Friday, September 30, 2011

Get a job! says Rumi - The Appearance of Duality and the Reality of Oneness

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!

NO EXCUSES. I know the form. They say such and such work is not for them because it will affect their piety. And they dither and wait for the 'perfect work' to come knocking at their doorstep. And all the while the world is moving and they are left behind. A couple of years ago a friend stepped in and gave me the advice inscribed in the prose above. "Don't use religion to excuse your laziness and procrastination!" He said. I try to follow his advice, not always successfully. 

SPIRITUAL AFFAIRS? WORLDLY AFFAIRS? It is all the same to me now. I met my friend again today and this is what he now confides in me- "Well, you know... I hardly knew you back then. But I guess by now you know that worldly or spiritual, it is in truth one path and one issue at stake. It is only thus distinguished because God in His Most Incredible Creativity simply chooses to sprinkle worldly physical dusts on the matters which pertain to our material world, and spiritual heavenly dusts on our spiritual affairs."

THE APPEARANCE OF DUALITY. But the appearance of duality in what is spiritual and temporal, between what is material and intangible is to me only just that - Appearances. And appearances can often be deceiving. I do not wished to be deceived any longer... Even if at times I can still be insincere.

Have a lovely Friday, sunshine. Thank you for dropping by.

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

Some pictures and sketches from Mecca - Umrah Pilgrimage Part 27

You would find me often outside this small mosque. It is reputedly built
on Hamzah's former home. Hamzah was a Quraysh elder and the Prophet Muhammad's uncle.
It is a rather dilapidated little building on a dilapidated little alley. I would sit there for an hour
or two, eating my guava and listening to my music as I watch workers, pilgrims and shoppers
walk past. Oh, and street-sweepers. They are around all the time, fighting a losing battle
against the litter and rubbish that sadly blight this city.
I was outside this mosque one afternoon when a head popped out of the door
and chucked the residue of a packed lunch onto the sidewalk. And later as I was walking
on the main road, there was a boy finishing his can of pop. And he simply threw the can
into the road. Not just putting it aside, you know. Or not just getting up to drop it in a
litter bin nearby. He had to throw it. I cannot understand the attitude. Is it part of a
job-creation program for the street-sweepers? As the weather grew warmer flies
became more in-you-face and made me wish that people would not litter so...
We were heading for morning prayers but got caught on the street. Many people
end up simply praying on the sidewalk and pavements when this happens. It is early morning but trust me
that there would be thousand upon thousands of worshipers already in the Mosque. It
is like a 7-11. It never closes and there are always people praying.
Life goes on in Mecca like in any big cities. The poor fella (it is always a fella  because
remember, women are still not allowed to drive here) will come out and find his car has been towed.
Courtesy of the Mecca city authorities. 
I saw a man. A tall giant of a guy. I decided to named him Hamzah.  He looked  like someone I would
not want to cross words with. A tough looking hombre. But as it turns out, he was just another
pilgrim. A soul seeking solace and some decent bargains for souvenirs for his family back home. Just like me. 

It is Friday. Have a lovely day, sunshine. And may you find solace wherever you are and in anything that you do.

Pax Taufiqa

The Dervish on a Jasmine Flower

The Dervish on a Jasmine Flower
I dreamt you were dressed in white,
Whirling on a flower with white petals,
I dreamt of you last night,
Dancing in a robe adorned with pearls,

I dreamt you were a dervish,
Dancing on a Jasmine flower,
Gently falling to the ground
As the Universe whirled all around,
Gently perishing in a Divine embrace,
The Jasmine and you eternally entwined.
We must all have our dreams. For this world is not enough to contain our love. This world is after all only a looking glass. A divine mirror. A brief reflection upon the Beauty that is God.

We have no particular knowledge of God. What little we know are hearsay, stories passed down from the time of Adam and Eve. There is nothing wrong in this. For this world is essentially a hearsay. And wise are those who realise that even direct experience is hearsay - "That is what we hear. But who is to say what is right or wrong?"

We banish such doubts upon the Jasmine of Love. The white flower wherein perishes all doubt. And all lovers...

What a strange posting this is, sunshine!

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Perfume of the Angel of Death and a Night of Dread- Umrah Pilgrimage Part 26

However I tried Photoshop-ing this picture, I still look fat.
Then a disembodied voice whispered, "Try going on diet."
This is a continuation of my report on my Umrah Pilgrimage which took me to Jerusalem, Medina and Mecca in end March to early April this year. My last posting was about food on 22nd July 2011 entitled Dead Camel and Dhab Lizard, Guava and Zam-Zam - Umrah Pilgrimage Part 25 (Click Here). The journal continues on Wednesday, 30th March 2011.

PERFUME OF DEATH. There are a couple of things which is mandatory to be purchased in Mecca, and one of them is perfume. It can be very, very cheap or extremely expensive. I was at one particular stall when I saw a man sniffing away, and pleasurably commented, "Hmm, very nice, Haji..." To which the proprietor said, "Yaa... masyaAllah, this is scent is called the Malaikat Subuh (Angel of Dawn)!" The man then asked, "Good, good... but do you have perfume of the Malaikatulmaut (Angel of Death)?" The old shopkeeper looked offended and did not reply, although in his face I could see his thoughts... "Crazy, crazy Malaysians."

Journal extract
Talking about crazy Malaysians... During one of the many times we chilled in Mecca, a friend confided in me his night of dread - My friend is a particular man with a particular taste for the night life. One night in Indonesia he was out partying when one of the girls overdosed on some heavy 'shit'. They hurried her to the hospital and fortunately she was saved. But while waiting outside and smoking, he felt an overwhelming sense of shame and confusion, wondering who he is actually, why is he here and what is his purpose, and oh boy, what if the girl actually dies? Musing sullenly about his present circumstances, a cat walked by and he found himself asking, "Oh my God! Will this be the last cat I shall ever see in my life?!" He hurried off to find a mosque and found a small one nearby, but it was closed. He climbed over the fence anyway, completed his ablutions (wuduq - physical and spiritual cleansing with water pre-prayers) and started praying, all the time asking God to allow him to complete the prayers, beseeching God not to take away his life before he can complete each recitation, gesture and movement in his prayers. Now in hindsight, I think he was a little OD-ed himself.

I don't think you need to do serious drugs to OD. People can overdose and lose themselves in anything. It is wise to take everything in moderation. Perhaps even in what people consider to be the pursuit for spiritual excellence. After all... 'excellence' and 'spiritual' by whose definition? Find a spiritual master, become a pupil (a good one, not like me!) and you will not have to travel your path alone. You need not face the Enemy alone...

136. The Enemy
Wine for the mind,
Ghouls and wraiths,
Honey for money,
Face and faith,

Whatever your passion,
He has your poison.

May you have a moderately satisfying day, sunshine.
The Eagles of the Kaaba.

Pax Taufiqa.

Driving under the Influence on the Cosmic Road to Enlightenment - Just how many bottles of the Divine Stuff did you consume, Ma'am?

10. Not That Drunk
You say you are drunk in His Ocean
Besotted in His Love,
But yea, still sober enough to request for intermissions,
While treading the Path.

I DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE. I am not very good with drink. And not very good at getting drunk. While I can write a whole forest of timber about Divine Love, getting intoxicated in the Divine Wine or such other exaggerated analogies and parables about God, Love and Mankind, truth be told, I am seldom drunk. And I rarely drink and drive on that cosmic road to enlightenment that I pretentiously like to call 'the Path'.

SPIRITUAL INTOXICATION. I guess you can call me a private drinker. I am not a social drinker because I prefer a bit of solitude. Indeed without solitude I cannot drink myself under the table. I need a quiet moment of reflection, a second of contemplation and if it happens, a wave of pleasure would course through the river of the soul, sparking a buzz like no other buzz promised at the bottom of the bottle. There is nothing like a little trip of spiritual intoxication. It is the joy without the hangover!

Yet drunkenness is nothing but a milestone, just another pit stop on the cosmic road. There are other stages further in the journey. More important 'stuff'... Much harder too.

88. Passion 2
Sobriety and Patience
Is better than Passion,
They become wine to those
Who have passed the state of intoxication.

May we all be good travelers along the cosmic road to enlightenment. Safe driving, sunshine!

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

Mikhail, Mathematics and his cousins - Pictures tell Stories

Mikhail'a cousins. From the left in gentle repose is Emina of Malay-Turkey stock.
Aaliya is an American here on holiday and comes from North Dakota.
She is here together with her 1+ sister, Jasmine. This time around they have decided
to bring their parents (Chad and Lin) along for the 23 hours flight from the cold of Bismarck, ND
to the hot and humidity of Kuala Lumpur.
I was a little curious why Mikhail was a bit slow in his mathematics when I
helped him in his homework. But it appears now that studying in the house is simply too
distracting. In his tuition class, Mika actually did decently. A little peer pressure is
useful sometimes. He came back very happy with his perfect score. "What are
you going to do with it?"
he asked, as I looked at his answer sheets. "I will
blog it of course."
I replied. Sorted.
I am looking at a vacant bungalow house lot abandoned by the owner. It doesn't
take long for nature to reclaim her own. You can still see a little of the perimeter wall.
I wonder why the owner did not go through with building the house. A little brook runs
down the hill slope just outside the property. This very green area is just 5 minutes from
one of the busiest suburb of Kuala Lumpur with its giant malls and shopping centres. 
To end this international posting is the marriage of this tall fella. He doesn't look
particularly native, and there is a reason. He is half Swedish. He speaks perfect Malay
which is rather astounding when I first met him more than a year ago. We were united
in our love for dance back then, so I am glad to see him this happy in connubial bliss.
No poetry today, sunshine. Just the poetry of life.

Pax Taufiqa.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oneness of God vs the Deniers and Usurpers - The Journey of the Immortal - Captain's Log 2

12. We Plucked
We plucked truths from the air,
The wind, the water and the earth,
From the lips of those who believe and disbelieve,
But yea, the usurpers and deniers cannot see,
And their words become a chain of rusted iron,
Binding them to their error
Like oarsmen on a Roman slave galleon.

Yet for the believers, they know
And verily they are ascending a chain of gold!
Never rusting, always shining!

But this is just the beginning, Ameen, ya Haqq!

Who believes and disbelieves? I know many people with Christian names but they claim not to be Christians. While others act in a distinctly unchristian manner. Does that make them non-Christians? I know of many people with Muslim names but they are not very nice people, and what they do is abhorrent to my religion. Does that make them non-Muslims? I have a Hindu friend and her thoughts and beliefs are parallel to mine. Does that make her less of a Hindu and more of a Muslim? Or does that make me less of a Muslim and more of a Hindu? And who gets to decide who is either or neither? I think it is all up to God.

Deniers and Usurpers. These people the prose refers to are in all religion and ideologies. Those people who have denied Love and usurped Mercy from their dogma. Those people who build walls between faiths and ideas, who deny the unity of worship and praise of the One God which all faiths share. There is no Christian God. There is no Muslim God. There is no Jewish or Hindu or Buddhist God. There is just the One God who loves us, and wants us to just get along.

Chained. One way or the other we are all chained. It is only what we are chained to that makes up who we are. I for one, am a chain-smoker. So sadly, my life is leaving me in plumes of smoke. But others are chained to the dogma of the Deniers and Usurpers and truly they are chained!

The Others are Us
The Deniers and Usurpers are
Besieged on all sides
By 'the enemy'
And 'the others'.
We, you and I,
We are not besieged,
For the enemy and the others...
they are all just us.

All that I write today is compelled by what my Prophet has revealed to the Muslims. So what have they lost and what have they gained in the past century?

May we all be counted as a good sailors, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Captain's Log 1 of the Immortal - Click Here

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Merchant, the Poet and the Dervish - the degrees of madness

96. Degrees of Madness
The merchant counting paper(money) behind closed doors,
The poet writing rude prose in search of clarity,
The dervish crawling naked on all fours,
Differ only in their personal degrees of insanity.

Who is crazier? The man who counts paper money (fiat money) and say that it has value over and above the value of the paper and its artwork? Or the poet who locks himself up in his room, divining God's glory while outside, the world in all His Glory awaits to be explored? Or the dervish who calls people to Love while they spurn and mock him for his nakedness?

Who is right and who is wrong? Who is sane and who is insane? Until God sorts that out I think we shall all do mankind a great service by just being nice to each other. Oh, and to our own selves too.

So have a nice day, sunshine. God bless you!

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

God, Muhammad, Man and the Mystical Buraq - Veneration of Muhammad

13. God making a point
People always see God making a point,
But they always try to come closer
To study the point.
Forgetting that when God makes a point,
It is like the tip of an iceberg,
Or the twinkle of a faraway star.

Approach at the peril of your mortality.

More than 7 years ago, in this very roadside food stall selling tomyam (Siam) dishes that I shyly passed to my friend Longhair, a copy of a prose entitled "The Buraq, A Dialogue." For a couple of minutes Longhair perused before finally sighing, leaning back and wiping his tears. "Whoah, Canemaker!" He exclaimed (I used to make walking-sticks back then). Well, if the prose can make a grown man with 3 kids cry, maybe prose-ing is a worthwhile endeavour after all. I have stuck to writing and have not stopped since.  

1. The Buraq, A Dialogue

Take me not to the Garden Eternal (asked the man)
To tarry there forever and journey no further
I have not come from a world of distractions
Only to be rewarded with yet another

Take me to him instead, my faithful Buraq
Far from this world, that world and that world
Speed me to him, to the Lord’s Messenger,
Muhammad the Fragrant Rose, Ocean’s Hidden Pearl!

I was not created to carry nothing, o’ man (replied the Buraq)
Nothing were you before Allah and as nothing you have returned
Now nothing stands between you and your pursuit so fair
Ah! Did he not say, “…whereof I shall be, my nation shall also be there…”?

Swiftly off my back, oft-blessed child of Adam!
Your prayers have been answered before it was asked
Do you believe your desire for Muhammad could equal or surpass
His desire for you to be with him at last?

Ya Ahad! Ya Ahmad! Ya Ahad! Ya Ahmad!
Blessed is the Nation of Muhammad!

The funny thing of course is that Longhair is possibly the most hypersensitive man in Damansara Heights, if not the whole of Malaysia. So perhaps it was on a false premise that I started writing prose regularly. But who cares? It has been and continues to be a good trip. The only fly in the ointment is that I have not actually lost my mortality. "Keep it." I hear a voice cautioning me.

So I guess it is beholden on you and me, sunshine, to proceed with our journey to study God's point and challenge the 'voice.' And with a bit of able divine luck, we may still lose our mortality just yet!

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

Monday, September 26, 2011

GOD IS THE UNION OF BEAUTY & MERCY. Whatever He hides, He hides in His name as the Most Merciful and Most Compassionate.

114. A veil is drawn
A veil is drawn
Between you and Me,
For you will not bear My Beauty,
And will despair
Just a moment
Away from Me.

O’ love,
Nothing do I do for you,
If not out of Mercy.

PATIENCE. God has always been kind to us. In a world where people are often uncompromising, God compromises with us, because He is unlike His creation. He has patience, and most honoured are those of His servants who reflect this most Divine Attribute and are willing to compromise in the name of Love and Mercy, and the latter being higher than the former.

BEAUTY. I cannot hint at the nature of Divine Beauty. I feel no need to do so. For you see reflections of God's Beauty in all that pleases and attracts you. A beautiful woman. A beautiful man. A kindly manner and a charming smile. A beautiful meadow, a graceful cathedral, a fine mosque. A cute little kitten, a majestic mountain. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder they say, but what we witness of beauty in this physical realm is but a drop of a drop of a drop from God's Ocean of Beauty. Were God to reveal Himself, what man or woman can behold the sight? It is like trying to pour all the beauty of Creation x infinity into a little cup. Beauty will overflow, the cup will be overturned and our tenuous grasp of meanings spill across the plains of our thoughts. We would be undone. Lost. Beauty would drive us mad, despairing to be a even single moment away from Beauty.

MERCY. It is thus with Mercy for us, His poor servants, that God withholds what He withholds and God hides what He hides. In God is the Union of Beauty and Mercy. And a little each moment, God is revealing a little of Himself, through Beauty that does not despair its worshipers, but Beauty that inspires us to be our better every day.

On that rollicking optimism, I bid you a wonderful Monday, sunshine!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Booktime, Metadata, Data Smelling like Garbage and something absolutely FREE!

BOOKTIME. I am on a crusade to get my son to read more. I have come to the conclusion that such an undertaking entails me actually being around him more. So I hope to cut down on the late nights and actually be with him. I have a friend who 20 years ago ‘adopted’ an orphan. When he used to be back from overseas (he was studying), he would visit his ‘adopted’ brother in the orphanage. He also used to give him money and books. But above all else, he gave the boy (he was about 9 years old maybe) what is the most singular and irreplaceable personal resource he has – Time. My friend was not married, not particularly well-off, nor very old (he must have been 21 then). So I had an immense respect for him. I still do.

METADATA. There is an interesting essay about metadata entitled “Metacrap: Putting the Torch to Seven Straw-Men of the Meta-Utopia.” in Cory Doctorow's book I am reading now (Cory is in the vanguard of free eBooks. If you want to read the absolutely free eBook version of his book 'Content - Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future, just CLICK HERE).  

Metadata is basically ‘data about data’, about how people collect, classify and sub-classify information. Essentially he puts the proposition (which I agree with) that there is no such thing as a Meta-Utopia, this seamless, perfect and efficient world where information is collected, organized and classified in a perfect form and perfectly accessible and true. He says this because the painful truth is that people lie, people are lazy and people are stupid. We lie because we have an agenda, we want to sell Coca Cola and not Pepsi. We are lazy because we don’t event title our work files properly (I am saving this file under “http3” simply because MS Word is suggesting it from the first paragraph of this document). We are stupid because we make spelling mistakes. All this goes to turn the Meta-Utopia fantasy into the Meta-Crap reality.

DATA SMELLING LIKE GARBAGE. Please don’t leave yet. I have a reason for writing about Metadata/crap. Outside the realm of commercial metadata on the internet and search engine algorithms, the idea of data about data is interesting in the context of our interaction with information. Any information. What I am noticing is that our interpretation of data depends upon pre-existing set of data which influences our interpretation. And that is our upbringing, our friends, our parents, our studies in college, the books that we read, our religion or atheism, the movies that we watch, the websites that we frequent, and even the food that we eat. All this goes to affect us even in a Meta-Utopia, so that even if such a camelot realm do exist, data is computed based wholly upon our personal preferences. It is not the same rule as “Garbage in – Garbage out”. It is more like “Data into the Garbage Can – Data comes out smelling like Garbage.”

THE WINE OF DIVINE ATTRIBUTES. So unless you are like Oscar who actually loves to live in a garbage can, you would prefer to live in a beautiful place. And that beautiful place is your heart and your conscience. Perceive the world with love, whether it is a Meta-Utopia or Meta-Crap, and the world will become beautiful regardless. You become a catalyst of Divine Providence. Because you take whatever crap the world will throw at you, then you distill it into a Wine of Divine Attributes. The Wine of D.V. will taste of Love, Mercy, Compassion, Beauty, Kindness, Tolerance, Courage, Chivalry, Charity and Empathy. Your friends and family will then drink of your wine, and be happy. You yourself will be happy. Isn’t that what we all want?

Wa min Allah at-taufiq.

God & The Door of Love - The Journey is the Destination

BIG PLANS. I have big plans. Really ambitious. I have decided to stop the bad habit of qualifying what I want by my age, my health and my wealth. I am throwing my hopes and aspirations as far as my furthest sight, and people will say that my dreams are a fool’s dream. I hope to raise the happiness and joy of people around me by several terabytes at least. If only people can get into my head, then they would see, they would not despair of my prayers and they would believe.

GOD’S PLAN. I was pondering about this when I started thinking about God. For unlike me, He has no Limit. Whether perceived or hidden limits. His Powers are endless, His choices are not really choices because there is no quantifiable limit to His choices. So what are His choices for us? I believe that God has an infinite ocean of happiness in store for us, only if we can believe in His Love.

WE ARE HERE ALREADY. And unlike me, we are all already living in His mind. Where as I cannot make people come into my mind. What dreams I have is wholly and exclusively my own until by some supreme effort of Fate, I am able to manifest that dream in real life. But God is different. We are already existing in His world. It is His creation that we live in, our bodies, our clothes, the ground that we walk on, the air that we breathe. Why, even the thoughts that we think and the feelings that curl in the most secret corner of our soul – All of it is manifested, whether physically or in spirit by His power.

UNHAPPY? So why are we unhappy, if we are already in His Most Benevolent world? Because we continue to act as if we are not. Forget awhile about what we think we know about what God wants of us. Let us discard theology for awhile and go back to the basics – Love. Compassion. Understanding. Tolerance. Courage. Chivalry. Honesty. Frankly, I think most of us are stumbling about blind like a bat because we are ignoring the sonar sense which God has granted us – our heart and conscience. The world appears to be dark and gloomy because we have made some poor judgment calls in our lives. And more often, it is because we choose to act upon our ego and leash our heart and conscience to the pillar of greed, hate and envy – these natural allies to our love-devouring ego.

So there is no need for a special invite by God. We are here already, you and I. In this most perfect planet called earth, and alive in this most perfect form created by God the All-Loving.

(The journey is the destination)
I am told that if you desire God, 
You must follow your conscience and heart. 
For that is the only path to the Door of Love. 
But once you get there, you will be surprised. 
Because when you open the door, 
You will find that there is in fact nothing inside. 
For you are already 'in love'. 
With a Love unlike any other.

Wa min Allah at-taufiq

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rainbow Eyes & Velvet Smiles

Rainbow Eyes & Velvet Smiles
I sat with love
In a corner shop
Not far from her home,
She had her iced tea
While I had her rainbow eyes
And velvet smiles.

I took a drag from
The cigarette in my hand,
And for awhile she was gone
But then the smoke subsided
And fate stopped playing pretend
To reveal her once again,
Looking at me with her rainbow eyes
And smiling at me through
The receding plumes of smoke
With her velvet smiles.

Marriage evades me for a while,
But this doesn’t mean that I cannot
Pay tribute to the lovely and beautiful,
The quiet strength of a love united.

I would speak of God by now,
But God is saying, No, keep your intimacy
Awhile for her, For even if you cannot see,
Verily, I see. And you do not know
How well I love her. So of her moods and motion,
Of her sighs and emotions, study well.

I have been to 2 weddings last weekend. I have another one tomorrow night. And another the next weekend. I am happy for these kids. God bless their furry warm hearts. 

Weddings and births. I am sorry but I feel all fuzzy inside when I think of them. Weddings are the occasion when people place their faith in God. And births are events when God places His faith in us. 

And death? Death is the moment when the divine runes say, "Oh just come back home! You have been away too long already."

Pax Taufiqa

Holy Mediocrity, Annhilation of Self and Facial Hair - Old Toons 2

A tritoon (is there such a word?) of sketches. Published before (I think) in this almanac, I really cannot remember these things.

People have high hopes in their religious ambitions. I have very limited aspirations. And I don't want too much trouble getting them. I am sorry for God for having someone like me...

Fana is the state of divine annihilation of a person. Some mystics call it 'to die before dying'. There are many stages of this. Some Christians may consider this similar to the idea of 'born again'. As you can see, nothing is sacred to me, and I am quite happy making fun of anything really. Christianity ought to count itself lucky that I am not one of its adherents...

And sometimes it is all just about me. I get no end of complain about my facial hair from Heche. She says I am lucky to have someone so concerned about my appearance. Yes. I feel so lucky indeed. Many a times I have found myself beseeching God Himself, "Oh Lord, I do not deserve such blessings!."

Have a wonderful day, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

Vanity, the Mirror of Your Ego and the Nature of Creation

THE QUEEN. The wicked and vain queen peddles her beauty before the Mirror each day, seeking assurance that bar none, it is she who is the fairest of them all. Until one fateful day, the Mirror ups and tells her that no, she ain't the hottest chick in the hood anymore. The spiritual analogy of the Snow White story is that the mirror was merely reflecting the Queen's own sense of vanity and insecurities. For the root of the vanity tree is insecurity.

THE MIRROR. If you would believe Muslim spiritual lore about the nature of this world, I would not blame you if you come to the conclusion that upon creation, God simply assembled a couple of trillion upon trillion upon trillion times infinity of mirrors and stood them up towards each other. Then He waited for the reflections (aka us) to start looking for Him! But He is not actually there! And we don't actually 'exist' being mere reflections of God's Own Devices. A conversational prose was recorded some time back about this. In the first para, "you" were negated. Then "I" myself was negated, and finally "we" both were negated... leaving only God, the Lord of all Reflections.

90. I alone exists in a world of mirrors
In a world of mirrors
Only I alone exists
And no one else.
Not even you.


You alone exists
And no one else.
Not even me.


No one exists
Not you,
Not me.

And this is a good analogy of the first part of the Muslim declaration of faith - That there is no god but God.

VANITY. The poor Queen was distraught when she felt that her physical beauty has become only a Runner-Up. But vanity is not just about good looks...

Vanity in the Mirror of Your Ego
Beware, for vanity
Comes in many guises
Before the looking glass…

Your Patience and Chivalry
Your Honour and Humility
Your Charity and Piety…

All become vanity
When you see yourself reflected in
The Mirror of your Ego.

Have a day of beautiful reflections, sunshine. Look with your heart as much as you can, and resist looking into the Mirror of your Ego. It will show you no good at all.

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Confession before the Wedding - Will you now say Yes?

I am just me. A make-believe
Before you choose me
To be your half in wedlock
I think that you should know…

I am just me,
A make-believe,
A picture in God’s canvas
That we call creation.

I am just me,
And at any moment
I could appear to disappear,
To return once again
To God’s own Ocean.

I know I am just me,
A make-believe in a fairy tale
Composed by God the Writer.
How could I have ever known that
In one chapter, you would come to me?
For all this eternity He has
Hidden you far from me.

I am just me,
But since I saw you
And you saw me,
The world has become different…

The forms are more brilliant,
The colours are more vibrant,
The tastes more vivid, the sweetness is sweeter
And the sadness is so much more sorrowful
In a world that is like yet unlike my own.

I am just a stranger here, my love.
And I shall try to please and praise you always,
Only that I ask you be patient and kind to me.

For I am the weak one,
A spark thrown out of the Sun,
A dervish in the wilderness
Doomed to roam,
Until finally you came,
And you called me home.

Will you now say yes?

Have a perfectly eventful day, sunshine. We are all make-believe, yes? God made us, up to us now whether to believe...

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

Moses at the Red Sea Toll and the Malaysian Toll Weddings

Toll Roads. As Malaysians, we are quite experienced with tolls. And this is a short blurb from Wikipedia which is roughly correct - "Malaysia has extensive toll roads that forms the majority of country's expressways which in length spans more than 1400 km ranging North to the Thai border, South to the Causeway and Second Link to Singapore, West to Klang and Pulau Indah and East towards Kuantan. Most of the toll roads are in major cities and conurbations such as Klang Valley, Johor Bahru and Penang. All of Malaysian toll roads are managed in the Build-Operate-Transfer basis as in Hong Kong and Japan..." The number of tolls are enough to be a pinch to your wallet and depending on where you stay and where you work, the pinch can be really painful. I am very lucky not to feel that pinch because my office is less than 5 minutes from my house (by car) and about 45 minutes if I walk. So I never walk.

Toll Weddings. One of my closest friend, John (aka Faizal), got married in the southern state of Johor about 13 years ago. As was the case with Johor, I was concerned with the possibility of 'tolls'. Johor Wedding tolls is a quaint tradition (quaint for the bride's family that is) where some members of the bride's family would block entry of the groom and his entourage into the bride's home unless he pays the 'toll'. The amount to be paid depends on the circumstances, not to mention the number of tolls AND toll operators. At the main gate of the house, there may be a toll. Crossing from the drive way to the porch may be a toll. There may also be another toll at the front door and finally as you make your way in, you could find the Mak Andam (traditional make-up artist) sitting primly on YOUR pelamin (a raised dais 'throne' for the bride and groom on the wedding day - ergo the term 'Raja Sehari' meaning King and Queen for the Day in reference to the happy couple). Yes, weddings are a little complicated down south.

In my friend's case John told me that the bride's family assured him that there would certainly be NO toll whatsoever. I believed him, but I had less belief about his soon to be in-law's assurances, so I brought some spare cash just in case Of course, as it turned out there were tolls. But only two, an old geezer blocked our entrance through the porch grilled door, and on John's pelamin sat the Mak Andam, smiling at us. At the first toll, Amirul (the Best Man) admitted later that he was tempted to simply push the old man aside, but good manners restrained his action. I handed the beleaguered John the money and he simply paid his dues and the wedding continued as planned. They are still happily married and have 5 children.

I am happy to share a happy ending with you. In this world with depressing news coverage we should always look around for the beautiful stories, yes?

May your day today be part of your own beautiful story, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Umar and the Devil. The Companion and the Trickster - A little diversion about the nature and passion of Umar al-Khattab

33. Umar oh Umar
Tallest of the Companions,
Handsome and strong!
The Devil himself would flee
Hearing his footsteps
Stamping through

For the Devil knew
Nature and habits,

But no one can be sure
What Umar might do,
Given half a chance!

Umar oh Umar!

On an auspicious day a long, long time ago, a mighty Quraysh warrior in Mecca made up his mind to rid Mecca of the social problem that was Muhammad. But before that day ended, that man's views would change irredeemably as he became one of Muhammad's staunchest defenders, and in his time he shall be a Rightly Guided Caliph of Islam after the demise of the Prophet.

So you see, the Devil had cause for worry whenever Umar comes around because frankly, even the Devil cannot second guess what Umar might actually do if the righteous Companion ever bumped into the Trickster in some lonely city alley.

God bless the Companions of Muhammad, God bless the Saints, and may God always bless you.

Have a wonderful day, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Adam is the Stranger in the World of Eve - Marriage, Saints, Rapture, Good Manners and other Useful Information

With You, Each night I Die
My prose is camped
Upon the crest of your eye,
My words are lying on the ridge of your nose,
Gently falling into the dunes of your red lips.

My poetry has no meaning compared
To the physical manifestation of you.

Useless to encompass the holy scriptures
Written in your eyes and recited in your heart.

Unable to herald the wind of your breath,
The gentle slope of your breasts.
The morning sun that rises in your auburn hair,
The evening sun that sets in your west.

I am learned,
I am a sinner,
I am all and I am neither
When in your light,
I die each night.

"You married? How old are you? Why you not married? Marry! Find him a wife! Find someone for her! You not married? And you not married? Why not marry each other?! You ARE married? Take care of your wife! Take care of your husband!" This is the refrain I hear years upon years that new mureeds are introduced to the Sufi Master.

Adam is the Stranger in the World of Eve
The Lord created Adam first
But when Eve arrived later
It was Adam who is the stranger
Not Eve...

God gave unto Adam two worlds,
The temporal and spiritual worlds.
Of womankind is a third world
Which the Lord did not grant him,
Only His invitation and by her permission
To dwell in her hidden thoughts
And her secret universe.

God blesses the woman who welcomes
The man into her world with grace and kindness!

God blesses the man who
Pleases and praises his host!

"Two words you must always remember to say to keep your marriage happy and strong!" The Sufi Master said. The mostly male congregation waited in bated breath for the magical spell, the secret incantation, the ancient runes that could help them secure marital bliss. Finally their Master said, "Yes Dear!"

As a divorcee I am an exile. A wandering sheep (or wolf?). Perhaps one day I shall be exile no longer. A passionate cook visited the Ancient Sufi Master recently in his home on The Island East of Albion and asked that Taufiq (that's me) be married soon. The old man raised his hand and said "InsyaAllah! (God Willing!)"

Have a beautiful day, Adam. Have a glorious day, Eve. But if you are in love it is already a beautiful and glorious day, yes? You have no need for my good wishes! 

wa min Allah at-taufiq.