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Poetry: No Choice

30th May 2014

No Choice

When she first opened her beautiful, innocent eyes
And her tiny, fragile fingers clasped mine
With all my heart, I pledged
My child’s spirit, I would protect

I knew she was not truly mine
She was a gift, an amanah from the Divine,
To nurture, raise and guide
In her journey towards the Sublime

So as days and sleepless nights blurred
I struggled undeterred
Until she grew into a little girl who assimilated
Some of the values I lovingly integrated

And so I felt all would be fine
When her hand slipped from mine
To run to school, friends, clubs
Adapting, blending, to fit in and have fun

I had taught her He saw everything
Even when no-one was watching
And so I believed she would not be prey
To secularism, immodesty, moral decay…

I would drop her to school and pick her up everyday
I would allow no other to take her to parties and cafes
And of course, I made sure, every Sunday
She went to Madrasah to learn and pray…
So how could she possibly go astray??

Little did I know, little did I understand
How quickly I would be surpassed
By friends, peers, crowds and norms
By the desire to belong, pressure to conform

I wanted her to be always God-conscious
Yet I educated her in a system that was godless
I wanted her to live for Him, prioritise spiritual success
Whilst her teachers and peers stressed
Success was academic and material progress

I wanted her to value character, integrity
Develop it through self-respect, modesty
Yet I expected her to also integrate
In a ‘liberal’ world with little shame

I wanted her to be His servant true
Yet the world in which she learned and grew
Neither loved and served Him, nor cared to
Why was I surprised when her light and passion died too?

Why did my community and I not have the vision,
To unite faith and education
Providing parents with an Islamic choice
Of education for their young girls and boys?

Fatema Valji

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