High up on the 30th floor of Barclays head office in London, the Embrace Muslim Forum opened its doors, Wednesday, December 4, to the public and hosted a spoken word evening entitled ‘JustRhyme’.
Shariq Ali, one of the hosts from EMF, mentioned this is the first time they have supported a cultural event of this nature at Barclays. Shoaib Qureshi, another host, added they have done this to show another side of the Muslim community, saying, “Today’s event is about a positive image of Islam.”
Opening with a recitation of the Qur’an, spoken word artists took to the stage, one after the other, each sharing something of meaning – a purpose, their journey, their expectations, and the messages they have learned.
Converting to Islam
Founder of Instagram’s @justrhyme_, a convert to Islam, whose off-stage name is Liam, said, “Just Rhyme is a platform for people to come down and share their abilities, their skill-set, through the beautiful form that is poetry.
“Poetry is a big thing in Islam, as well. The Prophet, peace be upon him, had his own poet, Hassan ibn Thabit, and it’s a beautiful thing to continue on.
“Spoken word is becoming very big in the UK. It’s already big in America, and it’s just a beautiful thing to be a part of. To have an ability to showcase these performers is just something that I see as a blessing.
“We started in January 2018. Initially, it started just on Facebook, for people to get involved and share their poetry online, and then we managed to convince an organization to allow us to run an event there. They were happy with it. We were happy with it. Since then, it’s just been growing and growing. Praise be to God; it has been a beautiful journey.”
Speaking of his background, Liam said, “I’m half Jamaican and half English. I came to Islam in 2013. I went to university with a Tunisian brother. He gave me da’wah over the years and he was telling me about the beauty of Islam and teaching me some of the miracles in the Qur’an.
“Then, over a few years, after seeing things that just seemed logical to me, it just made sense to become a Muslim.”