Imra’a: For my sisters in the Arab world and beyond







Not a fragment of your shadow

Not a rib torn out of your torso

Not a mail order

Not a house slave

Not a fairytale princess

Not a damsel in distress

Not a genie in a bottle

Not a saint

Not scattered

Not arranged

Not lacking in brain or piety

Not a fountain of propriety

I am eternity

Lived in an instant

I am constant


I am chaos in stability

In songs you ache for me

I am your refuge and your refugee

Your barren desert and your fertile field

Your homeland

Your ‘watan’

My womb yields the fruit of life

I am your daughter




A prince of poetry wrote of me

 “Alommo madrasaton…”

A mother is a school

 When well prepared

You prepare a well-mannered nation

A thousand and one Arabian nights

I am inspiration

In the holy scriptures

I am temptation

I am your Eve in the Garden of Eden

My qualities revealed in the holy Quran

‘inna kaydahonna azeem’

I am your dream

Your ‘hoor alayn’

Your seduction

Your redemption

Your struggle

Your salvation

I am your strengths and weaknesses

All rolled into one

I am your lived reality

And all that you refuse to see

I am what you cannot define

Cannot confine

To a fantasy

I am human

Of flesh and blood

My virtue unquantifiable

My faults monumental

I am neither a reflection of you nor on you

Your ticket to paradise does not begin with my virtue

Your redemption does not begin with my submission

Your peace of mind does not begin with my conformity

Your honor is not defined by my chastity

Your vice is your own

Your honor is your own

Your fantasies are your own

For I can barely carry

My own burden


I am




Written by Samah Sabawi February 18, 2013

3 thoughts on “Imra’a: For my sisters in the Arab world and beyond

  1. socolaura February 18, 2013 / 9:01 pm

    I am neither Arab nor Muslim, but this is beautiful and speaks to all women. Thank you.


  2. aseeamahmood February 18, 2013 / 8:32 am

    Stunning poetry from the heart. A woman who stands in get power is a force tone reckoned with.


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