There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger

This poem is a fictional account from the POV of a Muslim girl in a poverty stricken country during a war. There are two things you may want to know before you read this: 'La ilaha illalahu, Muhamadurrasul Allah' is what a Muslim is recommended to recite before death, as a testament to their faith, and 'Inna lillahi, Wa inna ilayhi raji-oon' is recited when a Muslim has died. The former is read by some Muslims before they sleep, in case one was to die during sleep.

"I want a bedtime story,"

My brother says to me,

I sigh with exasperation,

"Go pee, and then we'll see."

As he quickly runs out of sight,

I throw the night a look,

Then rub my tired eyes,

And grab the story book.

"I want the one with Moses,"

He exclaims once he's back,

I smile and tuck him in,

And give his bum a gentle whack.

He giggles like he's two,

And waits patiently for me,

We flick through the pages

And he points excitedly.

"Okay okay," I assent,

And read the story quickly,

Then when it's finally over,

He yawns and grins cheekily.

"What should you say before you sleep?"

I remind him with a smile,

He opens closing eyes,

And says with his usual style…

"La ilaha illalahu,

Muhamadurrasul Allah,"

There is no God but Allah,

And Muhammad is his messenger.

"Go to sleep," I kiss his head,

And hope the ground is not too rough,

Then I stack the remaining firewood,

Hoping it will be enough.

My brother's snores fill the hut,

And I restlessly glimpse outside,

The soldiers are not far away,

Nor is the stink of suicide.

Earlier today, a young man died,

Leaving his daughter all alone,

She was taken by the soldiers,

Never to return home.

Last month, our Father left,

Unable to bear our pleas,

Soon after, Mother died,

So it's just my brother and me.

I pray that Allah protect us,

As we sleep through the long night,

And I pray that we'll be in Heaven,

In the afterlife.

I curl my body around him,

And close my eyes and ears,

It's time to smother my hunger,

My pain, my grief, my fears.

"La ilaha illalahu,

Muhamadurrasul alaahoo,"

There is no God but Allah,

And Muhammad is his messenger.

The next day, I leave my brother

As I forage for something to eat,

The villagers don't see me

As I slip by on silent feet.

The baker throws the bread out

When it goes green all the way,

So today I head towards his shop,

It's our lucky day.

On the way, I see a bloodied man

Lying on the sodden ground,

He groans as if to ask for help,

And I quickly walk around.

My brother is waiting for food,

I need to get away,

I'm sorry I can't help you,

Is what I want to say.

The baker did throw the bread out,

And I grab it gratefully,

Thank Allah for small mercies,

I think as I run back hurriedly.

But as I near my home,

I see something is not right,

A cloud of smoke drifts to the sky

And the tent is all alight.

I scream my brother's name,

The rotten bread falls from my hand,

I scald my limbs in search of him,

But that's not what fate had planned.

Eventually, the fire burns out,

And I shift through the black ash,

My mind is numb, my heart has died,

It's all gone in a flash.

My hand touches something hard,

I shift the ash aside,

The bones of my brother are revealed,

His limbs lie on one side.

So he was still asleep, I reflect,

When the fire took him away,

I sit there by his side,

And that's where I'll always stay.

Goodbye, my love; my dearest brother,

You, too, have left me here,

I pray you did not suffer,

I regret that I was not near.

Inna lillahi,

Wa inna ilayhi raji-oon,

Surely we belong to Allah

And to Him we shall return.