Monday, October 31, 2011

The Angel and the Man in the John Lennon Glasses

The Angel and the Man in the John Lennon Glasses
The angel saw the seeker
Who was all dressed for travel,
Carrying a change of clothes,
A toothbrush and a darbuka.

The angel descended
And coming aside the man,
He gently queried,
"Where are you going?"
To which the man replied,
"Life is a game of hide
And seek with God, and
While counting one to ten,
I fell asleep."

"So what do you
Want to do now?" 
Asked the angel.

The seeker smiled behind
His John Lennon glasses,
Then he said,
"I have kept God waiting long enough.
I must look for him now!"

I find life immensely rewarding nowadays. For the longest time, I have been asleep to God. Priests and preacher man counselled me of religion, but I had no time for religion. Then one day I met a man with flowing white beard. The man spoke to me of God, the Prophet, the Companions and the Saints in the most affectionate, amiable and endearing of ways.

In my blindness I have mistaken many things for Love, but now that I have tasted Love, I must look for Love in all His Complete Sea of Mercy and Compassion. It is not too difficult - friends, family, acquaintances and absolute strangers help me on my way with their example of kindly virtue and humility. Even as the world detaches itself from the Divine Presence, this folks of all hue and faiths light my way like fire beacons in the dark, leading me inexorably to the Ocean of Mercy, to the King of Kings, to the Creator of all creatures and things. 

Thank you, sunshine, for being a beacon for me and those whom you love.

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

(Oh, by the way, a darbuka is a small drum.)

The 7th Billion Baby and the European Sovereign Debt Crisis

7,000,000,000th billion baby? Gosh! Just make sure that there
are enough diapers to go around, mummy!

22. Babies & Ahmad
Babies and rose petals
Fragrant and little,
God’s gift springs eternal
From a crownless mantle.

Well, sometime today our 7,000,000,000th baby is born somewhere. This was the news headlines yesterday but I guess it is nigh impossible to actually pinpoint the newborn that has pushed the human population on earth above the 7th billion mark.

Emina up there is not that baby for sure, being born a couple of months earlier to an Indian-Muslim-Malay Turkish parentage. But you know, I am looking for any excuse to publish her picture and ramp up the eye-candy quotient of this almanac. What's the point of a beautiful baby if not to beautify your blog?

In the 1970s (yes, I am that old), I recall reading about the population boom, and how 'experts' and 'pundits' claim that massive overpopulation will lead to world wide famine and starvation. And I remember that they say big-population countries, especially China will be heading for a disaster when this happens. So it is interesting to note that China now is the second largest economy in the world, having overtaken Japan in October 2010, more than one year ago. And this week Europe is coming to China and asking her to save Europe from its current sovereign debt crisis. On top of this, countries of West Europe and Japan is facing a major problem with its aging population, with not enough people of working age to support the growing population of OAPs (old aged pensioners) in the country. So perhaps more babies ain't so bad after all, yes?

For me, now that we have 7 billion souls here, I like to take the optimistic view that now we have 7 billion solution providers and problem solvers, we have 7 billion stories to tell and 7 billion dreams to achieve. Problems? Of course there will always be problems, but if we have God on our side, what problems are insurmountable? Each baby born is another indication that God has not given up on us- "Me, give up on you?" asks God, "I have given you 7 billion reasons to show that I have not given up on you."

So happy birthday to you, sunshine, and happy birthday to me. And happy birthday to that anonymous baby somewhere who is the 7,000,000,000th citizen of the nation of Adam and Eve. Lets make this world a better place, together.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Unity of God, Worship and Acceptance of Others

196. Pray if you sin IV (about unity and acceptance)
Islam is about unity,
But it is also about the
Acceptance of man’s plurality,
And that each man and women
Are truly unique and different.

And that too is a reflection
Of the Uniqueness of God,
For there is only one you
That you are aware of.

If you cannot accept
People and their
Differing values,
Then you are denying
Your own uniqueness
And that of others,
And in so doing
You are denying
An important precept
In the Unity of God.

There are many of us, and it is fitting, because it shows (in comparison) the Absolute Oneness that is God Almighty. Indeed, if plurality does not exist, how will unity ever be evidenced?

And of course, being accepting of others is an important precondition precedent for marriage and making babies. I don't know about your parents, but my father and late mum are quite different. Ostensibly they are Malays and Muslims, but that is where it ends. On many aspects, they are significantly not ad idem (Latin - meaning of one mind). My father is careful with spending, my mum is pretty generous. My dad takes a while to take a shine on people, while my mother is shiny on the word go. But there are some aspects which they commonly share, they are both hard working and they love their family.

What am I trying to say? Oh yes, this is it. If your mother and father took a pause for a second and decided "Look, this doesn't makes sense. You like chocolate, I like vanilla. You like basketball, I like football. Naah... we are so not alike. Let's break up.", the likelihood is that you would not even exist right now. But here you are, healthy and good-looking, and spending your Sunday in a quality way, reading the sinners almanac. Kudos for you and kudos for me. Hehehe.

So have an accepting Sunday, precious. Accept God and accept people.

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

Sunday Cartoon - Education, Sufism and Reading the Al Quran

Oh Muslims have it easy. Theologically speaking. But I reckon that we really ought to stop resting on our laurels and move on. And the only way to move on is through education. It does no one any good for us to say that mankind is Kalifa / Caliph of God (Regent of God), when we don't even know how to chop down a coconut tree. Of course the coconut tree is merely a metaphor for knowledge generally. Both temporal and spiritual knowledge. Is it coincidental that our best work was done some time ago, in the days of greater spirituality? Today, I find that we are certainly more religious, but not so spiritual. We are more concerned with the form, and not the essence. More concerned with the shell, and not the seed. But how will the seed (our children) grow well if we don't tend to it? I think that our neglect on the education system shall reap its bitter fruits in the future, in the physical and metaphysical sense of things. I think there is no easy cure for this malaise affecting the Muslim community, but I do believe in this - That for us to look and prepare for the furthest future that we can envisage, we must look the furthest back into history. To learn from the lessons that the Prophets and Saints have learnt in their divine mission to humanity. Right to the time of Adam and Eve. And, yea, even further back then that. 
Young aspirants in the Sufi Order sometimes like to make a grand show of things. In a way, I don't really blame them. After all, you are (ostensibly) linking yourself to a tradition of learning that dates back to the beginning of Creation. And they learn that not a single act in daily life is bereft of spiritual significance. EVERYTHING has spiritual significance - from how you eat, how you bath, to how you exercise and how you make love. There is no stray thoughts in the life of a Sufi. Everything has a meaning, and everything must be accounted for. So on the premise of such expectations, the young lad will undoubtedly entertain some personal agenda, mostly riding on a preconception of what it is like to be a  Sufi. But as most Sufis have found, it is best to leave ALL preconceptions and assumptions you have about Islam and Sufism outside the threshold of a Sufi Tariqa Order. A Sufi Master will always want to pour knowledge into your vessel, but if your vessel is full of your own ideas, he won't be able to pour much, will he? Oh no, the highest accomplishment that any Sufi will attain is to overcome his ego, and chuck out whatever pretensions he may have of being knowledgeable and scholarly, to sit humbly by the feet of the Wise and present himself to be educated. This is a difficult thing to do if you are not in love. Only love will make us do the most foolish things against the diktat our our ego which always wants to control what we think, say and do. 
The study of recitation of the holy al-Quran is an important undertaking for all children. It is a highly developed science of grammar and pronunciations in Classic Arabic (Tajwid). So I do believe that you should do your best. But if your best is not great, then I think we best leave it to the Mercy of the Almighty, and not to mankind's capricious opinions on religion. I think God is not going to ignore you simply because you are slurring and mishandling your Arabic prayers. But I also think we ought not take advantage of God's Kindness and Mercy, for that means that we are rotters. And we don't want to be damn rotters, do we? I think there is no end in perfecting our recitation of the holy scriptures, and why should we complain? Only a madman will complain about having to study Beauty and Love, which is the Divine Attributes by which God is known to us in our inherited scriptures as a member of the Nation of Muhammad.

Sunday Cartoons, sunshine. A little diversion from poetry, yes? Sometimes I think we can have too much poetry! Have a wonderful and restful Sunday, chums.

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

How to be happy in your job - Really?

139. The jailor is more imprisoned that the prisoners
The jailor is more imprisoned
That the prisoners,
The policeman is more criminal
Than the accused,
The psychiatrist is more crazy
Than the patient,
The insurer is more exposed
Than the insured,
The riddlemaker is more confused
Than his riddles,
The judge is more guilty
Than the convicted,
The politician is more a follower
Than his devotees,
The pimp is more a whore
Than his prostitutes,
The banker is more in debt
Than his debtors,
The businessman is more a peon
Than his workers,
The theologian is more a devil
Than the Devil,
The atheist is more dogmatic
Than the believers,
The poet is more hypocritical
Than his apostasy.

It is not condemnation that I utter,
But empathy for people whose trade
Cannot but affect them
In ways they are unable
To fathom.

Is it a surprise, therefore,
That Muhammad is saying,
“Before any trade you take,
Take first the servanthood of God.”?

FIRST AMBITION. I believe that every man and woman has a right to choose their employment. To do within the time given to them whatever gives them the greater pleasure and payment. But nothing should stand in your way to your very first ambition. A first ambition, you ask? Yes, something taken for granted (as always by mankind) by most people, and that is to be a decent human being.

BETWEEN GOOD AND BAD HAPPINESS. There is no trade or vocation more finer and indeed, more important than that. Whether you are a banker in their tower of fiat money, or a teacher in a classroom, or a fireman risking life and limb, this finicky and meddlesome task of being 'decent' is critical to happiness. But this happiness must be married with decency. If there is nothing better in this wonderful world than being good and happy, there is perhaps no worse condition for you than being bad and happy. For being bad-happy is the worse lie you can ever believe in. Many people do it. Even me sometimes.

DRESSED IN SERVANTHOOD. Every person must have a measure of decency by which to live their lives. And I think (and God thinks that too. Well... I like dropping names) that there is no dress for decency more fitting for a human being than the dress of servanthood. It is the sort of dress that you can wear anywhere with confidence, whether you are in a mosque, a church, a boardroom, a laboratory, in parliament , in a temple or a conference hall. And one size fits all.

So may God bless those who serve God (and Man). For you cannot have one without the other, yes?

Have a good-happy day, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

God, Love and Peter Rabbit - Books connect us

God and the Forgetful Me
Who will know I was here?
Who will read these words
That come stumbling from
My quivering lips,
In helpless awe of
The green glory
Of Thy beautiful world?

While I am not caught
In the web of forgetfulness,
While my mind is free of doubt,
While my heart is still singing,
While every fibre of my being,
Every beating of my heart
Praises Thy Name,
Oh Lord...
Let me share with Thee
How I am delightfully
Besotted in love
With Thee.

I know this will not last,
That come tomorrow some niggling
Contratemp will steal this joy
Away from me.

But, dear Lord,
Let me write this still,
Thus perchance that a reader
Will come across this prose
And our secret he would discover,
And though, I, Thy servant
Will always love Thee imperfectly,
That for this moment at least,
My love for Thee
Shall last
Forever.

I love beauty, and Beatrix Potter (1866 - 1943), the artist and writer of Peter Rabbit loved the Lake District. I was watching a movie about her life entitled Miss Potter, and was quite scandalously moved by the beautiful vista of the Lake District, England caught in camera. Then in the midst of watching her story unfold, Heche called and we spent an hour talking about everything and nothing at all.

In the course of our conversation, I asked Heche if she loved God, to which she honestly replied, "I think I have been conditioned to think I love Him. But really, I don't think I have such a feeling."

"Oh, that is fine, Heche." I answered. "You are just suffering from amnesia. Everyone does. All the time. Including myself."

For these is my theory - Sometime in the distant past, perhaps one or two eternities ago, God created us. And from that moment until we were sprung from our beloved mother's womb, we loved God. We loved Him in a way indescribable, moved with an eternal passion simply by knowing without a single atom of doubt, that firstly, God loves us. And this certainty in knowledge and feeling carried us for the longest time until our fateful birthday. Alas that since then, it is the nature of this world that confuses and distracts us from our First Original Love. But not the most beguiling illusion of this world can totally erase our memory with God. And sometimes, if you are careful and pay attention, that Love would come sweeping from the Divine Presence and momentarily unhinge you from your mortal perch here on earth. And for that brief second, you do remember, and you could honestly say with certainty - Yes, I do love God.

May your life be filled with such moments. That is my hope for you, sunshine, on this Sabbath morning.

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Branding at the Marketplace - Cow, Satan, Ego and Pride

116. Marketplace of the Pious
My ego is coming to corral me,
With a whip and a fearsome
Cattle prod,

But I am no cattle
To be auctioned off
In the Marketplace
Of the Pious.

Pride is the fall of Satan. And He was punished for being proud of his spiritual station as the greatest among the servants of the Lord, ennobled even above the Arch-angels. For he took one look at our grandfather Adam and said, "What? Me bow down to that?", thus earning the lasting divine penalty from God.

And that is why I am ever fearful of my ego branding me pious like some poor dumb steer being led to the market. Oh no, I am not pious. I am a sinner.
A back rub before market? How wonderful...
Hey? What are you doing?! Hey! Hey! Ayieeeeee....!

May God bless you, sunshine, for spending some time with this sinner.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

THE GYPSY & MUHAMMAD - Can you keep a secret?

The Gypsy and Muhammad
i rest my philandering ways,
tired and worn,
old and torn,
tattered like a gypsy dog,
doggone days stretched and drawn.

will i be begging
all the way this way,
my green, green world?

stop me if you
have heard this before,
but i fell in love
with you the moment you
stepped thru that gypsy door.

thus you have made me,
undone and in pieces,
sprawled upon my caravan floor.

thus must you return me
and make me whole, my beauty,
to be the gypsy and his lore,
singing songs of you
as i once did before,

beneath the gyspy sky
and the gypsy stars,
a wanderer for Muhammad,
straying into the stray thoughts
of other travelers that
wander afar, lost in this
wonderous wilderness
of a gypsy heart.

We are all gypsies, I think. Trundling along the country roads and by-lanes of this world, trying to make our way without bothering people (too much), and avoiding the eyes of the authorities. The others who live in their structured and formal rites with God shall not truly understand us, just as we may not truly understand them.

But this world is large enough for everyone, yes? We gypsies seeking Love understand this well. But as one old dervish we met once counseled us - O' Gypsies! Beware of the man who has let his ego run rampant and wild. For it has grown so big that even this beautiful world of ours will not be big enough to sate the appetite of the selfish ego.

So at night, when the sky is overcast and no moon or stars shine their comforting light over our camps, we talk and share stories of our history, and of this prophet of God that the Arabians call Muhammad. For can you keep a secret? This man has visited our campfire and shared our bread!

Pax Taufiqa

Thursday, October 27, 2011

GOD, LOVE & AIKIDO - The other worldly Morihei Ueshiba

Can you feel that? I do that with love.
Try with Love
If you cannot see God,
Try hearing Him,
If you cannot hear God,
Try tasting Him,
If you cannot taste God,
Try touching Him,
And if thus your senses
Have all failed
And you cannot do
Any of the above,
Try and try still,
But this time,
Try with Love.

Love is the best bet of them all. It is not the safest, for the path of love is often beset with obstacles and ogres. But for God, Who is greater in aggregate than all the sleeping beauties, princesses, queens of our fairy tales, He is the ultimate quest. The Holy Grail worthy of attention for all knights.

You and I, we are not knights. The world is growing full of distractions and chivalry is now seen as an ancient lore, buried and fit only for feature films, libraries and museums, much like the dinasours.

But in my very(very) brief read on Aikido for my earlier posting today, I came across the wikiograpy of the founder, as well as this interesting biography of him on aikidofaq.com (Click Here). I am not a martial art exponent but I am a curator of words, and I found these words of Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) beautiful and inspiring-

"...I felt the universe suddenly quake, and that a golden spirit sprang up from the ground, veiled my body, and changed my body into a golden one. At the same time my body became light. I was able to understand the whispering of the birds, and was clearly aware of the mind of God, the creator of the universe. At that moment I was enlightened: the source of budo is God's love - the spirit of loving protection for all beings... Budo is not the felling of an opponent by force; nor is it a tool to lead the world to destruction with arms. True Budo is to accept the spirit of the universe, keep the peace of the world, correctly produce, protect and cultivate all beings in nature."

"Around 2am as I was performing misogi, I suddenly forgot all the martial techniques I had ever learned. The techniques of my teachers appeared completely new. Now they were vehicles for the cultivation of life, knowledge, and virtue, not devices to throw people with."

"The Way of the Warrior has been misunderstood. It is not a means to kill and destroy others. Those who seek to compete and better one another are making a terrible mistake. To smash, injure, or destroy is the worst thing a human being can do. The real Way of a Warrior is to prevent such slaughter - it is the Art of Peace, the power of love."

Of course, Wiki information must be treated with caution, so if you desire to know more about Aikido and this very impressive Japanese gentleman, look for a book. A friend of mine is a sensei of Aikido, and I am writing this in honour of being his friend. I was a nothing, you see. A forgotten old fool, before fate had it to throw me into his path, honouring my life with his wonderful company and priceless friendship. And I am also writing this because a grandmaster of a Sufi Order once perchance to observe the photograph of Morihei Ueshiba and commented "This is no ordinary man - He is a saint."
This guy is like Yoda...
"Hate, Envy, Hubris? To the Dark Side it will take you."
God bless all saints, in whatever guise they are in, whether they are still walking this earth or already passed on, gazing upon us from their high perch in the hidden passes of the afterlife, praying always for our happiness and salvation in the all-consuming Wonder that is God, our Most Beloved Creator. 

So perhaps there is still a future for chivalry, yes? Of course!

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

A Journey from God, back to God - Umrah Pilgrimage Part 30

The gang. One last picture in Jedda.
Hullo, sunshine. This would surely be the second last posting of my umrah pilgrimage. And this time I wish to quote an extract from the pilgrimage journal. I cannot recall when I wrote it, as there are no dates, but I reckon this is the last night before me and my pilgrimage buddies made our way to Jedda to catch the flight back to Malaysia via Amman and Bangkok...

Dear God,
                Today I admitted my cowardice and habitual laziness to my friend Arjuna - How pleased was I that my December umrah was cancelled... simply because I was worried that I was not 'ready'. Not physically or spiritually. Worried that I would be a monster in Mecca, the true self being exposed to the holy air of Medina and Mecca. Nervous that You would test me... I believe in You, God, but I didn't believe You when You said that My Lovers are Mine,... My Servants are Mine, and the Traveler who travels for Me, looking for Me, is My Own to preserve and care. I didn't believe You... I couldn't.

But today, I am dying to return... to go to my Master and tell him - 'Ya Saidi (Master), I went to the Raudah (Holy Tomb of the Prophet in Medina)... and the Prophet kept his promise and loved me and preserved me... I visited the House of God (Baitullah in Mecca) and God loved me and cared for me... God and the Prophet kept their promises to me and gave me happiness, peace and contentment in my ziarah (visitation) to their houses... I am here to tell you, ya Saidi, that Ahad and Ahmad kept their promise to me and kept me safe...'

And so ends my pilgrimage journal, save for one final posting. Because you see, while I was in Mecca, a prose was recorded. And as in many prose written in Mecca, it is a sign for Love, Hope and Faith in our common Creator, a.k.a. God the All-Wonderful.

Perhaps God litters this entire world with divine clues and reminders of Him, and how better we would be if we would only open our hearts to see and listen. Life is no different from a pilgrimage after all. It is a journey from the day we were born to the day we pass away. A journey from God, back to God.

Walk with me, sunshine. And help me when I falter along the way, as I surely will.

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Rose, Self-Discipline and the Divine Promise of Youth

9. Discipline of Roses (with Shamsul)
Though Love is the bloom
Of the rose,
Mercy its perfume,
The Sun its nourisher,
The Rain its sustainer,
It is self-discipline
That first raises the rose
Above the crowd
Of lesser flowers.

SELF-DISCIPLINE. If you persist in following this sinner's rambling, I can only assure you that the journey will have its ups and downs, its peaks and valleys. But surely you must come to a point when you are tired of walking two steps forwards, then taking three steps back. To move forward, I must alas, release you from this prose-ridden journal to seek discipline from someone more able, and certainly more inclined towards self-discipline and control.

This is no ordinary man. The
Kaiso and Osensei of Aikido.
A GUIDE. Who? Oh, I don't know. Perhaps yourself? Your dad? Your parson? Or maybe an Aikido sensei? A Jedi Master perhaps? But somewhere in the Universe there is a guide for you. Someone of spiritual and physical mettle to take your ego on, and help you develop and sustain that self-discipline. Because from self-discipline comes self-belief. And once you have acquired that, why... it is only a saint's prayer away from belief in God. Which is the long-yearned homecoming for us all.

YOUTHFUL FUTURE. I spent today with Heche and her young friends. Like many young people, they are boisterous, confident and beautiful. I sometimes worry about the future, but at other times, I glance into their eyes and I suspect that there is a glittering secret, a treasure of potential inside their soul, waiting to awaken. To bloom and ripen like a rose. I believe it is only a matter of time that God's Plan unfolds in its perfect symmetry, like unto the Prophet himself. And even if we cannot see the symmetry, we can still sense it, yes?

Have faith in God, sunshine, and despair not. For surely He has faith in you.

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

PS: Oh, before I forget... Happy Deepavali, mon ami!

Love is Eternal - Do not get too attached to a present that is only momentary.

Some 7 years ago, the sinner was in a rut. He cradled his newborn son in his arms, and wondered just how the heck will he live his life right. Then he heard that a shaykh of a Sufi Order was in town, a Sufi Order to which his own brother was associated, so one cold morning he paid a visit and since then things have never really been the same.

It was in those happy heady days in 2004 that these 3 poems were recorded...

15. Ali’s Prayer (or Groupies 2)
We, groupies of Naqshband
Cling to the Saidis’ coat tails
On our way to the Sun of the sun
While being peppered by snow, rain and hail.

16. Divine Mind-Altering Substance
Food taste better
Prayer feels sweeter
Since I have come to meet
A Naqshbandi Mureed.

Ya Saidi, if we could bottle and sell it
We would be rich, rich, rich!

17. Putting the Fun in Fana
Do not blame us for feeling happy
Being at the side of our Saidi
Swimming we are, in a sea of manna
Leaving footprints, on the shore of fana.

The world has changed, the colours appear to have become more vibrant, people far more beautiful, hope more passionate and alive, happiness much sweeter, and even sorrow is more meaningful. But perhaps, best of all, the sinner has found the religion best to confound the most ignorant, bigoted, hateful and violent of mankind. And this in no small way came about simply because the Shaykh said, "Come, let me tell you of our prophet Muhammad..."

It is good to remind ourselves of the past. Lest we get to attached to a present that is only momentary.
...leaving footprints, on the shore of fana.
God bless you, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Answer is in our Children - The Apparent and the Hidden Realities

10. The Apparent and the Hidden
I did not bring the Quran to you,
I peeled your skin and read the Quran
That was in you already,

I did not bring Muhammad to you,
You spoke and I heard Muhammad
That was in you already,

I did not bring the angels to you,
I came and saw that they were your
Faithful companions already,

The constant source of wonder to me
Is that you realize these not yourselves.

I posted this prose earlier (when?... oh I don't know, sorry) but it came to mind again as I was getting ready for work. While getting dressed, Mikhail took out the al-Quran and did me the greatest pleasure of reading one of my fav verse of the holy scriptures, known as surah al-Ikhlas (Chapter 112)...

Say: He is Allah(God), the One and Only; 
Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; 
He begets not, nor is He befotten; 
And there is none like unto Him.

My son is an ordinary sorta kid. He is cloaked in ordinariness and the simple innocence of children. He is actually rather shy and reluctant, but he read the surah (chapter) anyway, and I thought it was beautiful. He can certainly read it better than his dad. I am glad this is so, because I think it is the hope of all parents that their children will better them in all ways. And when it comes to Mikhail, I long sought this from the Creator of children. For I desire my son to be a believer, and not a sinner, much better than his own father...

151. Dear Son
You can walk tall,
You need not be like me at all,
The faith of a believer is higher
Than the faith of a sinner.

So, never forget what the Saidi said,
The first time you two met.
And what did he say, you ask?
Oh, how can I recall?
That’s what I mean, my son.
You need not be like me at all!

When you are worn out and wearied by this world, and you look upon your children, take relief that God has left in your care a precious creation, a child full of hope and love. Our children needs us, to feed and care for them. But in an interesting way, we too are in need of our children, as a brilliant and beautiful reminder of God in our lives, and that for all our stupidity, God still has faith in us. Which begs the return question - should we have such faith in God?
The Benetton kids. Not just a great ad for Benetton.
A great ad for God Almighty too.
You know the answer, sunshine. The answer is just as recorded in prose No.10 above. It is in your children.

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

Reborn Each Day. Again.

69. A Happy Sigh
Sometimes, late at night,
When lamps are dimmed,
But the moon stayed bright,
They would come.

Cajoling and rebuking this sinner,
With words that I cannot remember,
Then leaving me
In the unfolding arms
Of a new day
Made mint fresh
Like me (hehehe)
By the Almighty!

No formulaic praise, no extended glorification
Could equal the murmur,
The happy sighs
Of such moments;
Allah… Allah… Allah…

Well, looks like you have made it, sunshine. In spite of all the problems yesterday, despite the seemingly insurmountable odds, you are here today. If people call sleep a sort of mini-death, each time you wake up, you are reborn, fresh and new. A veritable babe in this new day which God has crafted over an infinity ago just for you. And since God always wants the best for you, how can any new day be anything but a good day, nay, a better day than the day before? 

Taufiq (that's me) has led a life full of folly. I have done things which I ought not have done, and I have omitted to do things which I ought to have done. If only I had listened to my late mother, life would probably be easier for me. But be that as it may, God has again granted me another day, so the story has not ended, and in a way, life is simply just beginning for me. Again.

How will you live your life today, sunshine? Will you read a new book? Will you get a new pet? Will you suddenly decide to unlearn the mistakes of the past and see life as this magnificent adventure that it can be? Tomorrow may come or not, so do not delay... do it today.

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chi-Kit Teck Aun - We get this problem sometimes...

Greeting, seekers. The sinner is down with a stomach bug. Perhaps there is no sight more humbling than that of yourself shuffling in and out of the washroom in the middle of the night. I have been asleep most of the day, gratefully saved by the chinese traditional medicine 'Chi-Kit Teck Aun', a long held cure for diarrhoea.

I have a few packets with me because I brought some along during my pilgrimage. As life sometimes does, I was surprised by being in tip-top health, nay a headache, a flu or even a cold during the 2 weeks sojourn in Jerusalem, Medina and Mecca.

I would like to share something profound with you today, but my brain is still reeling. The only thing I observed is that my son refused to leave me alone all day. Even when I am just sleeping. I guess that is quite sweet of him.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Where Art Thee? - Veneration of Muhammad

Where Art Thee?
I came to your City, to your Mosque
And stood before your Maqam, o' Prophet!
And I said to your Maqam...

"People tell me Muhammad
Resides within you, and
I nod my head in agreement.
But deep in my conscience
I ask myself -
How can Muhammad be contained
Within the corners of his Maqam
When all of Creation itself
Expands and contracts with
The beating of his eternal heart?"

So I ask you now, o’ Prophet,
Where art thee?


First you are conscious a little of the Prophet's history. Then you are conscious a little of his beautiful habits and traditions. Then you become conscious a little of his presence, upon which time you lose consciousness of yourself, and see all of Creation as how God sees it, through the Mercy of Muhammad. These are beautiful thoughts fit for those who seek beauty and mercy. It is not for those who seek hate and envy, for to each, we shall find what we crave for. Thus, may God guide your hearts, in whatever faith you cloak yourself in, to seek goodness and mercy, always.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

ParentCam. Mikhail and Mikhail. An angry car-owner - Pictures tell Stories

PARENT CAM. A couple of days back, my good friend Rina posted up on Facebook a photograph of my son, Mikhail with another Mikhail. They were chilling under a tree in the school compound, when Rina grabbed a picture. I showed the uploaded photo to Mika and warned him that even when I am not around I have friends who are always keeping an eye on him. No doubt this will increase his paranoia (he is awfully shy already), but I comfort myself that this is good for him. I am a proponent of tough love. I just hope I don't have to pay therapy for him later. Might be expensive...
My Mikhail has a bit of a paunch, ergo his pants always fall under his belly.
The other Mikhail doesn't appear to have similar problems.
I love ParentCam. Thank you, Rina!
PHOTOGENIC NOT. My son inherits a personal trait of mine - we are not very photogenic. But it doesn't help that Mika always make faces when I am trying to take a picture of him. And I really gotta tell Bibik not to overdo on the talcum powder. He looks like he just fell into a sack of dough.
But to be fair (and not scar his self-respect for life)
he doesn't look half bad here. Hehehe.
THEM RASCALLY KIDS! Last week I visited my friend's new pad. While walking through the car park, she pointed out the car below. On the back screen was an angrily scrawled warning - "This is not an abandoned car. It is a fully insured car with road tax. Please do not let your children run on top of the car!!!" Poor guy. The vehicle in question was a mid 80-s BMW 5 series. He must really love the car.
No wordy  poetry this time. Just the poetry of pictures and people. God bless them all.

Have a lovely Sunday, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Keepsakes from Jerusalem and Medina - Umrah Pilgrimage Part 29

Maqam of Muhammad, within the holy precinct of the Masjid Nabawi, Medina.
Before I left for my Umrah Pilgrimage in end March 2011, I collected the du'a (prayers) that my friends and family desired that I ask in the holy mosques of the Masjidil Haram (Mecca), Masjid Nabawi (Medina) and Masjidil al-Aqsa (Jerusalem). I wrote it all in a little black journal which accompanied me on that beautiful journey. Typically, my elder brother, Saiful, was the last to pass me his du'a, which he wrote on a rough paper. That too I inserted into my book and when the time finally arrived that I was in the precinct of the Prophet's Maqam (tomb), I recited his words -

Ya Rasulullah, Peace and Blessings be upon you, your family and upon your noble companions.

Ya Mustafa, the Chosen One, the Servant of Mercy, sent by the All-Merciful to guide us back to our Lord,we ask you for your succour and support for the Hour is drawing ever closer, lest we be the lost ones, denied the sight and presence of Saidina Mahdi and Saidina Isa, Peace be upon them both.

Forgive us, Allah, for the sake of Your Beloved who rests now here, grant us this honour for the sake of Your Chosen One, that he may greet us at the Pool of Khawtar with happiness, well-pleased with us, and You, ya Allah, well-pleased with us.

Amin

A beautiful prayer, yes? My brother writes quite well, I think. It is easy to write when you write with sincerity.

In between the pages I also came across this little olive branch which I stole from the olive tree that grows closest to the entrance of the Maqam of Rabia (the famous female Sufi saint) on top Mount Olive in Jerusalem. I am not sure what to do with it now. But it is a keepsake, like all the memories of a sinner in pilgrimage.

Thank you, sunshine, for allowing me to share these memories with you. God bless your warm fuzzy hearts.

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

Life is beautiful, and daily God answers our prayers - Learning to be grateful in the face of grace

1. My Lord has Answered me
In my daily toil,
In my sleep, and in my play,

My Lord has answered me.

In my smallest needs,
And caught unaware,

He has answered me.

And to this end
This prose be,

Has He not answered me?

I woke up this morning to droid babble and sounds of laser shots. Mikhail was up earlier and had left the Clone Wars dvd playing. *Urgh* That little Yoda.
Leeds, UK. 1992

I do not know what to write today, but as I looked through my old prose I found this little favourite. It is a simple little idea, but when you think about it, it can change the world entirely. Simply put, there is nothing that you do, which is not granted by God. You want to drink, so you raise the cup to your lips and drink - God gave you the water. You want to say something, and you said it (hopefully something good!), God allowed your lips to say those words. You have and itch on your neck, your hand move to scratch it, God allowed that to happen.

Sometimes, we forget that between us wanting to do something and actually doing it, there is a time lapse. It may be days, weeks or even years, like when you want to finish your University Degree. It is common for us when we succeed in such long-term endeavour to give thanks to God. It is however less common for us to consider our daily actions as prayers. Even if I want to look out of the kitchen door, there is a millisecond time lapse between that desire and my eyes actually turning slightly to look out into the bright beautiful morning. In that shortest of moments, God has answered me, you see. It is so short that my mind do not even notice it, but the truth of reality is that, had God not wanted me to look out of the door, all sorts of intervening action might have happened. I might have had a stroke and expired. Or the chair I am sitting on might have collapsed. Or the lamp up on the ceiling might have fallen and hit me on the head. All potentially occurring in that millisecond. But none of that happened. In fact, I got what I wanted, and I have God to thank for.
Moses, outside the Law Faculty, University of Leeds, UK, 1992.
I wonder whether he actually prayed to be blessed with 6 kids (so far now),
the last 3 of whom is from a set of triplets. Ah, that is the thing about God answering
your prayers. He answers even those prayers which you never knew you prayed for.
And just like this little posting, Now I am done writing I will be posting this up. And if you are able to read this, well we then know that as God has done countless times already in this sinner's life, He has answered my prayers. Again.

May God answer yours.

wa min Allah at-taufiq.