Friday, September 9, 2011

The Little Prince

So like many other things in life, this story isn't what it seems, and the depth of its meaning is beneath the surface. I love the whole book, which I read in French the first time, but here are a few of my favorite parts:

Grown-ups like numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask questions about what really matters. They never ask: "What does his voice sound like?" "What games does he like best?" "Does he collect butterflies?". They ask: "How old is he?" "How many brothers does he have?" "How much does he weigh?" "How much money does his father make?" Only then do they think they know him.  

If you tell grown-ups, "I saw a beautiful red brick house, with geraniums at the windows and doves on the roof...," they won't be able to imagine such a house. You have to tell them, "I saw a house worth a hundred thousand francs." Then they exclaim, "What a pretty house!"  

"That is the hardest thing of all. It is much harder to judge yourself than to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself, it's because you're truly a wise man."

"If I were to command a general to turn into a seagull, and if the general did not obey, that would not be the general's fault. It would be mine." 

"For millions of years flowers have been producing thorns. For millions of years sheep have been eating them all the same. And it's not serious, trying to understand why flowers go to such trouble produce thorns that are good for nothing? It's not important, the war between the sheep and the flowers?... Suppose I happen to know a unique flower, one that exists nowhere in the world except on my planet, one that a little sheep can wipe out in a single bite one morning, just like that, even without realizing what he's doing - that isn't important? If someone loves a flower of which just one example exists among all the millions and millions of stars, that's enough to make him happy when he looks at the stars. He tells himself, 'My flower's up there somewhere...' But if the sheep eats the flower, then for him it's as if, suddenly, all the stars went out. And that isn't important?'"

But no one believed him on account of the way he was dressed. Grown-ups are like that. 

"What are you doing here," he asked the drunkard...
"Drinking," replied the drunkard, with a gloomy expression.
"Why are you drinking?" the little prince asked.
"To forget," replied the drunkard.
"To forget what?" inquired the little prince, who was already feeling sorry for him.
"To forget that I'm ashamed," confessed the drunkard, hanging his head.
"What are you ashamed of?" inquired the little prince, who wanted to help.
"Of drinking!" concluded the drunkard...  


"Nothing's perfect," sighed the fox. "My life is monotonous. I hunt chickens; people hunt me. All chickens are just alike, and all men are just alike. So I'm rather bored. But if you tame me, my life will be filled with sunshine. I'll know the sound of footsteps that will be different from all the rest. Other footsteps send me back underground. Yours will call me out of my burrow like music. And then, look! You see the wheat fields over there? I don't eat bread. For me, wheat is no use whatever. Wheat fields say nothing to me. Which is sad. But you have hair the color of gold. So it will be wonderful, once you've tamed me! The wheat, which is golden, will remind me of you. And I'll love the sound of the wind in the wheat..."  


You risk tears if you let yourself be tamed. 

"Men have forgotten this truth," said the fox. "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.

"You're lovely, but you're empty," he went on. "One couldn't die for you. Of course an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you. But my rose, all on her own, is more important than you altogether, since she's the one I've watered. Since she's the one I put under glass. Since she's the one I sheltered behind a screen. Since she's the one for whom I killed the caterpillars (except for two or three for butterflies). Since's she the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all. Since she's my rose."  

Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

"People where you live," the little prince said, "grow five thousand roses in one garden... yet they don't find what they're looking for..."
"They don't find it," I answered.
"And yet what they're looking for could be found in a single rose, or a little water..."
"Of course," I answered.
And the little prince added, "But eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart." 


Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Speech To Tell the World

I wrote this when I was 17. I guess there's a part of our soul that never changes...:

A Speech To Tell the World

If I had a speech to give the world tomorrow, it would go like this:

"World, open your eyes. Look beyond yourselves and find the Truth. I have found it but am too weak to own it. Never be weak. But if you are strong, do not be proud. Look beyond the surface of things, deep in to their meaning. For the secrets of life are found beneath every hardship and every smile. Do not cry for what has passed you by. Learn not to yearn for what can never by yours. Understand that even prayer is not magic. A man's body may bow without his soul. Do not be so arrogant as to believe that God will knock on your door, for He has no need for you or I. You must strive toward God, who will then, and only then, come towards you. You must strive and struggle for all that you want. Know that this life was not meant to be easy, for then what would the next be called. Understand that happiness is like a tree. God gave you the seeds, the sun, and the rain, but only you can make it grow. Do not wait your whole life for a dream. Make the most of every moment of every single day, for truly it may be your last. Finally, know that the life of this world is but play and amusement. So fear a day when no father shall prevail for his son, and no son for his father. Fear a day when all will remember, 'but how will that remembrance profit them then (89:23).'"

Monday, August 8, 2011

I Grieve

11/20/03  12:25 am

I Grieve
By: Yasmin Mogahed

I lifted my head
Once more
Only to see
The sun had set,
The trees had slept,
And they’d all gone home

I grieve.

The sky that was clear
is now covered with fog.
My path, I no longer see.
Why try…when it’s all so gray?

I grieve.

Today I grieve
For what’s been lost.
My forgotten people,
still on their knees
before a snow god in spring

I grieve.

They’ve forgotten that prayer
And to whom they should call.
The Essence replaced
by mundane ritual,
empty symbols.
Their hearts… so tired,
jaded and worn

I grieve.

We are a people
defeated…but not conquered.

And somehow
I feel my blood return.
I will stand.
I will try.
And from beyond my grief,
I will see…

There are a people you can’t enslave.
A loyalty…you can’t buy.
For a land may be occupied…
but never a soul.

From beyond my tears
I’ll understand…
Today my people weep.
But tomorrow…Death will die,
as their tears give birth to a land
where…“on them shall be no fear
nor shall they grieve” (2:262).

Friday, August 5, 2011

Castle or Cage

July, 2002
Castle Or Cage
By: Yasmin Mogahed

I saw you dancing in the snow.
I saw you walking late at night,
along paths of steep walkways
and thorny branches.
you spent your whole life searching,
but what you found
was it castle or cage?
where is your world?
Of it, are you prisoner or prince?
who are your parents?
did not the moon divorce the sun?

i saw it all in a dream
i thought.
the voices seem clearer now.
every poem is a path
every hardship a journey.
it ends with the crown
made of twisted pain,
withered petals.
are you writing a song with your life?
who do you think will listen?
who do you think is watching?

i think you got lost
in your own mind,
amid your own thoughts.
you lost your way
somewhere between
pleasure and pain.
it got fogged
somewhere between
here and there,
between snow and sun.
i wish the cold had waited.

i'm sorry.

there's a world
below the world,
beyond and deeper yet.
you and i can see
but not they.
there's a pain
beyond tears,
a speech
beyond thought.
there's a land of hope
untouched by words.
there's a heart
understood by none.

i left you alone
to search.
I'm sorry.
What you found
was it castle or cage?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Long After the Euphoria Has Passed

Something I wrote many years ago...I think I wrote all of it with my eyes closed (literally) :)...

Long After the Euphoria Has Passed

This time, sadness. not urgency. just sadness.

i know.

but what's the point of explaining? what's the point
in trying anymore? where's the reason for that
awareness?  where's the point? what can it change to
know why?  and to capture the reason, embody it, and
explain it beautifully?  what path will change?  what
reason will depart?

and yet, i waste my words. my effort to think. the
energy to lift my head, when i'm so tired. so tired
inside. so depleted, although unused. depleted without
being taken.  lost without ever having known my way.
broken before being whole.  how can something break
that never even was?

long after the euphoria has passed, what's left?  no
sentences, just fragments of broken thoughts. the fear
of being right. it's almost strong enough to make you
break the truth you know.  and after having broken it
with your own hands, believing the lies it tells.  we
all lie. we all lie. i'm lying now. i'm not okay. my
words are nothing but a transparent bravado.

i don't even have anything to say anymore, but i'm
still writing. why? who's listening anymore? who's
even listening? not even me. not even you. no one.
does nothingness exist? it does here.  in this quite
space in my mind, it exists. and i'd like to keep it
that way.  i don't want to be here anymore. i'm tired.

only sadness this time. not urgency. only sadness long
after  the euphoria has passed.  but i'll still be
standing here.  i'll still be here.   wondering if
it's all just a shadow of a dream i forgot to
remember. stop. please stop. i'm just a shadow of a
dream i forgot to forget. 

and i refuse, oh, i refuse, to be anything more.

if you don't like it, let me be.  let me be. long
after the euphoria has passed, that's all i'll be. the
thing i refuse to accept, the lies i refuse to
believe, the faces i refuse to hide. the words are
passing through holes in my mind. i built them for
you.  they're just holes in my mind. holes. it's
alright. it's not alright. it just is.

and i refuse, oh, i refuse, to be anything more...long
after the euphoria has passed.

i'll still be standing here. 
i promise.
i promise.
i promise.

Monday, July 18, 2011

On the struggle of life…

On the struggle of life…
By: Yasmin Mogahed

I thought of you today
I thought of you and remembered those words you told me
In the most perfect way
You calmed my beating heart
And eased my breath
You told me those words and I carry them still
They lift me, fill me, undo the wear
Because more than pain, I am worn
I feel like I’ve lived this story for a thousand years
And I’m ready now to sleep
I’m ready to let go
I’m ready for the story to end now
I’m ready to feel your peace
And the sound of your voice
Telling me I’m done, I’ve won, I’m there
But I know I know this place
I’ve been here before
I’m going to sleep now
I’m going to sleep
Please don’t ask
Please don’t ask
Just let me sleep
Just let me sleep with your words upon my tongue:
‘Oh mankind, indeed you are ever toiling towards your lord, painfully toiling…
But you shall meet Him’ (84:6)

Friday, July 15, 2011


i love my friends, i have a tendency to care too much about people, if you wrong me, i'll probably forgive you, i see through people, i give too much, i'm overly idealistic, which often translates to utter stupidity and the complete inability to let go of what i hold dear, i think peanut butter and chocolate were made for each other, my name is sona if you're special, i'm newly IN LOVE with Lifehouse, i think mecca is a piece of heaven on earth, God is my air and writing, my breathing, i wish i could figure skate and play the violin, i can't stand macho apathetic men, i think smoking should be outlawed, i like people who admit they don't have it all figured out, there's almost nothing i wouldn't do for my sisters, i love to understand people that no one else does, i'm moved by rain, i think it takes strength to cry, i'm still hopeful, i strive for wisdom and insight, i'm overly emotional and intense, i value empathy, sincerity, humility, and honesty, i ask that you don't lie to me...and if i could...i'd be watching Niagara fall right now.

Have Mercy on Me My Soul

Have Mercy On Me My Soul

By Khalil Gibran

Why are you weeping, my Soul?
Knowest thou my weakness?
Thy tears strike sharp and injure,
For I know not my wrong.
Until when shalt thou cry?
I have naught but human words to interpret your dreams,
Your desires, and your instructions.
Look upon me, my Soul;
I have consumed my full life heeding your teachings.
Think of how I suffer!
I have exhausted my life following you.
My heart was glorying upon the throne,
But is now yoked in slavery;
My patience was a companion,
But now contends against me;
My youth was my hope,
But now reprimands my neglect.
Why, my Soul, are you all-demanding?
I have denied myself pleasure
And deserted the joy of life
Following the course which you impelled me to pursue.
Be just to me,
Or call Death to unshackle me,
For justice is your glory.
Have mercy on me, my Soul.
You have laden me with Love until I cannot carry my burden.
You and Love are inseparable might;
Substance and I are inseparable weakness.
Will e’er the struggle cease between the strong and the weak?
Have mercy on me, my Soul.
You have shown me Fortune beyond my grasp.
You and Fortune abide on the mountain top;
Misery and I are abandoned together in the pit of the valley.
Will e’er the mountain and the valley unite?
Have mercy on me, my Soul.
You have shown me Beauty,
But then concealed her.
You and Beauty live in the light;
Ignorance and I are bound together in the dark.
Will e’er the light invade darkness?
Your delight comes with the Ending,
And you revel now in anticipation;
But this body suffers with the life
While in life.
This, my Soul, is perplexing.
You are hastening toward Eternity,
But this body goes slowly toward perishment.
You do not wait for him,
And he cannot go quickly.
This, my Soul, is sadness.
You ascend high, though heaven’s attraction,
But this body falls by earth’s gravity.
You do not console him,
And he does not appreciate you.
This, my Soul, is misery.
You are rich in wisdom,
But this body is poor in understanding.
You do not compromise,
And he does not obey.
This, my Soul, is extreme suffering.
In the silence of the night you visit The Beloved
And enjoy the sweetness of His presence.
This body ever remains,
The bitter victim of hope and separation.
This, my Soul, is agonizing torture.
Have mercy on me, my Soul!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


This is a poem I wrote 10 years ago. Its a poem about the search for purpose and the paralyzing pain of not knowing it.


My bones want to melt
My muscles want to let go
My body wants to stop
for air,
for life.

My mind painted a picture for me,
But now it’s all in black and white.
The trees are bent, tired, closed.
My heart, the same
But still, my thoughts keep talking,
For air,
For life.

How can you erase a picture so clear,
So real?
Tell me how to erase myself from it,
And lay, my own tired steps to rest.
I see
I’m stumbling,
Not walking.
I’m tripping now
Not talking.
There’s a pain inside my chest
Born of silence, grief, unrest
Who’s there but me to claim it?
Who knows but me to name it?

I’m sorry for my apathy,
My lassitude at dawn.
I’m circling now through forests
Trying to find my niche.
Has inspiration come to me?
Whose voice is it I hear?
My own is sharp and deafening.
Who else could know my name?

It is only through His kindness
That the heart can speak
When the mind and body
are numb,
Only dragging. 
Please come,
If only to quiet my thoughts.

I’m circling forests
On wings
Still searching for my niche.
I’m no longer
I’ve won the air
I’ve won my life.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Prayed for Peace Today

I Prayed for Peace Today
By: Yasmin Mogahed

February 23, 2010 12:37 am 

I found myself praying for peace today.
I've been in and out of my mind a thousand times
I know You heard me.
I know I wasn't alone in that room,
shaking with the fear of fear,
the harrowing loneliness.
I cried out to You on my hands. On my knees.
With my face pushed down against the ground.
If I could have gotten lower, I swear I would.
Because that is helplessness, the truest kind…
The kind that knows nothing, not one leaf, or tear, or smile can be
without Him.
I learned something today.
This is dunya. Dunya. Not a place of ease. Only glitter.
The place where you have to feel cold and hungry.
The place where you have to worry and feel scared.
The place where it gets cold.
So cold, sometimes.
The place where you have to leave the people you love.
Where you can’t get attached, because even if you do, it doesn’t make it stay, it just makes it hurt when it doesn’t.
The place where happiness and sadness are only players, waiting for their next line in a play…
Competing for their place on stage.
The place where gravity makes you fall, and frailty makes you bleed.
The place where sadness exists, because it must.
And tears fall to remind you of a place where they don’t.
Where they just don’t.

And isn’t that just it? Isn’t jennah that place after all,
that place that Allah describes over and over and over in 2 ways?:
La khawfun alayhim wa la hum yahzanoon…
On them shall be no fear…nor shall they grieve.

But I’m still here, aren’t I?
The scar on my flesh reminds me of that.
The burn on my arm left a scar that I love.
I love it because it reminds me how weak I am.
How human.
That I burn. That I bleed. That I break. That I scar.
Yes. It is here that I am. Here that I fall. Here that I cry.
Here, just the same, that You filled that room, and lifted me to humbleness, and an acute knowledge of my own powerlessness and excruciating need for You.
And then you took care of it.
Of course You did.
Of course.
Like Younus, and Musa, and his mother. You took care of it.
You are the Peace of the peaceful.
The Strength of the strong.
The lighthouse of Truth in this storm of lies.
So, I found myself praying for peace today.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Die before your death

Die before your death
By: Yasmin Mogahed

Tell me I can get lost

Tell me I can lose myself in your Presence

In the overwhelming moment of real submission

Tell me I can remain forever broken

In You

For You

With You.

Tell me I can remain here forever

Away, while still here.

Did not the Prophet say: “die before your death”?

At first I thought maybe it was only a reminder to remember our meeting with You.

But then I thought how I wish I could die before my death:
Have a soul that is no longer in this life—even while the body must remain.

A heart that is freed from the shackles of dunya—even while the body must walk its streets.

Have a nafs that is in complete rest and satisfaction with its’ Lord, even while the crumbling shell remains.

A soul that is already there—even before it is there.

A soul detached .

A nafs mutmainah—in the truest and deepest and realest sense (Quran 89:27)

For as the great scholar said, rahimahuAllah, “he who does not enter the paradise of this life, will not enter the paradise of the next.“

Thursday, March 31, 2011

An Open Letter to the Dunya

I wrote this on my phone while on a flight...

An Open Letter to the Dunya
By: Yasmin Mogahed

It’s hard to explain the freedom. It’s so deep and so real. Looking through the confusion, the empty boxes and hollow images, I saw you – Dunya. You place veil after veil over my eyes. Trying to win me, deceive me, enslave me to your lies. When the truth is you couldn’t give me even a drop of water when I stood at your door begging. I was on my knees before you, desperate for you to fill me.
What I see now is a glimpse of clarity that only the stab of perpetual disappointment could carve. And I sit here surrounded by your henchmen, your army of liars sent to keep me in chains. But I won’t be your prisoner anymore. I will no longer be that little girl lying awake at night thinking of you. I am no longer that heartbroken child wasting her tears on you. My unrequited love can no longer break me. You won’t break me. I won’t bend to your glitter and false promises. I am no longer that faithful subject standing before your false throne. My tears are no longer yours to have. And my heart is no longer your sanctuary.
You can’t live here anymore.
I’ve traveled a long way to come here. Sometimes there were deserts where all I needed was a single drop of water that you couldn’t give. Sometimes storms, where all I needed was a flicker of light to guide my path. But I asked you again and again for what you could not give. For all you have is pomp, boasting and chattel of deception. And so I found myself again and again in deserts without water, in darkness without light. But I am no longer your slave for there was a man who came to liberate me from this. A man who came to liberate me from this slavery to the slave, and bring me to the slavery of the Lord of the slave.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Stab

The Stab
By: Yasmin Mogahed

Don’t grieve at the stab.
It’s only meant to free you.
From the chains that bind you to the earth
and shackle you to the shadows of people.
The mirage of water cannot quench.
But is so beautiful to the thirsty.
I’m afraid. Of never knowing another life.
Different. So different.
If I let go, will You take me higher?
Above grief, want, loss.
Above all that I’ve ever known.
Take me higher. Unbind me from the earth.
Like a vaccine, it sickens, to make you stronger.
The stab is temporary. The freedom, eternal.