Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You are still trying to be something!

One day, a murid was traveling through Christian lands
with his Master when he saw a Muslim standing under a tree.
He gestured to the man and said to his Master,
"Look, Master. A Muslim!"

"No.", replied the Master, patiently.
"He is merely a something trying to be a human being.

Once he has succeeded in becoming a human being,
He can try to be a decent man.

And if he has achieved that, He may try to be a believer.

When he has attained that station, At last, he can then try to be a Muslim."

"Oh.", the boy said.

The two continued walking, until finally,
Unable to contain his curiosity any longer, the murid asked,
"And what about me, Master?"

"You, Taufiq? Why, you are none of the above.

You are still trying to be something."

Story is extracted from current and untitled chapter. By the way, I think I shouldn't sketch on rough paper anymore. Hehehe. Salams, and Happy Ramadan!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Endless Yearning for Endless Forgiveness

40. If
If I have been unkind,Forgive me,
If I was ungrateful, Forgive me,
If I was human and erred, Forgive me.

In the calumny of my ways
In the darkest of my days
If I have sought others,
Forgive me.

If I have not sought
Your forgiveness
Often enough,
Forgive me.

For I was created
To forget and to remember.

I was created
To lose and to find You.

I was created as a vessel
Of errors and misplaced passions,
And I would have long perished,
Had I not been sailing
The Ocean Of Your
Endless Mercy.

From the chapter entitled "Keeping Count", October 2007


I was a rotter last night. But this evening, I was forgiven. Not by God, but by my friend Heche. I am still a little groggy from the wine of forgiveness served to me, and am alas, not thinking too straight. Not that I famous for thinking straightfully.

I believe, that when you forgive someone, you are taking water from His Mercy Ocean. And I do think He wants you to take from his Mercy Ocean, again and again and again. As many times and as often as you can. So forgive. Forgive whomever and whatever. Forgive and complete this month beautifully.

So be like Heche and forgive, so that sinners like me will take some Mercy to quench our endless yearning for endless forgiveness.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Especially for fathers, mothers, sons and daughters


O’ my child,
O’ my beloved child.

Why do you appear surprised
To see me cry this way?
Only because you have not
Seen me cry before?
Only because I was always
The strong one,
Strict and unbending?

The truth is,
I have cried for you
In all the years of your life.
From the first moment
I cradled you in my arms.

I cry because
So much of me have passed to you,
And I am left with only a little.
By your birth am I diminished.

I cry not of sorrow,
But in the state of witnessing
Of our Lord’s promise.

And the mirror which you carry
Within you hurts my eye
Whenever I look into you,
And see me.

For in you
Is a ray of hope
For a better me,

A ray of light
That at times,
Shines a little too bright.
Found this little prose written in 2006. I cannot remember what transpired behind the writing. But I think, such sentiments are eternal and real, any time, anywhere. May God bless our parents and our children, may God forgive us this Ramadan the Fabulous for the sake of Muhammad, the Last Word in Fabulousism.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Wikipedia (roughly)says that "Wahdat al-Wujud literally means the unity of creation. Wahdat al-Shuhud (Apparentism, or Unity of Witness), on the other hand, holds that God and his creation are entirely separate." For me, Wahdat al-Wujud is the fullstop to all human thought and conjecture. The perfect excuse to stay in bed on a lazy Monday.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Believe (or a Man on Fire)

If you are on fire, come swim in My Ocean,
If you cannot reach My Shore
Wait for My Rain Clouds,
If you are buried in soil
Wait for My River to cleft
Its way to you, My love.

I have not seen your record,
I have not read your report,
I am only looking at the Sun
Which is lighting the passages of your heart
setting alight,
Your Book of Errors.


If you burn, do not be anxious,
If you hurt, do not think you are forgotten,
Have I not been your solace
Through all of your years?

You are My Gift,
A nanosecond of My Sublime Imagination
And wrought in My Mercy and My Love
For Muhammad.

Why despair?
Do you think I do not care?
My Love for you is the similitude
Of an infinite Seas of Love
Lapping upon your sorrowful shore,
Of an infinite horizon of white clouds
Waiting to rain on your barren soil.

Oh my servant!


No. 82 from a chapter entitled 'the Dam.SunSun.Ana'. Believe, and doubt no more. And if you are still unable to, at least remember that the Lord and His Beloved, certainly believes in you.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Layla Majnun Exposition No.2

22. Before I ever saw…

Before I ever saw henna flowers

Appear on her hands,

My heart was already

In her hands.

Before I ever saw the ring

Adorn her finger,

My heart was already wrapped

Around her finger.

O’ Layla!

I was yours,

Before I ever knew

You existed

And your Love assured me
Of my own existence.


No. 22 is from the current and untitled chapter. The picture is courtesy of Balqies Arafia Zaed, a young but talented photographer. Her website is on the Poet link, because, though she would be the first to deny it, she takes pictures poetically.

Me a Ghost!? ....NEVER!

208. Shakespeare
The world is at best a stage
For ghosts, shadows and imagination.
A path that may take you far inland,
Or return you home to the Ocean.

2. Layla’s ghost
I thought I was tangible,
I thought I had meaning,
I thought I was a lover,
Ruling with the heart of a king.

I now know
I am none of the above,
I am but a ghost,
A vagrant amongst the living.


From the chapters entitled 'The Dam.SunSun.Ana' and 'These Words', and posted here in response to my dear friend, Feisal Bajrai's question (via Facebook) to an earlier posting. So you see, Feisal, my conscience is quite prepared to be a ghost to God's True Reality. But my ego doesn't want to be some silly intangible ghost! My ego is NOT prepared to play a minor role... It wants to be the Real Thing!
Stupid stubborn ego.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

No.3 If You see Me crying

If you see me crying,
In the midst of
A crowded restaurant,
Don’t worry.
If you see me in tears
While driving,
Don’t worry.
If you see me walking
While tears run down
My cheek,
Fret not.

For I am only in
The midst of remembrance,
In the clutches of a
Jealous love that
Won’t let me go,
But a love yet to be
Consummated in the
Presence of my beloved.

For I am here,
And he is there,

But when he is
Somewhere else,
The truth is
Though I am here,
I am really nowhere.

I have written songs,
I have grafted poems
Upon the lifeless limbs
Of my aching body,
When loneliness
And nothingness which
Drowns me, apart from him,
Leaves me disconsolate
And miserable.

In a breath, he seems
So near, but he isn’t!

But if you see me smiling,
Alone all by myself,
In the crowd of unknowing humanity,
Know that I feel he is near,
And that what is the reality
Which you perceive is yours,
And not mine,

For in my reality,
In the drawing of a smile
From a secret pleasure,
Abu Bakar is with me,
Omar is with me,
Usman is with me,
Ali is with me,
Salman al-Farsi, Jaafar as-Sadiq
And dear Abu Yazid al-Bistami
Are all with me,
With my Masters, with the saints,
With angels whirling upon the leaves
Of trees, while little birds of green feathers
Dash and fly about me.

How happy and ashamed am I then,
To be in the company of such ghosts…

From the chapter entitled 'The Ignorance of Piety and the Knowledge of Sin'

God, the Lord Least Demanding, the Most Deserving.

8. I feel safe with God

I feel safe with God,
For He knows me absolutely
And therefore has absolutely no
Unreasonable expectations.

But people,
Whao, people are
Infinitely more demanding.


(From "The Ignorance of Piety and the Knowledge of Sin")
And so, time and time again, we give in to people. But to God we are often the selfish Scrooge. Nitpicking in our 'worship' and 'charity'. Ignoring that the Least Demanding One is the Most Deserving One.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Claiming you are a Muslim doesn't make you a Muslim. Claiming you are an Apostate doesn't make you an Apostate.

14. I don’t believe in God (with Poon)

“I don’t believe in God”, she said.

I replied, “That’s good, you know.
For if He was as you think He is,
I too would denounce such a deity.
And were you to continue believing Him thus,
Then you would be doing Him a great injustice.”


From a chapter entitled 'Maqsud and Matlamat'. This prose outlines the basis of my observation that apostasy, is in Reality inherently impossible. Because of this, my best friend once accused me of being patronising to other people's belief (or rather disbelief). He is right, if you think that being a Muslim is a conclusive label. But for me, being a Muslim is essentially a process. So just as saying you are a Muslim doesn't make you a Muslim, similarly, claiming that you are an apostate doesn't make you an apostate. In this world full of religious and atheist Forms, it is too easy to gloss over the Inner and Essential Reality of things. More on this later...

What Are You Babbling About?

19. New Religion

When kindness, love and mercy
Become alien to faith,
They will come unto you and ask,
Is this a new religion of which you speak?


From a chapter entitled "These Words".

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Layla Majnun Exposition

I am foretold, o’ Swallow

In this love for you,
I am foretold of a joyous union,

But Layla,
I am besotted by you only in separation,
Whereof am I to love you…
Sunken in a deep ocean
Where there is only you and no other?

Not for myself do I sing;
That nothing brings me pleasure
Than to be separated from my love
And to behold her,…
The Sun of my days
The Moon of my gladness
The scent of her Beauty found,
In a secret garden of Roses.

(No. 9 from the chapter entitled 'Tiramesu'. I must have been feeling good when writing this.)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Without Choice There Is No Love

26. Certainty in Sin & Piety

I see the certainty of sin and piety in my brothers,
And wish that I too had such sureness of footing
Astride both mountains.


(From 'The Nineteen Verses', circa Sept 2004)

If man is given the transcendental opportunity to love, it is a necessary condition that he is also given the choice to sin. Otherwise, God really would have just stuck with the Angels.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Labels Can Be Misleading

Islamic courses and Islamic rules,
Islamic books and Islamic schools,
Islamic shops and Islamic banks,
Islamic bombs and Islamic tanks.
This is what my Islam is made of.

Islamic shoes and Islamic sandals,
Islamic tales and Islamic fables,
Islamic labels and Islamic rebels,
Islamic banging on Islamic tables.
This is what my Islam is made of.

Islamic banner and Islamic country,
Islamic state and Islamic party,
Islamic bread with Islamic buns,
Islamic hate with Islamic guns.
This is what my Islam is made of.

O’ Lord, we are spreading the word of “Islam”,
We have succeeded where the caliphs have failed,
All and sundry we have labeled “Islam”,
So what was once the humble bucket,
Is now the Great Islamic Pail.
(No.65, from the 'Dam.SunSun.Ana')
When you use the name of a religion with adherents numbering more than 1.2 billion, I think it is only fair that your labeling is judged by the highest standards possible.
And if it is not your standards? Tough luck. Nobody is forcing you to use the label "Islam".

When Love Beckons

26. Manners

When anger beckons
Draw empathy close,
When rights beckon
Draw mercy close,
And when love beckons
Draw the curtains close.

No.26, from 'Springtime of Adam'. No explanations necessary here, I think.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sometimes, we must do as the Masons do.

154. Taj Mahal of the Heart
O’ lazy builder,
You already have foundations of love,
But you have not built
The pillars of responsibility.

Build! And waiver not in your conviction,
Do as the masons do,
For just as the masons build,
So must you.

Build in the hearts of men
And all you hold dear!

Build! For the Lord
Is your Guarantor of any edifice
Which you raise upon
The Foundations of Love,
In the Name of Love.

A testament still standing,
When all of men’s conceit
Have crumbled to the earth,
And all the stars in the night sky
Have twinkled out of existence.


From 'i.alone.exist.in.a.world.of.mirrors'. Many people speak of love. But Sinan tells me that sometimes, in the name of Love and its Glory, we must do as the Masons do, and build.

Friday, August 13, 2010

East or West, We are His

15. A Willow

I am a willow,
Bending and swaying in His breeze.
East or West,
I am His,
Bending and swaying to His Will.
(From 'Springtime of Adam')

Sometimes It Is Very Good To Be Very Wrong

287. Best Kept Secret

We cannot control what we feel,
But we certainly can control what we do,

I wish I could tell you this,
For if I appear to take you for granted,
If I appear unaffected by your kindness,
It is only because some feelings
Are best kept secret.

And some friendship are best
Kept as friendships.

wa min Allah at-taufiq,

And may God bless
All friends true.
(Extracted from 'i.alone.exist.in.a.world.of.mirrors.'). Two Ramadans ago, I wrote this ominous prose. Now I know that some secrets have expiry dates and some friendships are not meant to last. And while I would like to think that I know myself pretty well, history has proven otherwise, time and time again!
Really, it is sometimes very good to be very wrong.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A "Meaningful" Fast

15. Heche is not very good at fasting

The moment I open my eyes
During the fasting month,
I feel the pain.

I console myself that
This way it makes my fasting
More meaningful.

Often though, I wish that
God wouldn’t make
My fast SO meaningful!
(From current and untitled chapter)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Prophet and the Pebble

276. A pebble
The Prophet can hold in his hand
A pebble picked off the ground,
And that pebble will learn to love him.
(Extracted from "i.alone.exist.in.a.world.of.mirrors")

Love and Forgiveness

If you do not forgive, how can you love?

Love is not in the teases,
Nor in the holding of hands,
Love is not the burning kisses
In secret happenstance.

Such things are
Celebrations of love
And not love itself.

True Love is in forgiveness,
And in the patient refrain,
To hear the words 'I love you, I forgive you',
Again and again, and again.
(No.14, from current and untitled chapter)
Forgiveness is not about compromise. It is not about closing your eyes to man's weaknesses. It is the proclamation of hope and courage in the face of human mistakes. So in this Holy Ramadhan, ask for forgiveness, and give forgiveness...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Love, Madness and The Illusion of You

Love, Sweetest & Most Bitter

We are loading our donkeys
With tributes and riding them into the sea.
We are the courageous and foolish,
Simpletons on Quixote’s mount,
Undaunted and fearing nothing,
We take our supper under the sky
And quench our thirst with wine
Stolen from our masters’ cellars!

The incorrigible and destitute,
The lost and guided knights
With banners borrowed
From Saladin’s tomb.

Stampeding headlong,
Hardheaded and kindhearted,

To be lost forever in His Ocean,

O’ Love, Sweetest and Most Bitter!

(No.9, from 'Raindrops') If you desire to walk the path, then prepare yourself to stumble, to get lost, to face monster windmills and other illusions that challenged Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Along the way, you may perhaps even face the mightiest illusion of all... the illusion of you. Abu Yazid, Ibnu Arabi, Hallaj and old Rumi may have put it differently, but this is what we call poetic license. Hehehe.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

We are not in control, Love Is.

I shall never be ready
For Thee, o’ Lord!

I shall be caught in Thy clutches
Like a deer surprised in the forest,
Like a fish
Entangled in the net,
Like a bride seeing her groom for the first time,
And gasping shyly, “Oh, Lord!”
Forever regretting she had ever
Questioned the match!

(No.5, from 'The Leaf')

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Drunkards of 5th August

3. Burn Slow

Burn slow, o’ lighted candle
And fear not the dark that lie outside.
Burn slow, o’ lighted lantern
And see the shadow flee your burning bright.

The sword upon the anvil,
The hammer upon the sword,
The whirling moth that spins and sings
Oh God, oh God, oh God!

(No.3, from 'Winter & Rain'. circa December 2004)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Defilers of Maqams

1. If The Kaaba …
If the Kaaba is a diamond,
The defilers of maqams are conspiring to pry off the gemstones
That dot her ornate setting,

If the Kaaba is life,
The defilers of maqams are conspiring to choke her breath,

If the Kaaba is the sun,
The defilers of maqams are conspiring to eclipse her moons,

If the Kaaba is justice,
The defilers of maqams are conspiring to conceal her mercy,

If the Kaaba is the universe,
The defilers of maqams are conspiring to rewrite her history,

If the Kaaba is a writer,
The defilers of maqams are conspiring to be her censors,

If the Kaaba is Rapunzel,
The defilers of maqams are conspiring to cut off her golden tresses.

That is want they want.

But who can they harm but themselves?
And what can they defile but their own name?

(No.1, from 'The Nineteen Verses'. 'maqam' in this context means the grave and tombs of the Companions of the Prophet and the Saints that dot the earth like bright pearls of divine grace)

I am not diverting from love and the theme of love. This is what we call tough love. It is still love, but this embodiment of love has sharp cutting edges. It is the opposite of hate and is gamely waiting to give the defilers of maqams its gentle loving attention.

The Writ of Love

"...Preferring the company of love and its orderly wilderness,
When you were lost and love called out your name first."

The Writ of Love
Oh love, they say
That I am ill in love,
But if love is my illness,
I do not want to be cured.
So call no doctor,
Attend not to my pain,
Inform no friends,
Worry not in vain.

For in the Writ of love,
Hurt precedes joy,
Poverty the precondition of wealth,
And sadness exists
Only to accentuate joy.

The Writ of Love was born
Upon a moment when
The Light of Creation was forged,
And the Maker gazed and permitted
Himself to fall in love with His creation.

You speak of love,
But verily, love spoke your name first.
You desire love,
But truly, love desired your company first.
And we stand between the Maker and the Made,
Desiring no heaven or entry through its pearly gates.
Preferring the company of love and its orderly wilderness,
When you were lost and love called out your name first.

(No.41, from 'How Beautiful Love Is')

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Resist the Ambition to Climb the Moral Mountain

Moral Mountain II
The problems with staking your tent
On a moral high ground
Are the altitude sickness, frostbites,
Frequent avalanches
And the likelihood
That a sudden gust would
Propel you, your tent,
And your precious morals
Over the precipice.

(No.128 from 'the Dam.SunSun.Ana')

Not my best friend would say I am a particularly moral person. Indeed, some may even suggest that my reluctance to draw a clear line between black and white, good and evil makes me rather unscrupulous. I hedge my bets, they say, right to the cliff edge of morality.

Despite this however, I am prone to subconsciously judge people. Outside, I may spout liberal and tolerant views, inside however, my mind is going tsk, tsk, tsk, shame, shame, shame. Years ago, when my brother got divorced, I staked my claim on the highest moral ground. Reminding myself that in my faith, divorce is described as the worst permissable act you can do. The very pillars of heaven are said to shake when the husband recites the proscribed words divorcing his mate. From this moral mountain, I looked down and passed judgement on these feeble human failings...

Well, so much for my morality. In 2007, I found myself in front of the Qadi (Judge) of the Shariah Court in Kuala Lumpur, testifying the solemn words to breach the marriage vows which I had readily entered into just 5 years back.

So don't judge too quickly, my friends. You know not what Fate may have in store to test your personal convictions. Resist the ambition to climb the moral mountain. Just because it is there, doesn't mean that you must climb it. You do have a choice. Choose wisely.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

It's The Thought That Counts. REALLY?

2nd Posting for the day. In honour of the coming month of Ramadhan the Blessed, and my dear departed Mother who passed away more than 8 years ago last May.

I simply don't do enough charity. And I am just too good at rationalising my scrooge-ism. My late mum, God bless her peaceful soul, is my direct opposite. She used to scour the hinter lands up north, especially during the fasting month of Ramadhan, looking for the deserving poor. Not the sort of poor I-only-eat-rice-with-salted-fish, but the so-poor-that-I-am-not-sure-I-have-anything-to-eat category of poverty. Her name was Arba'yah. Her siblings and friends called her Ba'yah. Her nieces and nephews called her Makcik(Auntie). She did not wring her hands and despaired. She stepped out of her comfort zone and she changed things, leaving the world a better place for many whose lives she touched.

May God bless all our mothers who show that sometimes, just thinking about it, simply isn't good enough.

It Is Never Too Late

The Wasteland
In the wasteland of thy material afflictions
In thy overflowing cup of blame and sorrow
In thy rapture of all things hollow
Know this if you must know one thing

That it is never too late
To turn love from hate
To save joy from misery
To pry thyself free
Of false gods and false liberties.

And that,
As a man
Or as a woman
His Beautiful Face
His Merciful Gaze
His Enduring Embrace
Awaits thee,
Wherever thy gaze may turn.

(No.101, from 'the Dam.SunSun.Ana')

If you have sinned, don’t worry. Because it is never too late. If you broke your vows, if you have given up on love, if you smoke too much, if you drink like a fish, if you treat friends poorly, if you are ungrateful, it is still never too late. We all make mistakes. But the worse mistake we can ever make is to think that “Oh no, it is too late.”.

Because there is always God, there will always be time for you. To make amends. To be better. Not to change but to reveal the best that you can be.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Spiders of Mercy

Life rests upon a knife's edge. My breath is more fleeting and tenuous than the slimmest thread of a spider's web. Yet I regard myself as masterful. In truth, I am the one mastered. A fat fly struggling to cope with mortality on a sticky and infinite web... Mastered by the alluring illusion that I call the world. But help is on the way!

This world is a web,
And sitting in the middle of the web is Mercy,
The web is stretched from horizon to eternity,
Between two branches of the Lote Tree.

Most people seek dominion,
And they become entangled
In the cobweb of their
Need to dominate.

Others, ah, those bright fellows!
They submit to the Lord of Mercy,
And are given the license
To tip-toe between
Pre-Time to

If you see one of them,
Follow them and don’t
Let them out
Of your
For they are
Worth more than gold,
Their eyes shimmer
With an ancient light,
Full of prose that shall
Never grow old.

(No.10 from current and untitled chapter)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I Don't Fake It

O’ Lord,
I don’t fake in my sinning,
So don’t You fake in Your forgiving,

O’ Lord,
I don’t play in being lost,
So don’t You be reticent in guiding me,

O’ Lord,
I am real in my infidelity,
So be real for me,

O’ Lord,
I am a fake
Only when I am awake,
So take me, o’ Lord,
In my sleep, or in
Your dreaming
Of me.
(No.9, from the current and untitled chapter. Written in my heart, after the rain, underneath the early morning sky, sunless while inside love slumbered)