Saturday, October 30, 2010

Jelaluddin Rumi, Mikhail, God, Sincerity, Roti Canai and the Rain

2. On the Scale of al-Amin II
O’ seeker, be sincere,
Do not use our secrets
To make you negligent of your worldly duties,
Nor to put obstacles in your worldly affairs.

As Mevlana Rumi once said,
"Worldliness is only forgetting God,
It is not having a family or goods."

And seeker,
There is nothing more worldly than insincerity!
………………..
From the 6th chapter entitled ‘The Scale’, circa 2004

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Saturday morning is a good wet morning. And I took the opportunity to take Mikhail out for breakfast. Here he is, still in his pajamas. He had roti canai (which is something similar to roti prata). But it was cooked by a Malay and not an Indian Muslim so it is different. It is not so crispy and it is very yellow. I don’t know why it is so yellow. It looks like someone accidentally tipped a cup of turmeric into the batter.

The path is not about abandonment of the world. It is not about sacrificing your ambition and dreams. There are many amongst us who could claim that they have abandoned worldliness. But many of us never had much to begin with and perhaps have not tasted the vast beauty and wealth that Dunia (the world) has to offer. Not so much of a sacrifice is it?

It is not smart for seekers to pack their bags, burn their academic certificates and suddenly turn into a wandering hermit. The fact is there are two types of people in the world - the rich and the poor, the prosperous and the needy. Do you really want to be the poor and needy? Forever in need of assistance? Can you bear the great tribulation of envy? Can you carry the mountain of hope? Would you be able to drink the Sea of Self-Doubt as you look at your children and wonder if your earnings will keep them in clothes and food? While a friend is able to take his wife and children on a holiday, what will you say to your youngest child when she says that she wants to go to Disney World too? Or even to the local funfair?

So do not burn your dreams and ambitions on the funeral pyre of your hubris. God doesn't want that. I keep hearing in my ears, an angel (mosquito-sized) cautioning me again and again - We do not want you to change. To be some sorta super-dervish. Our expectations are much more attainable. We want you to be the best that you can be. To walk the world and seek its riches and bounties. To marry and raise a family. To be happy with God and with that person that you call ‘me’.

Mika says he is not like “Tarzan, Lord of the Apes”. He doesn’t want to go about shirtless, he is shy that way. Instead, he rather be “Mikhail, Lord of the Moneys”. He likes having money, he likes spending money and he (will) like earning it. He is material-inclined. But he doesn’t worry me at all. Because above all things, I teach him that God and Prophet (the Boss) is the Best of All.


So this rainy Saturday morning, I took Mikhail out for breakfast. And as the rain fell from heaven, we ate, happy in each other’s company. And I did not forget God this time. How can I, when He has given me the happiest joy of my life? My little boy.

So I leave you today with thoughts of Jelaluddin Rumi, Mikhail, God, sincerity, roti canai and the rain.

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Have a beautiful Saturday, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mad Jihadis, Crazy Crusaders and God, Christ, Jesus, Jehovah, Allah, Buddha, Tuhan, Father and Ram


God, Christ, Jesus, Jehovah, Allah, Buddha, Tuhan, Father, Ram. If you call unto God by whichever name that is familiar to you, who am I to question you? I am not obsessed with names and forms, but the meanings behind them. Earlier this year it was recorded …

1. Aku tidak memuja NamaMu
Aku tidak memuja NamaMu,
Wahai Tuhanku,
Aku memuja Dikau
Dan ErtiMu.*

*I do not worship Your name,
O’ my Lord,
I worship You
And Your meaning.
.
If you call unto God, and the meaning you attach to Him is the Most Loving, Most Kind, Most Merciful, Most Understanding and Tolerant of the sins of His servants – you are my brother and my sister.

If He is God that calls on you to love another man whatever the colour of his skin, whatever the temple that he worships in, you are my brother and my sister. If you recognize that Good and Grace is not monopolized by the names and symbols of your religion alone, but sown like heavenly seeds in all of us - you are my brother and my sister.

If you understand this simple thing – That the Beauty and Utter Loveliness of God finds expression in the recital of the Quran, the pealing of church bells, in the archway of a Synagogue, the dance of a Hindu maiden and engraved upon the walls of a Buddhist temple – you are my brother and my sister.

If you are drawn to tears by the madness of men who choose to oppress and kill ‘in the name of God,’ blinded by the hubris of their self-appointed guardianship of ‘God’ – you are my brother and my sister. The inmates of the asylum may have taken over the mosque, madrasah, church, temple and synagogue. But you have within you, the Gracious Meanings of God - beyond man's capricious infatuation for mob madness and 'us and them-ism'.

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2. Forms and Meanings II
Let not your ignorance of
The true essence of God
Be a hindrance to
Your happiness.

Know thyself.

You and I, we are not soldiers of forms and words. We are not mad jihadis or crazy crusaders fighting over symbols and shapes. Nay, you are the custodians of Beauty, Truth, Love, Compassion and Mercy. Trustees of the Governing Fire - Eternal Enemy of the Black Fire.

3. Divine Names III
The Concept of Tawhid (Oneness of God),
By its meaning and
By the nature of men
And their uncommon ways,
Traverse religions and races.

It is not just a bridge in Islam,
But a bridge between Islam
And other faiths,

That is its truth.

Glory be to God,
God of the Believers
And Unbelievers,
Glory be to Him
In Whose name woman
Cry out in bringing forth
The child into the world.

And you seek to burn the bridge?

Why do you bring hurt
Unto yourselves???

If you love your mother, know that I love mine too. So how can we not be brothers and sisters?

Have a wonderful Friday, sunshine.

Pax Taufiq.

P/S - Earlier related posting click here.
P/P/S - Pic courtesy of Arafia's Deviant Art site. Pay her a look-see
P/P/P/S – All prose from the chapter entitled ‘The Bride’s Dress’.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Layla Majnun Exposition No.5


9. Majnun #1
Don’t speak of yourself that way,
The worst of you has no meaning to me,
How can it be?
When right or wrong,
I have loved you all along.

Don’t speak of our past that way,
For the past is an ocean deep with meaning,
And how else can it be?
For I would not trade the pain,
I would dare endure the ocean again
Than to lose what I have found in you,
My grey sunless sky,
My twilight star,
The sun that set in my heart
And blinded my eyes.
My Layla,

So please, don’t be so cruel,
And speak of her so callously,
For seasons have come and gone,
And the nights have grown shorter,
Yet she lives in me still,
Growing larger and larger.
Till I cannot comprehend
Where my Layla begins
And Majnun ends.

If there is black and white in you,
Then let me be a pawn on your chessboard,
If there is right and wrong in you,
Then let me be in your left hand
To do as you wish,
And let me be in your right hand
To do as you wish.

Oh, Layla
Can you not see?
Sadness seems meaningless,
Goodness all empty,
When with thee,
I am without.

So say not that Majnun knew Layla in her worst,
Rather say that Layla knew Majnun when he was blindest,

Layla Dearest,
Though the wind has taken our acorns
And our hopes tilled on different fields,
At least let my tree
Grow tall and strong
To shade yours,
Wherever yours may be.

Then cut me down,
Timber, branch and burning brand
And take me as kindling
To your magnificent inferno,

For no burning flame
Have I stoked
And no consuming love
Have I found,
Better, greater
Than Thee.
....................
(From chapter 20 entitled 'Raindrops'. Circa 2005)

The earlier postings on the lovesick Majnun and the love-candle they call Layla can be clicked here; A Layla Majnun Exposition No.1, No.2, No.3 and No.4.

I think the prose speaks for itself. No commentaries offered. Take your interpretation and follow it wherever it may lead you. Have a wonderful journey, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

God the Chef All-Mighty, Angels, Obesity, Excess, Diet and One Over-sized Mould


19. Recipe Book …
To turn base metal into gold;

Take a pot,
Boil some revelations,
Throw in a pinch of salt,
A smidgen of iron,
Some bones,
And let simmer.

Finally, pour the mixture into a clay mould,
Add a soul,
Then let it set for one hour.
..............................
(From the 2nd Chapter, 'The Dam.Munir.Ana')

We are all finely balanced recipes of God. Too much sugar – problem. Too little sugar – problem. Too little or too much salt – also problem. Too much water – bad. Too little water – more bad. No water – dead bad.

If God remained the Chef of our bodies, deciding what goes in and out of us, that’s fine. But He has left the kitchen (in that metaphoric sense) and is allowing the dishes themselves (that’s you and I) to add and subtract our ingredients as we like. And often, we like too much of the good stuff (and the good life). God of course left the cookbooks for us to follow. Often you will find God's recipes in the physical and spiritual teachings of saints. But do we follow their instructions? Of course not!


I am guilty. I have been peppering myself with sugar, salt, caffeine, nicotine, fat, oil and all the other yummies as if eating is going to go out of fashion.

So here I am, stuck over a slowly burning cooker. The sugar is caramelizing in my wok and my pillars of salt is making Prophet Lot’s wife faint.

I was a fanatical student of the maxim; The Road of Excess Leads to the Palace of Wisdom. Now my ‘wisdom’ is going to book me an early appointment with the Chef All-Mighty. I am just afraid that He will take one look at me and ask, “What have you done with My Creation?!

And for once in my (after)life, I will be at a lost for words.

Help!

Pax Taufiqa.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Loosely Tied Turban, a Glossary and We Rock 4 Mustafa!


23. The Turbaned Bum

While others travel from maqam to maqam

I am Maulana’s own irresolute bum

What the real murids speak of, I cannot tell

I am only trying to tie my turban well.

………………………
(From the 1st Chapter entitled ‘The Dam.SunSun.Ana’)


- Glossary -


Glossary’ – compilation of technical terminology and meaning. What you are reading now, it’s a glossary.

Maqam’ – Normally it means a grave, tomb or a burial chamber. But in this poetic context it is intended to mean a spiritual station. So you are suppose to be traveling (upwards hopefully) from one spiritual station to another. (Dear reader - I have lost my ticket on the spiritual train, and I see the ticket man ambling down the aisle. Can you hide me somewhere? I am fat but very bendable)

Bum’ – that’s me.

Turban’ – the extended cotton cloth which them Sufis would tie around their pointy hats. There is a name for the pointy hat, but I cannot recall being told what it is. I just call it ‘pointy hat’.

Murids’ – that’s plural for murid. Murid is a student, apprentice or management trainee of a tariqa order. There was once a time when you have to be teetering on the brink of sainthood before they let you into one of the orders. And now? Well, now the gate of the tariqa is left open and unlocked. All sorts of riffraff and never-do-wells get in now. Hehehe.

Maulana’ – a term of respect used by the murids for the big boss of the sufi order. They often use it in a bid to mitigate for their disobedience and lack of commitment like “Maulana…, I didn’t know any better….” or “Ya Maulanaaa…, I have been a baad murid!”. Do they say it to him personally face-to-face? Hehehe. What do you think?

Mustafa’ – one of the divine name/title/epithet for the Prophet Muhammad. It means the Chosen One, Lordly etc… It is not for the poem, but for the para below. I am a thorough and details-oriented guy, I am. But if you don’t like me, you will say I am a manic obsessive.


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- End of Glossary -


The scene depicted in the cartoon actually happened you know. Not in the privacy of my home, but after Friday prayers at the mosque. I think I was performing a superogatory prayer when my massive turban started peeling off and curling down my body in a graceful spiral. I was quite embarrassed and totally lost focus in my prayers. Many others were also distracted by my spectacle. I am sure I heard a chuckle or two behind me.

Am I a murid? My brother says we are just groupies. I agree. We are like irresolute hanger-ons and monkey boys, pilfering drinks, bongs and babes actually reserved for the Rock Band. What is the name of the Rock Band? Why haven’t you heard?… They are called
WEROCK4MUSTAFA’.

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Hehehe. WEROCK4MUSTAFA is actually a parallel project i am running together with this blog. Its still w.i.p. but I hope to kickstart it soon. Busy bee in a bonnet I am.

Have a great day, sunshine.



Pax Taufiqa.

Monday, October 25, 2010

God, NurMuhammad, Fate, Your Creation, Your Obligations of Love and the Lie of Hopelessness

Dear Sinners,

To those who despair, be kind and gentle. God loves mankind, not just because of our potential for courage, wisdom and strength, but perhaps especially, because we are vulnerable. Otherwise, he would have stopped at the creation of the Angels.

Happily you and I, we were destined to be born, right from the word go. Before the Unmaking of Nothingness, before the creation of the Pen and the Tablet, before the creation of Gabriel, Michael and the countless legions of Angels, before all the heavens and hells, before Azazil (the Devil) first unsheathed his sword against the faithless Djinns, before his temptation of Adam and Eve, before man’s downfall, first of all was created the NurMuhammad (Light of Muhammad), the Prophetic Light. The Light of Creation, the Essence before all essences, the Zahir of Love and Mercy, Prince of the Two Worlds. (p.s. Why not click on the preceding sentence - it will take you to a Qasida Burda video... heartbreakingly good)


By virtue of the already fated story of Muhammad, so too is your story fated. And your story brings you now to this very moment, reading this posting which I have written this Monday, the 25th day of October 2010.

Do you think it is mere luck, a happenstance that you are reading this now? The reality of knowledge and probabilities is encompassed by God, but it is more than that. Ultimately, everything that happens in your life was fated, and 'coincidences' is merely a label for those who cannot yet comprehend true Love, as was told to me…


1. Accident of Love
Coincidence is the
First fatality in the
Accident of Love.
………………..
(From the chapter entitled ‘the Bride’s Dress’)

So here we are, you and I – bit actors sharing a small role in the Divine Play concerning the Lover and the Beloved, of Ahad and Ahmad. But God Himself has made His timeless declaration of His Love and Devotion to you. So however small or insignificant you think your parts are, you are essential too. You must be. If not, why oh why would God have even bothered creating you? God is not someone inclined to do anything for no good reason.

Why are we here then? To help in whatever capacity and way that we can, of course - to lend a hand, an ear and a heart to those despairing in their circumstance.
To spread the evangelical word - that the Greatest Love is here, Certainty is here, Truth is here, manifesting in your conscience with each beat of your heart – to defeat the Greatest Lie ever born to suffer this world, The Lie of Hopelessness.

You are strong, I know. But many others are suffering in the face of tribulations. Help them. Help me. That is what you were created to do. Do it in the Name of God, in the Name of Love, do it for your own conscience and the love you have for your brothers and sisters.

107. My Dear Creation
If you wish to serve Me
Then serve my servants
For I am not needful of your services
But they are.

And If you wish to love Me
Then love my servants
For I am not needful of your love
But they are.

Do this both
And you shall find in Me
A fair recompense
Beyond your happiest hopes.

…………………………
(From the first Chapter entitled ‘The Dam.SunSun.Ana)




Every little bit helps.”, my late mum (God bless her maple-sweet soul) used to tell me. You have heard these words before, haven’t you? A coincidence?

Hehehe.

Have a good Monday, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

Postscript 27/10/10 - Someone told me it is suppose to be 'the internal combustion engine' and not just 'the combustion engine'. She is right of course. So you see why I call it 'Creation for Dummies'. Hehehe.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

God, the Permanence of Happiness and the Angel Artiya'il


My Lord is Ever Faithful with me

My happiness
Is permanent
And absolute,

My sadness
Is transient,
A temporary
Forgetfulness
Self-inflicted.
..................................

From current and untitled chapter

I seldom wake up feeling empty, but sadly, today was one of those mornings. Immediately, I wrote the poem above, as a reminder, but with a weakening conviction.

I should have had more faith. For not more than 1 hour after the poem was written, suddenly happiness came, my sadness diminished, and Artiya’il spoke and said that all is well again.

I could then hear the pealing of heaven’s bells, and gladness enveloped me in her gentle embrace.

What else the day holds for me I cannot foretell, but I am already happy. So here concludes my Sunday’s poetry and prophecy – That However Weak My Faith May Be, My Lord is Ever Faithful With Me.

Have a wonderful rest of the day, sunshine, you deserve it!

Pax Taufiqa.
PostScript: I wrote this posting earlier to the accompaniment of Journey's song, 'Faithfully'. Many will say its a just a song about a musicman and his girl. I say yes and no. Like all things beautiful, it is more than that. I love the song for what it speaks to me.

Pages Update

I stumbled across 2 poems and have updated my page 'What the Writer and the Blog is not'. The poems are called Readers I and Readers II from a recent chapter entitled 'The Bride's Dress'. They are posted at the bottom of the page.

If you have absolutely nothing more urgent to do, do drop by.

I will be posting again later today. If this blog can be connected directly to my neurons and nerve endings, no doubt I would be posting every minute. Hmm, but to post everything that crosses my mind? Come to think of it, that's not a very good idea at all.

Hehehe.

Have a thoroughly excellent Sunday, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sufis, God, Love, Happiness and a Moron


1. If I love thee
If I love thee, my love
Do not take me for granted,

Though I will not withdraw
What I have given,
Is that reason to be
So callous with me?

Is that reason to call
Unto me only when
It pleases thee?

Call on me in the
Break of day,
In the stillness
Of thy lonely nights,
Call on me in
Your heartbreak,
When all is bleak,
And without light,
Call on me
When thou are wrong,
Call on me when
Thou are right,
Call on me,
And to me,
Never be shy,
For I shall never
Be deaf to thee
Nor answer thy plea,
With the question, "Why?".

When my servant remembers me,
I do not question him,
It is only when he is forgetful,
That I seek to wake him
From his slumber and
Troubled dream.


............................................

From the chapter entitled 'Muhammad, My Only Other'


This is how I often picture God. The Loving, The Most Compassionate and Most Merciful. My God may be the Most Jealous in his love for his creation, but in His action, He seems the one Most Patient with his sinful servants. I know some Sufi lore depicts Him as an almost obsessive lover. A God who will not countenance you deviating for a nanosecond in your love and devotion to the Only He. I think otherwise. But that is normal, because after all, I am a rabid sinner. The antithesis of a Sufi.

Anyways, this is my Lord to me. - He doesn’t want to butt into my life 24/7. He doesn’t want to impose some divine intervention in all cases. He doesn’t want to be breathing down my neck, constantly remonstrating, “Don’t do this! Don’t do that! Don’t eat that! Stay away from that, she is trouble, boy!” My Lord isn’t like that at all.

My Lord is happy to see me live and celebrate this life, with as much gusto as my 40 years old body can generate. He is happy to see me rejoice in the company of kind and beautiful people, to bask in the glory and love of His Prophet. He wants me to enjoy an ice-cream, and say, “Thank you, God! You make the bestest chocolate cone ever!” . I would like to think so because, you see, I want my God to be happy.

But sometimes (often, really), I make mistakes. I would say a stupid thing (eg "Yes, your thighs do look a little big in that dress") and do an even dumber thing (eg maintaining that I am right). In that circumstance, I don’t want my God to just let me be. To continue to be lost, alone and adrift in my folly. Oh no. Whether it is a bolt of lightning from the sky or a tear from a lover’s eye, I want Him to warn me that I did wrong. And to guide my path back to Him, to happiness.

I may be a moron, but my Lord is the Lord Most Joyous and Most Caring. And he for one, won’t let me continue in my abject moronitude. And GOD KNOWS I have tried.

Hehehe.

Have a superb Saturday, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sufi Stories and AntiChrist, the One-Eyed King (Dajjal)


30. Caravan
Blessed is the journey, Love
Blessed is the companionship,
Had there been no separation,
How shall I ever know you?

Blessed is the birth, Love
Blessed is the kiss of death,
Had there been no promise of union,
How shall I ever know you?

We have traveled far, you and I,
Our caravan has fallen prey to bandits,
But you are still here with me,
And at night, beneath the Companion's stars
You hold me spellbound with your stories.




200. The Secluded Pond
To sleep, to sleep,
The sun curls beneath
A blanket of drifting clouds…

Come to me,
My Sleepy head!
And let me tell you
Of shooting stars,
And lazy streams,
Of the moon reflected
In a secluded pond,
And the willow trees
That line its bank.

Of minstrels
And storytellers
That gather there,
Talking and singing
Tales of an orphan
Born in the dunes
Of a Kingdom faraway.

Together,
They are weaving lore
Stronger than the mightiest
Towers of the one-eyed king.

.....................................

Sufi stories and lore are all part of the journey. It is often written, but many are also oral traditions, passed on from one wanderer to another. The stories often say different things to you, depending on when and where you are. Sometimes the same account may even have two different endings. When I queried this, my brother simply said that both endings are true and real. Okaaay.

Sufi tales appear to achieve two distinct and seemingly divergent results (for me at least) – They make prophets and saints appear human and real, yet at the same time, the stories often carry transcendental divine meaning. Sufi tales are like drinking the Universe in a tea cup.

Often, these anectodes share many common parables with mystical stories from other religions like Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism.

I think I have had my fair share of Sufi and mystic stories, but I am hopeful for more in future. Some I expect to read in a book, while other oral tales are waiting to be told to me. Perhaps next time, the narrator will be you.

Sufi lore of Prophets, Saints, Angels and all creation are not whimsical add-ons to the mainstream core of religious teaching. What Sufis perform is essential, because like the poem concludes...

They are weaving lore
Stronger than the mightiest
Towers of the one-eyed king.


Have a good day, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Canemaker, How Ironic, How Apt, How Fated.


16. Make me a Cane
Canemaker, Canemaker, make me a cane,
Make me a cane true and strong
As stout and straight as the day is long,

By sunlight or moonlight
Shall I carry your cane,
In morning and twilight
Through hail, snow and rain.

Never to be parted shall we ever be,
The polish of your wood staying bright unstained,
Often shall people see me, smile and exclaim,
"Yea, there walks the boy and his Canemaker’s cane!"
.
..............................
From chapter entitled 'The Red Baron', finished 27th July 2005
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Around 2004 - 2005, I picked up a hobby of making walking-sticks. And despite the poem, if you ever ask for one of my walking-sticks, I cannot guarantee the quality or strength but rest assured the shape shall always be bent and crooked. Like me, it is perfectly balanced, but in a twisty-turny sorta way. How Ironic.
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The black walking-stick in the picture was made in 2005(I think). The height is tall enough to be a shepherd's staff. It is not in fact finished yet. While waiting for me to attend to it again, there it must patiently stand, in the company of Mika's luciferian pitchfork and my dad's canes. Three generations in an umbrella stand. How Apt.
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It's the end of a long-working day here in my office. I am a tired but contented sinner, safe in the present, graced by the prayers of my ancestors in the past, and the yet-to-be recited prayers of my descendants as they huddle over my grave, sometime in the far-near future. As we all are. How Fated.
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Be good, sunshine.
.
Pax Taufiqa.
Post Script - Really, I cannot be asking you to be good. Be however you want to be, good or bad, naughty or kindly, wicked or saintly. Whatever we do, and however good or bad we are living our lives, we are really just a ripple in the ocean, and a link between the past and the future. I cannot fathom how fortunate I have been in this life, to be given a caring family and wonderful friends. That is why, at the back of my head, I am always thinking, "Someone somewhere in the past or future, must have done something really wonderful and I am only riding on their karmic blessings". As we all are, I guess. So if we are good, we are only reflecting a little sunshine from their goodness. Drinking blessings from a stream that is passing by our threshold only for this moment. It was somewhere else yesterday, and tomorrow it will flow pass us like time. Talking about which, its almost 1am. There is no sunshine outside, but writing and sharing this with you, sunshine, makes it all good, even beneath the sleeping sky. Salams and take care.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tawhid, God is Indescribable and He Gets You all the time

97.God Indescribable
God.
Indescribable.

But that too is
A description.
















I think that there is no heresy in the worship of God, not in a song, a poetry, a dance, a sigh, a painting, a picture, a building, or in any manner that your heart and mind can conceive. So I am quite prepared to talk to God, in the most intimate and personal way I can. Why do I need to feel shy and embarrassed with the One who has already seen me in my nicest and (more importantly) most wicked aspects?

Whether in the proscribed ritual prayers of your religion or outside the orthodoxy, He listens and sees you. If you approach God through another way do you think that God will close His eyes and put on earplugs, saying "Oh no, I am not Listening Now". Yet, despite this reasoning, there will be people who will not understand and will simply not get you.

But God? He Gets You all the time.
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So don't worry, okay? Just do it.


Pax Taufiqa.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The highest Jihad and Crusade, the Angels of Mons, a Cigarette, the Throne and you

During the Great War (World War I), there was a recurring legend of an angelic intervention in the Battle of Mons, France. During this incident, it was reputed that an angelic host descended from the heavens to defend a hard-pressed contingent of British soldiers from the invading Huns.

Fact, fable or propaganda, I was thinking about it when I wrote the story below about a cigarette, an angel, and the Throne. They are all metaphors and the battlefield that I found myself in is the war-torn landscape of my heart. But unlike the Angels of Mons, I can vouch for this story personally as it is played out again and again, every blessed day. Does it play in your heart too? If yes, then with me, you and the cat named Moses, we are all combatants in the highest jihad and crusade of them all... the battle of our heart and conscience. As for the terrorists of whatever hue and colour... they are all already lost. Lost to themselves, lost to Love and Compassion, lost to God and His Mercy.


19. Crater Angel (Oh Wicked me II)
My eyes hurt and water, Stung by the smoke,
As I lie huddled in the bomb crater
With my angel.

I sighed and looked all around, A withered landscape,
All my towers in ruinous rubble, All my edifice toppled,
The remains of a war bitterly contested.

“So much smoke”, I complained.

He replied, “That isn’t helping much, you know”,
eyeing with incredulity the cigarette in my mouth,

“Camouflage. What better among these smoky ruins?”.

The angel considered my reply.
Then he smiled and said.
“Mortal humour. What better among these smoky ruins.”

I laughed. Then feeling a little restless, I again raised my head above the crater’s edge.
“Are you sure the Throne is out there somewhere?”
The angel nodded his head. “Yes. It’s time to look for it.”

“And the Throne is still there? Though my world is destroyed?”
My worried eyes asked silently as I gazed upon the terrible desolation.

“Yes, dear boy. It is still there. The Throne stands not by your will.” He answered.

“By whose will then?”. I was tired. I was not thinking anymore.
My joints are numb, aching after being prone for so long.

“Ah. We will find out when we stand before the Throne, shan’t we?”

I nodded. The air is clearing a little. Breathing is easier.
Together we started walking, my angel and me.
“Will you get your wings fixed there?” I asked,
ruefully looking back at his ruined appendage, once glimmering with ruby red feathers.

“Hahaha. Yes, my friend. That and other things we will get fixed”.
He replied, laughing as he placed an arm around my shoulders.

I did not speak much more after that, but hummed an old soldier’s ditty,
… In my heart is a throne, standing empty,
Waiting for no one but thee...
Waiting for no one but thee…”

Sunday, October 17, 2010

You are my mirror, and I am yours

19. All Ours

All things invented and made,

All things written and read,

All things of beautiful birth

Are in truth, ours.

..........................
From the chapter entitled 'Muhammad, My Only Other'
Completed 17th May 2009

Beautiful music transcends the boundaries of our religion. Beautiful architecture crosses the border between Rome and Istanbul. Beautiful verses speaks to the heart of both Jew and Buddhist. Beautiful food tastes wonderful whether you are an atheist or a priest. And a beautiful maiden or a man, is beautiful whatever nation he is born into.
.
When truth comes out of a politician, it is still truth. When love blossoms in the heart of a sinner, it is still love. When mercy flows like tears from a soldier, it is still mercy. When kindness is given by the grumpy old neighbour you have long detested, it is still kindness.
.
So who is the we in the verse? Oh, have you not guessed it already, my love? It is you and I. It is the earth and the sky, and the host of angel that bear witness on the history of mankind.
.
We are not like the hounds of doubt, forever with their noses on the ground, sniffing for the folly and mistakes that we all share in. Instead we are looking with keen eyes into the hearts of the believers. And the beauty we find in you we find in ourselves too.
.
You are my mirror, and I am yours.

.

Pax Taufiqa

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Layla Majnun Exposition No.4 (The Wedding Carriage)

28. The Wedding Carriage
All this day I ask, shall I wait for You to say, "I do"?
For You to say, "I accept"? For You to say, I love you"?
For You to bind Yourself to our vows in perpetuity?
Or shall I press my suit on You come what may.
O' Layla! Blindness has blinded me and my eyes only follow
The grooves on my heart left by the wheels of our Wedding Carriage.
Where are You leading me? Where shall my journey end?
How long shall I cry, 'Layla, Layla!" to Your receding vision?
Stay Your carriage but awhile and marry me, be it by a layside!



The reply:
O' careless Majnun! Hear me;

My vows to you precede your vows to Me,
My love of you is greater than your irresolute passions for Me,
And lo! It is I Who is the Pursuer, not you,
But it is you who has led yourself astray desiring something other than Me!

And My Vision doesn't diminish save for those who, I say again, desires something other than Me!

O` Majnun, understand what I say, for love without understanding is a flute that renders songs, But they are all desperate and sad, and do you really think I am one wont to keep My lover in despair?

...........................................

From chapter entitled 'What is in your basket', completed 31st May 2005

This Saturday afternoon, warm and balmy has found me weary but contented. We speak of love so freely, you and I. We make our solemn vows of fidelity and honesty so smoothly. But do we even understand what we say? Islam means 'surrender' or 'submission'. But to submit to what?
.
Submission to God, submission to Love, submission to Mercy. This is not a straightforward matter as it appears to be. For submission means permitting God, as Love and Mercy to define who we are. But too often, it is we who lead ourselves astray, and instead of allowing God to define us,... alas it is we who begin to define God.
.
Then we fall into the trap of discord, when our definitions and dictionaries do not gel with the terminologies of other people. Leading to conflict, sorrow, despair.
.
As Layla says, if you really know me, you would never despair.
.
Despair is not a sign that there is something amiss in this world. Despair is an indication that there is something amiss in you.
.
Let us search for Love together. Let us take this path. Let us reject the road to enmity and despair. That is not what was promised to us, my friend. Come. Love is waiting, and I cannot make this journey alone.
.


Pax Taufiqa.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Devil, Mankind, Hubris, Mercy and Compassion


I sent an sms to my friend earlier this morning:
.
I feel pity for d devil. Whatever his spiritual station may be. And i do not take well to people who feel they r given license to curse n pour malicious insult on d poor fellow. Is this not hubris? Did d devil too not curse on himself, when he read abt d servant of god who shall disobey god, not knowing it would be himself? So who r we cursing when we curse d devil? He is our enemy, but he is also d dog at God's door, says d master. If people only understood his role, they wud think twice before cursing him with malice. And only if people understood themselves better, they wud not act with hubris n arrogance towards even him - d poison dat brought d downfall of d devil himself. But people r foolish, thinking their good deeds as great, the little patience they have as like Noah, and their knowledge as wisdom of solomon. God bless d Nabi n may he protect us from reflecting d hubris that brought sorrow unto d devil. may we always treat ALL God's servants n pray with mercy n compassion. Ameen
.
.
A little later my friend replied:
.
Ashiq Azazil... Al Faatihah Ameen
.................................

I thank you, my friends, for guiding me when I am misguided, for reminding me when I am forgetful, and for forgiving me when I err. But most of all, and above all kindness, I thank you, for accepting me no matter how many times I persist in being misguided, forgetful and erring.
.
I say all sorts of stuff, and despite my stupidity and indiscretion, you still tolerate me. And you are witty. So you see, I do not need to look any further than to you, to find the grace and blessings that were promised to me, long long ago, on the Day of Promises.
.
May you continue to be guided by your conscience, and may I continue to follow your example, in the stumbling-bumbling-mumbling-grumbling way I am infamous for.
.
Have a good day, sunshine.
.
Pax Taufiqa.






Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pages Update

I have updated my page 'About what the Writer and the Blog is not' with 2 oldish poems...
  • 'Readers' - from chapter 2 called the Dam.Munir.Ana
  • 'The Erring Poet' - from the 1st chapter called the Dam.SunSun.Ana

They are located at the bottom of the page.

Salams, friends

Taufiq

A Layla Majnun Exposition No.3 (Durham Cathedral, England)



184. Cathedral of Beauty

If Layla had not sent Majnun to guide us,

How long would we stray still in the temples of lesser devotions,

Never to set foot in the Cathedral of Beauty?
............................................................
From the 1st Chapter entitled Dam.SunSun.Ana (circa 2004)

I studied in the UK from 1991 to 1995, in Leeds and later pursuing my Bar exams in London. To my lasting regret, I didn’t visit Durham Cathedral, a place of piety and beauty adored by my favourite travel writer, Bill Bryson in his book entitled "Notes from a Small Island”.

I am resting my oars awhile here, by the banks of the Layla and Majnun, a river I often paddle and play in. No talks of the worries of this world today, only of love and beauty. That sublime nectar in the flower of God that sends bees like us mad. People will say we are in an asylum, but we say we are in the Lord's Cathedral of Beauty.

Have a nice day, sunshine.

Pax Taufica
.
P/S See: -

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Guide to America, Obama, the AntiChrist, the End of Time and You


Poor old Devil. He does all the work and the USA gets all the credit. Personally, I do not think that the America is ‘the Great Satan’. I wouldn’t even call her “the Evil Minion’ or ‘Igor’ (as in “Fetch the braaain, Igor!”). It is simply a big country, a rich nation with loads of guns and tanks. But above all, America is a country of ideas, ambitions and dreams. And simply put, it is so big economically and politically, it is still the defining country of the world. A country that good or bad, defines the worldview of a large segment of mankind, regardless of their faith, creed or masonic credentials.

I have bushels of stuff about the Devil. Indeed the very identity of this funny fellow is interesting and deserves attention. The names of Satan, Iblis, Azazil, Lucifer, and Beelzebub are just some of his more common aliases.


So is Obama the AntiChrist? In Christian and Muslim lore, there is some shared perception that the AntiChrist can be depicted as a person. An individual (man, djinn, hybrid?) foretold to do a lot of not-very-nice-things on Earth. Mr. AntiChrist is probably not a guy you would like to have as your neighbour. And clearly, you wouldn’t be happy if he was your President. Well, rest easy. I don’t think Obama is the AntiChrist. I could be wrong of course, but it’s my gut feeling. And as my gut is bigger than average, you can depend on my observations more than average.

According to some Muslims though, the AntiChrist (or Dajjal) may be personified (also) in a system. The much maligned ‘New World Order” rang the warning bells of many conspiracy freaks, not just amongst the Christians, you see, but Muslims too.

For me though, I don’t really care about that. My attention is centred on an enemy far more personal and far more intimate than either a global world government or the current incumbent in the Oval Office. It is myself, and in that context, I recorded a parable (circa 2004) about the AntiChrist, the End of Time and our egos…

97. Do I Look Familiar?
Do you think the anti-Christ shall come garbed in black,
With black crows on his shoulders,
And a robe of black on his back?

No.

He shall descend as a man of God,
Calling himself Christ,
And come to you,
As you,
Offering paradise.

O’ self-indulgent one,
Will you be able resist yourself?


So, my friends. if you seek the enemy, you need not look far. He is there with you. That is why the teachings of ‘mystics’ in all religions require your immediate attention, whatever your faith may be. For in their traditions and wisdom, are ancient lessons that all humanity must learn in order to recognize, appreciate and control our supreme nemesis – our ego and Nafs (roughly translated as our earthly desires – such as our physical and sensual needs).

Hmm? And how is my own battle with my Ego and my Nafs getting on, you ask? Well… *sigh*, its still getting on and going on. Every freakin’ day. So, really, we should thank God for making each day different and always challenging! And what about the AntiChrist? Don't you worry (too much). He will just be another footnote in the Story of God and the Good. Ya Huu!

Pax Taufiqa
.
p/p/s Obama pic is courtesy of frontpagemag, the ego t-shirt is courtesy of zazzle.
Post Script 2.11am, Thursday, 14/10/10. It is just too hot to sleep, and my a/c is kaput. So I will share a bit about my earlier googling for Obama and AntiChrist pics for this posting -Basically, I came across a whole world of hate against the dude. Obama with horns, Obama in a turban and a beard, Obama with backdrops of fire (of Hell presumably). Obama as Hitler, Obama as a Fascist, Obama as a Communist, Obama with '666' tattooed on his forehead, Obama captioned as the AntiChrist, Satan's choice and etc. ad infinitum ad nauseum. All these emotional commitment and creative energy being poured into a single crosshair aimed at Obama. If I was the Secret Service, I would increase the protection around POTUS. Who knows what these people would do in the name of their hatred and anger. Come on, by their belief, if they are up against the AntiChrist himself, surely almost any act is justified right? May God save us all from the loonies, they are all the same, from any religion. Amin.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I try, but I simply cannot win against God.

FOR EVERY DROP OF MY SIN
My tears are often of joy and happiness,
And not of my sins that I regret,
For in me, is a God most Forgiving,
And in His love for me,
He does not tarry
Nor ever forget;


For every drop of sin,
God gives me a cup of mercy,

For every cup of sin,
He offers me a bottle of mercy,

For every bottle of sin,
He grants me a barrel of mercy,

For every barrel of sin,
He returns to me a trough of mercy,

For every trough of sin,
He entrusts to me a pond of mercy,

So I jump into a pond of sin!
But He takes the pond and drops it
Into a lake of mercy!

Undaunted I drink a lake of sin,
And finally, God engulfs my lake
In a Sea of Mercy.
And He tells me,

“You cannot win, my servant,

Whenever and however much
You may sin,

You cannot overcome Me,

You cannot win

Against My Mercy.”

....................................................

From current and untitled chapter.

I have been thinking about sins. And while thinking about sins, I have also been sinning. And in the course of this enjoyable escapade, I have come to the conclusion that sinning is in fact, Not A Good Thing (yes... I am a little slow on the uptake). Having observed this obvious truth, I try not to be a pretentious sinner. I just wanna be a conventional sorta sinner. No great claims to any great sins. Just the everyday garden variety type of sins that average sinners commit - like leaving the toilet seat up or something.

Yet, at the age of 40, I must confess to you that the name of this blog is well-deserved by the writer. But even sinners need a God to plead forgiveness from. So here I am, o' Lord. Forgive me...

May God bless you on this beautiful Tuesday that He has made just for you to live, love, work and play in.

Pax Taufiqa.

Monday, October 11, 2010

All about God, Good and Evil, Angels, Michael, Artiya'il and a Cat named Moses

I woke today resolved to post a good blog. A happy blog. Full of soul-lickin’ goodness. I scrolled my manuscripts until I came across this…


1. Indiscriminate Mercy
They come with the clouds
And ride the falling raindrops,
Each sparkling pearl,
That feed the earth
And fill the sea,
Heralds of a Lord
Whose Bounty falls
On the heads of the Muslims,
Jews, Christians, Atheists,
Agnostics, Buddhists and Hindus alike.
…………………..

From chapter 20 entitled ‘Raindrops’.
“Ya Huu!"or even "Yahoo!" means in Arabic (roughly) “Oh He!” as in He who is God.

The ‘They’ are Angels, of course. Sufi lore discloses some aspects of their presence, for instance, are you aware that: -

- With each rain drop, rides an angel?
- With each dew and misty drop from the Niagara Falls also clings an angel?
- On each leaf on each tree, stands seven angels?
- There is an angel called Artiya’il whose job description is to visit and heal the sorrowful?
- Arch-Angel Mikhail / Michael (a.s.), is overall in charge with the workings of the Universe, the disposition of rain, and generally wealth and prosperity (and I guess poverty too)

Holy Geronimo. That’s a whole lot of angels and divine love. More than enough for you, me and the cat named Moses. In fact it is mind-boggling, isn’t it? Just from where I am drinking Nescafe in the back alley of a Chinese Kopitiam, I can clearly see 16 trees. Say we assume there’s on average 300 leaves (the trees are those dwarfish urban types), that’s already 33,600 angels. This is not counting your guardian angels (of which I do not know our individual quotas), nor other angels attending to the Sun, the air, the clouds high above me, nor the two busybody angels sitting on my shoulder, diligently recording my good and bad deeds even as I type this blog.

The whole point of what I am saying is this. The numbers between good and evil is disproportionately in favour of Good. Ergo, in favour of you.

Good trounces evil. Hands down, evil is not even in the same league. Not even in the same dimension of meaning. Good is God, and evil simply the absence of a goodly conscience. Just as darkness has no substance but merely the manifest absence of light.

So today is Monday. The beginning of our working week. But the Angels work 24/7, tireless in their absolute obedience to our God.

Your God and my God, compadre - He is the One and the Same. There may be some amongst the Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Taoists, Zoroastrians or Wiccan telling you otherwise. Well, that is their right to say so. But this time, their right is simply wrong.

So maybe it is time to follow God's way - and let us stop discriminating in our mercy and love for one another. Ameen.

Pax Taufica.

p/s - Sketch is mine, fresh as the coffee I had this morning. The pictures are ancient Persian Muslim depictions of Angels. Sourced from this delightful site called Isodore of Seville.

p/p/s - Moses the cat is in reference to the cat in Joshua Kadison's song "Jessie', and not the Prophet Moses Kalimullah. But I am fond of him too.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Inspirations and Creative Thoughts


I have found a website, called Inspirations and Creative Thoughts, by a young man called Sadiq Alam, of Dhaka, Bangladesh. So much more than mine, his postings are well thought out and draws inspiration from mystics past and present. He is a sincere seeker, in search of the Lover and the Beloved. May he find what he desires!

His postings are sprinkled generously with quotes and stories from all streams of the Divine Fountain, from the Kabbalah, the Hindu traditions, Christian mysticisms, Sufism and more.

There is a tune running in the background of his website, and I am listening to it now... it is calling for tears of remembrance, although, in truth, I am not sure I understand the song at all.

This is the path of the sinner like me, you see. To hear a heavenly melody beating upon my conscience, but to completely understand it? Perhaps never. But how the laments make me weep! If you need any reason to visit his site, surely this sublime love song is reason enough.

Salams,

Taufiq.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

She is the Weather of my World

I have a secret summer,
Awaken in the sunrise of her soul,
Bright and warm like an eternal sun
Rising over the spoils of my wicked soil,

I have a secret autumn,
As she comes to rest upon my shoulder,
Like leaves withering and falling,
Desiring words of hope and healing.

I have a secret winter,
Neither bitter nor cold,
But white like the white of her eyes,
And I am lost in her dunes and folds,
For there is warmth here, and I turn away
From hearth and home, finding
Mine in her snowflakes, melting
On the warmth of a winter morning.

I have a secret spring,
Sprung with desperate release
From a rich earth, as seeds of
Hope and healing burst into flower,
And from her lips words tumble,
Sharp as needles, sweet like nectar.

For you see,
I am in love and
Have met a girl,

She is no secret at all,
She is the weather of my world.


.................................................


From the chaper entitled 'How Beautiful Love is', circa Oct 2009

I look into her eyes as I would look out of the window. To see how fair or rainy the day would be. I think it is best to be prepared whatever the weather... But in her torrential storm, an umbrella won't be of any use at all. I am not complaining, Heche. I am just sharing. Hehehe.

Salams,

Taufiq.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ground Zero Mosque and the Ornament of the World


35. Menocal 2


Tolerance is the Jewel


Upon the Crown of Certainty,




And intolerance is


The Unmasking of Doubt


...........................................

From the chapter entitled 'Candy from the Ahad Candy Store', March 2010


In 2002, Maria Rosa Menocal wrote a book entitled 'The Ornament of the World'. I only just purchased and read it sometime earlier this year. It is an important book for everyone to read and understand. In light of the Ground Zero Mosque / Cordoba Center / Islamic Centre / Park 51 controversy in New York, one cannot but wonder, how far has the religionist of Islam drifted from the golden age of Cordoba.

I do not know who she is, I have not heard of this writer until I read the book, but her historical documentation of the impact of the Umayads in Spain cannot be overestimated in its importance. The book triggered a deep longing and yearning for those ancient days and a terrible realisation of just how far 'Muslims' have strayed from the poetic beauty, sincerity, compassion, love and strength that once illuminated the ancient world. This made me happy and sad.

Those people who are strapping grenades on naive men and women, those people who are tucking a cellphone bomb underneath the bus seat, those people who are called in the media as 'Islamic Extremists' or 'Al Qaeda terrorists' - They are just bandits. They are weak, doubtful, blind and desperate, and in their despair they hijack and slander the noble names of the Most Excellent Faith of Muhammad Habibullah.

These 'Muslims' have become intolerant because they have cast their faith in a vessel of desperation. And for those who knows of the Prophet Muhammad, the Red Rose, the Sublime Humility, oh woe unto those who despairs, for they have raised their banner against the Beloved. Muhammad is anointed as the Mercy to the Worlds, yet they slander him as the Doom of the Worlds. They are worse than even the most wicked amongst non-Muslims, because they cloth their wickedness in the Beautiful Names of Islam.
.
O' Nation of Muhammad. What is your incessent bickering and complaining about? What is your mad adoption of a million and one conspiracy theories? You act as if you are being oppressed. You act as if the whole world is against you. How easily the names of Muhammad and Allah and Islam spill from your lips. But compared to the Companions, you are rubbish...

13. Siege? What Siege? (With Poon)
Someone asked someone else during the siege of Medina,
“O’ brother! We are trapped, we are trapped by the Quraish!”

The someone else replied quietly,
“Trapped? We are not trapped, it is they who are trapped.”

“Whatever do you mean?!
How can they be trapped?
It is we who are encircled!” retorted the someone.

The someone else sighed and nodded.
“O’ my excitable brother, do listen.

Yes, the city of Medina is encircled, I agree.
But it is the Quraish who are trapped.

Trapped between us and the rest of the world!”
.......................................................
From the chapter entitled 'Be Nothing' circa February 2008
.
God Bless God in His Unimaginable Beauty and God Bless the Prophet in His Perfection of Beauty and his Companions in the Brotherhood of Love. And God bless you, my fellow travellers, for you are in good company!
.
Pax Taufica.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

God's Highway and the Illusion of Apostasy

“There is no apostasy in Islam, but there are apostates of love, compassion and mercy. Those who rejected such meanings in the Quran and Sunnah, and have exiled themselves from our association, they have also forced others to apostate according to their thinking. But to us, anyone wishing merely to live under the banner of love, compassion and mercy, such people will always be under our association.


The Tree of Ahad has no end, and the shade of love, the flowers of compassion and fruits of mercy which it offers, all called Ahmad, also have no end” – Mika read the sms and says that I should send it to Nabi Muhammad, but since I don’t have his mobile no, maybe you can pass on the message to him, when you see him next. Salaams, Taufiq."

.............................

The above was a sms sent earlier this morning from my cellphone to three friends, Kash, Jad and Ipen. I just thought to share it with you. You may also read it as a continuation of my earlier ramblings entitled 'Claiming you are a Muslim doesn't make you a Muslim. Claiming you are an apostate doesn't make you an apostate' in August 2010. How time flies when you are having fun! Alhamdulillah! Ya Huu!

Pax Taufica.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Of Spiritual Tsunami, Angels and Fatty Me

22. The Angels...My friends
O' Lord!
This one is too fat
to row the Endless Ocean of Mercy,
Sink him soon
And let him drown.




....................................................
Poem is circa March 2007 from the chapter entitled 'My Lord has Answered Me'


Fatness: Actually, I am fat. There is no two ways about it. I am not well-built or well-filled. I am not doughty or big-boned. I am a fatty. Anyhow, I stumbled across this diet plan called the Alternate Day Diet. I am gonna give it a try. Basically, you are suppose to eat normally (which I interprete to mean eating less than what I eat now) one day, and eat only 25% of your usual calory intake on the next day. This is suppose to be repeated until you have reached that svelte and sleek look which you crave since teens. Will it work? I don't know.

The Spiritual Tsunami: The Ocean/Sea is a common metaphor of God and His Infinite Compassion and Mercy. The disadvantage of an Ocean is that, while you can fish in it, play and swim in it, sail vast distances in it, the Ocean can also end your life. As a Sea of Love, it can be nurturing and gentle, but it can also rise up into a giant wave and drown you.

The Angel Friends: Oh, they are there alright. They were with you when you were born, and they will accompany you through out your life till finally you shake hands with Mr. Death himself, Azrail(a.s.). I cannot see them, but I can hear them passing witty remarks and quips behind my back. Well, 'witty' according to Angelic standards, which really, isn't funny at all.

Conclusion: Sink or swim in the Mercy Ocean, we are blessed. Should we really care whether we are sailing or drowning? I am okay either way. But my weight, now... that needs to be rectified!

Pax Taufica.

p/s Japanese Painting is 'The Great Wave of Kanagawa" by Katsushika Hokusai 1760-1849

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Laments of Rumi and Ruzbihan. Do not be fooled.


11. My Lord Most Curious
I would rue the day
Of complete understanding,
When all my joy
Is in my searching.


...........................................................
(from the chapter entitled "My Lord has Answered me" circa March 2007)

If you are familiar with Sufi poetry, you would know that the poet likes to make a complete hullabaloo about yearning, searching and spouting sorrowful verses about his separation from the Beloved. Jelaluddin Rumi, founder of the Mehlevi Order, for one, writes this way (a little). On the right, is an often reproduced picture of him, looking thoughtful and sleepy.

It is however from a book given to me by my friend, Azrano, that I came across Ruzbihan Baqli (Ruzbihan the Grocer), a fellow Persian poet of unsurpassed melodramas. Being a hopeless sinner, I am unable to contemplate the vast visage and horizon of his plaintive cries and tears of love for the Beloved and the Loving One. I can only look on wearily, with muted responses of "Aha..., Hmmm, Yesss...", as page after page, Ruzbihan confesses his immortal and near-unbearable love for the Creator.
But do not be tricked by old Ruzbihan. For all their miserable oh-woe-is-me scribblings about their desperate yearning for the Divine Presence, truth be told, the Sufis are utterly happy in their experiences. However they may fluster about the difficulties of the path, however often they may admit their personal inadequacies and peccadilloes, theirs is a wondrous journey simply because they do not place God in the narrow confines of their intellect. They are not insisting on any meaning to the word 'God'. Rather, they are allowing God to put meanings into them. That is submission. That is Islam. So please, don't anyone talk anymore about the difference between Sufism and Orthodox Islam. Sufism is Orthodox Islam.

This is turning out to be a good day for me. Rarely am I so forceful. It must be the caffeine. Hehehe. But may it be an even better day for you, my fellow traveler.

Pax Taufica.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Obama and the Most Audacious Hope of All

The dew on the grass in early morning makes me happy
The puddle of water left by the evening rain leaves me merry
The Sun glimmering behind a veil of green canopy keeps me cheery
And God is most-pleased with those who smile
Whatever the hour
Who have the audacity to be happy
When all life seems sour.

Before Obama, I thought of Audacity. This prose is from the Dam.SunSun.Ana collection circa June 2004. Alas, since then, I didn’t manage to become a Democratic Presidential candidate, got Oprah on the band wagon and became the first black American president in the line of ‘cool’ Presidents like Kennedy and Clinton.

My aim of Audacity was (and still is) ostensibly much lower. To wake up in the morning feeling thankful for a new day and to bury yesterday’s sadness and mischance. That is quite enough audacity for me.

Between me and Obama, I do not know who is luckier. For I am not weighed down by the burdens of Iraq and Afghanistan. I don’t have a crippling national deficit to wrestle and of course, my life and work is not being constantly criticized by right-wing fundamentalist capitalist fruitcakes.

I do not have a nation to lead. I only have my conscience. And on this nice Monday morning, my conscience bids your conscience “a very good morning and have a nice day.” So you see, even my conscience is not very audacious.

But I hope God is indeed pleased with you and with me. Of all hopes, perhaps that is the Most Audacious of All.

Pax Taufica.

(p/s forest pic is from of trailpixie.net, Obamapic is from NYMag.)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Whirling Verse Part 3/3

I am now
Both the verse
And the body
That sings and spins,
So like the Sea of Din
Lapping on the Shores of Sin,
Where does Love now ends
And my lie begins?


The reply: O’ little fool!
What foolishness is this?
God has no end.
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Well, this is the 3rd and final part 3 of ‘The Whirling Verse’. As you can see, being the lazy person that I am, I merely overlapped the 1st sketch with the 2nd sketch. I think it is a good composition, and I hope you like it. Click here for Part 1 and Part 2, if you have nothing better to do.

To my untrained eye, the picture looks messy but pretty. I like to think that Angels have a similar bird’s eye view of us human beings. Messy but pretty. Clay vessels animated by the Breath of God. Fragile and filled with all sorts of unruly passions. The Angels asked God, “What is this thing that You have created?”, but God simply replied, “I know what you know not.” Oh, thank You very much, God, that really clarified the matter.

Hehehe. Very funny, Taufiq.

In fact, I find myself scrutinizing the reflection on the mirror, often asking God the very same question. But the answer I hear is different.

So we are creatures made of earth and water. But where do the ancient hide their greatest horde of gold and wealth, if not buried deep in the bosom of the earth? So you see, perhaps on the face of it, we are nothing. But in that nothingness, there is Something. It is in you, my friend, marked ‘X’. There is a map and a guide to the secret treasure, called the al Quran and Sunnah. There are also professional treasure-hunters still offering their services, and they can aid you.

They will help you find the treasure. The buried gold. That hidden secret Something. But in order to find that Something in you, you must first become nothing. In that quest they will also help you.

God Bless the treasure-hunters of God. God Bless you, and Hurrah for the Green Man!

Pax Taufica.