birthday


In the Name of the Kind and Beautiful Precious Beloved

On that day, the world was lighted
Darkness was on that day banished
The day bright, Heaven was delighted
The rule of man, at last, would vanish

Balconies and curtains of power shaken
Criers with another book would scream
“O sons of man, your souls awaken!”
For his light on all places would gleam

Family and friend would be utterly amazed
A father twice over was overly pleased
Signs of his greatness continue to daze
His coming is as a cooling breeze

“Continually Praised” is what he was called
A name of grace for all the ages
Forces of evil will forever be appalled
And his wisdom would feed a myriad of sages

Year after year, this day we rejoice
We revel in the knowledge that he came
For he gave our spirits a beautiful voice
And the portrait of Prophets a majestic frame

If They Only Knew…


In the Name of the Kind and Beautiful Precious Beloved

Clearly, those Christian “patriots” who want to silence TLC’s “All-American Muslim” series have no idea what is in our scripture and our faith about Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin. Clearly, these people have no idea about Islam in general. Otherwise, they would not try to bully advertisers into dumping “All-American Muslim” for a truly silly reason: that the Muslims on “All-American Muslim” are “too ordinary.”

No, my house is not decked out with lights or a Christmas tree. Yet, I still love Jesus so very much. As this poem I penned attests:

 

What was it like, when you stood there alone?
Praying in the East, on you His Light ever shone?

What was it like, when the angel came before thee?
Frightening you greatly, shattering your tranquility?

What was it like, when you were told the news:
That unto you was born the Messiah of the Jews?

Did you not know, that you were more than worthy?
That God chose you above all, that He favored you greatly?

Did you not know, that before you came to be,
The Lord already declared that magnificent were thee?

What was it like, when the Spirit was blown:
When our master was conceived, a miracle to be shown?

What was it like, as you left in fear?
Afraid of the slander that may be placed in the ear?

How did it feel, when the pangs came in earnest?
Did you feel deserted, that the Lord had no interest?

What did it sound like, when our master to you spoke?
How soothing was his voice, covering you like a cloak?

How sweet was the fruit that fell from the tree?
Did it comfort your mind, fill you with tranquility?

How sharp were the stares when, with him, you arrived?
Did their shock give you pain, that they would think you would connive?

How powerful was his voice, when he proclaimed the truth?
Were they amazed by his grace, as he shattered the lies of the uncouth?

O Blessed Mother, upon you I perpetually pray for peace.
And also upon your son, I pray blessings cover him as a fleece.

And if, O Blessed Soul, I get a chance to kiss your hand,
It would be the most honored place I could ever stand!

Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/commonwordcommonlord/2011/12/if-they-only-knew.html#ixzz1gXn3ehZe

What Is The Matter With Thee?


In the Name of the Kind and Beautiful Precious Beloved Lord

What is the matter with thee?
Why the dread and melancholy?
Simply because you must go without food?
Your disposition sours and dark is your mood?

What is the matter with thee?
Why from this blessed month do you flee?
Simply because from drink you must abstain?
You shake in fear and grimace in disdain?

It is only for a time that is truly short
That you must fast and wait in this sort
Do not fear, my weak and pathetic soul
You will have your drink and dinner roll

Yet, don’t you see and actually realize?
Don’t you stop and think to recognize?
That as you frown because you can’t take a sip,
You will embark on an everlasting sacred trip?

Don’t you see and pause to think?
That beyond that sweating, ice-cold drink
Is a world of blessing as far as you can see
Full of His Bliss, Grace, Love, and Mercy?

So stand up tall, my weak and pathetic friend!
As all good things, Ramadan will eventually end
But, endure the pain with grace for just a while
And our Precious Beloved will look down with a smile

So, my soul, what is the matter with thee?
Why shake you in dread and melancholy?
This is the time to live in His Love and Mercy
And for our struggle, the Precious Beloved will set us free

Book Signing at ISNA


In the Name of the Beautiful, Kind Precious Beloved Lord

God willing, I will be signing copies of my book, Noble Brother: The Story of the Prophet Muhammad in Poetry, at the Soundvision booth at the Annual Conference of the Islamic Society of North America in Rosemont, IL. This will take place Saturday July 2, 2011 from 6-7:30 PM. Hope to see you there!

How Did You Do It?


In the Name of God, the Kind, the Beautiful

How did you do it, My Beloved King?
How did you manage to hear the birds sing?
When the pain of their loss would always ring,
In the evening, and in the morning, first thing?

How did you do it, my Knighted Captain?
How did you hide the grief you were in?
How did you manage to bring laughter and grin,
And not allow the torture push you into sin?

How did you do it, my Saintly Master?
How did you let the grief take you faster
Back to the Precious Beloved Master,
And not let anyone in on the pain to infer?

Did you think about Al Qasim as you entered the City?
Did you marvel at the color of his eyes, so pretty?
Did you clutch at your chest and resist the self-pity?
Or let a tear flow down your face in the midst of felicity?

Did the image of Abdullah oft enter your mind?
Could you almost see him when you would look behind?
Was his face and smile ever so kind?
Did the grief of his loss almost make you blind?

What was it like to bury Ruqiyyah, your daughter?
How was the pain in your heart as you held her?
How was it that you did not ever falter?
And let the torture change your faith or alter?

And then, you had to bury another ever so quickly.
Yet, warmth and light still came from you freely.
Did you think of her often, when the silence fell so slowly,
And there was none but you alone, thinking of her dearly?

I think of my heart, all torn without a seam.
And sometimes, I think I am in a dream.
But then I am awed by your amazing gleam,
For you buried Zainab without ever a scream.

How badly did it hurt to hold Ibrahim, so lifeless?
And clutch him in your arms, hold and caress?
How badly was was the torture of his egress?
How many more days did his loss bring distress?

How did you do it, my Beloved King?
How did you manage to hear the birds sing?
When the pain of their loss would always ring,
In the evening, and in the morning, first thing?

Noble Brother Praised by Award-Winning Blogger Zaki Hasan


In the Name of God, the Kind, the Beautiful

Thanks be to the Precious Beloved, Noble Brother was praised by Award-Winning Muslim blogger Zaki Hasan. The review is reproduced below:

A few months ago, my friend Hesham Hassaballa sent me a review copy of his new book, Noble Brother, which tells the story of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad entirely in verse, and I’d meant to post my thoughts much sooner, but given the chatter this week about the OC hate rally video, wherein protesters shouted hateful invective at Muslims about their most revered figure, the timing seems oddly apropos. Hesham (whose writing I previously linked to in last summer’s legendary “Park51″ post) takes a subject that’s intimately familiar to most Muslims and virtually unknown to most non-Muslims, and with his unique, creative approach makes it palatable to both, revealing fresh insights that will enlighten both constituencies.

In both the depth of its message and the breadth of its content (including an appendix that provides some very welcome background and historical context on the events discussed), Noble Brother confidently wrests the conversation about Prophet Muhammad and his integral role in everyday Muslims’ lives back from the minority of folks who violently freak out over political cartoons or South Park episodes. Instead, it highlights the traits of humanity, humility, and compassion that serve as exemplars for a billion-plus people all over the world. Whether Muslim or non-Muslim, this is a book that’s very worthy of a read. If interested, you can purchase a copy here (and be sure to check out Hesham’s always-insightful blog here).

Illume Magazine Calls Noble Brother “Poetically Prophetic”


In the Name of God, the Kind, the Beautiful

Thanks be to the Lord God of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Noble Brother has received another great review. Illume Magazine, the award-winning Muslim news magazine, called Noble Brother “poetically prophetic” and “admirable attempt to distill and disseminate the story of Prophet Muhammad through poetic verse.” The full review is posted below:

 

In summing up the book, Muslim blogger Aziz Poonawalla put it best: ”This is not a book to be read in one sitting, but to be savored in small pieces at a time.”

I totally agree with that.

Noble Brother is an admirable attempt to distill and disseminate the story of Prophet Muhammad through poetic verse. For anyone who’s ever struggled to get through the myriad of thick, sometimes dense, books detailing the life of one of the world’s most influential people, it would probably be refreshing to pick up a copy of this light paperback– 54 pages, plus 30 pages for notes. For those who are familiar with the tradition, it will be an easy read. For those just getting to know the Prophet, the notes will offer some necessary clarifications to accompany this glimpse at
his life.

Hassabala is a capable writer, confidently plucking words and placing them within alarger puzzle that details the most significant events of the Prophet’s existence. A medical doctor, writer and blogger based in Chicago, Hassabala is clearly passionate about the subject matter. As traditional poets before him, he pays tribute to a man he clearly loves and respects.

”A sacred union was ordained from Above
Two souls joined in dignity and love
A child was conceived by the blessed pair
But father passed away before he could see his hei”

The poetry isn’t sophisticated and yet its simplicity makes it accessible to a variety of readers, even those like me who aren’t used to reading in rhyming couplets (and who can easily tire of the style).

In fact, I kept thinking this book would be great for Muslim middle school and high school students who’d like something a bit quick and easy to get through on the life of the Prophet. Islamic school teachers, take note!

”The darkness of the times suffocated his heart
And the stench of iniquity pushed him far apart
And so he would forsake warm home and loving spouse
To contemplate on mount and in cave, in view of Holy House

And while the tempo varies little, at times making the reading feel a bit sluggish, gems found along the way brighten up the whole and make reading on worthwhile.

”And it came once upon a powerful night
When, in the blink of an eye, darkness turned to light
And one who was alone on mount and in cave
Felt the presence of the Holy Spirit, and this message it gave:
‘Read!”’

It’s about time that Western Muslim writers contribute a variety of texts and treatises exploring Islamic history and thought, through all manners of story-telling. As many activists, artists and appraisers of culture have remarked, if we don’t tell our own stories, others will tell them for us – often with far less poetic spirit.

Muslim Matters Gives Noble Brother Excellent Review


In the Name of God, the Beautiful, the Kind

The award-winning Muslim group blog, Muslim Matters, just gave my book of poetry, Noble Brother, an excellent review.  Here it is:

 

Every so often someone comes up with the idea of doing something truly unique, and then I think to myself “argh, why didn’t I think of doing that?” When I came across Noble Brother, a sira (biographical account) of the Prophet Muhammad (s) in poetry form, I immediately knew that this was one such stroke of genius.

We all know that at the time of the Prophet (s) poetry was the primary means of media, and from the loins of the Arabs emerged many talented poets.  This did not change with the emergence of Islam, and in fact many Islamic poems celebrated the love of Allah (swt), the life of His Prophet (s), and all things related to His Message conveyed through him.

So what more fitting way to convey the entire life story of the Prophet Muhammad (s) than in verse? In a time when the written word is being supplanted by “fast food media” such as television, movies, and text messaging (and now twitter), it is important to value the power of the written word, especially when wielded in verse form.  Dr. Hesham Hassaballa’s book Noble Brother does exactly that, and beautifully so.

The text does not disappoint, and is very professional and poignant.  Imam Suhaib Webb calls it a “magnificent book!”  Since you will likely take his word over mine, all I will say is that I could not agree more.  This book deserves to be circulated far and wide, and it is in fact groundbreaking in the nascent genre of Islamic books in English.  But don’t take my word for it…Here’s one beautiful excerpt from the book, recounting the flight of the early Muslims to Abyssinia:

Slow but sure did grow the Messenger’s call

Fast and swift did come the enemies’ gall

And as the faithful grew in number all the while

So did the treachery, torture, murder, and guile

Thus did the Messenger sadly send away

Kith and kin to a land where their fears allay

And where they are foreign they will find

A King who is just, honorable, fair, and kind

Swiftly, though, the plan did the enemy discover

And quickly they sent an emissary to recover

A friend of the King who sought to return

The Believers to the city where they will burn

“We are kin!” declared the Messenger’s blood

“We bow to the same God,” Master of the Flood

And so proof of their divine call did the King demand

And the Companion did recite the Word of God on hand

 

Support Muslim authors by ordering Noble Brother for only $9.95 at www.noblebrother.com.

 

Dr. Hassaballa Featured on Radio Islam


In the Name of God, the Kind, the Beautiful

Thanks be to the Precious Beloved, I was interviewed on Radio Islam, a local Chicago area Muslim radio show, about my book Noble Brother. I am very grateful to the station for their interview. The host suggested that I be compared to Khalil Gibran…(gawsh!)

Listen to the interview here.

Noble Brother Now Available as Kindle eBook!


In the Name of God, the Kind, the Beautiful

Thanks be to the Precious Lord our God, Noble Brother is now available as a Kindle eBook!.

Noble Brother is the story of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) told entirely in poetry. It is a fresh, new way to tell the amazing story of the life and ministry of the Beloved Messenger of God. It is my way to help energize Muslims to learn more about our Prophet, but also, it is a way to foster increased understanding between faith communities. By reading poetry, non-Muslims can have fun and learn about the Prophet at the same time.

For more information about Noble Brother, visit: http://www.noblebrother.com. You can buy the book for the Kindle by clicking here.