Poet of the week: Askia Nasir Bilal

BismilLah Al Rahman Al Rahim,

I remember at school my attempts to try and comment on poetry would somehow be “out of context” like a teacher would say. That I would always somehow not get it right.
Recently, that fondness was awaken by several poets that I see emerging, established, or between the two… They made me forget those old school days and gave me a chance to taste and appreciate it on a whole new level. From scratch. How wonderful.

Askia Nasir Bilal is one of them. I am so glad I’ve always been updated with his work, whether it’s spoken word, art, poetry,…His vision engulfs all these talents, mash’Allah.
Here’s one of poems and his statement:

This is dedicated to the sisters, this ones for certain ones in particular.
Now I was raised to Respect all women regardless,
and tho faith is not just outward, but ultimately where The Heart is…
but I still have to say how beautiful the Scarf is.

I love ALL my sisters representin, but there are those who deserve an honorable mention…
the ones that stay scarfed up everyday, never flinchin…

I see em out there in the streets, on the ave.
humbly holdin their heads high in hijab..
whether its niqab, or the simple head wrap…
whatever your style is, I had to give you dap.

Coverin yourself through all four seasons…a style thas never ceasing if you understand its reason.

A forcefield a shield a weapon to wield properly.
When you come through the door, you’re hard not to see.
And tho u are tested in u stay wearin it faithfully–

From the car honks followed by attempted taunts, the questions—
The “aren’t-you-hot-in that?”s to the “you-poor-victim-of-oppression…”s

Withstandin the gawks, the sneers— I cheer you—
and when I see you—somehow I’m Near you…
symbols speak loud even when youre quiet I Hear you…
respectin yourself– not everybody has the right to peer through…

Noo, not oppressed, actually blessed with sacred knowledge…
expressed through dress that commands respect, that’s modest…
Beautiful pearls polished, may you be granted solace..

Livin in accordance with an ordinance from Above…
Outwardly and Inwardly only God can judge…
less to do with men, more to do with obedience and love… for the Most High…

The beauty of the modesty– breakin the monotony…of the awkwardly dressed–quite honestly…

You’re Graceful as the clouds movin Strong and elegant…in accordance with somethin that was Heavensent.
So From brother to sister, I applaud you hard…
Wear it with pride humbly, on your head and your heart.

why do i make art?

i would have to say it’s something i’m compelled to do, an impulse that demands attention.  i can’t ignore it any more than someone could ignore a bully turning them upside down shaking their lunch money out of their pockets.
As much practice as i’ve had with this “why” question, as many times as i’ve attempted to attach an answer to why—i never quite get it right—what i say doesn’t quite match what i feel.

i suspect it’s because the why is as mysterious to me as the how

the more heady i attempt to make my answer to “why,” the further it seems to move away from the actual feeling.
make no mistake, art, is as much an “intellectual” process as it is a “feeling” one—there is much difficult thinking involved– but in art, what i ultimately find is, how little i know about myself,  how little we as humans know about the inner workings of our own minds, our own souls, our own basic impulses…. how little we know!!!  who knows why? why some make great engineers, mathematicians, others scholars, teachers…
who can really articulate with accuracy the complex exchanges that constantly occur between the unseen and the world,  angelic beings and devils,-
and their interactions with the branches within us—
the eye, the intellect, the conscious and the unconscious, the heart, the eye, the hand, the emotion, the angelic self, the lower self… the soul!
who knows when and in what form inspiration will come?

why? the best i can come up with is Allah gives everyone something for a purpose…Allah has given me a certain sense, a certain way of looking at the world, a certain way of looking within myself, a certain way of reacting to what I see, to what I feel.
because there are things that need to be said…
and sometimes, somehow, it occurs to you how they might be said.

i stand humbly in Your Desert, squinting,
a handful of dust in the wind…


~ by youngmuslimworld on July 9, 2011.

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