This is my first attempt to translate Indonesian poetry. I was so taken with it, that I just had to try. I met the author, the headmaster of an Islamic boarding school in his home. He had recently read his poem at a public forum and read it again for me. I asked him (and would have have begged him if necessary) for permission to translate and post the poem. When Westerners look for strong statements against terrorism, maybe we should turn to poetry.

Allahu Akbar (Almighty God)
By Abah Faqih Muntaha,
Headmaster, Pesantren Al-Asy’ariyyah, Wonosobo, Central Java, Indonesia
Translated by Ronald Lukens-Bull, Ph.D.

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar.
It should be that when we hear those words, say those words
Our heart quivers and we feel very small
We should feel insignificant and afraid to sin
With Your greatness, God
We should not feel arrogant,
Or look for unlimited strength.
They should not cause fear because of violence,
Sadism, cruelty, and even hatred.

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar.
It should spread rejuvenation, tranquility, and obedience to God.
It should not create the impression that Islam is a religion of terrorists,
Roughnecks, sadists, trouble-makers, fear mongers,
And even murderers.

With the Word of God, who is great
Allahu Akbar with all His Power
Makes evil men good,
Refined, and humble.

With Allahu Akbar, people should become wise
To create a better future,
a future that is patriotic, religious, and civilized.

But we should not just think in terms of one year, 2 years, or ten years.
But in terms of the Eternal.