by: enas elmohands


In the 1960s, Algerian revolutionary, Djamila Boupacha was captured by French soldiers and raped with a broken beer bottle

and the one question she asked herself,


Do you think any man would want me

after Ive been ruined by that bottle?


sito says, dont ever let a man touch you down there

        lazm t7fzy 3la nefsk

        sharafk ahem she2 3ndk

amity says,  a girls virginity is like a match

    its only lit once

    she who gives herself deserves what she gets


the Quran says,


virgins promised to men in paradise

reclining in brocade and silk


إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَهُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ


scholars say,

do not confuse culture for religion

point fingers at governments, blame corruption

look the other way while women are raped

and then promote open discussion

in one breath tell us we are equal, the next immoral and sinful


we muslimas have the word honor carved into our tongues by the age of nine

so when we first bleed we cant call ourselves a woman without swallowing those desires

are taught to covet our purity see our virginity as holy

submit quietly when they cut us before we hit puberty


Allah, I looked for you in Tahrir

could not find you

mastered all 99 names of you

chanted them as if I can make freedom out of you


but I find no freedom in having a body that is chained

in burning to fuel a revolution so that men can chant for change


Allah, I will not pray to you


do not ask me to bend to a god who wrote no book for me

whose poetry erased women from my history

who created man and watched as he used bottles to mutilate our bodies


Allah, I do not fear the shaytan

I fear Ill have daughters and theyll live in a world where youre still god


Allah, I learned to love you before I knew I had to love myself

was taught to find peace in your words and seek you when I needed help


Allah, my sisters are dying

and youre still the last word they say before they close their eyes



I will pray to you when you send down your 100th name

when the prophetess you choose carves it into Djamilas grave.





The Feminist





Arabic Translations:


sito: grandma

amity: my aunt

lazm t7fzy 3la nefsk: you have to take care of yourself

sharafk ahem she2 3ndk: your honor is the most important thing you have

حورية : houri

إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَهُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ : indeed, this is the great attainment (a line from the Quran)

muslimas: female muslims

shaytan: the devil

enas is a Muslim Arab-American poet whose passion is threading the arts into the dialogue of human rights as she believes they can be a profound catalyst for change. Find enas on Tumblr