"Hayward’s journey of exploration, transformation and illumination forms the beating heart of this moving collection of poetry [which is] a timely and important work that reveals the struggle and profound insights of someone bridging cultures and faith traditions."
— Passion Islam, November 2017.
Written with rawness, honesty, and pathos, these poems embrace the pain and heartbreak of loss and mourning and reveal the acute spiritual questioning that even devout believers inevitably experience. Written each day as the outpouring of a heart torn open by painful loss, this collection unfolds in a sequence that coincides with the stages of grief and healing. With deep spiritual insights, Hayward's beautiful poems shine a light on something often hidden away within Islamic discourse; the pain of loss and the wounded soul's pleas to God for explanation, restoration and solace.
"Joel Hayward has produced another striking collection of Islamic poems. This volume not only expresses all the shades of grief over the death of his beloved wife but also explores the wide range of emotional responses within himself to her passing away and to his changing memory of her. These emotions sometimes lead the poet to question God and the order of the universe; we are exposed, like him, to a variety of scenarios from the initial diagnosis to the final disposal of the body into an "ugly hole." The bereaved one searches painfully, in powerful verse, for what is left of life's meaning: "Your number's in my phone / I'll never delete it / I'll never call." Yet again, Hayward's disarming simplicity evokes a religious depth that is called upon to confront life in all its dazzling unpredictability."
— Dr Rafey Habib, Professor of English, Rutger’s University
author of Shades of Islam: Poems for a New Century
"Much has been written about loss and pain, but I have yet to read something that even comes close to this collection of poems by one of the most extraordinary poets I have ever read. Joel Hayward is a multifaceted scholar of the highest caliber, and his genius and skills are vivid in these beautifully written, deeply reflective, and highly emotional verses. Having gone through such challenging times, the author offers the reader personal insights and practical approaches that are refreshing and consoling, and which give great hope to the mournful heart. Pain and Passing is a highly recommended work of art for anyone seeking answers to deeper questions about life and death, but also about the process of grieving and healing."
— Flamur Vehapi, author of A Cup with Rumi: Poetry
"[Joel Hayward] is a very skilful and gifted poet whose way with words is impressive. His poems ... provide a powerful commentary on the social, political, moral and religious challenges and difficulties currently facing Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The fact that he is able to do this in an elegant, evocative and inspiring way is an added bonus. ... The poet is able to blend the personal, emotional, spiritual and existential dimensions of human experience, and do so without in any way over-playing or undermining any aspect. This is a very rare skill for a poet to possess. ... This is one of the best collections of Islamic poems I have read for some time; a must read for both Muslims and non-Muslims.”
Muhammad Khan, The Muslim News, Issue 276 (27 April 2012)
Islamic poetry in English. Islamic poems in English. Islamic poetry in English. Islamic poems in English. Islamic poetry in English. Islamic poems in English. Islamic poetry in English. Islamic poems in English.