Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mikhail Aged 7 years old, and Kahlil Gibran Deceased for 80 years

KAHLIL GIBRAN. My dad, who (at least on the face of it) is not the most poetic man in the world, has a fancy for the prose of Kahlil (or sometimes Khalil) Gibran, that famous Lebanese American poet who passed on sometime back in 1931. He is reputedly the third best-selling poet of all time, before Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu. Anyway, after the controlled anarchy of Mikhail's birthday party yesterday, my mind drifted like a rudderless ship to this extract of a famous Gibran poem about God, parents and children. It is wonderful, really...
...You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

INHERITENCE. Recovering in bed this morning, I typed out this sms and sent it out to my family and friends who honoured Mika by their attendance to the party.
Thank u for being a good sport and coming to mika's birthday yesterday. It was d best birthday he EVER had, says Mikhail. People want to leave wealth and riches for their children, but d truth is, the real wealth u can leave yr children is education and wonderful memories. From me and my family, i thank u for making my son feel 'richer' for you being a part of yesterday and its happy memories. If there was any inadequacy or contratemp yesterday at d party, please accept our sincere apologies, for surely, it was unintended. Wasalaam.
MISS ME, JUST A LITTLE. I am not a great dad and perhaps I spend too little time with him. But whatever times we shared, I hope Mikhail shall be able to recall them with a smile. And if I depart this world before him, I hope that he shall recall such memories with a small tear of yearning - Missing me a little, not much, just a little.
PAST PRESENT FUTURE. The present is not for present gratification alone. In fact, I must always try to remind myself that really, the present doesn't exist save as a bridge between the past and the future. And I think that so long as we remember the past, our heritage and where we came from, and as long as we plan our present actions for the future of our children, surely we are living the present in the very best way possible. That way, we may fulfill the trust the All Loving God laid upon our souls those long uncounted years ago.
Have a nice Sunday, sunshine...
Pax Taufiqa.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MIKA (2 days early albeit)!!!

Today's Mikhail's first birthday party in my house since his 1st birthday waaay back in 2005. Since then, he has been celebrating his birthday at his mother's place. So it is a big deal for me today/ Its 8.00am now and I am of course, panicking. So many things to do and so little time. Managed to put the banner and name up already though. Tables and chairs arriving at 9l30am. Hope to have the decorations done by then... By the sms-es I received from her, I don't think Heche (as party coordinator) slept last night, worried and anxious. Life is always challenging. Ya Huu!
Okaay, I gotta run. Hope to update the blog later today (if I have the energy).

Have a wonderful Saturday, sunshine. May your day sparkle as I pray this day shall be for Mika...
Pax Taufiq

Friday, January 28, 2011

Instrument of the Devil, Impatience, Saintly Clerks and Me

AT THE DENTIST. I am not a patient man, but there is however one situation where I am not just patient, literally I am PATIENCE itself. As a paragon of consideration and compromise, I turn into a statue of perseverance at my dentist. Every atom of my being suddenly patient, transforming me into an inert life form – a barely sentient glob of flesh and blood in the dental dungeon. I am NEVER IN A HURRY when I am at the dental clinic. In fact I am never in a hurry to get to a dental clinic. You know… all those contretemps and happenstances that causes you to delay or postpone your dental appointment. Suddenly, you have to paint your room, suddenly, you have to reorganize your shoe rack. You know, riiiight? And in such cases, I never bitch or complain about having to postpone seeing my dentist – “Not available this week? Gee whiz! Never mind, maybe in 3 month’s time? No? Dr. Rachel can see me sooner? But WHY? Really I don’t mind at all, I know she has a busy practice… Perhaps sometime next year? Hello? Hello?”
RED MIST. Despite my numerous postings about patience, I am probably the most impatient man in Malaysia. I can become an ogre when the red mist of rage washes over my eyes - Especially when I am alone and there is no company to calm me down.
INSTRUMENT OF THE DEVIL. I remember when I first started practicing as a lawyer in 2000. In those days, me and my partner did mostly conveyancing work (real estate sale and transfer), which inevitably requires dealings with the Land Office. And in those days we were still typing on Land Office forms, as not many departments have digitized their documents. I remember coming to the office one Saturday, with 24 (yes, Twenty Four!) blank Memorandum of Transfer Form to be typed out for a conveyancing file. Of course, I just need one form to be typed, but knowing my very limited typing skill, I thought 2 dozen is a good back-up in case I mess-up typing a form. For you see, in those days you are not permitted to use correction ink. And no rubbing with the eraser too. Surely, I was being over-cautious, I thought.
Well, as it turned out, I managed (barely) to type the 24th form correctly, after 2 hours of bedlam and 23 copies of typing failures. If you walked into the office at that time, you would see a sea of torn crumpled papers strewn around the feet of a mad lawyer, his hair disheveled, his eyes probably cross-eyed and crazy-looking. To be honest, if it weren’t for the busy road under my office (which was on the 3rd floor), I would have thrown the typewriter out of the window.
I don't go crazy with typewriters anymore. Now I leave it to the infinite patience of my clerks. The girls are amazing, and I am ever in awe of their patience - So young, yet so wise. What I write about, they live...
7. Patience, that Beautiful Steed!
Patience! O’ Lord,
Of such things that will help me,
Help me attain this!
Patience in happiness and sorrow,
Patience in wealth and poverty,

Graceful and most loved,
That beautiful steed ridden
By Your Prophet and Friends!
Have a nice day, sunshine! May you find patience however you may be tested.
Pax Taufiqa.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

You Must Be Tutored But Not Mastered By This World - A Waterfall and a Butterfly

MAKING FRIENDS. After the frightful experience of near-drowning at Chamang Waterfalls, I had a nicotine-break by the riverbank to calm my frazzled nerves (Click for earlier posting about 'frightful experience'). While chillin' alone, I made a friend. It was a peculiar friend - The companion was a pretty little butterfly. It was madly fluttering around me before alighting on my right hand. With my free hand I deftly searched my bag and quickly found the camera.

A BUG’S LIFE. The butterfly kept me company for 2 minutes (which must be a couple of months in butterfly-years) while I took pictures of us. Finally bored of me clicking away, it flew back into the green forest. But later in the afternoon the butterfly returned to solicit Heche’s attention. The domesticated bug orbited her before perching itself conveniently on Heche’s left ear. She (Heche, not the butterfly) was delighted but unfortunately no one was nearby to take a picture.

SALTY FLOWERS. Fifi (who is a romantic) suggested that the butterfly must have mistaken us for flowers. I liked that conclusion but later my brother (realistically) pointed out that the butterfly was probably taking the salt off our sweaty skin. Oh well.

The picture above reminded me of an earlier sketch I made about butterflies (Click Here). The fact is I don’t write much about butterflies, the only other prose being written in early 2004. But it rings true today as it did 7 years ago, when I was just turning 34 years old and Mikhail was a baby. The gist of the prose is that this world is simply so convincing in its realism that we often forget that…

Love is a butterfly,
And so long as you run after
This imaginary world
It hovers and flutters nearby,
Unable to come closer. ("The Butterfly")

STOP FIDGETTING, WILL YOU. Luckily, you know better, sunshine. You are an adept in dealing with both the hidden and the apparent. You are a knowledgeable lover, tutored but not mastered by this world - And I hope that you shall come near and tutor me in my turn. But please, please be patient with me, okay? I tend to grow restless and fidget a lot... especially in class.

Have a nice Thursday, butterfly.

Pax Taufiqa.

Angels, Women aka Vessels of Creation, and Poor Foolish Men

ANGELS. I like drawing them. Angels are easy to sketch and no one has ever taken a picture of one. So there is no critic to question the accuracy of my drawings. Perhaps one day an angel will appear before me, and if the stories are true they could be as small as the smallest leaf on the smallest tree, for I am told that there are seven angels standing on each leaf in this world. Just as an angel rides each drop of rain falling anywhere in the world. That's a LOT OF angels.
NO GENDER ISSUES. I wanted to say that I have met many people of angelic virtues in this life. But the truth is that such people (and I know you have met many yourselves!) are exhibiting human virtues, for the rules for mankind and angels are not the same. Of immediate attention is the fact that angels are sexless. There is no gender-bias issues for angels amongst themselves.
I DON'T OGLE, I 'GAZE'.I am further informed that angels habitually gaze on women rather than men. No, not for the same reasons that I er... gaze at women but because women generally have a bigger share of the Divine Beauty of God. This Divine Attractiveness is no doubt a collateral effect of being the Vessel of Creation. I love to remember this following praise to our Lord...
Glory be to our Lord of all believers and unbelievers! Glory be unto He in Whose Name women cry out in bringing forth the child (into the world)!
I am happy to be a guy, a dude, a man. And I cannot imagine what it is like to be a girl / woman. In fact, I cannot fathom 86% of the time what goes on in Heche's head. After a while I stop trying. Its like trying to understand God Himself. "A woman is like the sea", someone terribly wise once said to me, "you can read the waves and ripples, but better not jump in. After all, you might drown."
Alas, we men will always reply, "But the water looks, oh so lovely and inviting."
Have a nice day, sunshine.
Pax Taufiqa
Post Script - My friend Zulfikar wrote this comment about this posting in Facebook. It is so sweet that I wanna share it with you... "I had birth mark that really annoyed me.When i was 7,my mother used to say that it was a kiss from an angel.I believe in my mother.Then my mother kissed me because she don't want me to worry about my birth mark.since then,I believe that my... mother is an angel cos she kissed me even though I don't know how an angel looks like.I asked her "mak..macam mane rupe angel" (Mum, how does an angel look like?) and she said"Just like you,and your brothers and your little sister and the chief angel is over there,reading newspaper.Go and kiss him" I look at him... He is my father."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How I came to be, How you came to be, How we came to be...

A long, long time ago,
And a long, long time in the future
Before earthly time was created,
I was playing in heaven
When the Prophet
Suddenly took me aside and
Away from my playmates.

The Prophet told me with
His willow gentle voice,
“O’ Taufiq, today you will
Choose your parents.
These are the souls that
You may choose amongst.
Remember! Just one man
And one woman.”

I looked where the
Prophet was gesturing,
And saw a multitude of souls,
All beautiful and illuminated
With Divine Light such as
I have never imagined.

My eyes wandered over their
Stunning countenance,
Full of expectations,
My gaze drifted until I am
Fixed upon two souls in particular.
` I looked at them,
And they smiled back at me,
With a love whose yearning for me
Broke my heart, although
We were in heaven and
I was with the Prophet.

Such was their love.

“Him and her”.
I said to the Prophet,
Pointing to them.

The Prophet looked and smiled,
“Ah, Abdul Khalid
And Arbayah!
An excellent choice, o’ Taufiq.
I think you were meant to be
Born from their honourable wedlock.
I can think of no better choice, really.”

My father and mother nodded at me,
And tears burnt my cheeks.

“You will take good care of them
Won’t you, Taufiq?”, Said the Prophet.
They will look after you
When you are a youngling,
But that will last only but a short while.”

Then the Prophet pondered upon me
And placed his hands
Upon my small shoulders,
“You chose them, you see.
So they will be your responsibility.”

My heart was filled with the apprehension
That I shall never live up
To my Prophet’s expectations.
I said nothing, but the Prophet knew
And assured me, “Do not worry, o’ Taufiq.
I will always be near.”

So that is how I am here today.
Taufiq, the youngest son of
My father and mother.

I wrote this and gave it to Heche when she was called to the Malaysian Bar in early 2009. I simply changed my name with hers, and my parents' names with her father and mother's. I had doubts to do so because what is written is intimately personal and real to me. Her response washed away all my doubts in a river of tears. Perhaps it will wash away all your doubts too.

This coming Monday is Mikhail's 7th birthday, and I thought it would be so sweetot to share this poem with you, who must be the son or daughter of a father and mother.

If you are to ask me now, or if I was to live one thousand years, whether I have been any good at caring for my parents, my answer shall be no for now, and no after a thousand years. This is a love deficit that can never be settled, never be recompensed. Knowing how I feel now to be a father, I know this to be a high truth.

Friends, if you feel the same way about your parents, how can we not be brothers and sisters? We are, you know. We just happen to have different mums and dads.

Have a happy day, sunshine. Call your mum / dad today and tell them how much you love them.

Pax Taufiqa.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Red Heifer and Red Sulphur, Grand Nature and Beautiful Gesture - the Jihad, the Ego and You

14. And a Quiet Day it was
I set sail on Mercy’s Ocean,
And a quiet day it was,
With nets spun of golden thread,
And the wind behind us,
We headed west.

Fear would have filled me
As blackness rose to greet us,
Until my look-out cried,
“Look to the stern!”
And I glanced back to see
That we had the Sun in tow
Like a kite in the sky.

The above prose is what you may call a GRAND prose. Befitting perhaps for a mystic commencing his quest for the holy grail, the red sulphur and maybe even the red heifer.

THE GRAND JIHAD. But really, that great struggle, that GRANDEST OF JIHAD (Jihad ul-Akbar) is not very grand really. Certainly not in the way dreamt by arm-chair generals and warrior priests…

6. War
The war with the Ego is not the clash of great armies,
It is a war of small firefights and drive-by shootings.
And if the absence of a great battle disappoints you
Verily, the first skirmish is already lost!

MUNDANE DAILY STRUGGLE. It is the daily struggle between your heart and your ego, between your mind and your nafs (desires)… Should I have that extra teaspoon of sugar? It’s a Saturday anyways, I am sure no handicap would be wanting the parking space!... I could pay him today, but really, the bank is so far away. Oh never mind, I will just do it tomorrow… or maybe the day after that. So you see, really mundane and boring struggle. The path is not intended for those desiring recognition. Each strand of hair on your body must desire the opposite... anonymity, silence and nothingness, and without pretensions... (The way is not easy. Whoever said it was?)

2. Permission To Be Good, Ya Sayeedi! II
If you desire to make grand gestures,
Join an opera company.

Here, it is toil!
Mundane grind!
Day after day after day!

Allah! Rasulullah!
Give us joy
In our anonymity,
Though the world
May call us
Boring old farts!

BUT BEAUTY… has its own reasons and passions. And to deny the beauty of the path is also to deny an essence of the journey. And God has never attracted mankind with the ugly and deceitful, which is repugnant to us. Always He has sent someone of beautiful passions, to speak words of beauty and call upon us to do beautiful deeds of charity and love. This is the way of all faiths. A prose was recorded of such a man...

4. The Roadbuilder
I build roads,
Not walls.
For my message
Is peace,
Not war.

I grow roses
Not weeds,
For my message
Is beauty,
Not deceit.

SO I BELIEVE THAT…. there shall always be a place for beauty in the path. Such beauty may be grand and awe-inspiring, such as the Sun in a sinner's poem. But other beauty may be manifested more subtly, like the shy smile of your young niece. Or the sight of your son making friends with a stray cat.

Have a nice Monday, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

If you are curious for related postings on jihad just search 'jihad' in the searchbox on top right corner. There are about 8 previous write-ups.
Poems - And a Quiet Day it was is from Chapter 23 entitled ‘My Lord has Answered me’ (Mar 2007) War is from Chapter 19 entitled ‘Tiramesu’ (circa 2006)
The Roadbuilder is from Chapter 17 entitled ‘East of Albion’ (circa January 2006)
Permission To Be Good, Ya Sayeedi! II is from Chapter 5 entitled ‘The Profane & the Profound’ (circa September 2004)

Seriously, Stop Taking Yourself So Seriously.

A FOOL. I think we sometimes read too much into situations. Giving meaning to events that never occured and reading people out of context. It happens more often than we care to admit. Thus, however interesting your assumptions may be, you may in fact be reading the circumstances all wrong. So perhaps it is wiser to keep silent. As the story goes - it is better not to say anything and let people suspect that you are a fool, then to open your mouth and leave people with no doubt that you are a fool..
SERIOUSLY? Whether you are an aspirant of the mystical path or not. Whether you are a Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Wiccan or Muslim, I think it is important to have a sense of humour and the wisdom not to take yourself too seriously.
I AM THE CENTRE OF THE UNIVERSE. People aspiring to spiritual stations like to do this all the time - "Oh, humble me! Is there anyone more humble than me? I would love to think about you, but I am truly astounded by my own uniqueness and complexity."
BLOGEGO. Some of these people are truly the worst of the worst, a dark whirling pool of self-centred obsession - and you know how to recognise one? Well, they often write blogs.
Have a bright Sunday, sunshine.
Pax Taufiqa.
Footnotes - Toon is from unpublished archive

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chamang Waterfalls, Mawlana Abul Kalam Azad and Poseidon!

CHAMANG WATERFALLS. As mentioned in my earlier posting, today I went into the woods. Heche, Jehan, Kamarul, Fifi, Khaled and I visited the Chamang waterfall in Bentong, Pahang. Perhaps not really into the woods, as the hiking involved only taking 8 short steps down from the rest-area to the riverside. Click on the picture above for a better look!

STILL ALIVE. It was a wonderful break for us from the daily routine, and we found the waterfall empty of people. All this paradise to ourselves! But I had a small fright early in the day though. While playing in the water like seals, I missed my step and found myself in the deep centre of the stream. I was being pulled by the fast current and of course, I panicked. I trashed like a madman and tried to swim back against the current and inevitably I failed. Heche, who was eating on the rocky riverside shouted to Khaled and like Poseidon himself, Khaled strided through the water and pulled my raggedy wet arse to safety. My hero.

MAWLANA AZAD. After the short burst of drama, I decided to chill on dry land and dug out Mawlana Abul Kalam Azad’s book entitled ‘The Opening Chapter of the Qur’an’ - Surah Al-Fatihah' out of my bag. Skimming through the pages my eyes were drawn to this short paragraph…

“THE UNITY OF RELIGION AND THE QUR’AN. This great truth forms the primary basis of the Qur’anic call. Everything else that the Qur’an presents rests on it. If this fundamental is discarded, the entire framework of the Qur’anic message will get out of order. But the vagaries of history are strange. The greater the emphasis that the Qur’an lays on this truth, the stronger has been the inclination on the part of the world to side-track it. In fact, no other truth of the Qur’an has been kept so deliberately out of sight than this. Should one study the Qur’an with an open mind, with every predilection strictly kept aside, and look into its numerous clear assertions in this respect, and then look at those who nevertheless regard the religion of the Qu’ran as nothing else than an exclusive religious groupism, even as other religions, one will assuredly cry out that either the eyes of such people deceive them, or that they deliver their verdict on anything even without looking at it.”(page 152 – 153)

ISLAM IS NOT ABOUT ‘US’ AND ‘THEM’. That is the essence of what I read from the above paragraph. You may choose to disagree with me and if you do, great! For I can only beseech you to find a copy of Mawlana Azad’s book and read it for yourself. But whatever my spiritual limitations (and they are countless), I will stake my heart and soul on the words of this great Muslim and Indian – That the moment we forget the call for unity of mankind as preached by Muhammad the Beloved, ‘the entire framework of the Quranic message will get out of order.’ and Muslims will fall into the trap of religious hubris and ‘exclusive religious groupism’ that has haunted people of other faiths from year dot.

MALAYSIA. Like India, my country is a land of many creeds. And we have to deal with the very different outer manifestation of religious laws and rituals that define the varying religions in my country. But Mawlana Azad made a very succinct point (but one which is often glossed over by people of all faiths) and that is religion has two facets – the essence or inner meaning, and the outer form (the rituals and laws). And he says that the inner essence of all religion is the same, ergo – a belief in God, love, family, charity, kindness and honesty.

A RIVER OF GOD. As if to exemplify this for me today, I must remind you that we were the first there by the river. But later arrived a young Chinese couple. Then another Muslim couple. After that a a Chinese mother and either an Arab or possibly Caucasian husband came by with their little baby girl. Immediately on their heels arrived five foreign Chinese lads (they were way too white to be our local Chinese). This ménage was followed by a gang of Indian and Punjabi boys. Finally, as I was packing away I noticed the arrival of an Indian family, with father, mother, grandmother, uncle and two little children of about 3(boy) and 5 (girl) years old. This motley crew of humanity was drawn here to the serene beauty of the waterfalls. A River of God, a place of happiness where for a moment people can forget their differences and play as Adam and Eve once did, in a place called Jannah (Paradise).

CUP OF JOY. I leave you today with thoughts of thankfulness to God and His Beloved Prophet and to the Saints and Angels that is forever keeping guard upon the gates of our soul. And of course, my appreciation to Heche, Kamarul, Khaled, Jehan and Fifi who made the day memorable for me in so many ways. I arrived home in the evening and my father, brother, nephews and Mikhail had just finished dinner. I am not a good man, but as I gazed at them I felt the completeness of my joy overflow.

Thank you, sunshine, for allowing me the opportunity to share today’s report with you.

Pax Taufiqa.

Footnote: You may click on the earlier posting about Mawlana Azad (but referred therein as Mawlana Abul) here in Part 1 and Part 2. On a side note, my friend, King, who works in Malaysia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs desires to be made known now that he is still working late into the night (its almost 1am now). It appears that he does this on a fairly regular basis. So, Malaysians, please pay your taxes.

Sometimes I am Just TOO Good.

Sometimes we are good and sometimes we are bad. At other times we can be really bad, and perhaps even too good. Hehehe. Just kidding... We can always be better. You go, sunshine! I am afraid I am still batting with egos, angels and djinns in the little sinners league. Just keep a seat for me, wherever your spiritual station may be, will you?
Have a great Friday, sunshine. Today I am leaving the city and heading into the woods.
Pax Taufiqa.
Footnote: Toon is from unpublished archive circa 2004.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Magpie and Ibn Arabi, Wahdatul Wujud and Wahdatul Shuhud

MAGPIE. I am the Magpie of Stories. Welcome to my nest. Here you shall find an assortment of stories, parables and whimsical thoughts and feelings that I collect on a daily basis. Like all magpies, I have an eye for the shiny bling-bling. But to quote J.R.R. Tolkien in his Lord of the Rings trilogy (Book 1, Fellowship of the Ring)...

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

VALUABLE? I therefore cannot guarantee the quality of my writings, some may be worthy of my weight in gold of about 2.75 million Pound Sterling (My writing isn't that good, I am just fat), while some compositions tend to be fluffy white marshmallows - You know, like clouds in the sky. Interesting, but distant and intangible.

KNOWLEDGE OR PERCEPTION? Driving this morning, one of those cloudy thoughts strayed into my head. The world really is based on perception. Good and bad luck, misfortune or a cosmic lottery, sweetness and bitterness, all these values by which we judge our lives are essentially based on perception. In as far as we say we know something (or even someone), we are akin to a stranger, standing at the edge of a huge sea, saying, “Yea, I know you.” We don’t really. We say we ‘know’ but when you go to the root of what is truly being said, what you actually mean is “Yea, I perceive you.”

SNOW WHITE AND THE APPLE. If you notice in the previous sentence, the word ‘perceive’ begins with the word ‘I’. For the mystical aspirant, ‘I’ is a poison – the accursed apple offered to Snow White by the wicked Queen! The saints say that ‘I’ is intended only for God. Only He is the true ‘I’, the One, the Eternal and Absolute (Ahad and Samad). Therefore the ‘I’ in me is the human ego, which desires to be the master, and in its almost infinite disguises, it will claim credit in everything that I do, think and desire. It is the Bitter Enemy to the first wing of the Muslim declaration of faith - “I bear witness that there is no god but God.”

WHAT?! Hehehe. Yes, smarty-pants, you noticed the contradiction in my story above. After all, if the ‘I’ in you cannot exist, then how will you ever go about witnessing anything, what more God? The state of witnessing which some refer to as ‘Wahdatul Shuhud’ (State / Unity of Witnessing) exists – but only as a necessary condition to bear witness on the Almighty Beautiful and Absolute nature of God. We are like mirrors. And we are suppose to reflect the infinite loveliness of our Creator. And this analogy goes bouncing back to the Sufi fans of old Ibn Arabi who says that the entire reason for Creation was given when God said that...

“I am a Hidden Jewel and I wanted to be known”.

IBN ARABI. The poor old Andalusian Saint. He was much criticized for what he taught and wrote in his life time. Even nowadays, there are many people who just don't get him*. The wise and learned says that his exposition on the mirror image of Wahdatul Shuhud, which is called Wahdatul Wujud (State /Unity of Creation or Oneness) is an aberration, an innovation (read heresy) of traditional Islamic lore. They say that the poor guy got all messed up in his head reading the totally 'unIslamic' tomes and manuscripts of Greek knowledge, reintroduced back to Europe by the Andalusian Umayad Caliphate – via Arabic translations of Greek books in Baghdad (capital of the co-existing Abbasid Caliphate), then transported thousands of miles back to Europe through Andalusia and Cordoba. I suspect however, that his critics are not so much concerned by the theological aspect of his pronouncements, but rather the practical implications. People will get confused, they say. Anything can be proven right and wrong. Good and evil loses all meaning, and everyone can have a one-way ticket into the asylum. In a manner of speaking, they are right. But that doesn’t mean that Ibn Arabi was wrong. Oh no.

BACK TO THE MAGPIE. I am told by a saint that dear Ibn Arabi got a lot of grief simply because he was talking about stuff not intended for his time. You know, he’s that kid in school, who wants to share (or show off) his profound understanding of applied physics that you will only learn when (and if) you are smart enough to apply into rocket science college. And Ibn Arabi was not just studying the rocket science of God, but he is right up there sitting on the pointy end of the rocket cone! Is it then a wonder that scholars of his time were scratching their head at the sight of him flying into the stratosphere and breaking away from the earth’s orbit, while muttering “What the…!?”

Ibn Arabi and the ‘I’ in the Sky
O’ seekers!
O’ aspirants of the divine!
If I have become like a bird
With the sky, the stars and the moon
As my constant companions,
Do not then wonder and ask of me
What I perceive.
For what I am looking at is the same thing
That you all are looking at,
But my view and perception is
Very different!
For I do not see with the eye in my body,
I have seen the ‘I’ in Truth, Love and Mercy.

WHATEVER... Well, that’s it, my friends. I started this posting with a magpie who changed into Aragorn son of Arathon, thereafter amending into ol’ Arabi and then transmogrified into the ‘I’ in the Sky. Is it transcendental wisdom? Or is it simply a fairy tale widowed of any sense of reality? All I can tell you is "Nuts, I am hungry!’"... Ah, so much for Wahdatul Wujud. Back to being the regular ol’ witness. And no operatic audience of the Divine, just acknowledging that I am just me as another hungry magpie in a world of hungry magpies.

Have a nice day, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

Related Posting – Please see Wahdatul-Wujud (Click Here) and Ground Zero Mosque and the Ornament of the World (Click Here)
Caveat - * I am not saying I get Ibn Arabi. I don’t get him at all. But as a magpie I spied him to be a shiny golden ring on the dressing table of Saints. And as per my nature, I stole him away and flew him back here to my nest. I am sure I am not supposed to be stealing, but I cannot deny my nature - I am a thieving old magpie!
Poems – Ibnu Arabi and the ‘I’ in the Sky is freshly recorded today.

Toons - The swag carrying magpie is from sbritt!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

True Love, Humble Pie and Other Assorted Troubles

Field of Love
I do not understand why,
Now in my 39th year,
Am I called to bear arms
Once again, in the Field of Love.

Many have fought here,
And many have died here,
Breathing their last gasp,
"O' Love, Thou art near!"

Many have struggled,
With Love's hows, whos and whys,
And in the night I can still see them,
Twinkling like stars high up in the sky.

INDECISION AT LOVE'S DOOR. In early 2009 I wrote the above poem. I was tempted, you see, by the opportunity to love again after almost 2 years of singlehood. For a long time I paused and pondered in front of Heche's door, a statue of indecision, turned into stone by the eternal questions - “Shall I? Shan’t I? Shall I? Shan’t I?” And I guess that was it not for an intervention by Fate you would probably still find me there, harrumphing and sighing, “Shall I? Shan’t I?” in front of love's door. Well, Fate intervened and I entered her domain… Not knowing what lie behind its beautiful door. It didn’t take me long to find out…

EAT YOUR HUMBLE-PIE AND ENJOY IT! I think that love can also be defined as the opportunity to consume endless trays of humble-pie. I blame Heche for my weight increase, which can be attributed to my high-fat, high-cholesterol diet of humble-pies that I am forced to consume - Because, my friends, when it comes to humble-pies, Love is an extremely busy baker! Oh, boy, this pie sure is yummy!

TRUE LOVE. There is this story about the Prophet – One day, a man approached the Prophet and he said, “O’ Prophet of God, I love God and I love you!” The Prophet feigned to have not heard him. Again, the man said, “O’ Prophet of God, I love God and I love you!”. This time, the Prophet turned to him and said to the man, “Don’t say that.”

For the third time, this stubborn man said, “O’ Prophet of God, I love God and I love you!”. The Prophet gazed at him, smiled and replied, “If so, prepare for trouble to come unto you like a sudden flood rushing down a mountainside!”

I think there is a clear analogy between the Prophet's story and Love’s Door. Love – whether love for God, Prophet and Saints, familial love, or love between friends, or even a romance between a man and a woman, it is not something merely to be spoken or written – Love must be exhibited – and Love must be tested. It is therefore the opening poem of the Sinner’s Almanac above that I actually wrote more than 7 years ago…

118. Teasing
What is love without a little teasing,
A little sorrow, a little pain,
A little drought before the rain,
A little sting, a little bleeding,
A little snowfall before spring.

Who am I to talk of love? I am after all, a poor practitioner of this eternal art. But I have hope in you, sunshine. That you shall continue to be a true lover, learning such tips as the Most Beloved may show you, in whatever disguise that He may come to you in your life. I believe He is near you, always. For you are much too beautiful to be left alone, don’t you know? But remember, in the domain of love you gotta eat your humble-pie and enjoy it!

Tomorrow is Thaipusam day. For my Hindu brethren who celebrate this holy day, I bid you a gracious and fulfilling Thaipusam.

Pax Taufiqa.

Related Posting - The Mystery of God, True Love and the Rose of Infinite Petals

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rumi, Irony, Time and Money.

IRONY. If there is one thing which any aspirant of the inner path shall pass through it is Irony. Indeed, there is little in life which we cannot label as ironic. I don't think Irony is a bad thing. Even Alanis Morissette sang about it. And I for one always take a tablet of irony each morning to maintain my supple mind and laugh off as much as possible the (sometimes) bitter darts that fate habitually shoots at me on a fairly regular basis.
MONEY. I don't think it is a bad idea to have money. Like all things, it is really what you do with it that matters. Take your lips for instance. You can use it to praise God, to compliment your waiter, to remember the wonderful things that your father has done for you, and of course you can use your lips to kiss someone (which I think is always a very good idea). Alternatively, from your lips can pour words of scorn and anger, full of sarcastic remarks intended to hurt. Just like money, you can use it for good, or you can use it for bad. It is up to you really. But like all things entrusted to you, just like your body - you are responsible for the good use of it. So don't be like me, use it well!
SUFIS. Rumi himself said that (the disease of) WORLDLINESS is not simply about you having property, wealth and family. It is as I said - its all about how you put what you have to good use. After all, even if you don't have a bean in this world and the trousers you are wearing is borrowed, you still have the most precious commodity in this world, which is valuable beyond measure and can never be hoarded or purchased - TIME.
TIME. So you are rich already. Use the time you have on this planet well, my love. For it is as precious as the blood that flows through your vein. Perhaps even more so.
Have a timely Tuesday, sunshine. Endeavour to be punctual. After all, God the Most Loving always is.
Pax Taufiqa!
Footnote: Toons are from my old archives. As yet to be published.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Mystery of God, True Love and The Rose of Infinite Petals

WHY IS GOD A MYSTERY? Let’s face it. If God wanted us all to fully comprehend him, He could make it happen now, but He doesn’t. Why not? I have been talking about this phenomenon with a friend and came to three simple (but not exhaustive) conclusions –

1. The Nature of God - We can see for ourselves in the natural world and within us that God, if He is anything like what He has created, must essentially be of Infinite Beauty, Love and Knowledge. If all Creation appears to you an unfathomable treasury of exquisite beauty and power – then God, surely, must be the Unimaginable Beauty and Power that holds all of Creation between two moments of His All-Enchanting Recreation. Or simply put, God has that 'Wow Wow Wow!' factor.

2. The Nature of our Ego – In spite of God, our ego finds it hard, nay almost impossible to accept that there is anyone better than us. Our ego claims infinite existence, and it is our ego that is the ultimate Mr. Know–all, when we all know that in truth, the real Mr. Know-All is God Himself. Thus, it is by His Utter Uniqueness as the All-Incomprehensible that our ego is ultimately humbled. For it needs to be humbled, otherwise we shall all be led by our egos, like sacrificial lambs to the Abattoir of Souls. The ego is not our friend, oh no. So thank God for His Infinite Variety that shames our ego into submission!

3. The Nature of our Curiosity – I think most people have some idea of what God is like. And I am sure I share a lot of your beliefs. So we do know something of God. Not much, but enough – and perhaps just enough to continuously pique our curiosity. Like a trail of divine breadcrumbs through the foreboding forest. Of course, such is the Love God has for you, that He has given you the maps of the trail (the Holy Scriptures) and even a guide (the Prophets and Saints) to help you through the forest of your life. Alas, we are ever curious, so despite all of God’s Best Intentions, we wander off the trail, perhaps chasing a butterfly (which often turns out to be a hornet!). So God intervenes, and leaves His trail of breadcrumbs – hints and clues of just how All-Wonderful He really is… to help us back to the forest trail, back to True Path. God is continuously keeping the mystery and passion of our relationship with Him alive… If there is no more mystery, there shall be no more breadcrumbs and forever we will languish in the dark forest, lost and alone, bereft of the True Beauty that is God.

TRUE LOVE*. So here we are, sunshine. At this crossroad of our souls. And let’s face it, If you have ever been in love, if you have ever felt hurt by love, if you have ever swallowed your pride in the name of love, then perhaps we may realize that…


True Love is…
Even if at times you don't understand Me,
You still love Me.

I am feeling rather pleased today, sunshine. So I wish to give a bouquet of words to you. I hope God too is reading this blog today... *Ahem* The prose sounds a little like this…

To understand Me is to realize
That True Beauty reveals itself
By each opening of a petal,
So no understanding, however
High and elevated will
Completely encompass Me.
For I am Truly Unique -
The Rose of Infinite Petals

Thanks, sunshine, for sharing this day with me. God bless you.

Pax Taufiqa.

Footnotes: The poems are new. * Btw, I think that one of the biggest sign of true love is letting her finish your dish even though you loved it and despite your exhortations, she refused to actually order the dish to begin with. I am not complaining, I am just sharing.

Ask God for God, you Chelsea FC Fans!

My Dear Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Pagans, Wicans, Zoroastrians, and Chelsea FC soccer fans…

TEACH? I do not presume to teach. How can I? For that would mean I know something more than you. And I don’t really.

CARE? I do not presume even to care. Oh, I write such stuff off and on, implying that perhaps I care for you. But I cannot, for I am in need of caring, you see. How can I help you? If you are not well, then compared to you I am in the intensive care unit. I am on life-support and at any moment I may go.

UNDERSTAND? I do not presume to understand. This is strange considering the amount I write. But it is true nonetheless. Otherwise, I would not be so contradictory in the things that I say and do. Oh no, I do not understand, not really.

MERCIFUL? I do not presume to offer mercy. For I am in need of mercy myself. I can see mercy and speak of it, but you have no need of mercy from me - For I am a servant, although I often act like a master. But the truth is, I am blind and forgetful like the rest.

SOLACE? I cannot offer solace to anyone. How can I, when daily I am in need of solace myself?

In the end, all that I am doing here in this blog is SHARING.

I am sorry that I cannot give you any of the rest. I wish I could.

I really do. And YES… even to Chelsea fans.
So until tomorrow, sunshine, I leave you in the good grace of God, the Numero Uno in whom you can find all the wisdom, kindness, understanding, mercy and solace that you heart desires. My last advice, if you choose to take it, is this - If you are asking anything from God, do not be reticent or shy to ask for money, to pass that exams, to get that promotion or to win the heart of that hottie bank clerk. But if you are really shameless and your ambition is bigger than all-Creation, ask of God that one thing which you TRULY cannot live without - ASK GOD FOR GOD.

Pax Taufiqa!

Footnote: Oh, btw, my club is Nottingham Forest. I am a sucker for lost causes. Chelsea fan pics is from The Star newspaper. Chelsea was on an Asian promo tour in July 2008 and played a friendly against Malaysia's national team. Of course being Malaysians, many supported Chelsea. Don't ask why.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

No Division in Knowledge, and Disbelief is a Servant of God

When God created, it is to teach man about himself, about the world that surrounds him and how it interconnects to the singular Beauty that is God. Thus, the world is like a classroom and it is only ONE classroom. And your short life is essentially only ONE period of a day in school. And in that period you are to learn all that is needed to be learned for you to find God, peace and happiness. Teachers come in different hats carrying different books but ultimately they are teaching you from one single source - God the Loving Himself. But man are easily confused with labels of knowledge and it is sad that...
The division of knowledge
Between spiritual knowledge
And physical knowledge is
The biggest lie swallowed
By modern man.

The boss of your office, the headmaster of your school, and some priests of your church, mosque or synogogue will draw the line between the material and the spiritual practises - Saying they are not the same. Yet the truth is known to other priests, and they would confide in you that...
The division of life
Between secular habit and
Spiritual ritual is another
Whopper of a lie often
Swallowed by man.

I say this, because the Universe is conspiring to tell us every freakin' moment that...

Your Lord has no divisions,
He is One and unto Him
There is no partition.
All things, all creatures
And all occurrences
Bear witness to this,

To bring you, me and the cat named Moses to this truly fascinating conclusion, that...

Ultimately, there
Can be no real disbelief,
For even disbelief
Is a creation and
Servant of God.

Have a perfect Saturday, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa

Related post - Richard Dawkins is not Godless, the Essence of Belief and Disbelief, and a Bagel.

Friday, January 14, 2011

An Angelic Message via Mr. Funny Guy

I was in your neighbourhood, sunshine, and I thought it would be a good time to drop in. So I followed the smell of your mother’s cooking and the gospel that was playing in your soul. But arriving at your heart’s door, I was surprised to find an angel peeking through a hole along your white picket fence! The angel was a creature of light and cloaked in feathers of light. He was too engrossed with whatever he was looking at that he did not notice me at all.

I crept close beside him. Well, I guess the correct term is ‘it’, since angels are without gender, but frankly I just do not have the moral fibre to refer to an Angel of God as ‘it’. But I am enough of a fusspot to ask the winged herald, “What the heck are you doing?”

The angel was totally unaffected by my sudden appearence, turning calmly to me and smiling. I find this apparent inability of angels to be surprised infuriating sometimes. But that is besides the point, anyway, this was his reply, “Hi, Taufiq! I was just wondering how to plug this hole.”

Indeed? You were not sneaking a peak?

The angel drew back and stood up to his full height, casting a shadow of light upon me. “Angels do not peek.” He replied coldly. “We merely observe”.

"Hey! I am not judging you." I chuckled. “It is all the same to me - To-may-to To-mah-to, you know. Hehehe.”

The angel gazed at me for a moment before replying, “Ah… We were warned about you, Son of Adam. You are the one that likes to make Ha-Ha. Mr. Funny Guy they call you amongst the lesser brethren”.

“What a pack of lies!” I rejoined hotly.

“You say that, but you are clearly lying."” The angel continued. “I discern that this is yet another one of your attempts at humour.”

Okaay, this angel is a critic. I decided to move on and said. “Oh, nevermind. I am going in now. Are you coming? Or are you too busy ‘fixing’ the peak-hole…”

“I must fly, mortal, for I have urgent errands. As for the hole, I shall ask one of the cherubims to plug it. But this you can tell your friend – That when he sings praises of God, please stop singing the hymns with such sincerity. Or at least not too loud. For he is distracting us from our assignments. Peace!”
With that, he was away, flying at a great velocity until he was a speeding little dot in the farthest horizon of your conscience.

Well. Ahem. Here I am then, sunshine… And that was the angel’s message. So keep the volume down, will you?


Have a good Friday, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Once Upon a Time, a Living Muslim Saint met a Dead Christian Saint

ONCE UPON A TIME, on a Sunday during the Ottoman Caliphate, Christians of a town was celebrating a dead Christian saint. On that auspicious day the Christians would carry the saint's ashes and personal paraphernalia through the streets and fairway in a holy procession of veneration and worship.
A Muslim saint, for he was one, was passing by and noticed the crowd. Curious, for he was that sort of a saint, he followed the procession which proceeded to the church. There amidst the throng of people seeking divine aid, the ashes of the Christian saint was presented for ceremonial healing of the sick and ailing.

The (Muslim) saint's eyebrows shot up in surprise to see the miraculous effects of the sanctified ashes upon the sick - the blind can sudddenly see, the lame could now walk and the deaf husband is cured to finally hear the continuous nagging of his wife. All walked away happy and contented that God had answered their prayers.
Well, Joe (Let's call the Muslim saint by this name) look confused, and once the faith healing ended, he walked away feeling perplexed - If he is on the right path, and the Christians aren't, why have God granted the miraculous healing? All done through the ashes and relics of a dead Christian saint. Why? .
That night while he slept in his friend's home he had a dream, in which a voice spoke to him. "The answer your heart desires is this - God is the Lord of all mankind. And if people seek His aid, He shall grant it to them, be they Muslims, Christians, Jews or of whatever faith that they say they believe in. For ultimately, they all believe in Him. He grants the miracles as a reward for their charity, dedication and piety in their belief." The voice then continued, "Do not ask then, 'Why is my Lord rewarding the Christians. Instead say, 'Surely, if this is how merciful and loving my Lord is to the good Christians, what marvelous rewards there must be for the good Muslims!'
I am a Muslim, but I am not here to preach the greatness of my religion. Christians, Jews, Hindus are more than welcome to err... amend God's answer - and replace the word 'Muslim' with Christian, Buddhist or whatever. If there is ever a need of competition between faiths let it be this - Who of the Lord's servants shall be the most kind, loving and just to his neighbour? Whoever that person may be, of whatever creed he may hold - I would be proud and humbled to be his brother, friend and companion.
Have a nice day, sunshine - May we live happily ever after...
Pax Taufiqa.