Eid Mubarak! Celebrate the Queer Ones!

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Dear Reader,

Eid Mubarak!


“Treat Yo Self!” Donna and Tom

The prophet says God is kind and he loves kindness. The one who is merciful to the merciful.


This past month I am deeply grateful to the queer Muslims of NYC. Together, we hosted Quran study and Iftars galore. We spoke to each other through ease and difficulty. Many of us fasted and observed in our own ways, and we offered each other compassion and kindness in ways that many people cannot imagine. We know what it means to change, and we are blessed for the courage it takes to do so.

We held each other while many of us endured physical and emotional trauma, through shame and secrecy, through courage with consequences, through depression and mental illness. We created prayer spaces for those who are trans and genderqueer, those who are feminist, those who do not accept that anyone is less because they are woman, or because they are non-binary or genderqueer. I pray for all people that they too will find a community like the queer Muslims of NYC.  I hope they will find acceptance in their lives. For Allah’s will is done through this queer community, through its love and compassion.

Today, I celebrate you, the queer ones. Hold your heads high. This Eid is Your Eid!


There must be growth. We can’t find the blessing that is uniquely you, if you yourself do not see yourself. When you take care of yourself, we are all taken care of.


I’m sending duas and hugging the community of poets, artists and writers of Poetry-A-Day for Ramadan. View their work here.  This was the creation of Tanzila Ahmed. Everyday, in my hungriest moments, fifty some artists flocked to Taz’s site. Not all of us thought of ourselves as poets, but all of us were. We were vulnerable. We fed each other words and art, drank of each other’s emotions. Taz, you gave breath, and we hope we honored the intent of your project by giving of our hearts and minds, and surely that is where we can find our best selves.

Today, I celebrate you, the poets and writers and all artists in any shape and form who observed Ramadan! However you observed it is cool by me.  We accepted each other and freed each other.  We discussed whether you broke your fast early, or fasted differently than prescribed, or did not fast at all.

Allah is the most merciful and the most loving of intention, and surely you as artists are helping all of us make visible that intention.

You artists are the ones who express Jannah, who give form to our imagination.  You are blessed for your work.


The purpose was to fill your hearts.


I’m so grateful to my family (Bustin, erniceba, and Mom and Bee-Doo and my uncle and aunt, and so many more).  They’re not Muslim, but they’ve found acceptance with my identity, queer and Muslim alike.

When I speak of family, I’m speaking of love itself.   For they tell me the thing that every daughter and son, every child, needs to hear most, that they are loved.  Tell your children and your parents and your siblings and your friends and your community this love.  Tell it before you speak a word of hurt.

I’m so grateful to my friends: those who uphold and believe #BlackLivesMatter, Debbie whose wisdom guides me and who is healing as I write, Penny who holds me at night and who I love more and more each day, Courtru my personal Taurus, T who inspires me and teaches me even when her arm is busted and hurts, Saimo who is brilliant and justice and compassion, the Don who is my own heart walking around this world creating beauty, art, and kindness, John who gives me time and energy and believed in this blog, the Imam who teaches forgiveness, S who truly listens and loves, Ra’D whose strength is in their vulnerability, Heart who is the joy after which they were named, Eman who is generous beyond gift and gold, Shubha so understanding and so sweet, Samira who taught me the awesome game with books and has true presence, Mickey/Kim for giving me the opportunity to teach, the 10th graders who taught me more than I taught them, Bridgett/Bold as Love for giving me a place to read this journal, VONA community, the Queer Muslims of NYC.  Everybody who supported me.  The Doctor who is always annoyingly right, who sustains me.

Thanks to every one of you who has read this blog.

A special thanks to all my friends who saw fit to love me through it, to pass an encouraging word now and then – you fueled me.

When I went through being assaulted at Union Square, I was held. Thank you to those who kept me in their thoughts.  You held me.

I’m so grateful to you for filling my heart.


Let me see this world through my heart not just through my eyes. And may your heart have compassion. Sometimes the hardest person to find love for is not somebody else but you yourself.


 

I struggled this Ramadan. The difficulty taught me many things.  It opened up a free fall of anger and hurt, as well as gratitude and compassion.

No love can reach a person who doesn’t love themselves.

Allah, thank you for loving me, for giving me this big heart.

It holds You.

Yours,

Serena


The prophet says God is kind and he loves kindness. The one who is merciful to the merciful.

There must be growth. We can’t find the blessing that is uniquely you, if you yourself do not see yourself. When you take care of yourself, we are all taken care of.

The purpose was to fill your hearts.

Let me see this world through my heart not just through my eyes. And may your heart have compassion. Sometimes the hardest person to find love for is not somebody else but you yourself.

– excerpts from the khutba of Imam Khalid Latif


In loving memory of my father, Eric Garner, Claudia Emerson.

A nod to the many great poets/artists who I’ve cited in this year’s blog: Ruth Forman, St. Theresa of Ávila, Rumi, Hafiz, Galway Kinnell, Kamilah Aisha Moon, Sekou Sundiata, Metta Sáma, Sonia Sanchez, Yayoi Kusama, and Pablo Neruda.

In honor of Allah.


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