My Father – A Poem By Iftikhar Naseem

by Mohib on July 4, 2006

Through a post by Adnan, I got to know about Iftikhar Naseem. He is a Pakistani born poet who writes fine Urdu poems and lives in Chicago. He is homosexual by nature and it takes courage to come out, especially when one belongs to South Asian society and I admire him for that.

Recently, I issued an anthology from the library that contains a few Nazms and Ghazals written by Intikhar Naseem. I especially liked the one titled ‘mere baabaa’ (my father) in which he delves into the issue of his sexual preference. I found the poem quite touching and one can feel the pain of not being able to fulfill the roles our society has come to expect from us. The translation (for whatever it’s worth) is mine.

mere baabaa

mere baabaa
sab kahte haiN
merii shakl
aap se miltii-jultii hai

merii aaNkheN
merii peshaanii
mere hoNT
meraa lahjaa
baateN karne kaa andaaz
uThne-baiThne
chalne-phirne ka andaaz
mere haathoN kii harkat
sab kuch aap hii jaisaa hai

maiNe sunaa hai beTaa
baap kii nasl kaa vaaris hotaa hai

mere zehn meN ek savaal ubhartaa hai
maiN jo bilkul aap par huuN
to phir merii tarjiih-e-jins
aapse kyuuN is darja alag hai?

My Father

My father,
everyone says
my appearence
resemble yours.

My eyes
my forehead
my lips
my accent
the way I talk
sit around
the way I walk;
movement of my hands,
everything is like yours only.

I have heard that the son
is the heir of his father’s lineage.

A questions comes to my mind.
If I am exactly like you
then why my sexual preference
is so much different from yours?

Iftikhar Naseem

{ 2 trackbacks }

links for 2006-07-06 at Within / Without
July 5, 2006 at 10:47 pm
Life is a street car named Desire » Poetry Time
July 6, 2006 at 8:04 pm

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

neha July 5, 2006 at 3:57 am

Beautiful. Thanks so much for this.

Mohib July 5, 2006 at 9:43 pm

You are welcome, Neha. Glad that you like it.

sukhi July 5, 2006 at 11:28 pm

hi,

This poem is wakai kabile taareef. Need ur permission to post this poem on my blog.

Mohib July 5, 2006 at 11:37 pm

@sukhi Sure, please go ahead.

confused July 6, 2006 at 5:27 pm

Lovely poem!

Very touching. Do you mind if I cut and paste it for my private collection?

best

Mohib July 6, 2006 at 6:10 pm

@ confused

Such formality?
:-P

Sure. I am happy that people liked the poem.

Ovais Minai July 27, 2006 at 2:17 pm

Well, I didn’t find the poem very special, pretty straight stuff, though the same cannot be said for the poet :-)

Actually Mohib bhai, I find it a bit unsettling that you admire a person for coming out about his homosexuality, since I do know that you are an active reader of the Quran (unlike most of us), as a younger brother I would like to know what the Quran says about homosexuality, would appreciate one of your usual, informative responses.

Thanks,
Ovais.

Mohib July 29, 2006 at 9:35 pm

@ Ovais

I don’t know what you mean by ‘being special’ but if something strucks a chord somewhere, then I think it is good enough. The beauty of this poem lies in its simplicity and individuality. The discussion regarding the rights of homosexuals has been ‘rhetoricized’ a lot especially here in the west. Amidst all the brouraha, this poem tries to bring the focus back to those human beings who suffer a lot just because they have a different sexual orientation.

I am not an active reader of Quran and not qualified enough to discuss Islamic position on homosexuality. I have some knowledge though. I would be glad if you could state what you understand by Quranic injuctions on the issue and then we can go from there.

Best,
Mohib

Prof Dr Khalid Rashid Sager August 5, 2007 at 3:54 am

Dear brothers is Islam

Assalam-o-Alaikum: I fail to understand why if you call yourself a Muslim you have to praise someone who is openly homosexual. I feel sorry. Islam never allows such filth.In fact, Islam considers homosexuality to be clearly sinful. As far as Islam is concerned, it is a profound mistake, specially that humans are not homosexuals by nature. People become homosexuals because of their environments.

Particularly critical is the environment during puberty. Suggestions, ideas, strange dreams are symptoms of confused attempts to understand new and blunt sexual desires and are rashly interpreted as defining someone as being one sexuality or another. If these conclusions are accompanied by actual homosexual acts they are even more strongly reinforced.

Human instincts can be subjected to acts of will. Sexuality is based on a choice of identity, which develops into actions and hence, sexual fantasies. Human beings are especially able to control their thoughts, entertaining some and dismissing others. However, if this free will is not recognized it is easy to get into a cycle of thinking which starts from accepting a hypothesis about yourself as true rather than as a possible choice.

This is even if the options are sometimes difficult. For example: “I am lazy,” could be supposed true by someone. When the person who thinks this, lays around in bed in the morning, he observes this inaction as evidence of the statement: “I am lazy.” As he repeatedly chooses to do so, the evidence mounts and the idea becomes fixed in his identity.

This may even have physical manifestations and cause some changes to his/her physiological and psychological nature. This process can easily occur for any idea good or bad about the self which is based largely on evidence resulting from ones own action. The idea may be “I am gay” or “I am content” or “I love eating lots of food.”

The truth is – you are what you choose to be; you do what you choose to do; you think what you choose to think. There may be long time delays between the causing choices and the effects, but anyone can change themselves. There are reformed ex-drug addicts, reformed ex-compulsive gamblers and ex-homosexuals. In all these failings, prevention is 1000 times better than curing and even much easier.

It has been suggested that homosexuality is genetically inherited and that those who have this predisposition are victims of it, not sinners of any sort. However, there are other things which are probably genetically influenced to give predispositions to. Examples for that are gambling or alcoholism.

It could also be argued – and has been – that it is programmed into men’s genetics for them to be unfaithful to their partner! All these things don’t make it the right thing to do, nor does it prevent these things from being regarded as sinful. Drinking alcohol will still be regarded as sinful in Islam even if you have a predisposition to be an alcoholic.

The trick as every post alcoholic will tell you is never touch another drop after you quit – it is a long slippery slope – your life is better without it. Once a certain desire is connected to your identity strongly and you get in some way hooked on it, it will always be easy to return to it – you are unable to forget the satisfaction.

The difficult task is remembering the bad side of the desire, such as hangovers, lost money, self loathing or simply the sense of loss because of what you missed out on. But if you are to change for the better, you must remember this. Then the past desires you bound up with your identity, which can become disconnected from what you choose to become.

The Qur’an and Homosexuality:

There are five references in the Qur’an, which have been cited as referring to gay and lesbian behavior. Some obviously deal with “effeminate men” and “masculine women”. The two main references to homosexual behavior are in Surah 7, verses 80 – 81, where the Quraan says that:
*{We also sent Lut. He said to his people: “Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation [ever] committed before you? For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.}*
Then Surah 26, verse 165 says that:
*{What! Of all creatures do ye come unto the males, and leave the wives your Lord created for you? Nay, but ye are forward folk.}*
Both references relate to gay sexual activities; lesbian practices are not mentioned in the Qur’an. Lut is referred to as “Lot” in the Hebrew Scriptures. This passage is an apparent reference to the activities at Sodom and Gamorah.

It seems to imply that there was no homosexual behavior before it first appeared in Sodom. This is a uniquely Islamic concept; it does not appear in Jewish or Christian beliefs. The passage also links the sin of Sodom – the reason for its destruction – to homosexuality.

There is a consensus among Islamic scholars that all humans are naturally heterosexual. Homosexuality is seen by scholars to be sinful and a perverted deviation from the norm. All Islamic schools of thought and jurisprudence consider gay acts to be unlawful.

They only differ in terms of penalty. Some say that no physical punishment is warranted. Some see that severe punishment is warranted, while others require a minimum of 4 adult male witnesses before a person can be found guilty of a homosexual act. Almighty Allah has prohibited illegal sexual intercourse and homosexuality and all means that lead to either of them. This perverted act is a reversal of the natural order, a corruption of man’s sexuality, and a crime against the rights of females.

The spread of this depraved practice in a society disrupts its natural life pattern and makes those who practice it slaves to their lusts, depriving them of decent taste, decent morals, and a decent manner of living. The story of the people of Prophet Lut as narrated in the Qur’an should be sufficient for us. Lut’s people were addicted to this shameless depravity, abandoning natural, pure, lawful relations with women in the pursuit of this unnatural, foul and illicit practice. That is why their prophet, Lut (peace be upon him) told them what means:
*{What! Of all creatures, do you approach males and leave the spouses whom your Lord has created for you? Indeed, you are people transgressing [all limits]!}*
(Ash-Shu`araa: 165-166)
The strangest expression of these peoples’ perversity of nature, lack of guidance, depravity of morals, and aberration of taste was their attitude toward the guests of Prophet Lut (peace be on him), who were angels of punishment in human form sent by Allah to try these people and to expose their perversity.
It is particularly noteworthy that Islam does not view the fulfillment of sexual desire as the main aim of marriage. Marriage is a means of assuring that human kind survives and a means of fostering a web of sound relations that aid in building sound families that constitute the smallest units for the society at large. This healthy society is the final aim of Islam.

According to Dr. Taha Jaber Al-`Alwani, humans are not animals controlled by their sexual instincts, answering the call of sexual desires every time it is aroused in them.
Rather, it is their responsibility to know how they can orient this craving, which is a trust Allah has implemented in them, both male and female, in addition to the will and power to choose, a blessing Allah has bestowed on humans; all this is what distinguishes them from the rest of the creatures in that they orient their conduct and do what is good.

So, viewing material desires as aims in themselves is a deviation from one’s natural disposition and a departure from the natural order. If the trend in the West is to legalize this conduct, it should be noted that such things did not materialize until after religious values had been diluted and had been changed to relative values that glorify individuality and make pleasures as an end and aim.
Furthermore, the confusion about the concept of the Hereafter and other issues gives rise to confusion about sexuality and hence the occurrence of this anarchy. From here covetousness and greed arose to push for the establishment of numerous industries built for the purpose of stirring up passions such as sexual tourism, the making of lewd films, the promotion of sexually gratifying instruments and other things. The result is the destruction of the concept of family and its values and confusion arose about appropriate kinds of relationships between males and females to the point that we see families being formed from two males or two females.I do hope you would have the courage to print this comments also.

Mohib August 11, 2007 at 2:30 am

Prof. Khalid:

I am a Muslim but not your opinion of what I should be. I don’t think your thoughts and I don’t speak your words.

Why is it so difficult for us to let Allah decide on the Day of Judgement (if one believes in it) than being judgemental about others?

shoeb August 16, 2007 at 8:40 pm

Mohib

are u non muslim.homosex is clearly unlawful in islam.

Mohib August 16, 2007 at 10:43 pm

Shoeb:

I am a Muslim and my religion tells me not to force my beliefs on to others.

YLH February 24, 2009 at 11:28 am

While I find Ifti Naseem to be a shameless self promoter using his sexual preference to get ahead in life… I must say that Mohib has made me proud as a Muslim and a Pakistani for saying the things he has said here.

Sexual preference is a personal matter…no one has the right to judge anyone for it.

tsk February 11, 2010 at 11:13 am

Brothers,
One finger pointing, three point back.
God has not given you the right to judge what makes your brother a Muslim. Leave the judging to Allah.

Insha June 20, 2010 at 5:17 am

Hi nice poem ;) but why don’t you put it in urdu writting please more effective its fathers day today say make it more effencive

Insha June 20, 2010 at 5:18 am

LOve the poem
(L) it :) (*)

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