Poetry A Day for Ramadan came about after instigator Tanzila “Taz” Ahmed started writing a poem a day for Ramadan after the first year her mother passed away. As she started talking about it with her friends, different people wanted to participate. The project has grown into an online closed forum with 70 members who are Muslim-ish or Muslim-adjacent. Every Ramadan since 2012, the group writes and shares in a creative practice, the only rule being that you must share one piece to the group each week.
The #GoodMuslimBadMuslim is a monthly podcast Zahra Noorbakhsh and I put together, about the good and the bad of the American Muslim female experience…but, you know, satirically and disturbingly hilarious.
Editor’s Note: The #GoodMuslimBadMuslim podcast has been featured in Oprah Magazine, Wired, Mother Jones, NPR, Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan, Elle, and Forbes. A May, 2016 episode recorded live from the Obama White House. Visit Taz and Zahra online for more.
I am deep in slumber when I hear knocks on my bedroom door. “Wake up, it’s time sehri!” I hear a voice singsong while my door is timidly opened.
For a moment, while my eyes are closed, I think the voice is my Mom’s. I’m in my childhood bedroom, in my childhood bed with those childhood plastic stars on my popcorn ceiling. If it had been Mom, she would have left the door open with the light from the hallway spilling into my bedroom. I’d wake up drearily and silently and make my way to kitchen where she would have…
I live half my life everyday
Use half my body
I save the rest for later
One lung, one kidney
Half my liver
One day I will wake up
Let my bones sink into all the flesh
Let my eyes settle into their sockets
Flex my shoulder and let
my fins grow
my gills loose
swim away from the shore.
— Maryam Ansari
Under my sisters hijab, walking the cobble streets. A black sun hat pulled down, I can’t miss the extended stares. Tucked under, a floral print, Superman’s got his competition made. Cotton so soft, lit by…
A broken kingdom in his heart, brave silence the cost of entry, the language of unforgotten things holding open the door. If, when it happens, within the feeble light of the moon, another lost traveler arrives, covered in ash, asking first for water, then which way is the qibla — if, then tell him this: whirl until you fall, open your eyes, know God waits in every direction, is already there, rooted inside your spinning head, has been receiving every dua never spoken, has kept your feet from slipping, has been there in your blood, a map imprinted on every…
Why does love make you feel sick to your stomach
Worse than hunger pangs
Cravings that can’t be satisfied
Malnourishment enveloped in insecurities and vulnerability
My longing heart yearns to be quenched
Aching with desire to drink from his source
— Travina Springer
“Allah wants you to take joy in your gifts. He didn’t give them to you to cause sorrow.” The Doctor always advised me not to worry about becoming arrogant or to be embarrassed when I did something great. He told me that even though empathy has caused some problems in my life, that it also allowed…
The first night of Ramadan
and she the crescent moon smiles slyly off-kilter
like a devilish disappearing Cheshire cat
resting on the dark branch of the Milky Way
or an angelic man on the moon one-eyed winking.
A sliver of light in the sky finally sited
she will wax till she wanes
watching these Ramadan nights
holding back the devils
while observing to see how the cookie crumbles.
Her shine foreshadows captious or rapturous,
depending on how you look at it,
this new moon in the night sky.
Any way, she is to be our witness.
— Tanzila Ahmed
Whatever slows your
pace, thank it. Thank it for new
nerves grown in the still.
— Naazneen Diwan
How difficult it is to hold this hunger,
and suddenly, how easy.
How difficult it is to hold my anger,
and still difficult.
It snaps, brusque, like the cold
stone slab of pita bread I find in the refrigerator,
probably from two weeks ago.
I stand in the kitchen. The mess beyond the door regards me sleepily, knowing it is in control. I try to move my frustration out of my body, mind. I stand in the middle of the grass outside…
Salaams! We are back for another Ramadan. It is now the fifth year of our writing group, and it has grown to 55 Muslim-ish and Muslim adjacent folks. People have been resparked and slowly sharing their poetry and art. It has turned into quite the beautiful community space.
Though our writing group, which is facilitated through a Facebook group, is maxed out, I wanted to encourage everyone who’s always wanted to participate in Poetry-A-Day for Ramadan to make their own space. The rules we created for our group was created to create a safe space full of creativity for a…
In response to the April 2016 story of the man kicked off a Southwest airplane for saying the word “inshallah”, a few of poets got together to write a collective poem on the word “Inshallah”. This poem is a collective work by Taz Ahmed, Ramy El-Etreby, Kenji Liu, Farhana Jahan, Devi S. Laskar, Mariela Regalado, Sham-e-Ali Nayeem, Laura Sermeno, Kirin Khan, Karineh Mahdessian, Nadiah Mohajir, Saheli Datta, Najeeba Syeed, Cleo Anderson, Sean Miura, Faaizah Paatail, Affad Shaikh, Elmaz Abinader, Ashaki Jackson, traci kato-kiriyama, Deonna Kelli Sayed, Neelanjana Banerjee.
We encourage you to take this poem, print it up, and sneak it into airplane magazines. We also encourage you to turn it into a paper plane and fly it through the sky — no TSA pat down required.