Odyssey to The City of Light: A Tale of Struggle & Conviction

Adnan Abbasi

Adnan Abbasi is currently pursuing Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) degree majoring in Social and Political Science from Ahmedabad University.

He is a Writing Fellow at Students for Liberty’s Fellowship for Freedom in India.

The poem delves into deep discourse around political philosophy, justice, and Islamic principles. Primarily, it portrays a metaphorical clash of ideologies aboard a sea vessel, encapsulating the enduring conflict between Marxism and the Classical Liberal principles. The place ‘Medina’ here symbolizes an ideal society based on justice and rule of law as established by Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). The sailor personifies an individualistic Muslim defender of Liberty, advocating justice and rule of law, while various opponents represent a Marxist take. This narrative explores the intersections of political philosophy, religion, and justice within an Islamic context, which I think can make it a piece of discussion for Muslims defending Individual Liberty.

This poem is a blend of several genres, mainly epic poetry and philosophical poetry. The narrative, the invocation of the divine, the grand and heroic themes is inspired by the epic structure of the Greek classic works of Homer, like the Odyssey. There’s also allegory in here, with the conflicting ideologies on the ship standing for different interpretations of justice and political philosophy. So there are elements of allegorical poetry as well.

The specific genre for this poem would be “Epic Poetry,” that involves lengthy, narrative works, typically telling a tale of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. However, due to the philosophical discourse and allegory present, it could also be termed “Philosophical Epic Poetry.”

Across the wine-dark sea, the Argo sails,
Gods and monsters, they do hail.
Sirens sing and tempt the crew,
But the helmsman steers them true.
They brave the wrath of Poseidon’s rage,
And face the cyclops in his cave.
But through it all, their spirit strong,
The Argo plows ahead, sail on

The ship’s sails fill with gusts so strong,
The crew stands unbowed, they’ve been here long.
Plato’s leviathan make loud roars and thrashes,
Yet, they keep their course, through lightning crashes.
They shun the beast, with courage vast,
Steering by their compass, holding fast.
The storm rages on, but they’re resolute,
Sailing to the future, it’s hopeful, it’s absolute.

As the Argo braves the raging sea,
The crew debates what justice should be.
They query the path of the elite,
And ponder a level playing field’s sweet.
But some say ’tis Medina that holds the key,
Where justice and liberty is for you and for me
Plato’s beast is calmed, His fury abates,
The Argo sails on, towards the city’s gates.

The ship moved on but another storm unveils
It says justice is what Karl Marx says
A free man is chained, by society’s flaw
And no natural right and no natural law
Ever in his wake, quell this monster’s jaw.
Break the chain with sickle, hammer and saw
The workers fired up and marched toward the helm,
Revolution! They cried; a force to overwhelm.

The waves mushroomed high, the wind howled mad,
The Argo shook, as the situation was bad.
Poseidon’s laughter echoed, hopelessly sad,
While liberty’s flame in their hearts started to fade.
The eerie night shrouded their sight,
Their path ahead was hidden at night.
Souls enveloped in fear’s cold bite,
With every thunderous roar, drowning was their might.

And then from below deck, Al Erebos arose,
With fiery speech to challenge their foes.
“The ship to Medina, everyone deboard,
For its rule of law, breeds only discord.
Equate we must, the lofty and low,
In the depths of the sea, equality we’ll sow.
Drown the vessel, let sink the crown,
In this act of defiance, we’ll let ourselves drown.

Steer not towards the ‘city of light’,
Against its deceptive veil, put up a fight.
Down, down to the bothros, let us descend,
There in the depths, equality will mend.
In death, all are equal, let this Argo be,
A democratic monument in the depths of the sea.
To deny the lure of power, the arrogance of will,
On the voice of one, the masses shall stand still.”

His words struck a chord, deep and profound,
Inspiring courage, his listeners found.
Despair turned into a revolutionary zeal,
Their collective spirit, It began to unseal.
Medina’s allure, it starts to wane
Al Erebos’ voice, it echoes again,
“Down the ship, let us drown,
Therein lies the true worker’s crown.”

In the midst of the storm, the sailor stood tall,
The image of defiance, and a refusal to fall.
They reached for him, hands outstretched in scorn,
But in his eyes, resilience was born.
They demeaned and denounced, tried to bend his will,
But his spirit remained unbroken still.
In the midst of the chaos, his voice rang clear:
“No chains but these I willingly wear,

I shall steer my ship, my own path I’ll make,
Unfettered by dogma, no rules to break
For true freedom is not free of strife,
But the ability to chart the course of one’s life.”
With every yell, every push, every blow,
The sailor stood firm, his confidence did grow.
While facing the blow and traps which they laid
He proclaimed “Allah Hu Akbar” and prayed

The shadow of revolt, among the crew
Their faced lined as it grew and grew
They looked at the sailor, their thoughts unkind.
“Allah Hu Akbar?” they chided, lost their mind,
“In the open sea, Poseidon is our guiding sage,
Who are you to set a different page?”
“Who is your God, if not the Lord of the Sea?”
Their voices echoed, as they forgot to see.

“And Marx is our Poseidon,” the workers proclaimed,
“His philosophy’s the tempest, our path’s unfeigned.
His teachings, the tides that have ever reigned,
The sea of the working class, his wisdom ingrained.”
“He understands the storm as none ever could,
Guides us through raging waves beneath the sea’s hood.
His commands echo like an unseen rudder would,
Guiding us in the fight for the common good.

With Marx as our Poseidon, we brave the storm,
Undeterred by hardship, a fellowship is born.
Our Argo, a symbol of unity, weather-worn,
Our captain, a beacon, in darkness forlorn.
Against the onslaught of the sea’s scorn,
In Poseidon’s true image, a revolution is sworn.
Each sailor – a droplet, the ocean reborn,
In the face of adversity, their certainty is worn.

“Marx as Poseidon?” the sailor echoed back,
“His tides of ideas may rise, but clarity they lack.
In Marxism’s waves, individual liberty could crack,
Its ocean values the collective and lets the singular slack.”
“The ocean’s Poseidon is not the mighty one,
Beneath his mighty waves, many paths are spun.
The deepness of his ‘infinity’, is from the rivers’ run,
So he wants the voices drowned not heard under the sun.

“Indeed, the sea is vast, an equalizer for some,
Same waters touch everyone where it is run.
But look closer still, towards the quieter ports,
You’ll see each wave, onto its own course resorts.
And so, we sail not to equalize but trade,
And chart our own route, in this place.
Equal in essence, diverse in varied degree,
The Argo to Medina, is where we ought to be.

Allah Hu Akbar, my heart sings,
In the hum of the waves, freedom rings.”
Against the unified chant, his lone voice still clings,
A defiant bird, in the storm spreads its wings.
In the heart of the tempest, the sailor held his ground,
Through the thunder of revolt, his voice a resonant sound.
“To you, Marx may be Poseidon, king of sea’s mound,
But I follow The One, whom my quest for truth found.”

The Argo rocked in debate’s storm, each side holding firm,
Each crewman, a warrior in this ideological term.
Al Erebos at helm, a tempest he did churn,
In his stormy eyes, the tides of revolt burn.
In strength of numbers, his followers rally,
“Marx our Poseidon” echoed through the galley.
Their unity powerful, like tidal waves crash,
Against the sailor’s voice, their attitude was brash.

But the sailor stood, a lighthouse ‘gainst the storm,
His voice a beacon, where freedom would warm.
With Allah in his heart, his faith unwavered,
Against the violent tempest, his spirit never quavered.
For those who stood with him, each a stalwart ship,
In unison they chanted, and thorn on the path they clip.
“Medina’s our haven, the values it embodies, we trust,
We hold true God’s judgment, not the Marxist’s unjust.”

More sailors flocked to him, drawn by his light,
In the pitch-black storm, he was their sighting-kite.
Each one a wave, carving its own path,
Against the tempest’s pull, they braved its wrath.
In the face of Al Erebos’ storm, they held their course,
Sailor’s words became their own strength source.
“For in each of us, a unique course resides,
Truth, like a river, in many streams rides.”

Then Al Erebos roared, his voice was thunder’s roll,
A tidal wave of furious words, intent to cajole.
“In the sea’s depths, equality lies,
Down the ship, let it capsize!
No more kings, no more chains,
Only then, freedom truly reigns.”
His followers echoed his cry, their voices clashed,
Against the sailor’s side, their fury splashed.

The sailor asserted, his voice steady in the tide,
“Marx may be your Poseidon, whose doctrine you confide.
But consider this, in his sea, where would you reside?
In the depths of similarity, where would individuality hide?
In your pursuit of equality, remember one thing,
The sea is made of unique drops without string.
Each wave has its course, each tide its swing,
In this principle of individuality, Medina’s justice would spring.”

His words rang clear, bright as the moon’s light,
Piercing through the storms of the furious night.
Their truths resonated, echoed in every heart,
A counter-call to Al Erebos’ storm, a new course to chart.
His followers now filled half the deck, a growing throng,
Their resolve firm, and their belief strong.
With the sailor at the helm, they course correct,
To Medina, they pledged, its laws to respect.

On the vessel’s battered deck, a war of beliefs waged,
Al Erebos’ men bore holes, and the ship’s fate was staged.
Yet the sailor’s men, with faith and courage engaged,
Reciting the Shahada, their fears assuaged.
With every puncture of the hull, another they repair
In their hearts, resilience glew like a flare,
A choice lay before him, the sailor was aware,
To confront Al Erebos, or the Argo’s hull to spare.

The sailor weighed his options, heart fraught with strife,
For the Argo was more than a vessel; it was life.
Its wood bore the mark of each worker’s knife,
It carried hopes and dreams, amid the warring rife.
Amidst his contemplation, Al Erebos’ sickle run through,
His lifeblood starts seeping into the ship’s wooden hue.
Yet the sailor’s eyes looked like sky’s clear blue,
And held calm acceptance as life from him withdrew.

Yet as his soul was taking flight, he cried a plea,
“Steer towards light, oh sailors, to Medina, we must flee!”
To his men, the call for Medina was like a prophecy,
His final breath sounded freedom’s decree,
Al Erebos triumphed, his laughter a ghoulish echo,
As beneath turbulent waves, the ship did go.
In silence, they watched their world plunge below,
Realization dawned, in their victory, defeat’s shadow.

Broken-hearted, they watched the Argo about to sink,
Mourning their loss, they teetered on the brink.
Their triumph diminished, their spirit began to shrink,
In the vast breadth of the sea, just a flickering light blink.
In quiet horror, they looked at one another,
Al Erebos’ victory cry could come due to their blunder.
“What have we done?” their minds began to wonder,
Had they truly been misled by words of thunder?

As their chosen leader, Al Erebos, tried to console,
Yet his words fell flat, they left no toll.
The sea of equality seemed a harsh patrol,
The thought of losing their Argo, made their eyes roll.
In their mind Medina’s lights turned into a beacon,
Being the part of a just society, made them quite embolden.
The haunting echoes of the sailor’s call seemed to quicken,
His words, a testament to the path they’ve finally chosen.

Beside their fallen leader, the sailor’s followers stood,
Their hearts heavy beneath the weight of brotherhood.
In the distance, the flickering lights of Medina remained good,
A beacon of hope in the sea of misery, they understood.
As they clung to its vision, the sea became kinder,
The waves became gentle, the storm a mere reminder,
Of the path they had chosen, and the past was behind her
The ship got steadied and they didn’t let it now wander,

With renewed determination, they sailed more,
Each stroke a promise; a pledge from yore.
In unison they rowed, their spirits began to soar,
At the horizon was Medina’s silhouette, as they roar.
Al Erebos’ men fell quiet, found their victory was hollow,
In silence they surrendered, their pride was hard to swallow.
Tempted by Poseidon’s utopia, they were left with mere sorrow,
The shadow of their dream was a burden hard to wallow.

As Medina’s gates came closer, peace began to reign,
The path laid bare, the efforts were not in vain.
In the heart of sorrow, the spirits lifted,
In Allah’s light of truth, the course shifted,
The trust in Medina’s law, renewed and gifted,
In the hull of broken dreams, sanctity was rifted.
In the echoes of the sailor, they found the gall,
To challenge the storm, and heed Medina’s call.

In blissful skies, among stars so bright,
Perhaps he found peace, in freedom’s quiet light.
With Allah’s wisdom as his eternal guide,
He watched over them afloat on life’s tide.
Their story, a legacy he had begot,
In their journey to Medina, his spirit never forgot.
From the celestial heavens, watching them he thought,
True justice lies in the law, which the Prophet once taught.