I Am Your Brother, Adam
I am Malaysian Pakistani and Somali and Arab:
I am Turk and Irani and native of the Maldives:
My home is in Paris, Berlin, London;
in Mexico City, Port-of-Spain, Durban;
in Karachi, Zagazig or Kuala Lumpur
I am as at home sailing in a lateen
rigged baggala along the red-rock Oman
shores bound for Socotra's island
as I am crossing the Khyber Pass
in a camel caravan
...or driving a Mercedes taxi in Istanbul.
Na'am, aiwa, acha, kha,
I am your brother, Adam.
You will know me in the mosques when
I stand shoulder to shoulder with you
and wish you peace when prayer is done:
and you may see me in Isfahan
talking witha miniature painter or in Dera Ismail Khan
listening to a young and vocal teacher of Urdu
or in Medan listening to a old man chanting the Quran
or in Sacramento listening to a college boy who has all
the problems of the universe solved.
You will know me because I am your brother
and in a real and forceful sense I am
a part of you, dependent on you as you are
dependent on me...as rocks in a city wall...
round as the ancient wall of Baghdad.
I am Egyption and Tunisian and Syrian:
I am Berber and Kurd; Fulani and Nausherwani
I am Maliki, Hanafi, Hanbali, and Shafii:
all these I am, for I am your brother
standing besides you in the mosque waiting
for the iqama...white-garbed in the plain
of Arafat...fasting with you in Ramadan.
I am at home in the black tents of the bedu
and the tall buildings of Hadhramaut...;
I am always lingering at the Great Mosque
to circle the Kaaba and to kiss the hajral-aswad
and drink from the well of Zamzam;
and I am standing, too, in the Haraam ash-sharif
in Jerusalem and in Karbala...and all of them,
each of them, has meaning on meaning for me.
Na'am ya habibi, ya azizi, ya akhi,
I am your brother Adam.
You will know me when you see me
because I wll be fingering my beads
and you will know well what this means...
You will know me and I will know you
for we are real brothers; and I am of
one place as I am of another...as much a
part of one as the other; the lover
of all lands where I can listen to the
call of the muezzin coming over the night,
or hear the beat of a single Muslim heart.