01.03.2018 – Ghouta

Last night I sat down to write a piece on Ghouta – Syria – and the current… the current situation there.

I wrote one sentence, then I scratched it.

Then, I wrote another. And then I scratched it.

I placed my pencil atop my page, trying to approach it differently.

Maybe third person narrative.

Lifting my pencil again, I scribbled a line.

A rhyming word jumped into my mind.

A poem! That’s what I’ll write. A poem. 

Bear in mind that I am a writer. Not a poet.

I can count the number of poems I’ve ever written, on my hands. Perhaps even one hand.

I came as far as three lines this time.

But then, I hit the brick wall again.

It wasn’t working.

I switched my style again, tried a different tactic.

It didn’t work. Again.

My pencil had lead, but it wouldn’t write.

I wasn’t feeling it, I realized.

And that’s when it clicked.

I wasn’t feeling it.

I wasn’t feeling it. 

The writer in me made its appearance in 2015.

Since then, in the two years that have passed, I’ve learnt a lot.

I’ve learnt a lot about writing and the way it works.

And from all the things that I’ve learnt, one that always stands out starkly, is how easy it is to write when I feel strongly about something.

If I’ve experienced it, the words flow, the emotions peak, and I barely even have to make an effort.

And when I get stuck, I put myself in my character’s shoes.

I imagine how I would feel in that situation, how I would think, what I would do, how I would react. I make my character me. I make me my character.

But let’s come back to the point.

I digress. I’m sorry.

What I’m trying to say, is that I realized the reason for being unable to produce a piece on Ghouta, and it was simple.

It is simple.

I can’t feel what they are feeling.

And unlike what I do when I get stuck with my characters, I can’t comprehend, I can’t possibly even imagine what it would be like to be in the situation the people of Ghouta currently are.

What would I say? What would I do? How would I react?

Would I even survive?

Probably not.

My Imaan compared to theirs is like the strength of a baby lamb in front of an adult male lion.

It’s like a house without a foundation in a tsunami.

Like a child being commanded at gunpoint.

Can you imagine how unshakably strong their faith must be, to see their house disappear in a cloud of dust in front of them, to see their children bleed to death in front of them, to see their siblings being pulled out from beneath rubble in front of them, yet they still believe. 

Can you imagine how unshakably strong their faith must be, to constantly hear their children wail out of starvation and thirst, to constantly hear gunfire and bombs explode all around them, to constantly hear people screaming in fear, running for their lives, yet they still believe. 

And us?

Cold? We complain.

Hot? We complain.

Food we don’t like? We complain.

Not even no food. We get food. But still, we complain.

How pathetic have we become as humans. As ummatis of Nabi صَلي الله عَليهِ وسَلم.

As I’m writing this, I’m questioning myself.

Who am I to point out other people’s faults when I have countless myself? Does this make me a hypocrite?

Why I am writing this article?

Because everyone is writing about the gore in Ghouta, and I have to, too?

Should I use the excuse of “creating awareness”?

But, are the people not aware enough already? Surely, they are. We’re up to date with the celeb news, we’re aware of what’s happening in the western world. Surely then we must know what is happening to our fellow Muslims. To our brothers and sisters.

So let me tell you why I am writing this.

I am writing this to remind you.

To remind you, that next time you want to complain about the food your mother puts on the table, the people of Ghouta are starving to death.

To remind you, that next time you forget your jacket at home and the weather takes a turn, the people of Ghouta are shivering in fear.

To remind you, that next time your child is throwing a tantrum and all you want to do is yell at him, the mother’s of Ghouta are watching their children bleed to death.

To remind you, that next time your husband doesn’t do as you request, the wives of Ghouta don’t even have someone to listen to their requests.

To remind you, that next time your father doesn’t buy you what you want, the children of Ghouta have absolutely nothing.

To remind you, that next time you lift your hands in duaa, wanting to pray for something that will only give you worldly benefit, make a better duaa. Make a more needed duaa, a more crucial duaa. Make a duaa for the people of the ummah.

Make dua for the people of Ghouta.

Pray for them like you’ve never prayed before.

It’s the least we can do.


May Allah guide us, this sinful servant first. May Allah grant us taufeeq to change our lives, to become better muslims. May Allah grant the innocent Ummah of Nabi صَلي الله عَليهِ وسَلم relief and ease, verily He is the All-hearing, All-seeing, All-knowing.


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