New Book of Ismaili Devotional Poetry by Shaheen Tejani called Nazrana available now on Amazon globally.
Devotional poetry is a lightning rod for those who seek and struggle along the path of faith. In Muslim esoteric traditions, poetry has a central role in practice and piety; it is the direct line to the beloved. Growing up as a refugee in 1970’s in Canada, a Khoja Ismaili Muslim from East Africa, rooted in Indian culture, I was taught mystical devotional poetry called Ginans. I was touched by their beauty, their rhythm and their power, but I knew something was missing for me, they did not speak directly to me in the language of my thoughts, English. Writing poetry became my diary and an intellectual and spiritual conversation. In all traditions, devotional poetry is offered without the demands of recognition or acceptance. The true lover wishes only to mark oneself, and to raise a sign for the beloved: “I am here and I burn.” This is my sign.
Shaheen Tejani is a poet writing in the Muslim tradition of devotional poetry, inspired by Sufi esoteric traditions where poetry is used as a reflection tool in the search for a path to God. As a refugee fleeing Uganda in 1972, her experience of growing up in Africa and moving from the UK to Canada ingrained the immigrant experience into her psyche. Made in the East and Grown in the West. The last 10 years, Shaheen has worked in poverty alleviation and microfinance, in the developing world. These journeys have taken her to over 25 countries, encountering many Muslim traditions and people of all walks of life who struggle to live and become alive through different traditions of faith and culture.
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