Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thinking of You - reciprocating God's Love


Thinking of You, under the Dew
She sat under the dew
And thought of You.

She did not see You,
But she felt You in the beauty
Clinging precariously
Above her crown.

The far horizon ebbed away,
Her soul awoke in another place
Till nothing was left of this world,
But the form of an Eve taking shelter
Under a dew,
Thinking of her Lord,
Thinking of You.

And verily, o’ Lord
I know that You are thinking
Of her too…

In the hurried, hasty world of the city, cramped between the concrete and the crowd, we sometimes forget God. But when we do remember God, we are only reciprocating His remembrance of us. We are not God, and we shall never outdo God in the manners and etiquettes of love.

So while we are chasing skirts or prince charmings, and getting ourselves hammered by rejections and disappointments, God has been remembering us in His Divine Thoughts 24/7. While we are asking for perfection from people who (by nature) can offer no perfection, God is offering us His Perfection, from which flows the perfection of our happiness in this world and the hereafter. I hope one day I shall always remember this good piece of advice...

May you have a memorable day, sunshine. Just remember God.

Pax Taufiqa

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Where is your mind? - Said Nursi, God and the Universe

88. Said Nursi revisited
Tell me that you have reached
The deepest depth of
Inner space,

And

The furthest stars
Of outer space,

Before

You tell me that God
Doesn’t exist.

Otherwise it is all
Mere conjecture,

And that, o’ my disbelieving friends,
Is a playground for your imagination.

Hehehe.

Bediuzzaman Said Nursi is a famous Turkish personality. He has passed away but before he did he inspired the resurgence of Islamic thought in the days when such endeavours were against state policy in Turkey.

New Turkey. The prose above describes Said Nursi's challenge to atheists to disprove the existence of God. Or rather, not to propagate as 'fact' that God does not exist. For these were the days when Turkey underwent a secularism blitz, one of which being the promotion of atheism and disbelief in the existence of God. This included the less than cerebral banning of the turban and other traditional Turkish / Muslim attire. Young acolytes of the New Turkey were educated in the state universities and sent to towns and small villages all over the country to correct the masses's misguided belief in this God of theirs. Often they were listened to the chagrin and amusement of the villagers.

Where is your mind? During one famous exchange, the government man challenged the villagers, "If there is a god, then show him to me! Where is he?" The huddled villagers were silent for awhile until an old man stood up and asked in return, "Young man. If you have a mind, show it to me. Where is your mind?"
If you think that Islam forbids you to think, read Said Nursi's books.
For him, the freedom to think and reason things out is an essential step
in understanding our place in the Universe and our relationship
With the Maker of the Universe.
Atheists like to say that religion is bad for mankind. But it is not true, rather it is mankind who is bad for religion because we spoil religion's name by our own faults. Almost all religion approach the world in two aspects - the form and the essence, in its apparent and the hidden nature. In a manner of speaking, this physical world is really just all conjecture. The reality of this world is in its hidden essence. Thus it is for man to adjudge the good and the bad of this world. And unfortunately, if a man is bigoted, hateful, envious, greedy, false and egoistic, then sadly he will colour his perception of this world with such follies. And if he is a 'religious' man, the Atheists will say - "Look, this is what belief in God has led him to!" However, if a man is kind and loving, patient and understanding, charitable and giving, honest and merciful, then verily he would colour his perception of this world with the very Divine Attributes of God. So the Atheists have to be fair in how they weigh and judge people and their belief systems. That is all.

Oh well. That is my penny thought on this. Have a beautiful day, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Alchemy, Fiat Money and the Zealous Watchdogs

Oh Lord! Sorry! I should have been studying Your Secrets instead!
8. Philosopher’s Stone II
Deceived and tricked,
They rest their hopes
In transmutation,
Drowning in complexities,
Drifting into conjecture.

Not knowing that
Alchemy is the quest
For gold
But without the ‘L’.

Prophets have said it. Saints have said it. Evangelicals, mystics and decent people have all said it. It is written in the holy scriptures and in the lessons of spirituality through the ages. Why look for gold when there is God to look for? Why be satisfied with the kingdom when you can have the King Himself? But we mortals are like that. We make mistakes, we err than we go, "Err... ooops. Sorry, God."

Sexy, sexy gold and silver bars. 

There used to be a time when people go mad for gold. They would steal for it, beg for it and marry for it. The possession of gold ruled their moods, and often ruining their lives. But then, sometime during the 20th century, fiat money was created. Fiat essentially means that this money is 'by right'. And it is devolved from a country's legislation on the central bank and the monetary laws. Right now there is no other type of money in circulation in the world. But lets not waste time on economics, for the truth is...

7. Fiat Money
... is Monopoly™ Money.

Fiat money is essentially make-believe because... err, how do I put it frankly, because IT IS. It is essentially an I-owe-you issued by the central bank or a you-owe-me issued by the commercial and investment banks. There used to be a time long ago when you can actually exchange paper money for gold. Now that those days are long gone. Fiat money is also known as paper money...

188. Paper Promises
Paper money make poor substitute
For gold and silver,
A mode of transaction
On human promises.
And oh, how well
We know of man
And his paper promises!

In the offices of the European Central Bank there live gremlins. And their entire job
is to make gremlin promises.
People nowadays are worried about the value of money. And there are a small but noisy group asking for the return to gold and silver. But their crusade is difficult. For it is in the interests of the powers-that-be to keep the system in place, even as we see the ruination of economy and capitalism by the 2008 credit crisis and the current Euro-mess in Greece, Ireland, Spain and Portugal. This is not capitalism or free market, for there is no competition to banks. They set the rules, they break their own rules and often they change the rules to suit their profit margins. And they would fight all comers to keep the system in place... And keep YOU in your place in the ponzi-pyramid scheme that we are presently living in...
At which level of the pyramid are you?

14. The Pyramid 2
There is no get-rich-quick schemes,
No multi-level marketing pyramids
More heinous and globally prevalent
Than the interest-banking
And fiat currency systems of the world.

And lo! Its illusion is guarded by watchdogs
Zealous in their affairs.
The Federal Reserve. One of the most fiercest watchdogs around...
I am informed that they never sleep.

In the mean time, the people are blackmailed and threatened. Without fail, every minute and every day, the mainstream media is awash with news as to how bad things are going to be if the banks collapse. If the fiat currency collapses. If the pyramid crashes into society. So people are scared even to voice their concerns...

18. The Pyramid 
The fiat currency system
Is a weapon used by all governments
To blackmail its restless population;

‘Dismiss us? Do so and see the savings
That you keep in our currency take wing,
I am sure your children who will go hungry
Shall understand your crusade against us!’
The Greeks are up in arms but to no avail. People say that they were
bad money managers. But I think they got fooled by their own politicians and bankers.

The system is corrupt and biased against free market competition and capitalism. I think that many people who are protesting the banking corruption in USA and Europe are not against capitalism or free market. They are simply asking for honesty in government and transparency in the relationship between the elected representatives and the big banks. And they are asking why the few are so often advantaged to the detriment of the many.

But ultimately for many of us, we are merely reiterating the words of the wise before us. After all, did Jesus not chase out the money-lenders? He had a point, and I wish to marry that point to the concept of tawhid in Islam which speaks of the utter Uniqueness of God and His Attributes...

132. Mortal Usury
Oh My enterprising servants!
I have vested upon this earth
Wealth of certain certainty
For people of certainty,
Dabble not in the arts of usury,
And attempt not to copy My Unique Ability
To make something from nothing.

We mortals cannot make something out of nothing. Whether it is fiat money or interests on loans, people are essentially trying to do just that. I do not know if or when the fiat money and usury banking system will ever end. But I think we have seen enough examples through out the world and notice how such a system is easily corrupted by banks and insurance lobbyists and the politicians who are their paid minions. There used to be a time when paper money is at least backed by gold and banks actually do their job, which is to provide financial services to industries of manufacturing and trade. A time when regulators were actually given the laws and resources to supervise the industry. Now we know that those laws have been changed, and each budget we find the regulators scrimping to understand, much less regulate the financial alchemy engineered by rocket scientists under the hire of Wall Street and the City (London).

God made man and he did not leave mankind to our own devices. Ought we not to trust Him? Even the USA Dollar says so...

Have a fiscally prudent day, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

We have time. We have inspiration. We have choices to make...

Words are easy to write. Life, not so easy to live. A pair of prose was once recorded, a long time ago that perhaps best illustrates this...

42. Once and Now
God, maybe I am not as I used to be,
Of sin and blame, I was once free.

What I am now, O’ Lord,
Is a pain with no cure,
A bait with no lure,
Fishing in Your Ocean,
Looking for a potion,
To end this sweet misery,
To end this bitter separation,
From my Lord and my Nabee.

When will Thou answer me?
And if Thou do, how will I hear Thee?

43. O’ Poet!
I see you have honoured My Name
In these proses you write.
All very fine and nice!

But have you honoured My Name
In your daily life?

Or have you been writing truths,
Only to live in lies?

Have caution that they are neither equal nor same!
And that a coin left standing on its edge
Inevitably falls,
Either to valour or to shame.

We all want contentment. To be happy and find our place in Creation. But where are we now, have we fallen in love or in hate? Have we fallen into knowledge or ignorance? Have we fallen into truths or lies? Have we fallen into good company or bad company? A good friend once reminded me, "Taufiq, where you are, and more importantly, what you are, are all defined by your choices."

I have made some good choices and some bad choices. But I do not think that choice end in themselves. So whether it is good or bad is entirely up to us to manage. Even bad choices can be turned good if we learn from them. If we are given time and the inspiration.

So here we are again, my friend, in a new day. So time have been given to us already. But inspiration? For that we have to listen to our conscience. If we have a habit to follow our conscience we would not have made a bad choice at all. And since you and I have been given time, then the choice to listen to our conscience is still there.

Whether it is to drop a bad habit (like smoking), visit a relative or friend long ignored, or make amends with an enemy, we still have our choices to follow our conscience. Our conscience is the whispered truths, a delicate breeze blowing into our hearts from the fountain of divine hope and promise. So the truth is inspiration is already there. And we still have the time to be inspired.

God bless you sunshine. And may you make the best choices for yourself today and every day.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Monday, November 28, 2011

Knowledge, the Ocean of Love and the Snail

What are you looking at? Have you not met a snail before?!
1. O’ little snail!
Knowledge should move
You to action, o’ little snail,
Not burden you like
A house on your back.

You still judge.
That is why you
Do not budge.

Someone pretty damn smart said sometime ago that 'a little knowledge is a dangerous thing'. He is absolutely right. 

Physical sciences exists in the apparent forms of this world. It is something you can observe, weigh and measure. It is much easier to prove or disprove. But even the laws of physics evolve as the ability of man to crack the atomic apple increases and our ability to measure the building blocks of the Universe improves.

If caution is advisable when we approach physical knowledge, there is perhaps more reasons for us to be careful when we dip our toes into the infinite ocean of spiritual knowledge. It is a vast sea, sunshine, and its depth is as inexhaustible as the Imagination of God. Where do we go from our first step into the Ocean?
Where do we go from our first step into the Ocean?
Beats me. I don't know. Perhaps we are suppose to swim like a fish. Or sail like a pirate. Or fly like a seagull. There are many ways to traverse the Ocean of God, and I guess to each his own path. I am however pretty certain that we are not suppose to judge. Judging is the fullstop of our endeavours here. No swimming, no sailing or flying. We just end up like snails, carrying that so-called spiritual knowledge like a house on our back. And of course we cannot get close to the Ocean anymore, consisting as it is of salty seawater. So we end up trailing our judgments of others like slime across the shore of God. And nobody wants anything to do with us... after all, we are so judgmental!

I would like to say here that I do not judge. But I do... I am sorry for being a snail. Perhaps one day my knowledge would grow gills for me, that I might swim the Ocean of Love like a fish. Or perhaps sprout wings, that I might fly across the Sea of Mercy like a seagull. Or build me a ship, that I might sail through life as a pirate and take God's Compassion as booty. But until then... you have to be patient with me.

Thank you for dropping in today and visiting this snail sinner.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Send me a Saint... Send me a Saint... Send me a Saint...

Send me a saint... send me a saint... send me a saint... send me a saint...
64. Santa Claus
Saints have
The biggest egos around
And hide the best secrets around.

If you desire knowledge, find a saint. For a while you would be a little shy with the saint, playing the role of a student. But in time you will tire of your disguise and will stand before the saint, quite exposed in all your sinful lowliness. Stripped away of your pretentious piety, you can finally begin the journey of healing yourself. For how can you heal yourself if you do not know the illness that afflicts you? And how will you even begin that journey if you do not even know who you truly are? That is the best secret for you to find out.

The saint will answer all your questions. So long as you know the right questions to ask. 

The saint will come, much like Santa Claus, through the sooty black chimney of your soul and bring you the knowledge of your true nature, from whence the knowledge of the Prophet and the knowledge of God would come. So if the desire for knowledge is still burning in you, ask God for a saint. He will send you one. He is God after all, He cannot not send you one. It will be like getting Christmas presents every day.

Have a lovely day, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

Hate has no place in Islam.
Love will show the Way.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mothers and Babies - we were nothing but a little lump in our mum

My mom and my eldest brother, Zahurein
100. Mum II
We would act so much better,
If we can recall that not too long ago,
We were nothing
But a little lump
In our mum.

Top picture: From left, my cousin Zaid, my brothers
Saiful and Zahurein.
Bottom picture: My mother and me, just out of the
lump in my mum. No doubt she was relieved.
We were so helpless once. We couldn't walk, we couldn't talk and could only cry and bawl our brains out when we are hungry. We were undoubtedly cute (at least to our parents), but our backbone was so weak that we couldn't even sit up straight. We poo-pooed a lot and someone else had to wash and bath us all the time. We were just babies then.

So now we are adults. We have been to the University of Life and Hard Knocks, we have eaten our salt and come to a point where we think, "Ah, yes... I have this world all figured out." Perhaps we are already married, with children of our own to care and guide. Oh boy, then we realise we have not actually figured things out properly. We say 'A' but we do 'B', and our growing up children are starting to notice these contradictions.

The problem is not our upbringing. Our parents did the best that they possibly could. But we ourselves have picked up some bad habits and these spiritual illnesses have become ingrained.  Perhaps there is no worse illness than the illness of forgetfulness. For forgetfulness precedes ingratitude, and once ingratitude has laid its claws on us... nothing in the world will be enough to satisfy our egos.

So on this wet, wet Sunday in Kuala Lumpur, I am wistfully thinking back. Back to the time when I was a baby, and further back to the days when I was still in my mother, being nourished by her and God, slowly growing my organs and my limbs to make up what I am today. If my mother were to have had a fall, or some overbearing stress, well... Taufiq would no be here today. But that was not meant to be. Some 41 years ago I was born and my father and mother had a third son, and their 2 offspring suddenly found themselves a new kid brother. My brothers took a good look at me, undoubtedly thinking the same thought, "Uh oh. Trouble."

9 years ago my mother passed away, returning to the Creator. But however old I shall be, I shall always be a son to her, and wherever she may be now, I wish I could just pick up the phone and call her...

99. Mum
I cannot pick up the phone
To call her anymore,
Nor knock on her door
Like I used to before.
I cannot see her smile,
Nor sit beside her for awhile,
No more errands to be run,
No more chores to be done,
Nothing but a memory,
Written in a poem
Penned from a wistful parting,
Praised in a heavenly song,
My little something
For my Mum, who gave
Everything to me,
And to whom, Oh Lord,
I shall always belong.

God bless all mothers. Have a blessed day, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Postscript - Embarrassingly the sinner has made an error. The cousin is actually Shaha. And perhaps even more awkward is the controversy about the baby picture. My cuz Zaid has come out saying that it is actually my auntie Mak Ndak holding me (the baby. Thank God there is no controversy about that.). But it looks like my mum... Ah well. Sisters! I will leave it as a mystery.

We are human beings. Carrots and sticks are for beasts of burden - God's Infinite Horizon of Mercy

248. Always Looking
God is always looking
For an excuse
To save you.
Always looking to find
Means and ways
To justify your salvation.
It is funny how some people
Are hateful of this attribute,
Calling such things
Capricious.

Frankly, I believe
That if anyone has
The right to be Capricious,
It is God.

I call it not that,
I call it Generous!

God! I am calling you Generous!

One of the many accusations against the Sufis are that they are fuddy-duddy. That the Sufis blur right and wrong, lies and truth, good and bad. That they portray their ideal of God as someone so forgiving and generous that He will forgive us whatever we do. So where is the deterrent? Where is the punishment? Where is the carrot and stick?

Carrots and sticks are for donkeys and other beasts of burden. Are we humans or are we animals? Forgiveness comes, but the unfolding of His Mercy takes time as we slowly began to understand the enormity of our errors and from there, the enormity of God's tolerance and compassion. I do not understand some people who weigh so heavily in judgment that they desire to limit God's compassion.

Such people would love to prohibit everything. And in seeking to impose righteousness they would stifle the essence of man and his curiosity for things. But if you artificially suppress man's curiosity, how will he ever find God? This is the deformed face of religion perpetuated the Taliban, al-Shabaab and other so-called fundamentalist Islamists. Who are arming them and saying they are right?

249. Besotted with fairness and justice.
O’ you besotted one
In fairness and justice,
Have care how you call
For fairness and justice
In divine decree,
Unless you can claim
To know everything
About the Lord.

May God forgive the preachers and politicians who continue to use Muslims' sense of alienation, poverty and inferiority for their own religious-political ends. Instead of tidying the mosque, home and hearth of the Muslims, they are busy stoking the fire of anger and retribution in the hearts of their followers. A heart on fire was never the way of the Prophet Muhammad, unless you are talking about the White Fire, the Governing Fire - the White Flame of Love. But these miscreants are setting their followers' hearts to the raging inferno of the black fire, the fire of hate and hubris.
For centuries, the Sufis have been drawn to the Flame of Love
The Sufis choose Love to enlighten and elevate our hearts, following as they do their Master, Muhammad Habibullah, Messenger of God, Mercy to all the Worlds... 

Have a thoughtful Sunday, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa

Hate has no place in Islam.
Love will show the Way.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

THE IMMORTALS and MARGIN CALL - The movie reviews.

THE IMMORTALS. As promised, the sinner dragged himself to the nearest cineplex to watch The Immortals. In a previous posting, the sinner audaciously pre-review reviewed the movie (Click Here) and predicted that actual review would find The Immortals garnering a pitiful 3 out of 10. I am afraid that even that prediction turned out to be optimistic.
Oh, there is something about a super-Bow in the movie, but by that time I was bored.
So this is the important bit about the story - a King (Hyperion, played by Mickey Rourke) sees wife and children dying of a disease. They never actually spell out what disease, but because of that, Hyperion decides to start an all-out assault on the Greeks and their holy Mount Tartarus where he is knowledgeably informed that the Titans are imprisoned - The Titans are essentially the other gods who got clobbered by Zeus and family. So if the Titans are out, they would start another war in heaven and hopefully (thinks Hyperion), Zeus and family would all be killed. Theseus (who happens to be Zeus's bastard son, I think) gets caught up in all this, along with Phaedra the Virgin Oracle (played by Freida Pinto, from Slumdog Millionare).

This is about as naked as naked men are gonna get in this movie.
So if you are expecting another meat-feast, prepare to get disappointed.
The Virgin Oracle about to lose her qualification to be one.
Things happen so fast, there is very little time for character development, and really, I just ended up not caring at all about what happens to Theseus, Hyperion, Phaedra, Zeus or the Titans come to think of it. The script is really just barely this side of bearable, and surprisingly the set and CGI, to be absolutely honest- ain't so good as the scenes in 300. And really, Hyperion is just another pissed off guy, except that he is just really obsessed about getting his vengeance. Other than that, I think that Mickey Rourke (who was brilliant in The Wrestler) is just doing this movie for the money. Heche, who agreed to sit as co-reviewer had 2 important observations - 1. If you are looking for a large number of almost-naked men in loincloth doing manly things... well you would be disappointed. There is barely any sight of abdominal muscles or 'a cute butt'. Only Theseus was on hand to show off his ripped body. Yes, just one eye-candy for our discerning female audience. Not good enough. 2. Her second observation is the most interesting - if the Greeks were so concerned about the Oracles being virgin, why do they pick such hot-looking babes as their Oracles. Really, just choose the ugliest maidens in the village and surely, the chances of them losing their virginity would be smaller. All in all, The Immortals turns out to be an even greater disappointment than anticipated -  2 out of 10.

MARGIN CALL. From a movie lemon to a movie corvette. Where do I begin with a movie about Wall Street greed that is so full of talent and amazing acting of the highest calibre. You just gotta look at the cast - Kevin Spacey as Sam Rogers, Paul Bettany as Will Emerson, Jeremy Irons as John Tuld, Zachary Quinto as Peter Sullivan, Penn Badgley as Seth Bregman, Simon Baker as Jared Cohen, Mary McDonnell as Mary Rogers, Stanley Tucci as Eric Dale and Demi Moore as Sarah Robertson - for you to realise that this is a powerhouse acting resource for the director to pull in. So did the director, JC Chandor manage to bring out the best from his actors? He did. Awesomely.

There is a Greek phrase for this scenario -
The shiteus is gonna hit the faneus.
Margin Call is a story set over a 24 hours period in an anonymous Wall Street Investment firm. Over that 24 hours, people are sacked, huge previously unnoticed liabilities in derivatives and CDOs are going to bankrupt the firm (to know more watch Inside Job, the Cannes Festival winning feature documentary which brings to light the many sins of Wall Street), and the firm's decision to dispose of ALL their toxic assets into the market by lunch time next day - which would trigger (as the movie implies) one of the worst credit crunch default in the history of civilization. People are going to lose their jobs. Other firms, banks and mutual funds are going to sink, but at least this particular firm will managed to sneak out FIRST. In one of the final scene, Sam the crusty Risk Management departmental boss confronted John Tuld, the Boss of bosses in the firm about the appalling effect on Wall Street and the economy that would be triggered by their decision to dump their foul-smelling bonds into the market. And this was John's reply - "It's just money. Made up. Pieces of paper with pictures on it so we don't have to kill each other to get something to eat..."

An intelligent and entertaining movie. A must-watch for anyone who's at least a little bit concerned about the condition of this world and where consumerism and cheap (read false) credit will ultimately take mankind to. An amazing 8 out of 10 movie.

Have a beautiful day, sunshine. God bless.

Pax Taufiqa

Hate has no place in Islam.
Love will show the way.

I DO NOT FEAR THE NEW YEAR - 1st Muharam 1433, New Year in the Islamic Calendar

The Riyadh Verse 1 (from Lulu)
Thanking you and thanking He for giving friends the eye can't see..
So close your eyes and open your heart
& see the friends who dance at night within the beloveds light..
They dance and sing praises of He and find deep love that's ecstasy...
Only thru his light will you find Him..
So close your eyes and let's begin..
So yes, thanking you and thanking He.. that He choose those words to come from thee...
No hate in this way... Only Love, love love will show the way

I am well pleased to host this prose from a new friend, Lulu. She appears to be over-enamoured with the Prophet and Companions. Ah, such is the risk you take when you start looking for the Reality of Muhammad, and peer closer at your spiritual inheritance. 

It is still the Thanksgiving holidays in America, but for Muslims the world over, tomorrow shall be the 1st day of the month of Muharam 1433, the beginning of the new year in the Islamic Calendar, which began with the hijra (migration) of the Prophet Muhammad from his hometown of Mecca to Medina.

At the closing of this year 1432 (the new day in the Islamic Calendar actually begins at sunset today), I think we have a lot to give thanks for - For old and new friends. For the healing of past sickness and the opening of new doors of promise. And above all, for the lovers of Muhammad Habibullah, giving thanks for the Prophet's continuing ascension in spiritual station, drawn as he is, by the Love and Mercy of God for His Beloved and for all of creation.

Some 7 years ago, I first saw a young man who stood up in the assembly of the lovers of Muhammad, and let free his voice in song of praise and love. That young man is now happily married and in honour of his recent wedding and this new year, I would like to recap the prose...

2. Swayed and Hummed
I swayed and hummed,
Standing in a row,
While the nightingale sang,
Yearning for a morrow
Which no sorrow hang.
Dreaming awake,
With a voice
Raised
Above
The cosmic quake.

I met him later.
The nightingale bowed,
While shyly taking my hand
With a smile
As sweet
As his song.

Oh friend! When the Master
Chooses his nightingale,
He does not choose wrong!

Happy New Year, sunshine. God has blessed you with a heart and a mind. With such blessings, what need you fear of the new year? 

Pax Taufiqa

Hate has no place in Islam.
Love will show the way.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Youth, Aberystwyth, the Welsh and the Never-ending Adventure of Life

Aberystwyth esplanade, 1993.
4. Rehearsals & Auditions
Ho! Young men!
Ho! Peelers of the divine onion!
You have not tasted annihilation,
That which you experienced thus far
Were naught but a rehearsal,
An audition of tears and fears
Before a Mercy Ocean,
Infinite in Its Breadth,
Breath-taking in its similitude!

How to get there.
Sheep or Man? In 1993 I paid a visit to my friends studying in Aberystwyth, Wales. The fact of the matter was I was planning to join my friends there for my 2nd and Final year law degree. But Moses, who found himself in Leeds wrote after visiting the Welsh university town, that "Aber is a good place to stay and study in, IF you prefer the company of sheep to man." So that was how I ended up studying in Leeds University instead. In hindsight, I would have undoubtedly been happier in Aberystwyth. After all, the Welsh are famously known for their ability to sing and play rugby. Leeds, being in Yorkshire, is a cricket-mad town, with the famous Headingley Cricket Ground next door. Alas, I am not much for cricket. And I think I do prefer the company of sheep to man.
You cannot be Welsh if you cannot sing.
Retirement Town. The visit was occasioned by the production of the Annual Malaysian Night, a yearly event for almost all British universities which has a sizable Malaysian presence. I recall that for Aber, one of the sponsors for the festival was the local Jewish butcher, since he had a monopoly being the only kosher meat seller to the large Malaysian Muslim diaspora. Aber is known as a retirees' town, but I was enamoured by the pretty little place, as I watched doddering old couples walk the esplanade, with the Atlantic Ocean relentlessly beating against the sea walls. 

40s. Now me and my friends are all in our 40s. Looking back, I think none of us imagined how life would turn out for us. Certainly, many of my peers didn't end up being lawyers. Many are businessmen, bankers, journalists, producers, gold traders and one (Amirul) even ended up hiring elephants out for events and functions.

Good Tears. But even at out age, I think that most of us have not stopped discovering life and the world. Although many of us have turned into Ayah, Dad, Papa, Abah or Bapak, I can still see the gleam of excitement in their eyes and a keen gaze for adventure and knowledge. Those that have turned 'Sufi' are still waiting for more and more - Peeling the divine onion as Love and Truth slowly unfold in our daily lives. Laughing a lot, but also crying tears. But as I have noticed, not all of our tears are tears of sadness...

Moses in Leeds, 1993. Evidently he prefers
the company of man to sheep.
18. So Fill it!
O’ Lord,
I sit beneath this Weeping Willow
With my lips upon my flute,
And in my fondness for You,
The flute bursts into song,
And my eyes burst into tears,
You make my heart expand
And the Universe
Flows in.

But nothing
Shall fill it
Save You.
So fill my heart, please!



Have a good life, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam

Life is Good. Death is Good. - The traveler on the path

36. Never more alive
We are never more alive than
Having passed the threshold of death,
To finally take complete possession
Of our souls.

There is no cure for death, but upon death, all illness ends. Not only physical illness, but perhaps more importantly spiritual illness. We are not meant to stay here forever, sunshine. As man is essentially a spiritual being, this world with its physical forms is not our ultimate home. We are travelers, wayfarers on a journey from eternity to eternity.

It is our good fortune that the Creator has made such a splendid and beautiful world for us to live in. So while we are travelers here, it is also beholden upon us to care for this world and its inhabitants. And we must abide by the natural laws that sings harmoniously about the perfection of our Lord. It is enjoined upon us by virtue of the Adab (good manners) that a guest must have for the Host and His House.

Death may not come unto you for sometime yet. So let us weigh the goodness that is all around us and decide for ourselves whether this world deserves to be respected and honoured, although it is transient. I think it does...

Have a wonderful Friday, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa

Hate has no place in Islam

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Definition of Good, and the importance of Adab - The Sinners' Dictionary

6. Good, In Accord
Good, if you wish it a name,
Is in the way of doing things well,
In its right time and place,
With considered thought
And discretion,
In accord with God
And Creation.

I guess it is a little presumptuous for a sinners' almanac to provide a definition of 'good'. But as each thing is known by its opposite, I consider myself particularly qualified to supply mankind with the meaning. And if I am wrong, who cares? After all, I am simply a sinner.

The Prophet Muhammad was asked of his mission, and this was one particular reply, "I brought unto mankind good manners (Adab)". The ideal of Adab does not confine itself to protocols and rules of etiquette amongst mankind, but really and perhaps most significantly governs man's relationship with his Maker, a.k.a. God Almighty. And Adab also pertains to the rules of engagement between mankind and other creation of God, both sentient and non-sentient. Whether you are talking to a King, addressing an assembly of politicians, planting a tree, avoiding to step on an ant, to your conversations (if you happen to have any) with Djinns. From praying in the most holiest sites of your religion, using an ATM machine, to you buying milk at a cornerstore, every conduct ought to be done with the proper Adab. I really cannot think of any daily work and play that we do that does not come with its proper manners and politeness.

But do not worry if you think that you have found the perfect Adab, for there is no end to perfection. Complacency is not an issue when each breath you take, each move you make (to quote Sting) should be one more step ascending towards the holy station of servanthood. Ah, and that is the nub of the matter - Only servants would be interested with Adab. But before the sight of God, are we not all servants?
Before the sight of God, are we not all servants?

God bless you, sunshine. Thank you for honouring my almanac with your presence.

Pax Taufiqa

Hate has no place in Islam

Global Thanksgiving and God - Do not be shy...

25. Be not shy
Gifts and charity to My servants reaches me,
So be not shy to give.

Expressions of gratitude to My servants reaches me,
So be not shy to receive and respond with gratitude.

My friend from the USA tells me that it is now the Thanksgiving Holiday there. And he tells me that one of the blessings that he shall give thanks for is me, which is irredeemably sweet of him. I replied and said that it was the nicest thing someone ever said to me today, except for one observation made by another friend... "Taufiq, you are fat, but not THAT fat."

A couple of days ago a new prose entitled The Third Eye, Love and Her Fury from your prosy sinner (that's me) was published in the Rainbow Rose (Click Here for the prose), a poetry blog introduced to me by my poem-inclined amigo called Russell Streur, who runs his own poetry establishment at the Camel Saloon. The Rainbow Rose is now added to the poetry roll on the right hand side column.

Of the many American holidays, I think this is one of the most admirable. Happy Thanksgiving, sunshine, wherever you may be, American or otherwise - Because when it comes to giving thanks, it should be a global ideal...

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam

Are you trying to be a Sufi, Papa?

Can we be too humble? I think, depending upon your personality, aptitude, upbringing, education and social condition, we all have our pretentiousness. That little white facade which we cloak ourselves in - to be known as a wise man. To be known as pious. To be known as generous and kind. To be known as tolerant. To be known as funny. To be known as 'cool'. But most difficult is to be known as a person without any pretension whatsoever. Someone who appears to be happy and contented just existing. A person happy in the skin he or she is living in. There are precious few of such people about. 

Children are smart and honest. And sometimes you are surprised by their observations, expecting them to be concerned only with cartoons, toys and games. But children are also discreet, and they are wise enough to the antics of us adults that sometimes they do not tell you the truth. Because they are canny already to notice that these truths often make adults uneasy.

If you have children, I hope you will be very close to them. And that you will kiss and hug them every day. And that whatever they say, you can accept without blowing your top. You would think that this is such a natural thing to do, but in this hasty and artificial life which we sometimes get caught up in, the most natural thing can often be the most awkward thing to do. I know because I find it awkward too. 

But I have faith in you. Have a playful day, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq.

Hate has no place in Islam.