Marcus Robertson (Abu Taubah): February 2013 (On The Inside)

15 May

Chapter One

As the prisoners file into the chapel, their eyes are scanning the congregation for possible friends and foes. Then, once deciding whether to go right or left, they rush off in their chosen direction to greet their associates from the other cell blocks Speaking in hushed tones, they pass on messages and news from loved ones in far away places. I’m standing in the heart of the chapel by the podium, greeting everyone as they come in.

“Come in brothers! You can sit anywhere you want. As-Salaamu ‘alaykum. Peace, Peace. Yeah maan, you can sit wherever you want. Don’t worry about it; we won’t get started until everybody finds a spot.”


In Prison, people come to religious service for different reasons. Sure, some come to pray and some come searching for the truth, but most come to see their people, or to get out of the cell for an hour or two.

It’s almost time. Everybody’s finally sitting down. Some half-facing each other, some leaning back and others on the edge of their seats: all whispering, smiling and enjoying each others company. Looking around I realize that I don’t know these guys from Aadam. I am a stranger here.

Out of the thirty or so men in this room, only about five of us are Muslims. And two of them are New Shahaadas. So where do I start with these men? They are quite aware of the nature of their crimes. But if you were to ask them, “How could you do such things?” They will explain that they have sold drugs to the most respected Preachers. And have seen too many “Church Ladies” turning tricks to pay their bills not to do such things. In their world, they are normal men trying to survive in a system that has little concern for them.

I recognize that they have seen a lot, but what I don’t know is what they understand about Islaam. Which leads me back to the question of: where do I start with these guys. Hmph, I’m getting a queasy feeling rolling about in my stomach. Steady, steady, it’s time to start, take a breath…

Rabbish-raH-Lee Sadree”
My Lord give me the right inspiration,” whispers out of my mouth.

wa Yas-sir-Lee amree
and make this easy for me…

waH-LuL ‘uQdataM MiL-Lisaanee…”
“and untie the knot in my tongue…”

Yaf-Qahoo QawLee.”
“so that they can relate to what I’m talking about.”

Then, raising my voice just above the friendly commotion, I say:

“Bis-millahir RaH-maanir Ra-Heem. My name is Wahshee and I’m going to be teaching the class today.”

Nothing. Most are not paying attention, caught up in conversations much more interesting. When a scattered few give me the, “Go ahead, you’re not interrupting us” nod. I feel a smile growing uncontrolled on my face. I can’t help it. Class is in session… and I love it.

I begin, “AL-Hamdulillah, Getting locked up is almost like dying… only better.”

The low rumble ceases. “Every man in this room knows what it feels like to get locked up right?”   

No answer, but they’re looking around and asking each other, “Who is he?” mouths one. “Is he serious?” whispers another. “Where did he come from?” Shrugged shoulders and ‘I don’t know’s’ criss-cross the room.

C’mon, this ain’t no lecture, I’m asking.

A grey haired old man yells out, “Of course, ain’t we all in jail?” That gets a few smiles and some light snickers.

And we know about dying too.” I add in a serious tone. Then turning and focussing on the old man I say, “Most of us have been shot, or stabbed, or…“, pointing to the old man who knowingly adds, “Or we done the shooting and stabbing.

Then slowly, to make sure it doesn’t sound like bragging, I say, “That, we have my friend, that we have.”

Whacha mean, We, Us?” asks a linebacker of a man with dreds hanging down his back. “Ain’t you a Hemaam?”

Even me, Dred,” I reply.

Upon hearing that, the Dred leaps to his feet, questioning the congregation, “Lordy Lord! What type of Hemaam we got ‘ere?” Then shaking a thick finger at me he adds,“He must’ve been stealin’ da Mosque money, or messin’ wit dem wife and they catch his blood clot!”

The Chapel erupts with laughter.

Putting my hands up in mock surrender, “No, no. Nothing like that. I never stole from GOD and I’ve never touched another man’s wife.”

Yeah, but we wanna know,” insists the Dred, taking his seat and giving pounds to the Rastas sitting around him.

I pause until the room gets silent. “I haven’t always been an Imaam. So let’s just say that if my sins had a smell, no one would sit around me.”

More silence follows as they consider my reply. Finally the Dred says with a wave, “Go ahead Hemaam. You ain’t got to splain nonna dat to we.” And opening his huge arms to his right and left he adds, “We all got a closet full of dem bones, seen?”

Heads all around the room nod in agreement. For a few moments no one speaks. Each man reflecting on the bones that he keeps.

A young man named “Yellow” leans forward and says, “What about that thing you said? What’s up with that?

It’s true,” I say. “Getting locked up is almost like dying, just better. Think about it. Who knew they were going to get locked up the day they got locked? Nobody. You didn’t plan it. Likewise, who knows what day they gonna die? Nobody. Both happen all of a sudden.

Our Cells are just like graves: cold, dark and dank. And we are no longer in the outside world but placed in a transitional reality. Our families receive the news of our incarceration with the same anxiety and confusion that would be produced by our deaths.

A dishevelled, long-haired biker, appropriately called “Scarecrow,” says, “So then why is getting locked up better? ‘Least if we die, we deprive these bastards the pleasure of torturing us.”

Because Scarecrow, seeing our families losing their houses, our children traumatized by our absence, so-called friends abandoning us and underestimated friends supporting us; all give us a major hint of how things would have gone if we were dead right now.

We can look at our lives as they are, right now, and see: what did my life mean?; What did I do with it?; Did anybody benefit from my presence; or Is everybody glad that I am gone? These are questions you have to answer. The fact that we are not dead, gives us the opportunity to do everything and be everything we wish we could do and be– right now.

To be continued….


Posted by on May 15, 2013 in Habsiyya, Prose by Marcus Robertson


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3 responses to “Marcus Robertson (Abu Taubah): February 2013 (On The Inside)

  1. ashantininja

    May 15, 2013 at 9:32 am

    May Allah grant all our brothers a quick release ameen. May Allah give them and their families patience ameen.

  2. UMMAPOST.ORG (@ummapost)

    May 18, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    As-salamu Alaykum!

    barakALLAhufeekum brother Abu Taubah.

    Bismillah. al hamdulillah, wa salatu wa sallamu ‘ala rasulillah.

    I try to bring it into my heart before talking to a Kafir about Islam next time in sha ALLAH:

    “Rabbish-raH-Lee Sadree”
    “My Lord give me the right inspiration,” whispers out of my mouth.

    “wa Yas-sir-Lee amree“
    “and make this easy for me…”

    “waH-LuL ‘uQdataM MiL-Lisaanee…”
    “and untie the knot in my tongue…”

    “Yaf-Qahoo QawLee.”
    “so that they can relate to what I’m talking about.”

    We need to believe in the Du’a to ALLAH سبحانه و تعالى‎ and that ALLAH سبحانه و تعالى‎ really can give you any success He wants. The Ikhlaas & Niyat, the knowlegde, the intellect, emotions and ALLAH can give you the Hikma for diffrent situations.

    It remembers me Musa, aleyhi Salem, and Musa, alayhi sallam, gave the dawah to pharaoh, in the Name of ALLAH by order of ALLAH سبحانه و تعالى‎. The leadership of pharaoh was the leadership
    of shaitan, the damned, and the leadership of any kafir is also shaitan and La-hawla-wa-la-quwwata-illa-billah!

    Only ALLAH سبحانه و تعالى‎ knows the output of all affairs, und ALLAH سبحانه و تعالى‎ give will give a kafir light and His guidance and the success in Ahira, if ALLAH wants.

    Allah guideth whom He will, and let the people go astray and the arrogant and proud will have their home ground in the fire, because only ALLAH has the right to be pride and he is the owner of all honour and ALLAH سبحانه و تعالى‎ honors of His servants whom He wills.

    ALLAH says in Quran:

    Lo! thou (O Muhammad) guidest not whom thou lovest, but Allah guideth whom He will. And He is Best Aware of those who walk aright. (Quran AL-Qasas (28):56)

    Do you have a doubt, that ALLAH سبحانه و تعالى‎ will give a kafir the the success in Ahira and prove of favor, if He سبحانه و تعالى‎ wants to?

    Do you have any doubt that Allah will lead him into the fire, after the Kafir spoke the Shahada, if ALLAH سبحانه و تعالى‎ wants?

    If you doubt, then you might not have feared Allah correct and the Day of Resurrection, will maybe a difficult day for you, because you was not worried about that day, that’s why you will more worried after you arrived to the Day of Jugdment. But who worried for his afterlife, his status by Allah, strove for the best deeds in ALLAHs Religion – and ALLAH سبحانه و تعالى‎ is with those who are obedient to Allah and serve with love, fear and hope. – We may hope for Allah’s forgiveness, mercy, and hope to be among those which has proved to ALLAHs سبحانه و تعالى‎ favor

    Have no doubts!

    ALLAH says in the Quran:

    Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and reason with them in the better way. Lo! thy Lord is Best Aware of him who strayeth from His way, and He is Best Aware of those who go aright. (An-Nahl (16):125)

    and Allah revealed to His Prophet:

    And when thou seest those who meddle with Our revelations, withdraw from them until they meddle with another topic. And if the devil cause thee to forget, sit not, after the remembrance, with the congregation of wrong-doers. (68) Those who ward off (evil) are not accountable for them in aught, but the Reminder (must be given them) that haply they (too) may ward off (evil). (69) Al-An’aam (6)

    And ALLAH says in the Sura Al-Baqara:

    As for the Disbelievers, Whether thou warn them or thou warn them not it is all one for them; they believe not. (6) Allah hath sealed their hearing and their hearts, and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be an awful doom. (7)

    Let us fear Allah with gratitude for His favor because He has made us Muslims.

    And if We had so willed, We could have given every soul its guidance, but the word from Me concerning evildoers took effect: that I will fill hell with the jinn and mankind together. (13)
    So taste (the evil of your deeds). Forasmuch as ye forgot the meeting of this your day, lo! We forget you. Taste the doom of immortality because of what ye used to do. (14)
    Only those believe in Our revelations who, when they are reminded of them, fall down prostrate and hymn the praise of their Lord, and they are not scornful, ۩ (15)


    Alhamdulillahir-rabbil ‘alameen.

    SubhanakaALLAHumma wa bi hamdik ashadu an la ilaha ila ant, astarhfiruka wa utubu ‘ilayka.

  3. mikeehanifa

    June 3, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Reblogged this on Mikeehanifa's Blog.


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