The Time in Between

There’s a time in between. 
Before the screaming of “precision” strikes and the bombing of mosques,
and churches,
and hospitals,
and schools.

After the agony of loss,
and the bliss of martyrdom. 
After the parting of loved ones,
and the loss of house,
but not home. 

Moments that happen,
in between,
when other moments don’t happen. 

There are strained, grieving smiles. 
And love, 
and history,
and stories,
and family, 
and community. 

There is tea.

Shared on makeshift tables among the rubble.
Shared in distant lands among people,
whose hearts are rubble. 

And yet,
a people oppressed for decades,
are not broken. 

They are mountains. 

And as they fight for their lives,
like their fathers and mothers,
and grandfathers and grandmothers,
they show us what it means to live,
in the time in between.

A poem for the brave people of Gaza and Palestine as a whole. 

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Shaykh Jamaal Diwan

Shaykh Jamaal Diwan was born and raised in Southern California to parents from Newfoundland and Pakistan. He accepted Islam in 2003 while at UCSD. After getting married and graduating from UCSD in Third World Studies, he and his wife moved to Egypt to study Arabic and Islamic Studies. He stayed there for the better part of the next seven years finishing an undergraduate degree in Sharia from al-Azhar. During that time he also completed two years of graduate work in Islamic Studies from the American University in Cairo. In addition to his formal studies he has also obtained ijazat (traditional licenses to transmit and teach) in various branches of Islamic Studies such as aqidah, fiqh, tazkiyah, and hadith.

Upon returning from Egypt in 2011 he served as a religious teacher and instructor in Southern California and later served as the Resident Scholar at the Islamic Center of Irvine from 2012-2014. In 2015 he helped start the IOK Chaplaincy program which began at UCLA and USC and eventually grew to cover seven college campuses in Southern California. He directly served student bodies at UCLA, USC and UCI. From 2019 to 2021 he served as teacher of Islamic Studies at New Horizon Irvine, while also working on The Majlis which he co-founded with his wife in 2017.

The Majlis seeks to nurture safe community spaces where people can learn and live Islam, based on the traditional sources of understanding the faith, while acknowledging the particular challenges of the American context. It focuses its efforts on religious education, spiritual refinement, love, and service. He continues to serve the community as Religious Director at The Majlis and is a father of two, residing in Southern California with his family.

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