by Nizar Qabbani*
In a country where thinkers are assassinated, and writers are considered
infidels and books are burnt,
in societies that refuse the other, and
force silence on mouths and thoughts forbidden,
and to question is a sin,
I must beg your pardon, would you permit me?
Would you permit me to bring up my children as I want, and not to
dictate on me your whims and orders?
Would you permit me to teach my children that the religion is first to
God, and not for religious leaders or scholars or people?
Would you permit me to teach my little one that religion is about good
manners, good behaviour, good conduct, honesty and truthfulness,
before I teach her with which foot to enter the bathroom or with which hand she
Would you permit me to teach my daughter that God is about love, and
she can dialogue with Him and ask Him anything she wants, far away from the
teachings of anyone?
Would you permit me not to mention the torture of the grave to my
children, who do not know about death yet?
Would you permit me to teach my daughter the tenets of the religion
and its culture and manners, before I force on her the ‘Hijab’ (the veil)?
Would you permit me to tell my young son that hurting people and
degrading them because of their nationality, colour or religion, is considered a
big sin by God?
Would you permit me to tell my daughter to revising her homework and
paying attention to her learning is considered by God as more useful and
important than learning by heart Ayahs from the Quran without knowing their
Would you permit me to teach my son that following the footsteps of
the Honourable Prophet begins with his honesty, loyalty and truthfulness,
before his beard or how short his thobe (long shirt/dress) is?
Would you permit me to tell my daughter that her Christian friend is not
an infidel, and ask her not to cry fearing her friend will go to Hell?
Would you permit me to argue, that God did not authorize anyone on
earth after the Prophet to speak in his name nor did he vest any powers in
anyone to issue ‘deeds of forgiveness’ to people?
Would you permit me to say, that God has forbidden killing the human
spirit and who kills wrongly a human being is as if he killed all human kind,
and no Moslem has the right to frighten another Moslem?
Would you permit me to teach my children that God is greater, more
just, and more merciful than all the (religious) scholars on earth combined? And
that His standards are different from the standards of those trading the
religion, and that His accountability is kinder and more merciful?
Would you permit me?
* Nizar Qabbani is a Syrian poet whose poems have made a lot of controversies in Middle East