Birds of Paradise: A Prayer for Gaza

written by Devin A.C. Dadah

Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem
Al-hamdu lillahi Rabb il-‘alamin
Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem
Maliki yawmi-d-Din

[In the name of Allah, the Most
Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds
The Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
Owner of the Day of Judgement.]

It is said the children of Gaza whose time on this earth has come to an end, are seen in the flocks of birds flying high above us, dancing in the sky, as the birds of paradise.

And if they are the birds who dance in the sky, then I wonder what has become of the lost children of the Congo. Are they the millions of flamingos who bathe in the rich African soil?

What of the children of Ukraine? Are they the swans whose faces treat us with mercy?

What of the children of the Rohingya? Are they not the woodpeckers who light up the jungles of South Asia with rhythmic song?

And what of the thousands of South American children who do not make the journey northward in search of a better life? Are they the hummingbirds who graciously look us in the eye and humble us before them?

When I see the needless death and suffering which plague our world I can’t help but be consumed by confusion, anger, vengeance even.

And it is these moments when shaytan (the devil) has infiltrated my heart that the Most Compassion and the Most Merciful returns me to my true self, and I hear: “forgive them; for they know not what they do…” [Luke 23:34]

The true devil is ignorance, not those passing moments of human weakness. We are all weak in some way. Imperfect beyond measure.

It is only love which gives us strength. It is only forgiveness, which allows us to forgive ourselves and in turn forgive the evils of what humanity can bring open this earth.

So let us cast away the ignorance which leads us into the realms of malicious-intent. Because if we hold onto that ignorance, we are no better than the persecutors who perpetrated the violence in the first place.

Alas, witness my prayer:
We pray for the wisdom, to seek love and forgiveness.
We pray that said wisdom will meet those who need it most.
And we pray, that those who need it most:
Will smile a great big smile, when they see
those birds of paradise, dancing in the sky.