Friday, December 31, 2010

I luv U and Happy New Year's Eve!

When you are in love with God,

When you are in love with His Nabi,

the Prophets and Saints,
Even the walls and pillars

Of this world shall

Speak words of

Love to you.
I found the message of love scrawled on a wall, as Heche and I were queuing at Mikhail's school bookshop. Many parents were there, but I saw the words, and now I am (belatedly) replying to God, to the Angels and Prophets, and to you, dear friends... "I luv u too".
Happy New Year's Eve, sunshine. May you find Love's signs, wherever you may be...
Related Posting on signs and signals: God is Eternal / Internal, and a 6 year old question that I have not answered - Click Here.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

You Are The Qiblat To Your Children

TEACHING MIKA TO PRAY. I tried teaching Mika how to pray. I placed the sejadah (prayer mat) in the direction of the qiblat (the Muslim direction of prayers toward the Holy Kaaba, Mecca). He keeps furtively glancing at me, giggling, and when we prostrated together, slowly but surely, he started to turn towards me.

YOU ARE THE QIBLAT TO YOUR CHILDREN. It is a heavy responsibility, to be the qiblat for our children. But it is true, especially at that young age of about 2 – 10 years, when in the eyes of your children, you appear to do no wrong, you are the wisest and bestest mother / father that they, in their limited experience, can imagine. I am not a great dad, of this I am sure. I hope to be conventionally an 'okay' father. Wish me luck!

SUPERMAN AND WONDERWOMAN. The truth is less pure, and we know we have our weaknesses, we have made mistakes and every day is a constant struggle to let our hearts lead us towards love and compassion for all living creatures. But for this brief decade which shall pass faster than a blink of an eye, you are your children’s Superman and Wonderwoman.

I know we all share the same feelings for our own father and mother. Praise to God and the Most Praised, how can we not be brothers and sisters?!


Have a nice day, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Door, the Nightingale, the Sun and the Question

In this life, it is often that we make mistakes, some small, other bigs, and a few gigantenormous errors. As a sinner, I am quite the expert in this field. We act on our foolish ego, say or do regrettable things until we find ourselves at His Door. It is not a door of distinction. Saints and Prophets do not enter this way, for this is the door for the wayward and foolish…

10. Here We Are!
Here we are!
Caught between sin
That is sure to condemn us,
And the gall to desire
Something greater than paradise.

Here we are!
Continuing, impertinently
To ask for Light
When darkness is best suited
To hide our shame.

Here we are!
Wanderers and fools
With a fools’ hope,
Knocking on His Door
On which is inscribed;
My Mercy is Greater than My Anger,
My Love is Greater than My Wrath,

Here we are!
Outside the entrance sanctified
For the wayward
And the foolish-looking.


But you see, my friends, who cares by which door we enter into the Divine Presence? That you have made it to any door is already wonderful. Because simply put, being lost is a necessary human pre-condition to being guided…

51. Lonely Nightingale
If the nightingale was not lonely
Would she still sing?
If your path was straight and unbending
Would you still want guiding?

And there is no greater guide to God than God Himself. An ancient Sufi saying goes like this…

Only by the Sun do you see the Sun

THE QUESTION. So now you are at the Door. Now what? The truth of the matter is you are the Door keeper, not God. It is your door, actually, not His. So many people are knocking on God’s door wanting to be let in… While God Himself is ruefully observing that…

The Question
These servants of Mine! They are forever knocking on the Door, beseeching Me, ‘Let me in, O’ Lord! Let me in!’, when in Truth, I am the one being locked out by them. It is not for Me to open the Door for them… it is for them to open the Door for Me. Who is the Master and who is the servant here?

I leave you with that question, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

Footnote –
Related Postings (2) “Abu Bakar, Abu Yazid, the End of Hell Part II, Calvin & Hobbes and My Left Foot” – CLICK HERE. “God’s Door is Always Open, So is My Mum’s” – CLICK HERE.

“Here we are!’ is from ‘The Profane and the Profound’ (Sept 2004), and ‘Lonely Nightingale’ is from ‘The Dam.SunSun.Ana’ (April 2004). ‘The Question’ is freshly baked today.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mawlana Abul Kalam Azad Part 1

THE BOOK. About 7 or eight years back I came across this book. I was amazed by the beauty of the Author’s words, and found great love and solace in his compassionate exposition on the Al Fatihah. This is the first chapter of the Al Quran, and the name of the writer is Mawlana Abul Kalam Azad.

From the Movie 'Gandhi', Mawlana's character is wearing sunglasses, sitting next to Viscount Mountbatten

INDIA. If you happen to have a dvd copy of Richard Attenborough’s epic movie, Gandhi, you would have seen Mawlana Abul, as acted by Virendra Razdan, a famous Indian actor. For you see, Mawlana Abul was a boon companion of the Mahatma, and he broke ranks with his Muslim political allies, when he chose for a united India instead of a separate state for the Muslims. This was what he had to say …

I am Muslim and profoundly conscious of the fact that I have inherited Islam’s glorious tradition of the last thirteen hundred years. I am not prepared to lose even a small part of that legacy. The history and teachings of Islam, its art and letters, its culture and civilization are part of my wealth and it is my duty to guard and cherish them. But, with all these feelings, I have another equally deep realization, born out of my life’s experience, which is strengthened and not hindered by the Islamic spirit. I am equally proud of the fact that I am Indian, an essential part of the indivisible unity of the Indian nationhood, a vital factor in its total makeup, without which this noble edifice will remain incomplete. I can never give up this sincere claim. (Presidential Address I.N.C Ramgarth, 1940)

GANDHI. The breadth of his vision is difficult for me to put down to words, so there is nothing better than to quote the Mahatma himself who said, “Maulana Azad is the most forceful, truthful, and fearless satyagrahi and fighter against oppression and injustice that I have come across”.

He was a leader of great stature, and as a fighter for the freedom and independence of India, he was jailed together with Gandhi, Nehru, Patel and others for six years. In 1993, Mawlana Abul Kalam Azad was posthumously awarded India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna.

The Mawlana is a man after your own heart – He stood for the unity of man, when politics were causing division between Muslims and Hindus, he stood for hope, when all were despairing to find any peace in post-British India, and above all, he was a man of God, his words and action reflecting his deep and profound understanding of the Most Beloved God, Lord of all Mankind…

In all that a Muslim does, it should be a rule of action that he help whoever that may be doing good, even if a non-Muslim or an opponent, and avoid helping whoever may be doing evil, even if a Muslim and a companion… even if an idolater honour and worship God in his own way, he should not be shown disrespect, for the honour and worship of God, is, in any event, the honour and worship of God.

When he passed away in 22nd February 1958, India and the world lost a shining beacon of Truth, Love and humanity. But he is still speaking, you see. His words ring with such compassion and humanity that the Lord of Words shall not allow such a man, such a voice to be still merely by the happenstance of death. He is often in my thoughts, and I hope that he is now in yours too. Oh, by the way, ‘Azad’ is his adopted pen name. It means Free.

So, go forth, sunshine! Exercise your freedom as the Mawlana once did, and just like he, remember… always choose love, charity, unity and compassion. Your example will lead sinners like me to some good, Godwilling.

Pax Taufiqa.

Footnote: As and when I shall continue writing about him, because really, a single posting does him no justice whatsoever. Here are some news / blogs links on the Mawlana that you may wish to read, Ummid, pilot-pooja, and 4to40.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Dear God

Dear God,
Thank You for everything.
But most of all,
Thank You for You.

I am extremely happy with You
And dare I hope
That You can be a little pleased with me?
Or at least less annoyed?

And if this love-affair is one sided,
Should I nitpick? For who am I
When on the other side stands You…?

I have no idea what transpired for me to write the little note above. It was in July 2005. 5 years have passed since then, Mikhail is turning 7 next year and I have been unmarried for more than 3 years.
Do I still feel the same, you ask? Yes. For you see, God has a soft spot for sinners. They tend to need Him more than any other sort.
Have a good monday, sunshine.
Pax Taufiqa.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Breath of the Sun of the Sun (5 Postcards from me to you)

This poem is from the chapter entitled 'The Bride's Dress', written early this year. And the year itself is coming to it's last week. But you continue, for you are being sustained by the breath of the Sun of the Sun, the Light upon Light which has no beginning and no end that we can speak of. You are leaving 2010 with hope in your heart and a lovelight in your eyes. Here where I am, I can see you, a star shining bright in the cosmos of my soul.
My friends, I am sure I do not cherish you enough. I am sure I have taken you for granted. For that I am sorry, and I hope you will accept these 5 postcards as a token of my esteem.
My friends, some of you I have met but I suspect there are many whom I have not met, and may never meet in this life. But I know you already, for we sat together on the grassy slope of Mount Qaf, and there we traded stories and promises. Even then, I noticed the particular sweetness in your smile.
Have a wonderful Sunday, sunshine. And for those celebrating Christmas, I hope it has been a joyous day for you!
Pax Taufiqa.

Friday, December 24, 2010

"Dearest," Spoke My Love..., "Merry Christmas"

56. "Dearest," Spoke My Love
"Dearest," spoke my love,
"This is my blood and it is red,
If you love me, paint the canvas
Of your life with me."

"Dearest," spoke my love,
"This is my heart and it is wounded,
If you love me, take my heart
And heal my hurt."

"Dearest," spoke my love,
"This is my hand, and it is delicate,
If you love me, hold it firmly enough for me
To know that you are here,
But don't crush my spirit."

"Dearest," spoke my love,
"This is my lips, and they
Are seldom silent, both wisdom
And folly issue forth from them,
If you love me, kiss my lips,
Listen to my wisdom, and
Ignore my foolish speech.

"Dearest," spoke my love,
"This is my memories,
"If you love me, remember where I
Come from and accept me and
My memories as one,
For we are inseparable."

"Dearest," spoke my love,
"These are my weaknesses, and I have a few,
If you love me, hide them as you would hide
Your most precious stones,
Guard my name as you would
Guard your own."

"Dearest," spoke my love,
"This is all my hope, and it is alive.
Help make it come true and I
Shall help makes yours
Come true too."

"Dearest," spoke my love,
"This is the abyss of my fears and it is dark.
Be the bridge for me to walk across, and
Whisper into my ears, 'There is nothing
To fear, now that Love is here'."

"Dearest," spoke my love,
"This is my family and they are mine.
Love them, as you love yours and
Crown me as your queen before
The Throne of Time."

"Dearest," spoke my love,
"This is my feet and they have walked
Far and wide to find you. Anoint me
In the truth of healing upon
The bed of divine relief."

"Dearest," spoke my love,
"This is my eyes, and tears have run
The length of the Nile in my sorrows.
So tell me that today I am yours,
And I am yours for
All your tomorrows."

"Dearest," spoke my love,
"This is my ears, and I am tired of
Hearing the promises of men.
So promise me nothing, but walk with me
On the path of life, Serenaded by angels,
While above us, the Moon is smiling,
Merciful and happy."

"Dearest," spoke my love,
"This is who I am, and if I appear
Foolish, teach me. And if I appear
Impatient, be patient with me.

Guide me as you are guided, and
Speak plainly to me. I need no roses
To be sprinkled before my feet, I need
No honeyed words to sooth my temper.
Just tell me that you love me
And that you will love me forever.


I think the prose is as plain as day, and on this eve of Christmas, I wish all followers and lovers of Christ the very best in this Kingdom and in the Kingdom of Heaven - that you may find relief and reward in the exchanging of vows that we once made, in the name of God, Truth and Love... For you see, I remember all of you.

Merry Christmas, sunshine!

Pax Taufiqa

Footnote: Poem is from chapter entitled 'The Bride's Dress' (early 2010)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

God, Prophet and Rock & Roll - Part 2

DEAR PROPHET. I found myself this rainy Thursday morning amongst the breakfast crowd. I drifted away listening to music on my iPod. When I came back I found myself in tears, a pen in my hand and writing these words…
Dear Prophet,

I love my mother and father,
My siblings and friends,
I love my son and my love,
I love all whom I love,
Alas, that I do not love
Any of them perfectly.

And above all,
I love you, my Prophet,
And alas too, that
I do not love you perfectly.

I am but a man, weak and foolish,
Of flesh and blood, with headaches,
Toothaches and all sorts-of-aches,
Riding and being ridden by my ego,
A fluttering leaf in the storms of fate,
How can I ever love you so?

Yet you are a man too,
But that did not stop you
From loving me perfectly.

Being human did not stop you
From arranging for us sustenance of love
And the abiding attention of the saints and angels
To guide our hearts home to you.

I know that
A day will come
When you will say unto God
“Take whatever good I have done,
Whatever rewards that You wish to grant me,
And give it all unto mankind,
For they do not know You as I do.”

My heart, my Prophet…
How shall I ever know how you do what you do?
And how you are able to love mankind so perfectly?

I CRY EASILY. I blame my zodiac sign, Cancer, and my friend, Ash, who tells me that I am ‘sensitive’. I was driven to distraction by the music and lyrics of Beyonce’s Halo (Click Here), composer - Ryan Tedder (Leadman of OneRepublic), Evan Bogart.

Then I was madly affected by Ruth Sahanaya’s ‘Kaulah Segalanya / You are Everything’ (Click Here), Indonesian composer / lyricist - Tito Soemarsono.

Both ballads brought the Prophet to my mind, and in Tito’s sublime lyrics, I could hear a seeker’s lament for his Master, Muhammad Habibullah…

Mungkin hanya Tuhan / Maybe only God
Yang tahu segalanya / Will know everything
Apa yang kuinginkan / That I desire
Di saat-saat ini / In moments like this

Kau takkan percaya / You will not believe
Kau selalu di hati / (that) You are always in my heart
Haruska ku menangis / (so) Must I cry
Tuk mengatakan yang sesungguhnya / To tell you sincerely
Chorus :
Kaulah segalanya untukku / (that) You are everything to me
Kaulah curahan hati ini / You are the outpouring of this heart
Tak mungkin ku melupakanmu / It impossible for me to forget you
Tiada lagi yang kuharap / (and) There is none that I hope for
Hanya kau seorang / other than you alone
POP SONGS… I appreciate the Classics, but honestly, I don’t actually need a Bach or a Beethoven symphony to hear Divine Intimacies. Nor do I need a Van Goth painting to tell me about Truth, Love and Beauty. The Trinity was already scrawled in crayon upon my soul, and signed-off - ‘Mika was here!’*

Have a wonderful day, sunshine. Each day that you are with me is a good day. Love ya.

Pax Taufiqa.

Footnote: If you have some free time, perhaps you are curious to read my earlier posting about God, the Prophet and Rock & Roll (Click Here). *Mika is my six-year old son.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mikhail, Jack Black, Hamzah & Hamzah Jr., and a Client called the Predator

FILM REVIEW. My son is happy. He watched Jack Black’s movie “Gulliver’s Travels” last night with my brother and nephew. Mika loved the movie, but the other two were quite willing to walk out 20 minutes into the movie. Well, that’s my film review for today. Sorry, I cannot focus much because I have a toothache. It hurts so bad that I am counting the minutes before my appointment with the dentist later today. *Ouch*

I don’t really feel very spiritual right now. The opposite in fact. So no high falootin’ discussion about sinners and saints, just sharing…

MIKHAIL, HAMZAH AND HAMZAH JR. If you have been a habitual reader of this blog, you may have already read about Hamzah the Lion (Click Here). He is a guest blogger and fills in for me sometimes. Anyway, Mika took a shine to him and wanted a pencil-case-animal too, so I bought him a tiger.

“So what’s is his name, Mika?”
“Hamzah Junior.”
“Hamzah Jr? Is he related to Hamzah?
“They are father and son, Papa”,
my son replied.
“Mikhail, how can they be father and son? Hamzah’s a lion and Hamzah Jr. is a tiger.”
With an exasperated tone, Mika answered, “Papaaa, you were the one who bought him!”
“Umm, okay.”

THE PREDATOR AT THE OFFICE. We had a client from outer space last week. He wanted to buy some real estate in Kuala Lumpur. We had problems communicating because he keeps disappearing and reappearing, and he talks gibberish.

Dammit, my tooth still hurts. And it’s still 4 hours to my dental appointment. Someone please bring a gun and put me out of my misery.

Well, may you have a great day (since I am not), sunshine!

Pax Taufiqa.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Having a Cup of Certainty at Rumi's Famous Tea Room

Last night I visited Rumi at his famous Tea Room,
He offered me a pot of the stuff, saying “Have some tea!”.
I took a sip of the beverage and found it wonderful.
“This is amazing tea! What tea is this?”
“Ah!” He exclaimed, apparently delighted but saying no more.
Once I finished off the tea, Rumi immediately poured another piping hot cup,
which I found to be even better, “Wow, Rumi, this is even more delicious!”
With a glint in his eyes, he replied,
“My tea is special. It gets yummy and yummier with every cup!”
“Then you should really name and brand your tea, you know.”, I countered.
“It already has a name, haven’t you guessed?”
He replied as he poured from the teapot, “It’s called Certainty”.
If certainty is important to people of all religion, then ‘Troubling doubt’ is the No.1 enemy of all faiths. Rabbis in synagogues and theologians in mosques constantly exhort their flock towards certainty. The Arabic word for certainty is ‘Yaqin’ (or Yakin).

I reckon that certainty / yaqin, much like belief, is not something promulgated by the mind. It must be felt in the heart.

Lucky are those who are sipping certainty each and every second of their blessed lives. I am not one of them, but if you are, then please… share with me a little drop from your cup. For each drop you give me, surely God will grant you an ocean…
Drinking Certainty At Rumi’s Tea Room

Why colour
Your day with doubt
When you can drink
Certainty from
Every Cup
(of Moments)?
Have a great Monday, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

Footnote: Tea, Prose and Sketch is freshly brewed today. Bon appetit.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

How I wish I knew you better when I was younger

When I was Younger

O’ Love, O’ Light of Creation,
O’ Muhammad Habibullah,
O’ Abu Arwah!*

How I wish I knew you better,
And how I wish when I was younger
That I knew you then as what little
I know of you now…

Then perhaps I would have sinned lesser,
Then perhaps I would not have cried so often,
Then perhaps I would not have hurt myself so regular,
And maybe my smile would have been wider.

No doubt
That I would have been a better son for my mother,
A better pupil for my teachers,
A better company for my friends,
A better infidel for all believers
A better believer for all idolaters,
And a better half for all my lovers.

O’ Springtime of Mercy,
O’ Summer of Affections,
O’ Autumn of Virtues,
O’ Winter of Contentment!

You are all my seasons,
You are all my reasons,
You hold me captive now, o’ Prophet
How I wish you captured me earlier…
When I was younger…

And truthfully, not for all reasons

That I have mentioned,

But simply to be enamoured

By your loving attention.

(* JFYI, Abu Arwah is one of the many titles of the Prophet, it means the Father of Souls.)

I wrote the prose this morning and sms-ed it out to 7 of my friends. But the last four lines were written only just now at 6.00pm. How lucky I am to be corrected before I posted this out!

This Sunday is turning out to be a wonderful Sunday, sunshine. May yours equal and outshine mine. Amen.

Pax Taufiqa.

Footnote: If you are curious, I am fifth standing from the left. Yes, I wonder myself too, when did all that hair go?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mika the Blackjack King, God, Atheists and Probabilities

Mikhail is what people may term a ‘precocious child’. Last night I taught Mikhail to play Blackjack. I figure that it would be a good way to teach him about probabilities and statistics. He picked up the game pretty quick. He can do that so long as he is focused. Most kids can I think. Next I am gonna teach him Gin Rummy and then Poker.

PROBABILITIES. Atheists like to talk about probabilities. They say that God is humanity’s way to cope with the seeming arbitrariness of life and fate. Then they dig up a few fossils, draw some charts and cross out God’s existence. Well, it’s fine if they want to think that way, just as long as they don’t force anyone to conform to their views. After all, there should be no compulsion in any religion, including Atheism (hehehe).

For some people though, everything is the creation of God. And that includes mathematics and probabilities. For me, I do not discount the possibility (or should I call it probability?) that God utilizes probabilities / chance in the mechanics of nature and the Universe. In fact I believe it with all my heart. So through card games, I am gonna teach my 6 year old heir the subtle hand of fate that God deals through the science of probabilities. Or maybe that is just an excuse (hehehe).

MIKHAIL. I took Mika out for an early breakfast today, before the Sun came up. Later as we chilled at home, he suddenly blurted to me, “Hey, Papa. You are the best dad I have.” I looked at him as he continued, “If I have another papa, I won’t like him as much as I like you.” I smiled, “That is sweet of you to say that, Mika.”

I love my son. I remember being in constant worry how we would bring him up. I do not know how to. Mika will have to be my 'work-in-progress'. So even before he was born, I remember seeking help to even up the odds a bit …

93. Muhammad Mikhail
May he be a servant of God,
A lover of the Prophet,
A friend of the Angels,
A mureed of the Masters,
A caretaker of the Traditions,
And spring of charity
To all who may come to him in need.

Somewhere far, far down the line,
Perhaps he can also call himself
A son of mine.

That is my prayer for my son.

189. Ward Of The State Of Friends
Knowing himself unworthy,
The father,
In anxiety,
Declares the child
Ward of the State of Friends,*
A pupil of Angels,
Before the child ever
Breathed his first.
(‘Friends’ are in reference to Saints, both in the past and alive.)

WE DON’T OWN OUR KIDS. Early on in my fatherhood, I have always felt that there I have no real proprietary right over Mika. I don’t ‘own’ him. Like all fathers and mothers, I like to think of him as a trust, to be cared and loved, before he sprouts his own wings to begin his life as a young adult. And if years on, our children thinks back fondly of us, ah… that is simply a bonus.

If you feel the same way about your own precocious son or daughter – then really, how can we not be brothers and sisters?

Have a nice weekend, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

Footnote 1 – In his first ever game last night, Mika beat me by 20 to 16 in Blackjack. I complained “How do you keep winning all the time?!” Mika reassured me, “I am a beginner, Papa. This is what you call beginner’s luck”.

Footnote 2 – ‘Muhammad Mikhail’ is from Chapter 1 ‘The Dam.SunSun.Ana’, while ‘Ward of the State of Friends’ is from Chapter 2 ‘Dam.Munir.Ana’, both recorded in 2004.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Sultan & His Gift, Worldly and Spiritual Distractions - Love Bites on Your Soul

Once upon a time, there was a Sultan in a kingdom far, far away. He was a benevolent Sultan, very generous and most unique in his charity. One day, the town crier declared before the assembled townspeople, “Oh hear this! By the generosity of our beloved Sultan, His Majesty has declared that tomorrow, upon the rise of the morning sun, you are all invited to His Majesty’s palace, and there in, each of you may take whatever you may be able to carry away. You can only do this once, so choose wisely!”

By early next day, the news has spread far and wide. The entire kingdom congregated before the Palace gates, and as promised, upon the first glint of sunlight upon the golden dome of the Palace, the royal guards opened the gates, and the mob rushed in. Overjoyed, the mass of people started to carry away carpets, jewels, chairs, lamps, lanterns, even food and drink, really whatever they can get their hands on amidst the frenzy and chaos.

Through all this commotion, in his royal court sat the Sultan on his throne, looking serenely over the pandemonium. But then, suddenly two gentlemen appeared out of the crowd and made their way to His Majesty, and without even a ‘by your leave’, they lifted the throne, along with the Sultan, and started to carry it off.

The Sultan, instead of being angry or at least annoyed, simply continued smiling, inquiring politely of the two men, “What do you think you are doing?” The fat one, holding the back of the throne gasped a reply, “Phew! O’ Your Majesty, do you think we will be satisfied with Your Majesty’s gifts?!” Then the less fat one continued, “Let others play and be amused by your trinkets and furniture, o’ Sultan. We want you!”

WORLDLY DISTRACTIONS. This is a common little sufi tale, the obvious analogy being that the Sultan is God himself, the Palace is this world, and the people of the Kingdom are you and I. The common lesson from this story is that however much (or little) God grants us in this world, from the house that you live in, the car that you drive and the money that you are hoarding in that offshore bank a/c in the Caymans, such things are essentially distractions and whimsical trinkets for our enjoyment. Yet a wise man (and woman) would not be so easily distracted – he/she would always keep their beady eyes on the Numero Uno, the Finality of all Pleasure, the Fountain of all Affection, that being of course, God.

SPIRITUAL DISTRACTIONS. You are too smart though just to be satisfied with the first lesson. So here is the second moral – that even in the course of your spiritual journey, God would litter spiritual gems and sprinkle fairydusts along your path. It may appear to be spiritually significant (it probably is), and it is evidence of His affection for you and your dedication, but really, when you think about it – even spiritual gifts are not God Himself. So do not be distracted by either temporal or spiritual rewards, always keep your eye on the Main Prize - the Giver of Gifts, the Treasury of Love, the Beloved of Lovers, Healer of the Broken-hearted, the Friend of Friends whom we call God.

LOVE BITES. I am sharing this with you because I don’t expect to achieve much. I am quite contented and am barely sentient. But you, ahh… the Universe will not be enough for you, sweeties, once you are bitten by the Love. Oooh… I see those love bites all over your soul!


Hehehe. Have a great Friday, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

Rumi, Ruzbihan, Superheroes of God and Heralds of Love!

7. Choice II
You do not choose the Lord,
The Lord chooses you.
There is no bargain,
No trade to make.

He will simply catch you,
Asleep and unaware,
Whispering into you,
O’ love, awake!

At the end of it all, what choice have we? When Love itself knocks on the door of our soul?

For so long we have been asleep, dreaming of Love. Suddenly, you are awaken from your slumber, and you see Love…. What a joyous moment it was! What a joyous moment it is! What a joyous moment it will be!

People are all around you, working, playing, eating, living and dying. But they are in truth sleep-walkers, caught in the twilight of forgetfulness. They have forgotten Him, they have forgotten Love. They trade their affections instead with such love that this world can offer… they are making a terrible bargain.

O' Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims, go and wake up your co-religionists! I cannot, because I am just a sinner, but you can - Be the Heralds of Love!

You have a lot of work ahead of you, sunshine. But you will be in the honoured company of Rumi, Ruzbihan and other superheroes of God.

Pax Taufiqa.

Footnote: Poem and sketch is from chapter 34, entitled ‘Only a Thought Away’ (Sep 2008). It may have been used in an earlier posting.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why do I have to tell you (that I love you)?

1. Why do I have to tell you (that I love you)?
Tell me why,
Tell me your reasons,
Why, after all these years,
You need to know
And to hear I say,
That I love you.

Tell me why,
And what compelled you
To forget me, to dismiss me
From your mind.

And now you say you are lonely,
Now you tell me that you are sad,
And that you need to hear me say,
I love you
One more time.

I am sorry,
I cannot do that,
For the truth is,
I have never stopped saying
I love you,

But you,
You cannot hear me
Because you do not believe me,

Disbelief has made you deaf,

So believe

And be deaf no longer.

One night, I found the above words written on the walls of my soul. Have you seen these words before? The lovers of God (of all faiths and denominations) make a habit of singing their lamentable yearning for God. This poem appears to be a reply.

WISHING AWAY GOD. I am often guilty of feeling miserable. It is ALWAYS because I forgot myself, and thereon, I forgot God. Whether motivated by greed, selfishness, jealousy, impatience or anger, my mind would wish away God, thinking away the lessons of the Prophets, ignoring all the wisdom that my pater and mater had taught me.

WISHING AWAY MYSELF. But in truth, we cannot wish away God. What has happened is that I, Taufiq, has exiled myself from the Kingdom of Happiness – simply because I choose myself and my ego over God, and over others to whom I owe a duty of brotherhood. I have separated myself from mankind, attaching myself instead to the false nation of mancruel.

I wish I could direct this post to all whom I have failed in the past. If you are one of them, please accept my apologies, kiss my forehead, take my hand and lead me back through the gates of forgiveness.

I am wistful today. Maybe because I am a little tired. I take solace in the comforting warmth of your embrace, my friends.

Thank you, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

Footnote: Poem is from Chapter 33 ‘Hear Me’, completed 12th day of August, 2008. I guess this posting is a sequel to my earlier posting entitled 'Believing in God and Believing God is not the same thing'. Click here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Believing IN God and Believing God is not the same thing.

BELIEVE IN GOD. God has no need for us to believe in Him. He has the entire Universe, from the biggest Sun to the smallest slice of the atomic apple that believes in Him already. Why does He even bother with us? Why should we bother with Him?

...TO BE SANE. I guess it is about keeping sane against the arbitrary workings of Fate. Why was I born fat? Why do I drive a beat-up old car? Why am I poor and she is rich? She didn’t work for her wealth, her parents did, is it fair? Why does it always rain after I wash my car? Why is my calf so thin but my thigh Beyonce-esque? If given full freedom, our ego will drive us mad with its incessant demands. So God is saying don’t raise yourself (your ego) as your own private god. Believe in Him that all will work out for the best. He has the Good Plan for you.

BELIEVE GOD. It is not the same as believing in God. For me, at an intellectual plane, I do accept the existence of the Almighty. But in my ups and downs, I sometimes fail to believe Him. When I am up, I can be obnoxious and uppity, thinking my success is of my own efforts, forgetting that God says that success is His reward to give and to take away as He wishes. When I am down, I forget God’s words in Surah Inshirah (XCIV) when He uttered these words of comfort (with double emphasis) ‘So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief’. I think it is fair to say that although we generally believe He exists, every day we are striving to believe His assurances to us… Why should we?

...TO BE HAPPY. He want us to believe Him when He says He loves us more than Romeo loves Juliet, more than Batman loves Robin, more than your mum loves you… Surely happiness is only a heartbeat away if we believe Him. It is much harder than believing in His existence. But really, the sweetness of this understanding is beyond the comprehension of our mental faculty. This deal, this superhero bargain is offered to us in the kingdom of our heart, because simply put, only our heart can comprehend His love for us.

TO CONCLUDE, God is asking us to believe Him, not just believe in Him – because He wants us to be happy. And to realise just how loved and favoured we are. *Sigh* I say this as a sinner, but you? Just how much He loves you is honestly beyond me...

To the Batmobile, Robin!

Pax Taufiqa.

Footnotes – Picture and prose entitled ‘Believe God’ is new.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

MC Hammer and the Path between the Two Worlds

I have 2 pair of MC Hammer pants. Remember him? Click here!
I wear them once in a while. It is ubercomfortable. No man should go without a pair. It must be cut and tailored from 3 separate cloths.
I know of a good tailor who does a pair for a decent price. If you are interested, give me a buzz.
Hammer Time, sunshine!
Pax Taufiqa
Footnote: Cartoon is from my collection of cartoon sketched between 2004-2009.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Anonymity in the Oneness of God, Abu Bakar, Mary and that Descartes Dude

WE ARE ALL ANONYMOUS. I don’t know who most of my readers are. This used to bother me, but now I am just happy for someone to drop by. And it made me wonder– do we really know any other person? Do you really know your best friend? Your wife? Even your mother? Your husband? You see them daily, you eat and drink with them, you share joys and tears together. You support the same football team. But really, do we understand the depth of emotions, experience and personality that makes up another human being?

WE DON’T REALLY KNOW EACH OTHER. Of course not. To a large extent, we transact only with the surface of the man / woman. We exchange pleasantries and speak their names. But the deeper substrata, the subconscious personality of the person is often beyond our immediate attention or contemplation. So in a manner of speaking, we are often anonymous to one another.

WE DON’T EVEN KNOW OURSELVES. Matters become more complicated when we are often propelled by self-delusions. For me, I often catch myself saying / doing things which are abnormal to my general attitude. I would like to think that I am kind, hard working, loving and patient. But the truth of the matter is I can do the exact opposite sometimes. I can be mean. I can be selfish, and sometimes cruel words come out of my mouth. Words I wish I had never uttered, but in that split second I forgot who I was train wrecking myself on sleepers laid down by my ego.


I think that anonymity is the true nature of Reality– ergo the first part of the Islamic declaration of faith, that ‘I bear witness that there is no god but God…’. Thus I remembered Abu Bakar, the Shadow of the Prophet, in a little poem that I wrote…

39. The Lament of Abu Bakar & Then Some
If only I was blade of rye,
About to be cut by a swing of the scythe.

If only I was lost and nameless,
Nothing even to my deceiving self.

Like a book unread,
Gathering dust on the shelf.

The ‘…And Then Some’ in the title of the prose above is a reference to Mary, Mother of Jesus. She uttered the exact same sentiments as Abu Bakar as-Siddique.

I AM NOTHING SPECIAL but my ego always likes to claim that I am special. Whether as a sinner or a believer, whether I am drowning in sins, or performing prayers and charity – my ego stakes a claim on my behalf to be somehow different, special from the rest of humanity. The ego is subtle you see, even when you are down and out, a penniless bum on skid row, your ego can be as gigantic as the richest man in the world. Only true anonymity will keep the ego at bay…

190. Mundane
The thought of finding pleasure in the mundane,
The thought that you might be mundane,
Is almost too much for your ego to bear.

In a world where everyone craves a name,
Anonymity is arsenic.

BUT WAIT A MINUTE… To conclude this posting, I refer to the second limb of the declaration of faith, “…And that Muhammad is the Messenger of God. This is not merely a statement of the Prophethood of Muhammad, but also the statement of our plurality as human beings. It is by this second part that mankind is created, to exhibit the many attributes of the Beloved, to be the ink by which we write ourselves (or are written) unto the consciousness of God.

GOD THINKS THEREFORE I AM. I like to believe that we are all anonymous in the Oneness of God, but we become identifiable through His Love for the Prophet and for us. To reassess what old Rene Descartes once said, "I think therefore I am ", to “ God Thinks therefore I am”. I hope Rene doesn't mind...

Have a thoughtful Monday, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

Footnotes – An earlier posting about Abu Bakar and Abu Yazid may interest you. Click here.

‘The Lament of Abu Bakar and Then Some” and “Mundane” are prose from chapter 1, ‘The Dam.SunSun.Ana (circa June 2004).

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Shining Lanterns, the Mother of All Jihad and the Garden of God

198. Bright Lantern
If you are given a shining lantern,
But persist in wandering with your eyes shut,
Do not then say to God
That you are still stumbling in the dark.

When I wrote this in May 2004, the ‘shining lantern’ I had in mind was the Al Quran and the Sunnah (Traditions of the Prophet). It still is, but 6 years of ups and downs have led me to further elaboration. My tiny heart now thinks that...

The Shining Lantern also means
1. Your Heart / Conscience
2. Other Hearts / Conscience

YOUR HEART. I think that we always need light to shine into the darkness of ignorance. After all, you cannot read without light. So go ahead, switch on the table-lamp. But do not forget to switch on the light of your Conscience and your Heart. For without the inner light, we will be prone to misunderstand our religion (and everything else, really). And we may fall into those who bring our religion’s name into calumny and disrepute – defaming the beautiful lives and lessons of our prophets by our heartless action. History is packed with such examples. Don’t join this miserable statistic.

OTHER HEARTS. As a ridiculous sinner, I cannot depend entirely on my heart. I am not blaming my heart, I simply get confused between my heart and my ego who often disguises itself as my heart. So I look to others, who are mighty and valiant in the neverending war – that Mother of All Jihad – the struggle for our heart to overcome and subdue our ego. These mighty Soldiers of Love are all around me. They are all around you too – they are your beloved family and friends. People who love you and whom you look up to. Your Dad - your mother, your favourite Uncle Joe (no, not the plumber), Mahadevan the teacher, Munim the Yemeni, and Moses the Cat.

199. The Smart Enemy
The Greater Struggle skirmishes
In the hearts of men.
Therein the enemy sends his most senior generals,
Wasting not his best warriors for lesser feuds,
Why are we not as wise?

So I will see you there, friends! In your heart and in my heart – entwined in the Garden of God. Together, you and I, we will saddle our ego and hand the bridle to our heart. And if my horsemanship is poor, please… help me.

Have a wonderful Sabbath, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

Footnote: Both poems are from Chapter 1, ‘The Dam.SunSun.Ana’ (circa mid 2004).

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mika Mr. Big Heart, How to Recognise a Saint, and Being Saintly

Driving through a wealthy neighbourhood one day, Mika observed, “Wow, Papa, these houses are HUGE!

I am not poor. I am okay. But in my life, we have seen happy people living in a tiny house, and I have seen frustrated and sad souls surrounded by all the luxuries that this life can offer. I know of an elderly woman, who travels from one family home to another, with no fixed address or house to call her own, but who has the clarity of mind greater than someone half her age. She is beloved wherever she minds to stay.
Along that point, I said to Mika in response to his observation, “Mika, if you live in a small house but have a big heart, you are okay. On the other hand, if you live in a big house but have a small heart, you are in trouble.” He was quiet and thoughtful, so I asked him, “What about you, do you have a big heart?

Papa, I have the biggest heart!”, he responded excitedly.

I queried my son further, “And how come you have a big heart?

He turned to me and said with great serious-ity, “Because I never give up, Papa.

I was struck by Mika’s reply, as I anticipated his stock answer, which would be “Oh, because God and Nabi Muhammad is in my heart, Papa.” Mika’s words takes me back a couple of months ago when I bumped into Nun Tuck’s blog. The very first posting which I came across was one entitled “Saints are sinners who keep on trying.Click here to read this wonderful article.

You can be a bona fide saint or you can be plain old saintly. You can try to be a saint if you want, but I know of no saint who actually wants to be a saint. It is a 24/7 job with parallel responsibilities running along the different dimensions and pseudo-worlds. On top of that, as a de jure Saint, you have to deal with the appalling manners and constant bleating of sinners like me...
10. Blue Mosque
Someone has given me
Sinan’s building plans,
Though I know not
How to even build up a sweat.

Someone has given me
The key to Baghdad’s library,
Though I lie easily,
So whatever is learnt is easily forgotten.

Someone has brought me
To the attention of a Master,
Though when I was in school,
I was indifferent.

So why not be saintly, my friend? Just keep on trying and don't give up (on sinners like me).

Pax Taufiqa.

Footnote: ‘Blue Mosque’ is from Chapter 4, ‘The Eighteen Verses’. First picture is of Mika and his cousin, Aqil attending a thursday night God-remembering (Dzikr) function.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

God is Eternal/Internal, and a 6-year old question that I have not answered

Association III
We can teach you,
To heal the lameness of your limbs,
The blindness of your hearts,
The deafness of your ears,
And tame the obstinacy of your mind.

We can teach you,
To read signs and signposts,
Maps and compasses,
Omens and ciphers,
Books and letters,
That continuously whisper;
This way, o’ Seeker, this way!

Yea, all these we can teach you, and more.

But o’ acolytes of your own image,
Apostles of your private idols,
Are you willing to listen and learn?
Are you willing to listen and obey?

For the past 2 years I have been having my morning coffee in the Chinese Kopitiam (restaurant) downstairs of my office. I always sit at the tables in the back lane so as to avoid the hot morning sun. One day, I noticed a graffiti scrawled on the column exactly in front of where I was sitting. I looked closer and thus I read…

My guess is as good as yours. Did the person intend to write ‘God is Eternal’? Or is the message suppose to read ‘God is Internal’? Was the writer male or female? Was he/she perhaps drunk? (My neighbourhood is famous for its watering holes)

If you wish to plumb down into mass phobia, you may ask why is the second ‘E’ facing backwards and the ‘A’ upside down. Is this some Masonic device (feel free to replace ‘Masonic’ with another favourite devilish secret society), full of diabolical meaning and ill-intention? Or perhaps it is merely an indictment of the quality of edoocasyen in our skools?

Being the optimist, I am prepared to take the words as candies for me. A little reminder from the Benevolent Fate that in the most unlikely of places you may find signs…

...That continuously whisper;
This way, o’ Seeker, this way!

And being the sort of man who finds great happiness in sharing (especially when it costs him nothing whatsoever), I want to share my prose and candies with you this morning.

Bon appetit!

Footnote: ‘Association III’ is from chapter 2, ‘The Dam.Munir.Ana’ (circa Nov 2004). I met a wise man that year, and he did ask of me, are you willing to listen and obey?

6 years on, I have still not replied him.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

New Year's Day with Mikhail and My Mum

Yesterday morning, while still in bed, Mikhail said, “Papa, why don’t we buy some flowers and visit Tok’s (my late mother) grave.” As we left the house we bumped into my dad who was sitting outside. Like all grandfathers, he was overjoyed to see his young grandson (as if he hasn't seen his grandson just the night before!). Above you can see Mika, looking all awkward being hugged by his granddad.

On the way, we dropped by a big florist shop in Bangsar, which is a small suburb of Kuala Lumpur. We had no problems picking the flowers for my mother because I remember that she always loved orchids, especially whites and purples. We also purchased some dandelions for the house.

Not long after, we found ourselves at the cemetery. While walking in between the dead, we gave our salutations of peace and recited an offering of the Al-Fatihah (The opening verse of the Al-Quran). After saying hello to my mother, we wandered around the cemetery. Mikhail was fond of looking at the graves of babies, and he sighed, Kesian (what a pity)”, after reading the tombstone of a baby who passed away after only 4 months of living.

There is a huge rocky outcrop beside the babies’ section and Mika climbed to the top. He insisted I joined him, and so I made my way (slowly) up. What a beautiful view, Papa!”, he said surveying the gardens of stone that laid before us. He has no fear of graves or cemeteries, this boy.

We said our last prayers to my mother, with me sitting near to her headstone, and Mikhail down at her feet. As we left, Mika said Okay, we are going now, goodbye People of the Grave! Goodbye Tok!”.

My mother never got to see Mika. This thought always leaves me wistful because I believe that they would have loved each other so much. This was what I mentioned to Mika and that was why he suggested that we visit her grave. I think it is good to begin the first day of the new year 1432 with a visit to the past. It is always good to remember the past as we prepare for the future. Especially if the past is so good.

If you feel the same, in the thoughts of your late mother or father – really, how can we not be brothers and sisters?

Have a wonderful day, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.