Barnabas I. Adeleke’s muezzin’s call

muezzin’s call . . .
Santa Claus steps aside
to make ablutions

Barnabas I. Adeleke (Nigeria)
(previously published in Frogpond, 43.2) 

There are a few haiku that beautifully reflect interfaith harmony and show reverence and respect for every faith. This haiku is one of them.

The muezzin’s call to prayer is not only the call for prayer but also a message of peace for all those who are on the right path. The path that leads to serve humanity and make this world a better place. The writer beautifully blends two faiths based on the common grounds that are reflected in this haiku.

Santa Claus stepping aside is a gesture of reverence and respect not for other faiths but his own. It seems the Santa Claus in this case is a Muslim who took a break for offering a prayer, or it is a metaphor based on the actions a Santa Claus performs that brings happiness to others’ lives during the time of Christmas by distributing presents.

Ablution depicts the purification of the body before one offers a prayer. It is another way to clean one’s self and then serve others. The blend of beliefs and actions are interwoven beautifully in this haiku. It displays religious harmony in a true sense.

The muezzin’s call makes a person purify their body and soul before serving others. It’s an awakening call for all those who believe in peace, prosperity, and happiness.

Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

Most haiku are based on a season. The mention of Santa Claus sets this haiku firmly in winter and specifically at the time of Christmas. This could be said to be a senryu as well, which usually examines human life and cuts into it with satire, commentary, and societal backlash. 

In the spirit of giving, it seems like the Muslim man who is dressed up as Santa Claus for an event takes a moment out of his work to pray. I feel this is symbolic of how Christmas has turned into less of a Christian tradition and more of a universal holiday that focuses on giving and receiving gifts generously. In the moment described, the man who pretends to be Santa Claus gives a gift to himself: a moment of peace. He also surrenders himself to God, which can be seen as a gift as well. 

There is nothing hypocritical with a Muslim man portraying Santa Claus, by the way. Though Saint Nicholas was a Christian and is the inspiration for the myth of Santa, Islam and Christianity both puts importance on charity. As a side note, Jesus is discussed over 100 times in the Quran. And surprisingly, Mother Mary is mentioned more in the Quran than in both of the Christian testaments.

One way to look at this haiku is that despite acting a part for work, we should never forget who we are and our foundation. The act in the haiku also calls to mind the humbleness and faith one should have as a religious or spiritual person.

In terms of technical aspects, we can see that this was written in the standard format for English-language haiku. In addition, the sound of this poem can be noted in the use of the letters “u,” “s,” and “c.” In each line, “u” is employed, which slows down the reading of this haiku. This allows the reader to imagine the scene better and to feel the calm of prayer.

It is a haiku or senryu that is at once humorous and profound, speaking to interfaith beliefs and the weaving of cultures.

— Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)

egypt3_1650223c

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s