The moonlight brightens up the guilty and innocent
The light from the sun does the same
Illuminating the sinner and the saint
And if water could drown our sins
We would be living under the sea

You’re not born a sinner, the Maulvi at my Madrassah says
With time the earth compels you to sin
He speaks over the loudspeakers of the Masjid
What is sin, I ask as I sip on my whiskey
For it’s all a game of convincing your conscience
We’re a result of sin if that makes sense?
Ask my parents, I giggle

The sinners
The products of countless harms
We rarely harm anyone but ourselves
A pleasure
An Indulgence
We the courageous ones

Courage stepped out
Out of this poem I’m writing
It asks
What good am I?
If I leave you broken and beaten

I tell it
Courage to sin in the divine presence
Glorifying my existence
Instead of the one in the sky
Am I defined by my sins?
Am I a born sinner?

Sin, dances out of this paper
Laughing it says
Don’t find solace in philosophy
It will mock you back
Your courage to commit
Commit the wrong
Is who I am
Is who you are

The charm and desire
Of something out of reach
Makes cowards like me
A brave little martyr, I say
The maulvi kept talking
About sinners and saints
As morning dawned
I decided to pray

Sinner or saints
We’re sides of the same coin
Shunned by our brethren
For beliefs too hazy
A paradox of morals
It’s how you look at it

For I am a man
With no hands
And concrete eyes
Seeing the coin
From one side
Only to be condemned
By the opposite side
For eternity
I believe what I see
I believe what I perceive
For it is in my nature
My frame of reality

The sinner
The saint
Whichever I saw
Became a haunting melody
All in all
Now, I am young
The world seems lively
One day I will die
Of old age
Leaving behind wisdom
For my son and his son
The world isn’t black and white
It’s grey for the one’s
If sinners exist
So do saints

A sinner is because of the saint
Conscious confirmed it
But by now it’s dead
The seed planted by the serpent
In the story of Adam and Ever
Is where it all began
And the mortal sinner
Is another knight
Caught up in the chess logic of the mind
For in my heart
Listen child
Sinners make the best saints
When youth ends

-Bano// Sinner & Saints

Photography by Sharjeel Jamal Javaid


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