POETRY: ReMosqued, by Shaykh Riad Saloojee

Sinan’s voice whispers
as you cross the threshold:

how could you know beauty’s architecture,
when your life is a cardboard box
of wallpaper dreams?”

“Is this really your heart’s residence?”

“Stop constructing cramped corners
of your own cruel choice!”

“Here, let me help you –
Take off your shoes.”

“Accept the gift of a million
different passages to the Infinite.”

“Hold your breath, now.
And step out of your self.”

“You will never ever find your feet after.
And you won’t be needing those shoes again.”


O Sinan.

Allah have mercy upon your soul.
What have you done?

You’ve razed down my walls,
caved in my roof, made tumble
the shadows that silhouette my skyline.

My house lies in ruins.
My city lies in waste.

A dominion, demolished,

when I entered this space filled
with shimmering symmetries
of Majesty and Beauty.

A crossroad.
Where there is only a way.
Without ratio.

Just the purest one.
Just the Purest, One.


You’ve permitted your Houses to dwell
amongst our markets, highways, farms, residences.

They are the hearts that circulate your light,
the beacons that beckon beyond,
the harbours for our shipwrecked selves.

When we blind ourselves,
they call out from afar,
five times, every day.

I cannot escape them.

If I shut my eyes,
I hear them.

If I shut my ears,
I see them.

They are the envoys of
Your Majesty and Beauty.

All marauding force
– no, time and history itself –
kneels before the supplication
in one sincere sajdah

of a servant who enters them
and is swept, swooning, within
their loving and tender


My rival principalities are vanishing
whenever I enter and exit Your house

I look for them; they were here a second ago.

How long the battle has raged!
How insidious the détente.
How terrible the constant arbitrage.

My enemies keep raising arms.
My history is a domino of coup d’états.

I’ve enlisted the finest forces,
acquired the latest munitions,
read the riot act to my soldiers.

But it is Your silent sanctuary
that deals the death blows.

No matter where I look,
You kill me with Your beauty.

How could I conceive of leaving
when I know that if I stay the way
You wished –

Every caterpillar needs a cocoon.