Monday, February 28, 2011

The Splendid Garden that is Islam

This morning I was thinking about flowers. Not just any flower, but a Daisy (of sorts). It was a Sunday night gift, you see. Before I went to bed, I put Heche's solitary bloom into an empty cookie jar. And when I woke up I found the flower waiting for me next to my coffee and morning-misery (most people call it a newspaper).

THE HAPPY NESCAFE. The cup of Nescafe I am having is the non-hallucinogenic sort, certainly not the type being consumed by the protestors in Libya. So you will not see me doing anything remotely rebellious. I am uninterested in toppling the government of my country. I am interested only in toppling the oppressive government of my Ego. Take my word that the second is harder than the first.

An Instrument of Regime-Change

REFLECT, THEY SAY! It is easy to reflect. What you need is just time. The wonderful merit of reflection was touched upon by Fethullah Gulen. I remember him writing this somewhere..."Reflection allows believers to discern what is good and evil, beneficial and harmful, beautiful and ugly, and makes the universe a book to study and reveal the Qur’an’s deeper meanings more clearly. As the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) stated: “No act of worship is as meritorious as reflection. So reflect on God’s bounties and the works of His Power, but do not try to reflect on His Essence, for you will never be able to do that.”

SPLENDID GARDEN. My reflections, as defective as they are, have taken me some distances in time and space. Sometime in end of 2004, I recorded the following prose while flying over the plains of history...
1. Islam Was Once A Splendid Garden
Islam was once a splendid garden,
Filled with rose, tulip and jasmine blooms.

The garden was protected
By a wall of stone
Upon which was inscribed
“All ye who seek shelter,
All ye who seek safety,
Come hither.”

Outside the garden wall
Ran a moat of clear sweet water,
From which travelers drink
And are feted with the words;
“If ye think the water is sweet,
Enter ye into the garden and drink
Thy fill from the fountain!”

That was then.

Now the free fountain
Has been replaced with
A coin-operated dispenser.
The walls have been torn down
And in its place
A fence of fire has been erected,
With gates and toll booths
Occupied by surly operators.

Alas! We find
The moat has dried up,
The trees and flowers
Are crying,
And into the garden
The fire sends plumes
Of damnable smoke
And noxious fumes,
Blocking out the stars and the moons
That once gazed brightly
Down upon us.

POLITICO-ISLAM. I am not a big fan of political-Islam. And more frighteningly, I am distrustful of even the idea of democracy. I can accept democracy as a means - but as an end? Oh no, it is just not my cup of coffee... or tea, come to think of it. There are also those who ride under the banner of politico-Islam while hiding a hidden purpose. That has always been the numero uno reason for Islamic political parties to win elections, only to find their right to form a government blocked by sectional interests who oppose or are suspicious as to the politico-Islamist agenda, hidden or apparent. My position is simple - I don't even believe in what either party is fighting for, nor the 'democratic' arena in which they choose to fight their idealogical battles.
BORING OLD TAUFIQ. As you may discern, my interest is wholly personal. And although I am a sinner, in as far as I can, I would like to be a good sinner. What is addressed here is wholly internal to me, and I guess my only hope is that in you I may find a kindred spirit. For others who believe that the political forum is the best avenue for change, well good for you. I wish you all the best in your endeavour. As for me, my life, my bloom, my flower will only last awhile, and one day, I will perish in accordance to the rules of mortality ordained upon me by God. But when the flower is in the province of the Heart, you and I know that such blooms lasts forever, beyond the strict rulings of Time.

Have a good rest of the day, flowers.


Pax Taufiqa.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Happiness is the Nemesis of Doubt

1. By Myself
By myself
I am aimless,
A driftwood,
Claimed by a tide,
And overcome
With grief,

By myself
I am lost,
An orphan
In the witch’s forest,
A deer, in the crosshair
Of the hunter’s gun.

By myself
I am dead,
Alive but breathless,
Rich in pain
In fear of the sun,
Running from the rain.

By myself,
I have no home
Nor journey’s end,
The soles of my feet,
Red and raw
Walking on the stones of judgment
That paved the road
Of my endless wandering.

By myself,
I ever hunger,
And were creation
Turned inside out,
It would not be enough
To sate my desire.

By myself,
I am all these
And more.

That is why,
O’ Master,
You find me now,
Beggarly and weather-beaten,
Knocking on your door,
Asking to be let in.

IT IS NOT YOUR JOB TO CONVERT ANYONE. 'I bow to no man. I bow only to God.' - This is the common reason for many people who disdain the Path and claim Sufis and mystics of other religon as idolizing their masters. That is fine because the Path is not for everyone and really, so long as they are not bothering you, and you are not trying to convert anyone, why let such disputes poison your relationship. Swallow that spiritual pride and accept their difference of opinion.
DISAGREEMENT. I recall reading a hadis (Prophet's saying) where he is said to have uttered -"Disagreement amongst my Ummah (Nation) is a beneficial thing." I have always wondered what is meant by that. The prose below hints at my untutored opinion...

4. 19th October 2004, Part II
Allah loves the sport
Of two friends
Who compete
Against each other
To extol
Their particular blessings
From their Benefactor!

It rained this Sunday, but the evening air is still warm and balmy. I should really shower now. By your permission, sunshine, I leave you with whatever agreement or disagreement that you may have with me. It matters not to me one iota - so long as you yourself are happy, and not stricken with doubt. For doubt is the nemesis of happiness as Happiness itself is the Nemesis of Doubt...

Pax Taufiqa.
Footnote (11.59pm) - I guess the conventional view is that you first remove doubt, then you get happiness. The aspirant attains yaqin (certainty), removing whatever suspicion and uncertainty which he/she used to entertain in the past. From certainty, you attain happiness. This process of doubt-certainty-happiness is commonly accepted to be the norm. But like many, many concepts contained in Islamic lore, whoever said that things should always run in one direction?
In my dealings with the friends, I have come across personal perceptions which do not question the individual milestones, but nonetheless rearrange the order in which such milestones is suppose to occur.
Above all, I think that when it comes to Love, it is an indefinable process. And I am not surprised that sometimes... It is Joy that overtakes you first, overcoming whatever doubt you may have as to the Absolute Loveliness of the Lord and His Abiding Concern for you. So the milestone is amended to become doubt-happiness-certainty. Because simply put - when you fall in love, it is often for an intangible and inexplicable reason, and sometimes perhaps no clear definite reason at all! This thing that I am saying... It is an easy task for our Creator to do with our hearts. Of this I am certain.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Evil Queen & The Pearls of Wisdom

11. If all are beautiful
O’ love,
If it pains you to feel that I,
Your lover, has withheld something from you,
Know that it pains me more,
That you think I do it out of anything other than love.

Know, o’ love, this to be true,
If all are always granted gifts, there is no meaning to gifts,
If all are always joyous, there is no meaning to joy,
If all are always beautiful, there is no meaning to beauty,
And alas, happiness becomes an empty word,

A shell whose pearl has been stolen,
A fairy tale bereft of witches and evil queens,
Deposed of any wisdom.

EVERYTHING IS KNOWN BY ITS OPPOSITES. I read this truth somewhere, and now I cannot recall the book. I should really, because in the scheme of truths, this is what Yoda may call the Awesome Truth.
EVIL? NO BIG DEAL. Evil likes to think it is special. Hannibal likes to think he is a genius sadly inclined to eat man-meat. But the sole purpose of evil is to define good. Goldfinger likes to think he is the main character, but no... its James Bond. The Evil Queen thinks she is the star in the fairytale, but no... its Snow White. The jealous stepmom dreams of glory and wealth for herself and her daughters, but no... the heroine in the tale is soppy Cinderella.

PEARLS OF WISDOM. The pearls are there to be fished out from the Sea of Thoughts. But the most luminuous can only be drawn with the support and guide of the Prince of Pearls, the Sky of Mercy, the all-praised Muhammad ibn Abdullah. If wisdom is what you seek, go to him. And it would be good to bring something to barter with, and the wise normally recommend a commodity most precious above all the golden horde of tyrants. The commodity of Patience.
Through the prism of love, whatever is granted to you, whatever is withheld from you, all is done or undone in the Name of Love. And if that is the case, my friends - why do we ever need to despair at all?
I am just thinking aloud here. Heche is busy tending to her garage sale, leaving me to my thoughts and fancies. Thank you for accompanying me on this balmy Saturday evening here in Kuala Lumpur.
Pax Taufiqa.

Crusade & Chivalry, Jihad & Futuwat - United in Love against the Hemlock of Hubris Unholy

The Christians must recall history through the path of love, for surely they will continue to fight a battle different to the battles that the Muslims have fought and continue to fight, though in the past
they fought each other in the same plains and valleys of war.

For the Muslims, they too must revisit history through the path of love, for surely they will persist to fight a battle far different from the battles that the Muslims in the past have fought,
for so long as they think that glory in arms is the enlightened end.

The irony of these days is that it is not a Holy War that is consuming
the Christians and Muslims, it is the Hemlock of Hubris Unholy
– offered in a cup held by deceitful hands
while proclaiming themselves as heirs of Crusaders and Jihadis.

The way of glory is easy - It is the vain path of all would-be heroes,
martyrs and historians.

The Path of Love - ‘tis the hardest and most bitterly fought.
Here is the true Crusade and Chivalry. Here is the true Jihad and Futuwat.

And if anyone contests what you say, then tell them that it is I, Zulfiqar who says this!

And if they disbelieve you, so what!

Glory to God this wonderful Sabbath, pet. In this silent and bracing morning, I do not hear the Universe disagreeing with me at all.

Pax Taufiqa.

Friday, February 25, 2011

My Angel's Bright & Heavenly Halo

It is difficult to fall asleep
When an angel is constantly
hovering over your bed....
Don't take it lying down, grumbling
"Oh, this is great."
Be a man and
Stick your head under a pillow,
because, I beg your pardon, little fellow...
But when God created my Angel,
He did not create an off button
For its bright and heavenly halo.
I never saw an angel in fact, I was just so damn lazy to get up last night and switch off the bedroom light.
Have a nice Friday, sunshine.
Pax Taufiqa.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Little Note on my Brother's 47th Birthday

Saiful @ Poon @ Abang Cik
Today is my brother, Saiful’s (or Poon to his friends und family, and Abang Cik just to me) birthday. Abang Cik means he is my elder but not eldest brother. And since he has no other younger brother or sister, I am the only person privileged to call him that in the whole wide world. It is an honour of sorts, I guess.
My Dad
It is through Abang Cik that I first dipped my furtive toes into art, music and literature. Whatever he loved I tend to love, and if not love at least respect. From his considered opinion I became a fan of Pink Floyd, Sting, U2, Jesus Christ Superstar the Musical, the Who, Propaganda (German band), Suzanne Vega, and the Police just to name a few. When it comes to books, I guess his literary introduction cover authors such as P.G. Wodehouse, Stephen King, Cornelius Ryan, Sven Hessel, J.R.R. Tolkien, Paul Theroux and the irrepressibly English Enid Blyton. The margins of my artistic interest is not as adventurous as my brother though, so he can easily dig ambient / techno music where I myself fear to tread. He is a much more open and easy-going guy than I am. And to top it off, he is a gifted artist and sketches brilliant pictures and can even do a decent sculpture if the fancy takes him. My drawings that I often post in this blog pales in comparison to his skillful sketches.
I was just talking about my brother today with my close friend, Nash. My old buddy remarked that he cannot remember any time when he bumped into my brother and my brother did not look relaxed and carefree. I remarked that if my brother was any more relaxed he would be a moss.
Well, back to his birthday. My father treated Abang Cik to his favourite Japanese restaurant and along for the free meal was Imran (my nephew), Mika and your humble sinner. We went through sushi, sashimi, miso soup and teriyaki like there would be no tomorrow. For my brother, I bought him a second-hand book - a brilliant World War II piece entitled ‘The Forgotten Soldier’ by Guy Sayer. It is no good being friend or family to me, you know, if you are expecting lavish gifts. I am miserly that way – which is of course fitting for my role as your humble sinner. If I was generous I wouldn’t have the moral (or perhaps amoral) authority to write this blog.
The Sinner
I bumped into a Sufi Shaykh about two weeks ago. The Shaykh inquired me about Abang Cik, asking me as to my brother’s plan for his life and what he intends to do with it. The Shaykh appeared concerned that my bro's talents will be wasted, saying that he isn't getting any younger. I didn’t know how to respond (I am often that way with this Shaykh) but merely promised to pass the message. I spoke to my brother that same night but Abang Cik never actually replied, looking merely pensive and thoughtful.
Peace be unto you, pet. May we all appreciate and cherish our elder brothers, because in the case of my brother, he did not waste his talents and passion - he has passed a little of his treasure already to me. And in some ways, even this blog is a reflection of my Abang Cik’s perception and skill. No, i don't think his talents have been wasted at all.
Pax Taufiqa.
Footnote: All the pictures were taken in the Japanese restaurant by Mika with his excitable hands, thus the rather shaky pictures.

The Stray Dog & the Happier Truth!

Woof! .
I AM A STRAY DOG. And I strayed from the conventional education of my religion, drifting into books of masters and saints of what people conveniently call Sufism. In their gentle company I found the beautiful interpretation of my religion through an ancient lore. But the wisdom contained within their grasp is as fresh as if it were first uttered by the Prophet Muhammad a moment ago, as if it was acted upon by Umar the Mighty only this morning, and illustrated by the Chilvarous Ali presently by his valour and the sword Zulfiqar. In the wonderous and often humorous escapades of the Murids (students) I find great joy and wit, only to rest upon the eyes of the Masters for balance, patience and moderation. I am a stray, and I strayed into a courtyard of lovers - seeking love and desiring to learn the ways of love. There is no difficulty here. There is only ease.
WHAT IS ACTUALLY CONVENTIONAL? What was discovered in the teachings of the Sufi Masters is both glorious and delicate - as magnificent as the Hagia Sofia, but more subtle than the fluttering of a butterfly;s wings. And it showed to me that what I first assumed to be the conventional teaching of Islam to be unconventional in its incompleteness. It is not the fault of anyone, but somewhere, somehow, Islam became a 'religion', a 'syllabus', a 'Phd' and a 'doctorate". Then it transformed into an 'Islamic state' with 'Islamic banks', 'Islamic Revolutions' and 'Islamic ways of dressing.' In the dire finality, Islam became an excuse. It loss the lustre of love - the Islam of Muhammad was the Sun during the day, and the Moon at night, but by the time I came to school in the 1970s, it turned into realpolitik. When I was young, Islam did not speak to me. The voice of Muhammad was still and mute in the religious books that was prescribed for my reading. I knew of him. But really, I knew nothing at all about him. In Sufi lore, I found him and a happier truth.
THE HAPPIER TRUTH. What I say here, my friends, it is not the Complete Truth. But so far as I can see, it is certainly the Happier Truth. Yet there are some who would contest this Happier Truth, saying to us -.
1. Surely, the religion is not as simple as you claim it to be.
2. Surely, the religion is not as 'happy' as you say it is.
CERTAINTY IN GOD IS THROUGH CERTAINTY IN HIS PROPHET. But why not? After all, the Prophet had to leave behind such divine lore so clearly fundamental so as to take into account the really slow-witted (such as me), and yet brilliantly fascinating to keep the most hard-to-please of his nation (such as you) captivated by its beauty and passion. He would not be Muhammad, had he not given to us the grace of his traditions, to exemplify and embody the Completeness of the Holy Quran. Of this I am certain.
Have a lovely Thursday, sunshine. I am gonna have breakfast now, will you join me in a cup of certain-tea?
Pax Taufiqa
Earlier posting on certainty entitled "Having a Cup of Certainty at Rumi's Famous Tea Room"
(Click Here)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Children are not our Beta-versions to experiment with...

There was a Maulidur Rasul celebration at Mikhail's school last Friday. He was dressed for the function in our traditional Johorean Malay costume. I don't think he is actually Johorean but nevermind.

Later this week, Mikhail was in another costume, perhaps not so traditional. Mika is versatile that way. Kids are all open to new ideas and initiative, and I wonder just how much credit or blame we deserve when we mess about with their divine codes. As the sinner once mused ...

92. I, Wobot II
Children are not beta-versions of you to be experimented with.

I think parents should be careful as to how they bring up their children, don't you agree? I mean you can be the Dragon-Mummy or the Tigercub-Daddy or even the Papa-Grizzly, but like all systems - we need to apply any dogma with discretion. And if we screw up, Lord knows how many therapy sessions would be required to fix the poor child. I hope Mika will do fine. I worry sometimes, you know...

91. I, Wobot
Like a computer,
Every hour, divine programs
Are downloaded from the
Website in the Sky.

But it is when their elders,
Mess about with their codes,
That children become confused,
And they hang, refusing to reboot;
Ctrl, Alt, Del!
Ctrl, Alt, Del!

A LITTLE PRIDE IS OKAY. Mika came home from Kumon (Japanese-style tuition for Mathematics and English) with two bronze medals for English and Mathematics. I am not saying he is very proud of his achievements, but when I came home late, I found him sleeping in bed already, with his medallions still wrapped around his neck. Ah well. I never won anything at 7 years old. For me, getting to school on time was a good enough achievement for any day, and my sainted mother should be thankful already for that personal effort from me.

We all desire our children to be so much better than us. And above all, we do not wish to saddle our children with the emotional baggage of our own failings and regrets. We try to do good, even if we ourselves are not good. Since we share such noble sentiments, how can we not all be brothers and sisters?

Have a nice Wednesday, sunshine. I am so happy that I am well again.

Pax Taufiqa.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Many Wedding Invitation Cards, but to the Same One Wedding

His Love is a Love
Intimately Private
As the Bridal Chamber,
Yet publicly rejoiced
Like the Wedding Feast.

ANONYMITY IS GOOD. I am glad that mostly, my readers are anonymous. Because it would be difficult for me to share my feelings with someone knowing that I cannot make he/she feel the same way I do. This blog is a guilt-free way for me to talk of God and the Nabee (the Prophet Muhammad) without the 3 Fears.

THE FEAR. What is the fear you ask? Oh, there are many things that I worry about. For one, I fear to spoil the Good Name of God. And the Good Name of His Prophet(s) and Saints. I fear that if you were to know me personally, see me in all my foul and loathsome aspects, you would say that I am not qualified to talk of what I talk about. I have hoped to keep the readers expectations low by calling the blog “The Sinners’ Almanac”. But that too can be a coy pretension of humility. So rule No.1 is - Never trust a sinner! He may be toying with your emotions. (I am, you know.)

THE FEAR PART 2. The second thing which worries me when I talk to people is the fear of raising a strain of doubt in their heads. After all, I tend to make great claims of God and the Prophet’s love for mankind (me included). I would suggest real intimacy with the Creator. I would say things like I was there with the Prophet – that whenever I read (or am told a story) about the Prophet, I could imagine myself there, beside him, reliving the Prophetic scene, either trembling with sadness or tears flowing with joy. That I could see a gigantic Angel whirling around me, playing an electric guitar while astride two tall hills. Thus, you cannot blame me if I don’t speak much about God and the Nabee to people. It is simply too mad. So what I do is write.

THE FEAR PART 3. Another thing which bugs me is the fear that I might get passionate and all riled-up (and it has happened before) while talking about God. After all, just as you may find my perception of God and His Prophet too woolly, so too may I find your perception of the Divine strange and difficult to swallow, open-minded as I may be. Writing helps me appear wiser than I really am. It is easy to be circumspect in hindsight, you see.

THE ONLY BRIDGE IS LOVE. The only bridge by which we may cross the divide of our perceptions of the Divine is through Love. It is all about Love – so ultimately, what you interact with God in the antechamber of your soul, in the secret garden of your conscience, in your holy communion, is entirely your own affair. No need for me to know! No need for me to understand! So long as you come out of the bridal chamber smiling… that is all that is important to me. Hehehe.

THE WEDDING FEAST. The truth is, sunshine, we have no choice. Not if we wish to understand love. Love the One and love the All. Underneath the Throne of our Lord I survey His creation and He is asking me, “How can you not love whom I love?” And in that context, love is about sharing and acceptance. Submission to God, and submission to what He has ordained to be your creed and your people. After all, are we not all brothers and sisters? And are we not all at the Wedding Feast to which God has invited us? You must know that however the Wedding Invitation may be written - in Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu or Buddhist scripts, it is still an invitation to the same One Wedding and to the Same One God.
Have a nice day, sunshine. I am well again. God bless!

Pax Taufiqa.

Post Script Wednesday morning - This is a rather rambling post, but I hope you still enjoy it. I am sorry, but between catching up with work after 4 days of leave, the writing is rather hasty and untidy - and I KNOW that my writing is commonly untidy already! Oh, well.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tummyache and Heartache

Dear friends,
Too much eating and drinking - The sinner has caught a tummy bug! Hope to write properly soon. Alas, now all that I can think about is the throne. I trust that all is well in the world while I am away! But looking at the newspaper, things haven't really changed. Same old, same old recipe for heartaches, discord and war. Nonetheless, while I nurse this tummyache, I hope that you are in fine spirit, in spite of the bad news knocking at our door through the mass media. Speak softly and listen to what the Universe is saying. What it has to say is far more important and truthful than what you will read in the newspapers and blogs. Even this blog.
Have a good Sunday, pet. Love you.
Pax Taufiqa.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A True but Wobbly Path, Saying Sorry and a Distinguished Order

If you are an aspirant on the mystical path, being sorry and saying sorry is a habit you must cultivate. In the last chapter entitled 'Candy from the Ahad Candy Store' (circa Jan 2010), I wrote this following missive post one of my many, many mistakes...
56. My Sorry
My sorry means
I am sorry until
You forgive me.
I found that my earliest use of the word in a much earlier writing, waaay back in early 2004 (Chapter 1, the Dam.SunSun.Ana) . And this was what I recorded...
63. The sorry lot of God
Do you remember where we were once before?
Lost and sinning, a worm in an apple’s core
A candle with no light, lying broken upon the floor
What were our lives, to be worth living for?

Do you remember what we were once, my friend?
A smile swiftly lost, snatched by fate’s thieving hand
A joy-short lived, as butter melts in a pan
Such were we, my friend
Till he came and took our hand
And said…

It will be alright, ya faisal
Everything will be great, ya shamsul
Don’t worry too much, ya hafidz
Its going to be cool, ya saiful

Ya Maulana, ya Maulana, ya Saidi!
Who moved your heart to take in these bumbling fools?

We who were left behind, when everyone else have been chosen
We, the sorry lot of God, messing with boats upon His Ocean.
So, I would like to dedicate this posting to my four boat-mates. I still see them all and they have not changed one bit (well, maybe a little bit fatter and a little less hair). They are still bumbling and messing with boats in God's Ocean. And I wouldn't want them to change. Not for anything. The Order to which they are affliated is called the Distinguished Order... No doubt distinguished by the foolishness of its members that the Masters must manage on a daily basis. Wise Men Say... Only Fools Rush In.... (UB40 version)
A toast, then my pet. To all our friends and bosom companions. May their heart forever be light, and their path ahead however wobbly still be true.
Pax Taufiqa.

Woman - Tiger of God. Love Don't Bite.... Much.

29. I was looking for a Dove, God sent me a Tiger
Love glided like
A phantom of the forest,
Crouching in the high grass
Of doubt that surrounded me.
Then she coiled like a spring
Before lunging unto me.
We locked in a lovers’ embrace
As claw and fang draw a little blood
And my skin is broken in many places.

We paused, breathless,
Then she said,
“Had you not struggled,
I would not have inadvertently
Wounded you.”

I replied, “Had I not struggled,
You would be woefully disappointed
To find such a willing and
Helpless prey.”

She smiled and replied,
“Hehehe. Maybe.”

(Poem from Chapter entitled 'The Bride's Dress')
MAN. We men sometimes just don't want to argue. We want to stay quiet and still. We may think we have really good reasons for our view, but we do not think the time is right to say it. Not when the Tiger is hungry and hunting. But perhaps nothing is more infuriating to the Tiger than the silent treatment. She wants to argue. To debate the point in issue. To air out her feelings and draw us to make some unforgivable statement. So we prefer to zip it. But you see, in the relationship between a man and a woman, the right to remain silent is not protected under any clause or amendments to the Constitution of Love.
Love don't bite.....Much
LOVE. Yes, you go out there, into the Forest of Love looking for a Dove. Because that is what is normally advertised in the Brochures of Love. You flip through the brochure, happily dreaming of Love with a Dove. You wear your best and bring a pair of binoculors to go birdwatching. Not knowing that deep in the Jungle, a Tiger is sharpening her claws and brushing her toothy sharp fangs. Waiting for you.
TIGER OF GOD. So you do your job and wrestle the Tiger. And you get mawled. Bitten to bits. Eaten alive. There is no winning in Love, you know. It is all about submission. You fight the good fight, playing your role as the hapless victim - but ultimately love is about losing - submission. First, submission to the Tiger. Then, submission to God. So you see, Woman is the Tiger of God. And Man, you poor saps, you are the Lamb.
While surfing, I bumped into Michael Franks's song, Tiger in the Rain. Its a lovely sleepy little tune to share with your Tiger or Lamb (or Bear), as the case may be.
Have a lovely Friday, pet.

Pax Taufiqa.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Love Story Between Gabriel & Muhammad, and Angelic Humour

ANGELIC HUMOUR. I don't actually believe that Angels have a sense of humour. You cannot stop me however from hoping that they do. But such is the enormity of their responsibility, and the identity of their Boss (the Almighty God) that such hopes appear unlikely to be fulfilled. Angels are creature of pure light after all, and how can we have humour without some colour. Unless of course, the Angels can be broken through the prism and unleash the colours contained in their nature. Then maybe they can make Haha. But I am not holding my breath.
THE LOVE STORY OF GABRIEL & MUHAMMAD. It is however incorrect to suggest that Angels are totally devoid of personality. In the interaction between Gabriel and the Prophet Muhammad, there are stories which appear to suggest the delicate personality of this angelic herald of God. I believe that whatever happened to Gabriel, happened simply because of the Prophet Muhammad, and by the fact that the Arch Angel was the first of his kindred to give his bay'at (oath of love and loyalty) to Muhammad Messenger of God. I remember writing thus...

101. The Oath of Angels
Gabriel had the honour
To be the first of his kind
To give bay’at
To Muhammad.
Blowing his circuits,
As he wonders,
What is this thing
Into me
The existence of Angels, just like God Himself, is something which is believed implicitly based on faith. I cannot see them, nor do I hear them. But sometimes, quitely alone in the solitude of my writing, I feel them - "Look, look, he's writing about us again." I could feel them chatting. They are everywhere, being by far the most populous creation compared to Man and the Djinns. And they are certainly there with you, attending to you by the command of God, who first commanded all of Creation and the Angels to prostrate before our common grandfather, Adam.
LOVECHILD. To every child born into this world, are anointed angelic guardians. They answer and are familiar to our true spirit. As a sinner, I do not know where my true spirit is residing. I know I am apparent, after all, I see my reflection in the mirror. But sometimes I feel I am hidden, and that these fingers that are typing these words now are being moved by invinsible strings. Mind you, we are not puppets, but I do believe we have a Master, more loving than the clouds, more forgiving than the rain. We just cannot see Him, that's all. It doesn't mean that He doesn't exist, nor that His Love is an illusion. How can it be, when you and I are here still? And I feel that slowly, I am falling in love with you already... Just like how Gabriel fell in love with the Prophet. And I am not confounded by anyone who says otherwise...
46. Lot of the Self-Taught
O’ retarded spirits!
O’ puzzled kindred!
If Islam is not mystical,
Then show me God.
If Islam is not magical,
Then show me the angels.
If Islam is not spiritual,
Then show me thy spirit.
Hah! It is to thy convenience
That thou scoff at us sinners.
Have a lovely Thursday, sunshine.
Pax Taufiqa

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

At the Conference of the Earnest I Found the Religion of Hubris

CONFERENCE OF THE EARNEST. I spied upon a congregation of earnest people. Some of them looked slick and oily, others bright and sparkly like models in a skin whitening advertisement. Some were bearded and wore turbans, others wore the Jewish skullcap. Some looked like Christian bishops, and amongst the crowd I saw Mullahs with AK-47 strapped on their backs. There were also mystics, political lobbyists and cult leaders. They were all holding onto their respective holy books for dear life. A lot of them were shouting, and in the back, I could see a crowd of young ones, clamouring “Jihad! Crusade! Jihad! Crusade! The Dajjal! Red Heifer! Democracy! Capitalism! Jerusalem! Unity! Purity! Lies! Death! Eternal Life! Gog and Magog!” In a corner all to their own were priests of ideologies and dogmas in fevered debates - the Darwinists, Capitalists, Communists, Socialists, and all the other ‘-ists’ that your mind can google.

NEMESIS OF MANKIND. On the pulpit was a man with white hair and he was raising the crowd’s spirit commanding, “We must fight for our religion! We must die for God! For Freedom! For Equal Rights! We must defend ……… (Well, just fill the blank space with whatever religion / ideology you want – it doesn’t matter really). Scurrying between the heaving mass of capitalist crusaders, armed bigots, and fuzzy muhajideens were a couple of nemesis of mankind – I recognize them, they were Uncertainty, Envy and Anger, unmasked and looking like pubescent trolls. They looked happy.

I CATCH ENVY. Behind the curtains I ducked, waiting for my chance. Then one of the little troll ran pass by and I managed to catch it by its collar. It was Envy. It looked hideous. It had hair but the colour is never the same, it had a face, but it changed every second, its shape shifting according to men’s insatiable and ever-changing desire and greed.

THE REAL RELIGION. I asked it, “What is this place?! Who are all these people? Envy smirked and said, “Look around, Taufiq. They are people who are adepts in the forms of their religion or beliefs – See, that is a big time Rabbi, and there you see an Evangelical TV star, and look, hey, that’s a world famous Jihadi! And I think we even have a Monetarist here somewhere…”

This evil imp wasn’t answering my question right. “Yes, yes, but what are they all doing here?”

Envy hissed, barring sharp carnivorous fangs, “They worship in their religion here.”

“What religion? All religions and ideologies are represented here!”,
I argued.

“Bah! That is only the religion of their outer form, pet. The creed that they are truly following is the Religion of Hubris.”

Then smiling, Envy asked me, “Are you an intruder here, Taufiq, or are you here by SPECIAL invitation?”

Ouch. I immediately dropped Envy and ran for dear life.


How many times have we become the unwitting acolytes in the Religion of Hubris? May we all be guided by our conscience and our heart, elevated and unsullied by hubris. It is not an easy task, but in you I hope to find my guide and support - My brothers and sisters in the Religion of the Conscience, the Religion of Love. The most delicate and beautiful manifestation of our respective faiths, whatever it may be.

Have a good hubris-free day, Sunshine!

Pax Taufiqa.

The Prophet's Birthday, Jacob's Ladder and a Can of Red Paint

On the Prophet's Birthday I Borrowed Jacob's Ladder

I was awaken this morning by Jacob,
And he said, "Here, take my ladder, old chum!"
With a can of red paint I climbed the ladder high into the sky
And there I found the Big Heart
Floating amongst the clouds.
Trembling on the ladder I then wrote the message...
"Happy 1441st Birthday, o' Prophet!"
Okay, okay, before anyone raises the issue, I am aware that the birth of Muhammad the Prophet of God is accepted to be either in 570 a.d. or 571 a.d. But you know, that is just technicalities. The fact is he was born a looooong time ago. Happy birthday, my Prophet!
And before any aspirant of the path says that his actual creation must precede the creation of the World (Heaven, Hell, Angels all included therein) in relation to the belief in the Nur ("Light") of Muhammad, well, I am not talking about the creation of the NurMuhammad, am I? We are of course celebrating the mortal birth of Muhammad from the blessed union of Aminah and Abdullah.

Last night, on the eve of his birthday, I attended a congregation of pointy-hatted gentlemen who were praising and singing their love for Muhammad, Beloved of God. I didn't stay too long though , but I am reliably informed that the sighing love and affectionate rapture that drifted from the mortal lips ascended the sanctified gardens of heaven and the valley of Buraqs (they are queer looking heavenly steeds). But most importantly, I am sure that the Prophet himself heard them.
O' sunshine. Do not forget your Prophets! Whatever they have endeavoured, whatever they are still endeavouring, they are doing it all for you. Blessed be Muhammad, my own beloved Prophet. My love and light, the Red Rose of Divine Intimacy, Vessel of Mercy, Sign of the Lord that made me know of the Lord. Ah. But you know of this already, my friends, my brothers and sisters - I seek your guidance and companionship always.
Pax Taufiqa.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Straight Path, Womankind, the Coke Bottle, Valentine's Day and Love

The path is straight.

But the journey is full of bends and turns.

For the journey to God is like getting to know a woman.

It is a way of corners, curves and turnings.

God bless Sarah mother of Isaac!

God bless Hajar mother of Ismail!

God bless Mary mother of Jesus!

God bless Aminah mother of Muhammad!

God bless all our mothers, sisters and daughters!

Oh women, you are mysterious and lovely.

And in your hands you hold our hearts captive and besotted!

When our grandfather Adam was asleep, how by God was Eve created?!

Through you, may our willful self and ego be cheated!

Grace in abundance, creation walking in munificence with a halo that makes heavenly lamps flicker!

An arrow speeding to my heart from a Cherubim's quiver.

VALENTINE'S DAY. There is a small ruckus in my country about Valentine's day. It is not a big ruckus, because we Malays tend to avoid being busybodies. But there is of course a noisy minority representing the political Islam activists. They are harrumphing and agonising in the media about how Valentine's Day promotes adultery and is a Christian event. I am glad the Christians woke up and in the Star newspaper reported that "The Christian Federation of Malaysia has stressed that Valentine’s Day is a secular observance which Roman Catholics and Protestants do not commemorate as a religious festival. Its chairman Bishop Ng Moon Hing said Christians in Malaysia were hurt by statements made which linked Valentine’s Day to sins and Christianity."
Rightfully, the main argument if you desire, is that Valentine's Day is a rather shallow and mega-commercialised social event that makes florists and confectioners happy. I do not think that any kid even know of the historical / mythical origin about St. Valentine and his day.
THE RELIGION OF LOVE. The fact of the matter is that all people concerned with the health of their religion is utterly convinced that the commercialisation of religious festivities is a bad trend. Valentine's Day (assuming it is one), is just one of many examples of galloping commercialisation of faith. And no religion has escaped this appalling consumerism virus. I say this is true even if your religion is the faith of Love.
COKE. The Coca-Cola bottle picture is of course a visual reference to the famous bottle's shape which is often commented as depicting the female form. It is drawn by this rather talented artist Mark T. Woodland (Click Here).
But I do not wish to be a complete party-pooper, so if you are celebrating with your love today, Happy Valentine's Day, sunshine. But alas, Love gives us no rest - and He is celebrated every day, with every breath that we inhale and exhale. Ya Huuuu!

Pax Taufiqa

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Conversation about Love, Sadness and the Nature of You

I once asked my love,
“May I write to you?.

And he answered,
“Write as often as you want.”

I once asked my love,
“May I hear your voice?”

And he answered,
“You need only to desire me, and surely you will hear me.”

I once asked my love,
“Let me see you.”

And he answered,
“I am in everything and everyone, I am everywhere and also no where at all. If you forget me, it will do you no good to fly with the Cherubims nor play in the stables of the steeds of Seraphims in heaven, for you shan’t see me. But if you remember me then you will know that I am with you.”

I once asked my love,
“Set me free.”

And he answered,
“If you knew me, you will know that I will not do that. Not when I have troubled nothingness to bring you from utter nothingness to become a voice in me, a delight to my gaze, a little sparkle of eternity from my creation of eternity, which in itself is nothing to me. But you grew, and you filled a you-shaped space in my bouquet of love for the Beloved.”

I once asked my love,
“What is sadness?”

And he answered,
“Sadness is to see your beloved ones do hurt unto themselves. To forget me, to not hear my entreaties that I whisper into their mute and silent hearts. To walk blindly into the fire of their own making. To run away from my clouds of mercy that is chasing them from one madness to another. My loved ones, they speak so eloquently of sadness. But they do not understand sadness, not until they can see how it pains me to see them in pain. My love is without measure, and my sorrow for who I love is a thing that would make even hope despair. So this vision I keep from them. Even you.

I once asked my love,
“What is it that you desire?

And he answered,

I once asked my love,
“But who am I really?”

And he answered not.

I woke up today with a lightness in my head. This conversation was told to me in the balmy air of the morning. I am now writing this to you in the aftermath of an evening storm of thunder and rain. Sprays of rainwater splashed into my bedroom through my balcony door that I always keep open.

I hope you shall always keep your balcony door open, sunshine. Not for burglars but for me. For I desire to steal away your heart. I am unscrupulous that way.

Pax Taufiqa.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Choose Your Path!

If you cannot
Master your own self,
How will you ever
Be a servant of God?
And if you are
Not a servant,
What else can
You be but a
Slave to your
Own Ego?
Choose your Path!

But you don't have to choose it now. Maybe tomorrow? Hehehe, its a trick question, really. The question is as never ending as the seconds of your life. Well, until it actually ends. Then we shall see. In the meantime, I leave you to the good grace and blessings of our One God - He who is ever creating and recreating questions for us to answer... That is often the way between the Lover and the Beloved. How lucky we are!

Have a nice Saturday, sunshine,

Pax Taufiqa.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Muhammad, the Throne, Perception, Creation and a Fella I met at Solace

Perception is Creation
Muhammad is no king,
But all creation is his throne,
And his throne is in my heart,
And all creation is as how
My heart conceives it to be.
With every beat of my heart,
I carry creation within me,
With every word I utter,
I make,
And with every sight
That my eyes do perceive,

I create!
I was in a small pub in my neighbourhood with Heche and Kelly. The pub was called Solace, and our threesome were there seeking some. We took a table in the deep cozy corner of the pub, away from the Friday night crowd. I remember at least that it was Friday night because Kelly was in lawyer’s khaki of black and white. We traded gossips, insults and philosophies.
A few glasses in, a couple entered and sat at the table next to us. You must understand that I am not an eavesdropper by nature but I cannot help listening in to the gentleman at the next table. He was talking (rather loudly) to his date about the Prophet Muhammad. Saying how he thought the Prophet was this great, great guy, that he was a giant amongst mankind. He continued to expound on the many virtues of Muhammad, his tongue flowing effortlessly with praise for the Prophet.
Unable to contain myself (I have self-control issues), I tapped him on the shoulders, and we made our acquaintances. He was a radio station manager of a big broadcasting company here in Malaysia. Together we started to talk about the Prophet, about his life and his teachings. “He is a great man! A strong man!” exclaimed my new companion. His date however looked a little jaded, with that ‘This is nothing new to me’ look on her pretty face.
Well, by the end of the night we exchanged business cards and manly hugs, promising to meet each other again. I have yet to make that call because I lost his card dammit. I would really love to see him again – Because the best thing about this story is that he was not even a Muslim. He was an Indian and a Hindu. Perception - it is everything.
Have a wonderful Friday(again), sunshine. 2 postings a day… what can I say? I am uberproductive.
Pax Taufiqa.

Hands United in Worship

Hand of God
I am in the cradle
Of my heart and thoughts,
Being swayed with gentleness
By the Hand of God, sung to,
With lullabies from
The Angels and the Wise.


Following nothing
I followed the religion
Of men, and that religion
Led me to other men.
I followed the religion
Of books, and that led
Me to other books.

Despairing, I turned away
From my learning,
And opt to follow nothing.

Now nothing stands
Between me and my want,
And in my hand I found love
That God, all along,
Had wished to grant. \

The Shepherd
Who was this kindly shepherd
Forced to leave his Mecca Home?
Mercy flowed from his hands and words
With patient fury of raindrops upon a stone.
..Two Sides, One Coin, One Hand
God bless us all
That whatever we may be,
Heads or tails,

It is the Hand of God
That holds the coin.

It is the Hand of God
That flips the coin
The prose brings to mind the song by Jewel, 'Hands'.
Have a good Friday, sunshine. There is big and small discord around the world and in our own neighbourhood. But together we are held by the Hand of God. For you and I, we are brothers and sisters United in Worship.
Pax Taufiqa.