Three Captivating Contemporary Poems About Ramadan – Ramadan 2020 Day 26

Home / 30 Ramadan Posts / Three Captivating Contemporary Poems About Ramadan – Ramadan 2020 Day 26

“In eloquence there is magic and in poetry there is wisdom.”

– Prophet Muhammad –

(Sunaan Abu Dawud)

Lovely Ramadan. The month of Qur’an. The month of Mercy. Can it truly be that there are only a few more days till we bid the blessing of you goodbye? Considering all that is happening in the world, being given the gift of this Ramadan feels even more precious and even more fragile. A delicate blossom which, for once, I struggle to describe – one whose fragrance is permeating my soul and filling up my eyes while absorbing all my words. I am speechless in it’s grace.

It is in times like this, when words fail me, or simply fail to appear, that I turn to the beauty and pleasure of poetry. For in the well-crafted and heart heavy words of the poet, we know we will find our state made manifest. We will recognise and hold it close. Taste the words and swallow their light – sacred in their own way – reflections for our shared humanness. And it is in this spirit that I share with you here three beautiful Ramadan poems to linger over.

“Landscape with Stars” by Henri-Edmond Cross 1905-1908


The first, by American poet Abdal-Hayy Moore (d.2016), speaks to our experience that Ramadan is more than a month –  it is a guest, it is a friend and in this poem, it is a seeker. (This poem is from Ramadan is Burnished Sunlight © 2011 by Abdal-Hayy Moore)

Ramadan Goes Looking

Ramadan goes looking for the
people who fast the best

wearing the phases of the moon
as a shield upon its breast

ignoring stars and galaxies
as too far out in space

concentrating instead
on light in a faster’s face

or if a face is darkened
what is passing through the heart

of someone who resists the world
for this month so set apart

It goes to the best and worst places
looking for a perfect one

who finds the diamond of Ramadan
flashing in the daytime sun

High and low it searches
among the elegant and the poor

who put aside food and drink
to stand in Allah’s corridor

awaiting entrance to His precincts
where finer delicacies are served

who spend their days in fasting
and never think to swerve

It climbs to mountain caves
and sits with hermit saints

and sees illumined worlds in eyes
no words can ever paint

of nearness by Allah’s tight blessing
on the hearts of His bosom friends

who’ve left all vestiges of matter
for nourishment that never ends

But then it sees a glimmer
not far off at all

in the deep intention of everyone
to fulfill the Prophet’s call

that shines in the heart of our hearts
and is the diamond behind that shine

to endure hardship for Allah’s sake
however simple or sublime

And sees in its faceted perfection
every faster’s face

on the surface of that diamond
out of all time and space

in the answer to Allah’s call
to turn to Him alone

before everything we so love in the world
turns to stone


This second poem, by American poet Kazim Ali,  hits deep as it honours our ultimate Ramadan treasure hunt – the search for Laylat ul-Qadr. (This poem is from The Fortieth Day © 2008 by Kazim Ali) 


You wanted to be so hungry, you would break into branches,

and have to choose between the starving month’s

nineteenth, twenty-first, and twenty-third evenings.

The liturgy begins to echo itself and why does it matter?

If the ground-water is too scarce one can stretch nets

into the air and harvest the fog.

Hunger opens you to illiteracy,

thirst makes clear the starving pattern,

the thick night is so quiet, the spinning spider pauses,

the angel stops whispering for a moment—

The secret night could already be over,

you will have to listen very carefully—

You are never going to know which night’s mouth is sacredly reciting

and which night’s recitation is secretly mere wind—


Finally, this heady poem by British-American poet Rabia Saida explores the rhythm of a summer Ramadan marked by long fasts against the backdrop of resplendent nature and human pain. To witness all of this while at the same time nurturing our children and our own souls is the very essence of many a woman’s Ramadan – and one we don’t appreciate often enough.  (This poem will appear in the upcoming anthology A Kaleidoscope of Stories – Muslim Voices in Comtemporary Poetry published by Lote Tree Press)


The poplars shimmer sunlight again
The ceanothus is a cloud of indigo
While an azalea in my garden
Is more hues of magenta than you can imagine
The sun is gentle these long fasting days
Some an endurance test
They still lend me more discipline than I naturally possess

The orchid cascades alabaster blossoms
Over the windowsill in the kitchen
Pots of basil and coriander
Have been snipped a bit thin
To garnish harira and salads
For fast breaking

My son stumbles from bed
To eat suhur bleary eyed
I try to pack enough nutrient dense calories in
To support spiritual and physical growth spurts
And pray for our protection and guidance
In this labyrinthine plane of reality

He’s better at fasting than me
I am insomniac
wide awake in these short nights
Until fajr rolls in
I need to nap
Cat-like in the day

Some manage to pray all night
I just try to survive the ride
Of circadian rhythm disruption
And learn from the alteration
Of feast and famine
Hopeful some of the blessings of the month
Will settle upon me all the same
Part of the miracle
Is the routine breaking
No matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient
Making you view things from a different perspective
creating space for reflection

The brokenness of people and the world assails me some days
There is so much pain and trauma
on the news
woven into the web of relations we are part of
We must be here to alleviate some of this
We must be here as healers
For ourselves and one another

Yet the flowers and trees are perfect
Plane trees unabashed in their majesty
Horse chestnuts resplendent in full candled canopies
Jasmine an explosion of perfumed symmetry
Roses impossibly exquisite
Acers fractal in their colour and delicacy
While clouds tell vast stories across the horizon

The moon is full now, veiled by wispy cloud
Still visible in the coolness of early morning light
In a lull of quiet
before the dawn chorus strikes up
Having measured the days with illumination
It starts to wane again
As days slip away
With the imminent departure
Of our trusted friend
who never fails
to shake us up
And embrace us in blessings


Author Bio

Aiysha Malik is an ever-curious writer and designer. Originally from Canada, she now resides in the United Kingdom. In 2016 she co-founded Mamanushka, a popular lifestyle blog devoted to the experiences of being a mother and Muslim woman of colour. Find more of her work and inspirations on twitter and Instagram:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent Posts