Sunday, July 31, 2011

Earth Spelled Another Way is Heart - The Prose of Ramadhan Part 5

Earth Spelled Another Way is Heart (The Ramadhan Verses #5)
The Lord God created humanity
As the Crowning Glory of His creation,

And He hid His Greatest Treasure
In the soil of Adam,
And in the earth of Eve.

God was the First, Awal
And He is the Last, Akhir
And as there is no god but God
So He is also the One Absolute, Ahad

So search for His Most Singular gift
In the clay mould of mankind,
And do not be discouraged if you
Find some soil to be cold and hard,
For the treasure IS there,
After all… remember that
Earth, spelled another way, is Heart.

Over dinner last night, my father said that he has been organizing our old family pictures and wanted to pass to me some old pictures of mine. I told him I wanted ALL the pictures to scan and preserve. I am a firm believer that although we should not be bogged down by bad memories, there are still so much wonderful memories to recall and inspire us. And as one senior Chinese lawyer once shared in a seminar, “You cannot move forward, indeed, you cannot even master the present, if you do not know how you got here in the first place!” Good advice.

You and God (The Ramadhan Verses #6)
By your existence
You confirm that God
Is the All-Loving All-Affectionate,

And if your existence
Do not confirm this…
Then verily,
You are not existing!


The fools of all faiths will not understand this. This is meant for human beings still attached to their conscience and committed to be a jolly good fellow for all humanity whatever the race, colour or creed. People who knows that regardless if they are Ulrich, Umar, Kumar or Ulbeg, we are all united in worship to the One True God. So that is why I am sharing it with you, sunshine.

Have a jolly good day, pet!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

In My Shameful Servitude, to Love - Prose of Ramadhan Part 4

In My Shameful Servitude, to Love (Ramadhan Verses #4)
My beloved, you are
My earth and my heart,
My untilled soil,
My life yet to be lived,
My love yet to be felt,
My joy yet to be received,
My promise as yet unfulfilled,

My home yet to be lived in,
My precious pulse,
My dogged breath,
My inspiration,
The cloth that I wear,
The honey in my tongue,
The sweat on my brow,
My yesterday and tomorrow
My love, my companion,
My here and now.

My beloved, you have me,
And I am yours devotedly,
Do not cast me away,
Not when I am yours already,

Don’t you see?
If this is shameful servitude,
Then I do not wish
To be free.

Your weak voice
Weakens me,
You weary words
Wearies me.

Do not show me the door,
I do not wish to be where
I was before,
Before you came into my life,

For it was not I
Who opened the door.
And it was not you alone
That walked into me,

Love unlocked my lips,
And Love woke me from
My dark and restless sleep.

Will the sun now set
On the Sea of Forgiveness?
Will there be no princess to save?
No warlocks and witches to battle?
No quest for Truth, Love and Chivalry?

Tell me the answer is No,
Come and sit beside me,
I have made a pot of tea.

Let’s talk and later walk.
Just you, me 
and infinity.

We all make mistakes. In a couple of hours it will be the eve of Ramadhan, so let's make up with the ones we love. Make a pot of tea and invite him/her over. No, don't wait! Do it, my friend.

Have a happy day, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

The Quiver & the Arrow - PROSE OF RAMADHAN PART 3

The Quiver & the Arrow (The Ramadhan Verses #3)
My thoughts make no sense,
My words all meaningless,
My future is locked
In the past tense.

It is the hardest thing ever,
To change,
How you hold the bow,
How you hold the quiver,
And how you let go
The arrow.

The Prophet once said, or so I am informed, “If I am told that someone has changed his habits, and I am also told that a mountain has moved from its spot to another. I will believe the second to be far more likely.

Change is a miracle. You can strive towards it and work hard for change. But when it comes it is like a divine intervention. It’s as if God presses the button hidden somewhere in the well of your soul and presto(!) - Your days and nights of effort has suddenly paid off! Good for you, sunshine!

I am not big for change. But the world turns regardless and time passes and they are not waiting for me to change. If you have any thing that you must do, some long ago dream you have yet to fulfill, some bad habits you long desired to drop, some path to travel, a mountain to climb, a book to finish, a journey to begin, a promise to keep… well, do it.

We all carry the past in us, often wearily reliving our past mistakes. At the same time we are struggling to cope with the expectations of the future. And while we are being burdened between the past that we cannot change and a future that we are nervous about, the present comes and goes unattended.

On this eve of Ramadhan, it is simply a timely reminder for me. That this is the 41st Ramadhan in my life but there are so much that I can still do to be better. And I hope to make full use of this month that way. And it begins with this moment, this present which I am hoping to share with you, an old prose called The Wasteland…

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

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

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

God bless you, my friends. May you progress from goodness to goodness and leave behind the vanity of the yesteryears, especially when there is today, this fine beautiful Sunday for you to live to its fullest.

Pax Taufiqa.

Footnote - A few good men and women have established traditional archery (and horseback archery) in Malaysia. They say that they want to churn out good archers. But the secret is that they simply want to churn out good people. My admiration for them knows no bounds. You can google them up if you are interested, although one of the more famous is called the Leap Programme. You can learn more about them at their pemanah website. CLICK HERE.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

In the Meadow of Angels, beside the Forest of Time - PROSE OF RAMADHAN PART 2

In the Meadow of Angels, beside the Forest of Time (The Ramadhan Verses #2)
I was walking through
The Meadow of Angels
Near the leafy edge
Of the Forest of the Time,
While above me, I could
See Angels of Time
Hurrying about and
Working overtime,
Gerrymandering the
Tick-tock of the Clock
To suit the management
Of the world by the Prophet
And His Brethren

Finally I came to rest here,
With you, my beloved,
Beneath the shade of a tree,
Which stood
Tallest and mightiest
In the Forest of the Time.

I asked you, beloved,
“What tree is this
Beneath whose shady
Eaves we are taking
Succour?”

And this was your reply,
“Of all the trees in the Forest of the Time,
It is the mighty Ramadhan which is the tallest,
Sprouting a leafy canopy whose shelter
Goes further than any other
Month of the Year.”

Then you grinned
Your infectious grin,
And asked me,
“Will YOU be a good boy this Ramadhan?”
To which all I can say was,
“I will try to be.”

RAMADHAN. The day after tomorrow is the 1st day in the holy month of Ramadhan, in whose daybreak a billion odd Muslims will begin their fasting until sunset. But today I am already feeling a murmuring in my heart. The morning downpour an indication to my ever seeking eye, that God’s grace is once again extending its most fullest to mankind, coming so close to Ramadhan.
This is my Mak Ndak. One of my most admired persons alive. She is 80 but still bright as  an  apple. Mikhail is a little wary of her because of her wisdom and willingness to rebuke him. And that is good.
THE FABRIC OF HUMANITY. My Auntie, Mak Ndak is 80 years old. But this year she is escaping us to stay with her beloved granddaughter, Analisa, although Alanisa herself is not born in my family. It is the way of the world that sometimes our uncle is not actually related to our parents, our sister is not born from our father or mother, our brother is of a different religion, our auntie of a differing race and our nephew has absolutely no blood ties with us at all. This gerrymandering of human relations is a reflection of the Divine Love that binds us all in the fabric of humanity. The fabric is of many colours and hues, which makes it pleasing to our One Beloved Creator. But have one tear and it starts to look misused and care-worn. It is our job, sunshine, with our thread and needle, to sew up the tears and patch up the holes in the cloth of mankind. We want to look good before God, don’t we?
With a thread and needle kit called Love,
we stitch back the tears and scars that is
defacing the Fabric of Humanity.

A NEW PROSE IS KNOCKING ON THE DOOR. This morning was a quiet morning and I didn’t write much. But later a close cousin called me. She was one of those cousins of mine who was nearer to my late mother’s age. So I guess it is inevitable that my mind drifted to my late mum. There is a gentle prose knocking on the door of my soul, and I am on the way now to open the door and let the prose in. Once she is in, I shall embrace her with my entire being and I shall share with you the sweetness of the meeting, the prose and her meaning.

God bless all months of the year, God bless Ramadhan the Blessed, God bless all mummies, and God bless all those people who entered into our lives through different wombs and kins, and yet have graced our existence by their priceless company.

Wa min Allah at Taufiq.

Happy Ramadhan Kareem - THE PROSE OF RAMADHAN PART 1

Happy Ramadhan Kareem! (The Ramadhan Verses 1)
May God and His Most Beloved Prophet
Rain blessings upon blessing
Into thy life and thy family’s!

May He expand thy heart
To receive His Immeasurable Grace
In this Blessed Month!

There is none,
In this world or in the next,
In this universe or upon
The spiritual heights of Mount Qaf
That loves thee better than
Muhammad and his Lord!

In the name of al-Wadud (and)
The Most Excellent!

Amen.

al-Kareem – one of God’s Divine Names, meaning the Generous, Beneficent. So Ramadhan Kareem means Ramadhan the Generous.
al-Wadud – one of God’s Divine Names, meaning the Loving One, or the Affectionate One
Mount Qaf – is the range of mystica mountains that rings the entire creation (some say)

I know, I am kinda early... hehehe, but I shot this greeting to my friends via sms yesterday. But I have many friends, so how can I forget you, sunshine? For those who call themselves Muslims, and for those who are my brethren in unity of worship of the One God, regardless of the creed that you hold, I wish you, with all of my sinful heart, the very best of Ramadhan for you. Oh, and Mikhail wishes you that too.

God bless you, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

A Wimpy Kid, Rupert Murdoch, the Amazing Lounging Chair, the Malaya Tigers and the venerable Assam Laksa

Mika has been playing too much with his laptop. So last week I took him to the bookshop to buy some books. I noticed that he has been buying books a bit too mature for him, so this time around I persuaded him to choose something a little nearer to his age group. He chose this book. I haven't seen him hold the book since that day! I reckon it is time for tough love.
Some of our friends are right happy about the sudden turn of events with Murdoch's News of the World debacle. I am only slightly interested. But I do find it strange how democratic countries can permit News Corp to own so many of its important newspapers and television networks. It doesn't really encourage debate and diverse views. Of course all owners of newspapers, networks and news organisations say that they have limited or no editorial control. That is an interesting fiction.
My father purchased this lounge chair some 7 years ago. Well, actually it is a lounging chair and the sole purpose of this chair is to lounge in our porch area. It is CERTAINLY NOT to be sat on. I have never actually seen my dad use it.
This is our Malaysian football team. We had a second World Cup qualifying round game with Singapore last Thursday. The Bukit Jalil National Stadium tickets were sold out within hours and 90,000 Malaysians braved our traffic jam to go and support our team. We lost in the 1st game so had to win by a clear 2 goals margin to make it through to the next round.  
Alas, Malaysia only drew and we are kicked out of the World Cup qualifiers. Late on Thursday night I went to 7-11, and nearby I saw many, many Malaysian supporters in the yellow and alternate blue jerseys. There were many Indians, a couple of Chinese and Malays commiserating each other about our defeat. We may have lost the match, but I am happy to see that we have not yet lost our constant struggle for harmony in this country. I salute my countrymen, who for once dropped their racial and religious division to fully support our players. I am happy.
And to end this posting on a victorious note, Malaysian newspapers (and let's be honest, Malaysians too) reveled  in our local dish 'Assam Laksa' in winning 7th place in a recent CNN International Food Survey, beating our neighbour Singapore which only landed a 35th ranking for the republic's 'Chilli Crab'. The Assam Laksa is a rice noodle dish served in a fish broth, filled with slices of pineapples, cucumber, chili pepper, mint leaves and small chunks of fish. And normally people would add the prawn paste for extra tanginess. Here in my country, restraint is a word non-existent in our food vocabulary.

I don't have much tale of my own to sell today. The day is beginning a little quiet here. Perhaps it is good to rest for a while. There is just so much the world can take of spiritual-mystical-sinner monologues. Hehehe. Maybe later.

Have a delicious Sabbath, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

Friday, July 29, 2011

My Candle & the Prophet's SuperNova - Escaping the Gravitational Pull of the Sun

7. Reformers
Our reformers
Carry lanterns in their hands,
And cry out, “This way, this way!”

They think us mad,
To look to the stars for guidance,
Thinking stars too far and unreliable.

But we are only following
The footsteps of our forefathers,
Who relied on the celestial orbs to guide their way
Across this vast expanse of life.

So we say to them,
“We will not be led by men carrying lanterns in their own hands,
Then thinking themselves rightly guided!”

Then they reply, “Well, even Muhammad was a man!”

Then we answer,
“Yes. But he is also the Lantern itself, and he is carried by the Hand of God”.

The veneration of a man who has passed away a long time ago continues to be an essential part in the life of the Sufis. They will shake hands with a Mason, an Illuminati or a trekkie, because after all, when you are so into the Prophet, everything else kinda pales in comparison.

The Sufis are not against reform. Indeed, reform of the self to reveal the True Self is one of the canons of excellence which is the pursuit of all mystics. They are however cautious in the face of any suggestions of reforming the creed that has been practiced by Muslims for eons. Thus they are magnificent defenders of the traditional lore, from Rumi to Ibn Arabi to Sheikh Abdul Qader Geylani to Imam Ghazali. They continue to pass the knowledge to those fated to receive them through transmission of the heart, much to the irritation of those enslaved by the written word. The Saints are Masters of the Living Word. Thus, to the Saints, the al-Quran, which is also known as the Book of the Universe, is not only a written text, but the Living Word of the Creation.

It is thus inevitable that how they read and understand the holy scriptures is very different from the reformers. And how they perceive the nature of Muhammad Habibullah is very, very different from that perceived by the uninitiated. As one old dead soul informs us -

My Candle and the Prophet's SuperNova
In his passing through the threshold of death, 
The existence of the Prophet continues and is as real 
As the Cosmic eruption of an infinite horizon of supernovas,
This compared to the brief sputtering candle flame
Of my own mortality that I still cling to shamelessly!

It is Friday, sunshine. May you bask in the radiance of your Prophets and be guided by those whom God has entrusted the authority over you. May you learn in their secret convention far beyond the orbit of the earth, such things as you are fated to learn about your mind, your spirit, your heart and your conscience. If such wisdom is fated for you, not even the gravitational pull of the Sun will keep you captive to this Solar System

Pax Taufiqa.

Islamic State? What Islamic State? - Cure of Confusion from The Sinners' Dictionary

MOB INJUSTICE. I do not think that mob justice has a part to play in Islam. When I think mob, I think injustice. It has been the counsel of the Saints for some years now, perhaps decades even, to the mureeds (students) under their charge, to avoid political gathering in public places. To especially avoid the angry and disgruntled, whether they consider their wrath justified under any moral, legal or spiritual convention. It is the nature of the times that we live in, that democracy becomes abused and can quickly turn into anarchy. And anarchy has no role, certainly no positive role to play in any society, of whatever religion or ideology.


WHAT IS AN ISLAMIC STATE? Muslim nations, by which I mean a country which is predominantly Muslims, have the highest example to follow. And that is the way of the Prophet (the Sunnah). But I wonder why is it that the more people stress on their 'Islamness', the less Islam it appears to me. In the wonderfully intelligent British political comedy television series, 'Yes, Minister', and later 'Yes, Prime Minister', I recall Sir Humphrey Appleby advising the Minister that when it comes to promulgating a Government White Paper (proposal for legislative change), it is best to put the difficult bit on the cover. So lets have more 'Islamic' countries, he will say. Because frankly, by calling itself Islamic,  the country often falls into a state of substantive-comatose - both the people and (especially) the Government considering the deed is already done. But in substance? Ah. Good question.

THE NAME. I think the best way to judge whether a country is Islamic is first the name. If it does not have the prefix 'the Islamic ....' is a good clue. I always thought that in Islam, it is for God Himself to judge whether you, on a personal level, are indeed a Muslim or not. For an entire nation, of perhaps tens of millions of people to claim in one spur of the collective ego that it is 'Islamic', is frankly, to my delicate nature, a trifling presumptuous.

TREATMENT OF MINORITIES. The second aspect is how the country treats its minorities. The moment I hear the baying of mobs and hordes, hungry to 'raise the banner of Islam' and 'defend the faith' against a small minority, well, that is also an intelligent indicator that Islam, in the truest sense of the word, is on the way out. 

FAIR PLAY. Because come on, if fair play has become abhorrent to the followers of Islam, then for heaven's sake, what are they actually following? Islam is not anything if it is not about fair play. And don't listen to the politicians and preachermen on their soap boxes justifying unfairness in the name of some holy pretext. There is no such pretext. Either these men are deluded or they are deceivers. Reject them utterly.

CARE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT. One day, the Prophet was walking by a stream when he noticed a Companion performing the wuduq in the running water (physical and spiritual ablution prior to performing prayers). "I say, ol' chum." He said (well, not actually, but the gist is here). "Don't go wasting water. Get on with it and perform your wuduq quicker."


BEAUTIFUL THINGS. It is the nature of what the Prophet is offering, that anything that flows from his teaching must by its origin be beautiful. Beautiful buildings, houses and mosques. Beautiful music and poetry. Beautiful paintings and sculptures. Beautiful dancing and singing. And of course, beautiful manners and etiquette. If they are not, then pause and reconsider the source of your inspiration.



BEAUTIFUL MANNERS. It is the nature of a Muslim community that the members must exhibit an exceedingly humble and delicate code of manners. One day a mureed was walking with his Master when he came across a stone on the path. Remembering the sunnah which reminds people to help clear a common foot path, the young mureed kicked the stone aside. The Master promptly stopped to admonish the spiritual aspirant. "Even things which appear to contain no life in it, deserves respect. Next time, pick up the stone and set it aside by the path gently." The student mildly protested, "But Master, it is just a STONE." The old man then explained. "If you wish to continue following me, my son, know that to me there is no "...just a..." Then he paused. "What you cannot hear, I hear. And what you cannot see, I see. The stone was in a constant state of dzikr (remembrance of God by recitation of His Divine Names)." The mureed smiled and said, "Ah, thank you. That is why you are the teacher and I am the student." 



Well, these are some points to ponder over your cup of coffee. It is of course not exhaustive, but it is a good start. If a country, or a community cannot even wrap their collective turban around these basic concepts of human decency (which is basically what the Prophet exemplified), then I would advise them (not that they would listen to a sinner) to drop the title 'Islamic...' in their name, manifesto or logo, and to stop pandering to their private prejudices and systemic hubris manifested as 'piety'. 

Have a good day, sunshine. And whether the day is Islamic or not, leave that to the Creator to decide. 




Pax Taufiqa.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

HUNTING PIRATES! - The Journey of The Immortal - Captain's Log 1


Captain's Log of The Immortal
We are on a pirate hunting expedition. These pirates have been interfering with the shipping and pilgrimage routes on the Sea of Mercy. They have been blockading the Harbour of Truth, laying siege with their damnable guns on the Port of Love & Beauty. They have been trying to cut the centuries old ties between the Prophet and His Nation. They are saying that Muhammad is dead, what can he do to help his followers now

Earlier today we intercepted a brigand crew aboard an ugly-looking frigate called 'The Modern and Reform'. When we questioned a prisoner as to what are they doing here in the Sea of Mercy (who turned out to be the ship's preacher), he answered, "What Sea of Mercy? This is the Sea of Vengeance and Wrath!" There is no good talking to these people.

Further investigation into their cargo hold revealed a mountain of books which they are using to propagate their beliefs. It appears that they have been intercepting the Saints' ships and dumping the traditional books into the water and replacing them with their own version of history.  One crew member, Omar, looked dismayed. Later that day I asked him. "What bothered you, seaman?" To which he replied, "Captain, if they have been doing these to all of the Masters' vessels, how do we know if the students are being taught properly with the right books?"

This was what I said, "Omar. Do not fret. Do you think these bandits have caught all the good fleet? Anyway, look at the ocean around us. Look above and see the seagulls that follow our wake. Listen to the crashing surf. Do you not hear the Truth of the Universe speaking to you in infinite forms and languages? They cannot stop the tide of the Long Victory, my brother." 

Omar smiled, and I placed my hand on his heart. "Those that will be guided, will be guided. And those that will be misguided, will be misguided. It is fated. For you and I, Omar, it is simply for us to try and play our insignificant role in the unfurling of the history of creation with good humour, following our good conscience, and as a servant and lover of all humanity. The Prophet would have wanted it that way, yes?"

to be continued

The story above has absolutely nothing to do about Muslims vis-a-vis non-Muslims. It is a seafaring analogy about the continuing tension within the community itself, between Muslims such as my friends, and Muslims who are less like my friends. It is not for us to judge what they are (and indeed, who we are!), but in the constant challenge to Love, Truth, Beauty and Compassion, these pirates are a fitting opposites to the loving ministrations of the Saints that to this very day, still walk upon the earth. And the Saints do not dread the challenge, because that is why they were created to begin with.

Pax Taufiqa.

Footnote - The Journey of The Immortal was hatched in the concluding sentence of an earlier posting entitled 'The Ship is called The Immortal...' (Click Here). It is often the case that when we are talking about the wonder of creation and the Greatest Wonder of all which is our Loving Creator, one story leads to another. Then another to another. And another... There is no end in sight that I can see. How lucky are we?

The Ship is called The Immortal. And on its Sails it bears the Sign of the Sun, the Moon and the Stars

4. Corner of Eternity
The rain tasted like metal,
And my songs, once gleaming,
Have all turned to brown rust,
While my ship, the Immortal
Lie marooned in this corner of Eternity
That men call life.
In the main sail, we hoisted the standard of the Sun,
In the second sail, we unveiled the emblem of the Moon,
And in the third sail was sewn the sign of the Stars.

This little prose was recorded in a small collection this very same day, 28th July 2008, when the sinner was 38 years old. I must not have been too happy, that bit about rain tasting like metal and songs turning into rust. Although melancholic (being melancholy is a mandatory state of a writer) I was still filled with hope, because the prose ended with reference to the Sun, the Moon and the Stars. What does that all mean?


THE SUN. In this way of annotating the contents of the universe, the Sun is often in reference to God - Necessary to all living things. Giving light and revealing the true nature of things and people that was once cloaked in a veil of darkness and ignorance. The True and All-Essential Fountain of Knowledge, for without knowledge how can we feel love, understanding and compassion for others? But much like the Sun, approach Him too close and we will be annihilated. Look directly into Him and our sight will be scorched. Therein lies the purpose and nature of the Prophet.


THE MOON. The Prophet is often depicted as the pearly orb in the night sky. And it is his nature, like the Moon, to reflect the Light of the Sun, that we might actually look upon the Light of God without hurting our vision. At night, the Moon is a source of comfort when all else is dark. A beacon for those who are seeking Love and Truth, and the Divine Inspiration of countless love songs and love letters.

THE STARS. These are often in reference to the Companions of the Prophet, for he once said that, "My Companions are like the stars in the night sky. Follow any one of them, and he will guide you safely."

Ahh. It is 'Today'. I wonder where this door leads to?
THE SHIP. Each day when I wake up, and the Angel of the Day has raised the hour upon my horizon, I look to the morning as the beginning of my journey - to raise the Sails and unfurl them in all their majestic glory. It is a journey through the time-scape that people call 'Today'. I shall visit many harbours and islands, which is the people I shall meet, and I shall try to avoid the stormy seas, which is my own ego and bad traits. Half way through, I shall note in my captain's log, which is this sinners' almanac, my observations of the day. And finally, I shall return to the silence of sleep, lying next to my First Officer, a little boy by the name of Mikhail. He is loud, eats too much and way too cynical and crusty at the age of 7. But sometimes, when all is quiet and I gaze at his sleeping face, I would see all three sails, the Sun, the Moon and the Stars glittering like a veil of light on his brow, his closed eyes, his nose, cheeks, lips and chin. So I know that even when we are asleep, our ship is still sailing a beautiful sea of Mercy, but where it is taking us, only God knows.

Good morning!
But now the morning looks fit for sailing, sunshine. Come, we have an ocean to cross! We are hunting pirates today! Ya Huuu!




Pax Taufiqa.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Vanity of a Killer - Oslo, Norway, July 2011. The Frightening End Game of the Human Ego

THE EGO. Over one year that I have been seriously writing, I have touched upon the human ego 36 times according to the label cloud on the right hand column of this almanac. I thought I have written more, considering how important the subject is.

Perhaps it is because the topic of the ego sometimes delves into the dark psyche of our consciousness, a shadowy and forbidding place that I find distasteful to stay too long in.

VANITY OF A KILLER. After watching the Young Turks podcast on the main and so far, only suspect) of the appalling massacre in Oslo, I am drawn to write about the ego again. One of the most fascinating aspect of the show was about the little manifesto that the crazy nut posted online before he began his mass killing. And the funny thing was that such a large chunk of it was almost entirely concerned with his good looks, ergo his vanity. He advised a would-be mass murderer to have pre-murder portraits and even videos, so that their pictures can be disseminated easily by the mass media. He also advised his fellow fuckwits to spend a couple of hours at a solarium so they will look fresh(!), perhaps even visit a male salon(!!) and apply some ‘light make-up’, to ensure that when they are arrested (or perhaps shot dead), they (or their corpses) would be looking their best for the news camera. Insane. Click Here for the TYT Youtube profile of the killer.
The TYT Crew. In front is Cenk, the flaming atheist. But I like him.
THE YOUNG TURK (Well, American of Turkish descent) - Cenk Uygur is a flaming atheist and the main host of the Young Turks, but I like him for his humanity and honesty. And you can observe his utter disgust and amazement in reading about this rotten little edifice of a human being. If you are not familiar with the TYT Network, this is a short blurb from their website. I guess you could say that they are progressive-left-of-centre in the political spectrum in the USA -

The Young Turks is the largest online news show in the world, covering politics, pop culture and lifestyle. The show is one of the Top 50 You Tube Partners, with over 28 million views a month and half a BILLION total video views on the The Young Turks YouTube Channel. The Young Turks received a 2011 People's Voice Webby Award for Best News & Politics: Series, 2011 News/Politics Shorty Award, the Best Political Podcast 2009 at the Podcast Awards and Best Political News Site 2009 at the Mashable Awards.

I am not gonna write much as I think Cenk had said it all about the vain and insane mass murderer.

HUBRIS. May we all learn a lesson from this tragedy, although I think it is purchased at an impossibly high price of human lives. Say no to hate. Say no to the rampant human ego. Say yes to religion but always say NO to the Religion of Hubris.
If your idea of religion turns into this, turn back and think again.
Have a thoughtful day, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

The Irritating Thing About Being 'Right' - The Human Ego and Its Diabolical Pretense of Right and Wrong

Muhammad the Prophet prophesied (that being what Prophets do) that there will come a time in the future (ergo, now) when his followers will wake up a believer and go to sleep an unbeliever. And the next morning he may wake up as an unbeliever, but goes to bed a believer. This is not talking about someone taking up or dropping the religion of Islam per se, but about the degrees by which we allow our ego to dictate our action and our words. And it would be very foolish to think that in 'good deeds' and even in our prayers that we are somehow immune to our ego. Our ego will take whatever credit it can in everything we say and do. Whether we are performing our pilgrimage, building an orphanage or writing a blog.

When Muslims bears witness that there is no god but God, it also means that there is no ego but God's ego. After all, He owns everything so He is justified to claim thus. Fortunately, mankind benefits that God's ego is reflected in His Divine Attributes of the Loving, the Most Gracious and Most Merciful Creator. Our ego is nothing like that at all. It is our numero uno enemy, if we allow it to control us.

Many friends say that I am often condescending, and I am unable to hide my feelings if I feel that someone said something wrong, stupid or simply boring. But nothing stirs my gut more then when I read the ridiculous pronouncements of professional God-botherers and preachers who have anointed themselves as God's representatives on this world. I wouldn't mind this really, if they are a nice sensible lot. But some of them are, hmm... how shall I put this politely, two cents short of a dollar. And when they say what they say, it is not good for me, because my ego would be strumming on the boardwalk of my mind, happy at not being wrong. Happy at the sight of the 'others' being foolish...

1. Maddening declarations of bookish scholars
I wish they would just keep quiet,
And attend to more useful charity,
Than their common cause and
Mad judgments, all in the
Name of their piety.

For it does my ego
No good at all.

It is hard enough to keep
My feet on the ground these days,
Without bookish scholars
Making maddening declarations,
Thus feeding my ego,
Who is telling me now,
“Oohh… How stupid are they,
How bright and wise am I!!”

So I am forced to count
How delightfully dumb I am,
Just so I can keep
My ego down…

And I don’t like to do this!!!

Hehehe. I am never satisfied, am I? Not satisfied whether I am right or wrong. I don't think I shall ever be truly happy, not until the day comes and I am (hopefully) brought before the Divine Presence and the Throne, and there I will lay my soul and my ego before the Most Beloved and Most Loving, asking for merciful intercession from the one whose ego never ruled his soul.

Have a soulful day, my brother and sister. God bless you.

Pax Taufiqa.