Sunday, April 20, 2014

THE JOURNEY & THE HOMECOMING.... so good... so God


The Beginning of Your Homecoming
That thing that makes you think...
You are not wrong
To think that way.

That thing that makes you feel...
You are not wrong
To feel that way.

When doubt and alarm make you question
Your men and women garbed in religion...
You are not wrong.

Come here, for here is where you belong...
The religion of love is
The religion of your conscience,
The religion of your compassion,
The religion of your science.

For God has never left you,
It is for you to find you.

And your journey
Begins
Here.

And your homecoming
Begins
Here.

And all meaning worth
Knowing... it all
Begins
Here. 
..................

Like you, I was disturbed by my religion, Islam. But later, I am to discover that Islam is not as how I thought Islam was. Islam is not that deranged, insular, bigoted, materialistic, xenophobic, irrational belief that it is portrayed to be, not just by the non-Muslims, but perhaps more sadly, by us Muslims.

Like you, I found it difficult to console my conscience with some aspects of my religion. But later, I am to discover that things are often not as how they seem to be. And that it serves the intentions of some people that Islam is practised and portrayed in a way that is unconscionable, and lacking in empathy. Now, it appears to me that Islam is also the religion and the path of empathy. Empathy not just for our fellow Muslims... but for all humans and djinns, for all created things, living and sentient or otherwise. Thus it is revealed, that Islam is the natural way of the Universe. Not a pebble in the sea, not a star in the furthest cosmos is forgotten in the faith and the perfected way of Muhammad Habibullah (saws).

Like you, I am lost. And like you, I continue my wandering in this world, with tentative nervous steps. For this world is not for us. We seek the Divine Presence, and it is to this, that all Masters of the Path calls on us. 

So you see, like you, I too have not found what I am looking for... but there is a beautiful scent coming down this road we have been guided to, we can hear brief incantations of heavenly music, and sense a light upon light too beautiful and brilliant for careless human words to describe. But try we must.

... ya Ahad ... ya Samad ... Solli ala Muhammad...


Have a beautiful Sunday, sunshine. We are on this journey together, and alhamdulillah... we pray and hope that our homecoming has, in truth, begun. Because even now, it already feels so good... So God.

- notrumi, 21st day of April, 2014

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Thursday, April 17, 2014

THE LION, THE DESERT & THE RIVER OF TEARS - of songs, archery, friendship and the Seal of the Prophets

(Painting of "The Gypsy" by Henri Rousseau, 1897)

The Lion, the Desert & the River of Tears
A lion stood between me and my Love,
I permitted the lion to consume me,
That I may become the lion
And meet my Love
Who is ardently waiting for me...

A desert stood between me and my Love,
I cried and I cried and I cried
Until a mighty river rose from my tears,
I jumped in. and was borne safely
To my Love who was waiting for me,
Carried to Him in my river of tears...
.......................

This morning, I invited my friend, Mr. Ikhlas for coffee. I said to him, "I am practicing archery! And I have coffee and tea! Come!" Happily, he agreed. After half-an-hour there was still no sign of him or the ancient van that he often drives in. Then I received a call from Mr. Ikhlas communicating to me that he was stuck because Si-Merah (the Red One, which is the colour of his van) is uncooperative and is refusing to start. "Would you mind coming over and picking me up?" He inquired. 

So I stopped shooting and went to pick him up. Arriving shortly at my house, the Qasida Burda (an ancient hymn about God Almighty and His Prophet Muhammad saws) was playing, for I enjoy listening to the song while doing archery. Mr. Ikhlas's face lighted up hearing the ancient words wafting in the morning air. And so our morning turned, around music and life, family and friends, accompanied by my playlist which I impetuously titled as the Red Rose Garden playlist. I call it the Red Rose because all of the songs, which includes pop and rock ballad, in English and in my Malay language, recalls to me the beautiful personality and mercy of the Prophet Muhammad Habibullah (saws). And I often play it in my garden, ergo... the Red Rose Garden. He he he. 

In the course of our chit-chat, an Indonesian song started to play, entitled 'Sempurna' ('Perfect') by the Indonesian band, Andra & the Backbone. I said to Mr. Ikhlas... "This is a song describing the Prophet Muhammad... and our yearning for him." We sat quietly, listening to the haunting melody and loving lyrics, then I saw my dear old friend's eyes glistening with tears. This is the song.


"Oh you made me cry this morning, Taufiq!" Mr. Ikhlas said to me, as I drove him home later.

So you see, that is why I wrote of the Lion, the Desert and the River of Tears. Because the true way of Love is often glistening with pearl-like teardrops shining like stars in our mortal sky. But they are tears of happiness. And they hang over us like stars of hope. 


Keep the faith, sunshine!


-Notrumi, 17th April 2014

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

UN AMOUR INFINI (ENDLESS LOVE) - God, Love Songs and the Petri Dish

By logic, endless love comes only through endless waiting.
But you need not wait so long.
Read on and have hope!

His Alone
Give up the ghost 
For any description
Beginning with "Most..."

Never and Forever is He,
Endless and Eternal is He,
Absolute and Permanent is He,

Any claim of ours to the contrary
Is plain human boast.
..........................


In the Beginning. I have always wondered what some words actually mean. Words whose meaning suggests a never-ending character such as 'never', 'forever', 'endless' or 'permanent', Even a word such as "absolute". After all, what is the standard of 'absolute'? For 'absolute' also suggests a condition or character which is beyond reproach or questioning. And the same goes also to phrases beginning with 'most' such as 'most beautiful', 'most wise' etc.

Petri Dish. The truth of the matter is such words are really meaningless when applied to our human condition, and to the reality of this world we inhabit. For we are unable to ascertain with certainty what these words are, ...after all, who among us have actually experienced or observed eternity or even permanence? Long before eternity ends, you, your children and grandchilden, your one thousandth future generation  have all perished. You cannot observe eternity in the petri dish of human limitations. By their very meaning these words are beyond human observation and all we can do is really, only speculate.

Infinity in a petri dish? Oh, I think not...

Love Songs. It is also interesting that such words adorn our love songs, that prose and rhymes which extols our love for one another, especially the romance between a man and a woman. But in the case of love songs, letters and poems, the repeated allusions to 'our infinite love', 'our eternal devotion, 'or unchanging feelings' for a man or a woman is not speculation. When the singer sings his eternal love for the maiden, he is actually singing a promise and a vow couched as a fact

He he he. Oh, the things we do and say for our amour... 

I love this song. Often, it makes me think of God and the Prophet.
As you can see in the album cover, hairstyles and fashion come and go...
but His Love truly is eternal and endless.

Whether you are in love and trying to guess at the 'endless depth' of a woman, or whether you are a quantum physicist trying to understand the 'infinite gravity' of a black hole, I think we should be pretty honest to ourselves here and stop suggesting that we can encompass the endless and the infinite. Or that we can even begin to imagine what never and forever means. Our mind is simply not built that way, framed as it is within our vast but still very much limited intellect.

Where God Continues...
Where endless and eternity ends,
Where never and forever expires,
Where absolute and permanence stops,
That is where my Lord and Love continues...
And continues... and
Continues...
...................


Better and Better. I have not found love nor science to be dulled if I am able to experience both through God Almighty. Actually, I have found love to be more meaningful, passionate and real. And I have found the accumulation of scientific knowledge far more exciting and thrilling, Because both roads are leading me to Him...

Naught that I turn to that the path does not wind its way inevitably towards Allah (swt). And the brightest lamp shining in the celestial sky, lighting our travel is His beloved Nabi Muhammad (saw).

Notrumi, 15th April 2014.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Sunday, April 13, 2014

HU AM I? ,... I am Notrumi


Please Tell Me
Behind closed doors,
Hidden in the veil that we all wear,
What are we?

Father? Mother? Friend or enemy?
Righteous man or riddled with hypocrisy?

If you know me, please tell me...
.................

Everyone and his auntie has
written of Rumi and his poetry.
I am Notrumi, and you shan't find
any Rumi here.
Hu Am I? Sufis, artists, lawyers and doctors, beggars and farmers, chairman of the board and the security guard smartly saluting you as you pass him by, all of humanity faces the same question that has dogged our species for eons - what am I? Who am I?

Though we would like to believe that we are what we believe in, it can get a little tiring to be defined by what you think you believe in and nothing beyond that. The truth is our inner consciousness is a turbulent sea, a veritable ocean of disparate thoughts, biases, passions and confusions. A constant storm of contradictions, confusions, perceptions and misconceptions. So my old friend tells me - "Do not let your inner self remain inner. You are what you do, so do! Leave the exhausting inner debate and let your actions define who you are." 

May God dress you with goodness, inside and outside. For the opposite of goodness is a lie, and we don't want to continue living a lie of a life.

Pray for me, sunshine! 

I am a beggar, the acute sinner,
The drunk derelict,
I am Notrumi.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Thursday, April 10, 2014

THE CONSTANT LOVE - prophethood, master and servant in the practice of Truth, Patience and Constancy.

A Red Rose Heart, by Cristina Colombo, Milan, Italy

The Constant Prophet
He is one Prophet,
But in constant servanthood,
With one vision constantly upon the Divine Presence
And one vision constantly upon Creation,

He is the Master appointed for all Creation,
But in servanthood he is without parallel!
He looks constantly upon all of Creation
With incomparable empathy, mercy and compassion,

For is he not God's own anointed Mercy to all of us?

And is it any wonder that God loves him best of all?
....................................

A Love that is Constant. There is no love more sublime than a love that is practiced with truth, patience and constancy. And there is no practitioner of truth, patience and constancy more exalted and worthy of praise and imitation than our Most Beloved Muhammad Habibullah (saws).

The Master and the Servant. Often, I have heard (and read) the Prophet (saws) being referred to as 'The Master of Creation' - God's appointed representative to all His creation, through whom God weighs and determines the merit (or demerit) of men and djinn. But like all things about our Messenger (saws), the word 'master' needs to be studied a bit closer. After all, if I was a 'master', you know what I would do? I would probably be bossing all of creation for my own selfish desires. And I would allow my ego to gain ascendancy over my better self, until ultimately, like many fallen kings and pharaohs before, I would become a slave to my own ego... and lose mastery even over my own self.

But such is the nature of our beloved Habibullah (saws), his 'masterhood' is inextricably connected to his noble station of servanthood. And not just any ordinary servanthood, but the servant most beloved to God Almighty. For undoubtedly, in the personality of Nabi Muhammad (saws), the love, kindness and mercy is so refined in its emphatic manifestation to all of creation... that he cannot but be the most beloved of Allah (swt), in God's own favourite reference to Himself as ar-Rahman and ar-Rahim (the Most Compassionate and Most Merciful).


May we find the best path towards refining our own understanding and application of the Prophet Muhammad's (saws) manifold personality, especially in the noble pursuit of truth, patience and constancy.
By (the token of) Time (through the ages),
Verily Man is in loss,
Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds,
and (join together) in the mutual teaching of
Truth, Patience and Constancy.
(al Quran 103, Yusuf Ali)


Have a beautiful day, sunshine!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Saturday, April 5, 2014

TRUE REALITY OF LOVE, FAITH & HOPE - where hearts asunder are made whole once again...

Somewhere... not far from us, I am sure Poone is waiting. Al-fatiha...

He Never Left, We Have Yet to Arrive.
What is "not here"
When "here" is not really here?
What is "has passed on"
When he has passed on
From the transient to the permanent?
What is death but a door,
To a promised meeting
Foretold long, long ago.

So what is the truth of our present condition?

Our departed friends and kin never really left us,
And we...?

We are the ones yet to arrive.
...................

A Happy Gift on an Anniversary. I have been thinking a lot of my late brother, Saiful Bahri a.k.a. Abang Chik to me and Poone to his many devoted friends. A couple of days ago, on the Gregorian calendar date that marks the passing of almarhum Shaykh Raja Ashman Shah ibn Sultan Raja Azlan Muhibuddin Shah, I received an anonymous Whatsapp message. As it turned out, it was Pian, my friend and younger brother to my spirit brother, Ariffin, who also happens to be my partner in our law firm. Pian said that while browsing pictures in his phone, he happened to come across some pictures of Poone (I will refer to my brother that way, as most people reading this will most likely call him by the same traditional Malay nickname for Saiful. Yeah... don't ask me how "Saiful" becomes "Poone". It's a Malay thing) taken during their trip to the international horseback archery competition held in Amman, Jordan in 2012.

Poone standing on the far right, with my beloved Sarawakian companions of Umrah 2011
who are coincidentally my brother's companions for his Jordanian 2012 trip.
On the far left is Moses, completing the fellowship.
Poone with his namesake, Saiful Bahri and Ijan, with a couple of the
Royal Jordanian Calvary soldiers. My brother makes friends easily, just like
our late mother. I wish I have such a talent. 
Poone, resplendent in traditional Malay attire, the Baju Melayu. And there sitting
close to him is Ariffin. 

The Third Eye. I am tired of using my physical eyes. They often mislead me, making me see what I want to see, hiding many, many beautiful secrets and signs that Allah (swt) has left for us here, still stuck in this world. With three of the most gentlest people (My late mother, Ku Ash and Poone) I know now not visible to my eyes, I have acquired a habit of looking with my other eye. The third eye that is the spiritual heart which we all own. It is not out of faith or religion that I do so. I do it because I am yearning for something that is not available directly and physically in our plane of reality. Selfishly, I am yearning for those whom I have been separated from, wanting to feel their presence, thirsty for their kind words, their gentle smile and assuring embrace.

So I ask God Almighty, and His Beloved Muhammad (saws). I ask that my third eye may be opened for me to see, and to feel their presence. And sometimes, I do. In the dead of night all alone, or even in a crowded place. Their faces, their presence grow within me while this world and all its distractions recede into the background, barely a murmur in the true reality of Love, Faith and Hope.  

So you see... the prose is right all along. The deceased never really left us, we are the ones still yet to arrive.

The Boss... al fatiha...

May Allah bless our journey home. May His Muhammad Habibullah (saws) be our captain and master, and guide us safely to the Divine Presence where hearts asunder are made whole once again.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Friday, March 28, 2014

SCOUT JAMBOREE LITE - fathers and mothers, sons and daughters...

Mikhail and his tent mates...

Jamboree Lite. Last weekend Mikhail went on what I might define as a scout jamboree 'lite'. From what I could reckon, there was no hikes, no campfires or anything too arduous for these primary school kids. I am not complaining, as like Mika, many of the children were just 10 years old, and possibly their first night ever under a tent. A tent, in a school field in Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, a prosperous suburban neighbourhood not far from my own neighbourhood. In fact, the school field is just across the road from a restaurant that I often go for dinner. So I wasn't too worried. He he he.

Mikhail and his huge orange suitcase. Just what you need for a camping adventure.
I can assure you that Mika's luggage was the biggest at the jamboree.
I saw some other scouts arriving carrying only their every day school bag and a humble plastic bag. 

Delinquent Parents. In the three days and two nights the scouts were at the "camping site", hilarious and almost unbelievable stories started to turn up on the school moms Whatsapp group. There were some parents who continued hanging around in the school compound way after the scout program officially started. Other parents trotted off to the (conveniently nearby) shops to buy additional food and drinks for their kids, whom they fear would possibly starve or become severely malnourished during the weekend. But perhaps, the most amazing story involved a parent who was seen to actually helping his/her son to shower and change. I put the words 'his/her' to be polite, but I bet it was the mum. He he he.

Finally, unable to stand the interfering parents any longer, the scouts' working committee from Mikhail's school issued a warning to all parents to stay away from the school and camping ground until they are suppose to pick their kids up on Sunday afternoon. If any parent is spotted in the school compound, the committee warned, their child will be asked to immediately leave the program.

I don't blame the committee, because, after all, Mika's school is only one of 5 (I think) schools that sent their scouts for the weekend camping program. I think most of the delinquent parents were from Mika's school. Oh the shame of it all... 

He he he.  
Exhausted but exhilarated. I can still recall such childhood feelings.

But most importantly, despite the attempts by mum and/or dad to totally sabotage the scout camping weekend, I think it went well. When I picked up Mikhail, he was tired and hungry, yet I could see he was also exhilarated by the experience. "I really enjoyed sleeping in a tent, Papa.", he said. "We slept at one in the morning and got up at five!", he added. "I liked the chicken rendang (a very rich coconut based chicken dish... so much for the threat of starvation) that we ate!" And happily, Mika is keen to go for more camping, perhaps next time, at a proper camp site somewhere in the forest. And I bet for that one, the parents won't be furtively keeping watch in the bushes nearby. 

But then again... you never know what mums can get up to when they think their offspring are at risk! 

God bless the patient teachers and scout masters, and God bless all crazy parents.
..................................

MH370, a Postscript -We all know the news surrounding the tragic event of Flight MH370. May all friends and kin of the missing passengers and crew of that plane, find the courage to persevere with hope and faith as they pick up the shattered pieces of their lives. And for the rest of us, we who mourn with them in this difficult times, we can only pray to understand the lessons from this incident, that it may make us a better human being, and a better Christian, Buddhist, Jew, Hindu, Muslim, Atheists or Agnostics


Because, after all... whatever the nature of your belief or disbelief, we are all still part of one humanity.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way