Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Living with the Worst Comedian EVER in the Whole Wide World

My father. The Comedian. *Sigh!*
I was in my room when Mikhail popped in. "Come on here and give me a hug!", and Mika dutifully gave me a good bear hug. I like to tease him and in an astonished tone exclaimed, "Hey! I smell a perfume on you! A girrrl's perfume! Have you been hugging girls in school?!"

"Naaaaw, Papa!" he protested.

"But you DO smell of girl's perfume!" I insisted.

"No, Papa! I have been hanging out with Aidan, Yu Shen, Amirul ...." 

"Really? Funny how your girlfriends' names are like boys'."

He rolled his eyes exasperated, "Because they ARE boys! Papaa.... stop it!"

Hehehe. Satisfied, I concluded, "I am so funny, right?"

He didn't reply, but sat on the bed quiet like. Then without facing me, he suddenly asked. "Knock! Knock!"

"Who's there?" I replied in the time-honoured tradition.


"Papa who?" I inquired.

"Papa the Worst Comedian Ever in the Whole Wide World."

Teasing Mika. Being a son of mine, it is open-season for teasing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by me and his uncles. That is the heavy cross my son has to bear. But he is getting good at his courteous retorts, I think.

Both Mika and myself were coughing a bit last night. "I am just like you, Papa." My son observed. "If you are sick, I am sick. Like Papa, like Son, you know..."

Yes, Mika. I know.

The Cosmic Kindergarten. I find life to be one long education in a cosmic kindergarten of God. Mikhail's first name is Muhammad, in honour of the Messenger. It is my life-long love and vocation to know more about God, more about Muhammad, more about my own son, and in no small way contributing to my own understanding about myself.

So far there is nothing to praise in me, being the stubborn sinner that I am. But by reading and listening to the stories about God and the Prophet, and learning human nature from the little clone of myself that is Mikhail, I take refuge in the goodness of their hearts

20. The Storytelling Time
Ah! Like children are we,
In a storytelling time
At a cosmic kindergarten!

You are sitting and listening
To the Messenger telling you
About God,
And what God is and isn’t.

You are also sitting and listening
To God telling you
About His Messenger,
And what His Messenger is and isn’t.

According to your faculties and condition,
Some may understand a lot, while others less so,

But all are deeply loved
By the Owner of the Kindergarten
And His Storyteller.

Have a lovely day, sunshine. God bless all children...

Pax Taufiqa

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Korea Town, Malaysia & Beautiful Clouds - Pictures tell Stories

Hi, sunshine. The day began early for me at 4.30am as I was chasing a dateline. Happily I managed to chase the dateline down and have tied it up, just as it had tied me up with work earlier. Me is happy.

While running errands around my neighbourhood, I took some pictures. This is useful because after a long meeting of talking, talking, talking, I am done with talking. I will let the pictures do the talking now...

My neighbourhood is a mini KoreaTown. We have many Korean grocery shops,
restaurants, hair saloons and evangelical Korean churches of many denominations.
Korean grocery shop. Full of Kimchi and stuffs..
On the way to lunch, me and Ariffin noticed a strange hazy white glow
above the clouds. It was beautiful. I took a couple of shots. But the pictures
don't do it justice at all.
As you can see, rain clouds were lying ominously in the horizon.
And in fact it did rain soon after. But darn that white haze at the very top,
I think it is so pretty. I am sure there is a technical term for this natural occurrence.

105. Never Ours
Yesterday I raised my gaze skywards
And saw playful birds
Wheeling through billows of pillows
Through cotton buds and cotton hearts
In a garden without a name
In a picture without a frame
God’s Gift Sublime
To the enquiring mind
In this ornate canvas
That we call earth
Tis’ was His always
Never ours.

I gotta chill down, my friend. Thank you for dropping by...

Have a beautiful day.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Stop talking. I want to listen to what you are NOT saying.

Oh, him? He is always truthful.
But his glass is always half full.

Conversations are SO yesterday.
I find conversations are SO yesterday. I find what is not said more fascinating then what is said. Because when we react to what people say, where is the fun in that? It is so OBVIOUS, or then again... not obvious, because I do believe that people only disclose some 20% of the truth (truth that is according to their understanding). The balance 80% can be discerned in their behaviour, their action and inaction, their prejudices, their habits, attitude and where they are physically located.

Where do I get the 20% disclosure : 80% non-disclosure ratio? I am just guessing, but since words are so limited in their meaning, verbalizing your intention or situation is innately limited by your vocabulary. And that is simply about words. You also have your economic, social and religious vocabularies which not only allow yourself to express your feelings, but also inhibit such expressions. You want to be 'kind' or 'polite', and sometimes you do not want to disclose just how selfish you are, or you want to appear 'pious' or 'fair' or 'smart'. And at most times you are not even aware of being self-conscious at all. Yes, I think 20% is a good estimate, perhaps even an over-estimation of our frankness. After all, you can be honest but not necessarily frank.

Self-centred Words
Me, I can tell you right now that I am self-conscious and even self-centred. I have little scruples to hide that fact. I have none because such fact can be easily implied in my writing and sketches. And of course there are a lot of personal projections in what I say. Projections are not truths, they are merely verbalised intentions. Like "I believe in God." If you hear me say that, then that is only at most 20% of the truth. God knows what the balance 80% would really disclose about my feelings or thoughts about God. No, I am right I believe. What we say is such a little part of what we actually and truly are... It is almost like lying, save that we don't actually intend to lie, our mental faculties are simply not constructed to regurgitate the complete truth. We just utter bite size nuggets of truths of who and what we are. And often the disclosure is designed for some personal agenda or aim.

So I think it is a good idea to listen to what people are NOT saying. It saves the trouble of us finding out later that they have not told us the complete truth. We are not condemning anyone but empathizing with people because of the simple truth that we are never perfectly truthful, even when we try the hardest to be. 

But am I telling the complete truth now?

I am not telling.


Have a nice day, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa

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

Monday, February 27, 2012

Love's Natural Course - Self-Reconciliation and Befriending One Self

My Friendship With Me
When I am down, I pretend I am not friends with myself,
Then I find solace in the company of my other friends.

But I have found that the greatest friends
Are those who will refuse to let me
Be at odds with myself,
And who will, with patience
And kindness,
Gently reintroduce me
To myself and let
Love’s natural course
Lead me back to
With myself.
Oh, come on! It's nobody else. It's you. Talk to him...

You cannot be angry with yourself forever. You cannot be disappointed with yourself for too long. You cannot just sulk and ignore your own self. At the end, you must face yourself, however angry or disappointed you are. Because after all, you are you and no one else. And no one else can make you contented and happy.

So listen to your friends, and face yourself. Do not be afraid. It can all be forgiven.

Have a conciliatory day, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

He is in the Ripples of Human Emotion

50. Love is a word I use
Love is a word I
Use for you, but
Sadly it is but only
For a moment true.
For you would soon
Outstrip whatever meaning
I meant when I said 'love'...

By what you say,
By what you do,
By the smallest
Of your gestures,
I am left once again
To ponder your many
Buried treasures.

Romance. I meant this prose and was recorded in romantic sentimentality. The occasion of human passion is a wonderful thing, as the object of your desire drives you crazy-in-love and drives you mad by the strange and often contradictory nuances in their behaviour and character. But you are in love, and so you accept. It is not as if you have much choice, and it is this which drives your ego crazy. But your ego deserves to be driven crazy and humbled, for the human ego thinks itself independent and godlike. So in a way, your amour, the woman (or man) that exasperates you so is actually doing you good. Love is both honey (which is yummy) and medicine (which is ucky).

God. I do not think it strange that God hides His Attributes in us. I think it is the most natural place where Love ought to be...

He is in the Ripples of Human Emotion
In the realm of love and passion, is God's own kingdom...
In the first encounter, in the first timid advances,
In the first shy and glancing touch,
In the first opening of your hearts,
In the wedding and procreation,
In the birth of your first child
Are the pools of thoughtful reflection
Where you can find God...
In the ripples of human emotion.

Kiara Cemetery

May you find Love in you, sunshine. For Love has always been in love with you.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ibnu Arabi's Dreamer and something totally whimsical about cousins

Kiara Cemetery
35. The Dreamer's Dream
I read that Ibn Arabi
Encouraged us
To learn the ability to
Control our thoughts
In our dreams,

I pondered how,
Until I heard a voice;
"And who is to say that
Awake, you are still
Not dreaming?
And in truth, you are
Only alive in the Dreamers's dream?"

Ibnu Arabi. At first glance, Ibn Arabi appears to be advising us to learn to behave in our dreams. But then how will we learn good manners (adab) in our dreams when awake we behave badly. So in a roundabout way, he is also telling us to control our thoughts (and behaviour) while conscious. Because our conscious reality is nothing but a Divine whim within a dream of God. But of course, this is just my conjecture.

And what is a good way to good manners? A friend offered this advice - speak less and listen more. Right ho.

Cousins. On a less somber topic, Me and Heche had a lovely afternoon in the company of my awesome possum cousins, Kak Nani and Kak Lah who fed us too much. Kak Nani had a birthday party for her granddaughter last Saturday which we were unable to attend because of a wedding. Anyways, there were still a lot of delicious leftovers, so she called me early this morning to come help empty her pantry. "More. More. Some more. Please take some more. Surely 4 is not enough. You can rest then eat again. Just a bit. Come on..." We had Mee Bandung (a noodle in prawn chilli based broth with eggs and veggies), popiah basah (a steamed vegetable in a heavy chilli -fried shallots - dried prawns - dates gravy in a thin Chinese roll), ABC (a dessert of shaved ice with corn syrup, peanuts, evaporated milk, creamer, broadbeans and assortment of other garnishes) and finally a couple of sweet mangoes. After 2 hours we had to beg leave and slowly waddled our way back to the car.

Have a lovely sunday, Sunshine. God bless our cousins (however determined they are to make this sinner even fatter).

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Life & Contradictions - don't worry, sunshine!

Frangipani in Kiara Cemetery.

Life and Contradictions
Do not seek too much structure,
For your body has no straight lines,
Do not be afraid of contradictions,
Because Your God is both
The Apparent and The Hidden.

Do not be overly earnest,
Because only a thin line rests
Between being earnest
And being overbearing.

Do not crave death
Because it is rude
To He who gave you life,
Nor cower in fear
When death's invitation
Is finally given,
Whether swiftly or 
In slow measure.

If you desire the end of contradiction, you shall have to wait a little longer. But the human mind rebels against contradictions, judging contradictions as irrational and odd. But God is One, and He is the Odd One, Absolutely Unique and beyond our faculty to distinguish from any other, because simply put, God is Incomparable. In an interesting irony, the Incomparableness of God is the only true comparison we have of Him... knowing that we truly know nothing at all.

I spend a lot of time in the almanac confessing I know nothing. But in this nothingness of our existence, God has created the Earth and the Sun, the Air, the Fire, the Wind and the Water. He has filled our world with living creatures, beautiful and bountiful, our delightful friends and family. To God, this is nothing. But to us, it means everything. If this is the Divine Grace of existing in nothingness, dare you imagine what God has for us in the Divine Presence?

Have a super Sabbath, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Friday, February 24, 2012

Women, The French and Their Wicked Witty Wisdom... of sorts

Heche presented to me a couple of very old looking books, all of which I shall share with you one day. But perhaps the most quirky little hardcover is a book entitled ‘A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom & Wickedness’ - A compendium of collectible French quotes and proverbs by one J. De Finod. The book was first published in 1880 and this particular copy being the 1916 publication. The book is almost 100 years old with 100 years old social niceties and prejudices. People were quite conservative in those days, priggish even. Or at least Finod himself had that impression, when he wrote in his prefatory to the collection…

“In compiling this book, I have carefully excluded everything that would seem objectionable to you, my liberal but virtuous reader, the English language being the more austere than the French in its expressions; but, after having paid a legitimate tribute to your just susceptibilities, I have, without timorous scruples, preserved such piquant gems as could be enjoyed without endangering your morals.”

He is afraid of endangering your morals. But I think we will do just fine, sunshine. Moving on he writes…

“A final word to the lady reader: You will see, fair reader, that much good has been said of you, and, alas! Much bad also; this is because no subject more worthy of attention has ever haunted the minds of all great philosophers of the world. But listen to this well-meant injunction: Believe unhesitatingly all that is said in your favor, and deny energetically, as myself do, all that is said to your prejudice. Do not criminate an innocent compiler, who would not exchange one of your smiles for all the wisdoms of Solomon, and who has inserted in his book the malicious remarks of certain ill-natured philosophers, only to show how far man’s ingratitude can go. “

De Finod

My initial impression was - An Apologia pathetic and groveling to womankind. But having read some of the quotable quotes from the French about women, I am not surprised. Perhaps he was not compiling all these French sayings alone. Perhaps De Finod was married, and his wife (or mistress) was hovering around him, reading the manuscripts and muttering, “Hmm… I hope you yourself do not subscribe to some of these vicious things that the French say about women!” To which De Finod may have protested, “Of course not, my little pumpkin! I condemn such prejudices from the core of my being. They are after all, just being French”

Just perhaps.

Well, without further ado, these are some of the more succulent morsels of French wit, wisdom and wickedness that I found worthy for my reader’s attention. And just like De Finod, let me tell you that I am just quoting. Please don’t shoot the messenger. 

 Poor old Hugo. Either he fell irresistibly in love with a Femme Fatal
or maybe his Landlady kicked him out.
Criticism of the sex does not totally come from the opposite. 
I disagree with this 17th century writer. I think that wrinkles are
the grave of vanity, not love at all. But of course some are
prone to treat them both alike.
 True. And boy, are men good kindler of fire!
Uh oh.
 Who's gonna argue with De Sade?
Have a lovely Friday, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Become a Bridge. Don't Burn the Bridge.

104. What’s Your Name Again?
My name is unimportant
My life is insignificant
Words are all that is left of me.
And even they are on loan,
A bridge to the Great Unknown
To a Liege Who desires to be known.

TWITTERWARS. First there were flaming emails, as human conflict ascends into the internet. Then it became twitter wars, as people fight each other in full view of the world.

MORONS. I can understand that in the spur of anger and frustration, we lose it and we say things we would regret. What is more culpable however is when people actually take the time and trouble to write something nasty in an email, on Facebook or on Twitter. I can easily forgive the sudden impulse of verbal discontent that we sometimes let fly. “Moron!” is my favourite adjectives for inconsiderate drivers. My sainted late mother would let burst an even more earthier condemnation of drivers whom she believed had been severely uncivil… “Makan taik punya orang!” Literally meaning, “Those damn shit-eating people!”.

So we lose our temper, because that is the price of living in a society of imperfect mankind. It just happens. In fact, I would probably lose temper even when alone on a deserted island. No doubt, I would catch my reflection in a secluded pond, before muttering, “You damn fool. Look what happens when you go cheap on the ferry ride…”

WRITING. But writing is different. Writing requires introspection. It demands contemplation of the words and the meaning we intend for the reader. Surely, if you had to sit back to write something, and if you reflect into your inner space, your conscience and your heart, SURELY there must be something good to write, instead of the damning judgment of some other person. Surely, at the end of it all, whatever we write, especially nasty thoughts, will have no good result. Not for you nor for the intended reader…

I write because I like to write about God. And about the beautiful persons that He acquaints Himself with. So I write about the Prophets, the Companions and the Saints. But I also like to write about ordinary people. Because for whatever reason which I cannot imagine, God acquaints with us too. Indeed He seems Most Preoccupied with us.

So write about the good and God, sunshine. Become a bridge. Don't burn the bridge.

Pax Taufiqa

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Ordinary People Who Make this World an Extraordinarily Better Place to Live in - Saints & our Conscience

3. My Conscience
The cold and solitude
Of my eyes that I spoil and coddle,
The hunger pangs of my heart 
To which I yield little.

A lost sheep, astray from the flock,
A wayward ship, dashed against the rocks.

8. Third Eye
If He created the illusion,
Verily, He created the Third Eye
To pierce all illusions.

If He created the maze,
Verily, He also created the Stars
To guide you home.

And if He created Sin,
Verily, He also created the pangs of conscience
To bring you back,
However far you have roamed.

THE GOOD PEOPLE. I suspect that there are actually a lot of good people out there. I would like to believe, and indeed I do believe that most people tend to be decent and kind, quietly living their lives, trying to earn an honest living and bringing up their children as best they can.

I love such people. For I am not like them, me being a sinner of sorts. I am grateful for the good people living among us sinners. Those who did not dash themselves against the rocks of their egos. Those who did not allow their pride or hubris to misguide them.

US SINNERS. But even for us sinners, there is always a way home. A guide to bring us back into the fold of the good people. A star to guide us home from our wayward travel. In Sufi stories such stars are often in reference to the Companions of the Prophet and the Saints.

ORDINARY BUT SAINTLY. But sometimes the heavenly star that God provides for us are not a Saint per se, but the saintly among us. The anonymous friend, the kind stranger, the loving sister, the ordinary people who make this world an extraordinarily better place to live in. It is they who speak for our own conscience when we ourselves are deaf to it.

When the Saints are not around, it is to them that I owe so much.

Have a lovely day, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

My Soul Wish & The Prophetic Over-reach

My Soul Wish
I am surprised by fate,
Both by sadness and sorrow,
By what is tragic and what is celebratory,
For everything that I asked for
My lord has granted,
But what my soul has asked the Lord
I do not know.
Bukit Kiara Cemetery

It does not matter
What I say I desire,
But what my soul desires,
Being as he is, completely
In the Divine Presence….

I am a servant of my soul,
As I am a servant of my Lord.

I am beloved by my Lord,
As I am beloved by my soul,

I am enamoured by my soul,
As I am enamoured by my Lord,

My Lord is God,
Who is my soul?

Muhammad Habibullah,

Father of Souls.

Gratification & Benefit. Our life is replete with occasions arising from what we wish for ourselves, what our family and friends wish for us, and what the Prophet and the Saints wish for us. What we wish for we do not know whether it will actually be good or not for us. After all, we have only a very limited knowledge, and most of the time, we are just hazarding a guess that what we ask will actually benefit us. More often that not, what we ask from God is what would gratify us. And benefit and gratification is not the same thing.

But what the Prophet and the Saints desire for us is complete in its goodness, for it is beneficial in form and essence, as well as truly gratifying. There is no catch, no hidden cost. It is striking the spiritual lottery, tax-free.

The Prophetic Over-reach. Thus the perfection of happiness is when our wishes coincides with the wishes of the Prophet and Saints. Beyond that point is the honoured path of servanthood. However, this is a journey few can grasp, and mostly our wishes tend to only co-exist with the Prophetic wishes. When we desire good for us, the Prophet would desire even better, when we desire better the Prophet would desire the best for us, and when we thus desire the best for us, the Prophet would turn around and say, "You cannot compare your love for me to my love for you. You cannot compare the goodness I desire for you. I shall always over-reach you."

Have a lovely day, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Camel in the Bamboo Forest - Poetry and Politics

The Camel Saloon asked that we host a link to The Bamboo Forest, a poetry blog sympathetic to Zhu Yufu, a dissident Chinese poet currently detained by the Beijing authorities. Although this blog is not a political blog, nor does it espouse the democratic ideal, I have agreed. Because... you know, poets gotta stick together.

Nothing ought to be viewed in isolation, and caution should be exercised in judgment of any man. I do not know much of Zhu Yufu, his motivation and ideal, his history and present incarceration. However, one should not be jailed merely due to one's poetry...  

Because if that was indeed the case, this sinner would have been apprehended years ago by the police for a breach of the Trade Description Act (Mr. Police: You call that poetry!? I have read better prose in my DVD manual), and for my illegal impersonation of a poet (Mr. Police: If you are really a poet, where is your beret?).
He wears a beret. AND he smokes Gitanes. He is a poet. 

Have a thoughtful day, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Mankind is a Natural Construct, so Religion Must be the Most Natural Thing to You

7. Oh Simplicity!
When the book is not a book anymore,
When the man is not a man anymore,
When the heart is not a heart anymore,
And you are not you anymore
But a vagabond knocking and begging entry,
O, man! Behind the closed door,
See now who will answer thee!

I am told that if you seek Truth, you must discard all pretensions, and all pretensions of no pretensions. I am told that only then, will your spiritual path open a vast expanse of reality hidden from the human eye. A horizon of endless possibilities, but determined by one sole vision and aim, to reach the Divine Presence. If you follow a religion, it should guide you to this through the most natural inclination of a man (or a woman), for we are all natural constructs in both the physical and metaphysical sense. For Nature, which is the reflection of God on this world, encompasses both what is seen and unseen, what is known and unknown.

I am told many things, and they are no secrets. You can find them in books and oral stories of the Sufis and other mystics. Such information has given me solace and structure in my untidy life. I am sure you can do better than me. Perhaps it may even transform you...

Have a constructive day, sunshine!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I Am Writing a Prose of Postures & Words - the Muslim Five

I Pray a Prose of Postures & Words
First it was a choice
And a passing fancy,
Secondly, it became an obligation
And a pious chore,
Then it became a choice once again
And I did as I pleased once more,
Before returning as an obligation
And a firm habit,
Then it became a part of history
That I am writing...
A prose of postures and words
Passed through the ages.

Now I claim to know nothing,
But take it all
A day at a time,
Five times a day,
From sunrise to sunset.

The Prophet once shared that of all things in this world, there are three which evokes his great affection... “Made beloved to me from your world are women and perfume, and the coolness of my eyes is in prayer.”

How fond I am of people who have found similar affections in their lives. There are undoubted meanings within meanings contained in the Prophet's traditions, but of the three, I am today curious about prayers. And this is what one man shared with me just a moment ago...

"Life is about perception, and in your perception you create and carry the world within you. From the moment you open your eyes until you close them for the last time, you bear the burden of your actions, and the actions of others in the world of your consciousness. The prayers obligated upon you is not for God's sake, but for your own sake - To rest awhile, to take stock of the past few hours, to lean against the Oneness of God in the Oneness of your intimacy. To turn away from the world but for a few moments to gaze upon the True Reality in your honoured state of servanthood, prostrating as you are, before the Utter Mastery of He Whom we all worship."

I asked him in response, "Have you felt so passionately in your prayers?" He laughed and replied ruefully, "If I did, do you think I would still be here? No, my friend, I am not 'there'. But the journey to get 'there' is beautiful. So I am thankful for what is granted now, and hopeful for what may be granted later."

May you find peace and tenderness in your own prayers, sunshine, however you may be praying to our One God.

Pax Taufiqa

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Servanthood, the highest spiritual station

12. I am a servant
I am a servant,
I have no possessions,
And wealth and faith is nothing
But gentle streamlets that course
Between my fingers.
So what can I ever, ever lose?

If you do not wish to lose, if you desire the clear victory, then there is no better station that is offered in the Universe than the station of servanthood. Servanthood in its most complete sense of the word - a servant to God, a servant to Man and Djinn, a servant to the past, present and future, a servant to all created things, living and non-sentients.

The vacancies for servanthood are always open, and it is never fully filled. For many people are deceived by power, wealth and above all, pride. And there are those, like myself, who can understand the value of servanthood, but find it a difficult proposition. For it is a poison chalice to our ego, and we are often subservient to our ego, which makes it nigh impossible to attain servanthood.

The journey to servanthood is a life journey. For such is the challenge. Do not give up, sunshine. For if you would give up, what hope would there be for a sinner like me? Come, let us walk together. Servanthood is waiting. We just need to get there...

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Monday, February 20, 2012

Nursing Sadness & Feverish Anticipation

117. Being Unhappy
Being unhappy is appalling manners,
For a servant blessed
With his Lord’s pleasures.

I recorded this prose some time back. For the life of me I cannot recall the circumstances of the prose. Was I happy or sad? Was it written in a fit of ecstasy or in the pangs of sorrow, as a reminder to myself? I really cannot recall...

NURSING OUR SADNESS. Now 8 years on, I guess I still believe in this, with one caveat. That there must be some leeway given for us to face the everyday disappointments and contratemps that litter our lives. How can you not feel sad if your friend dies? How can you not have a niggling feeling of being betrayed if your good buddy vanishes into thin air after borrowing money from you? And how can you not feel at least a little angry if somebody scratches your parked car, but leaves no note for you to contact him (or her). We would not be human, I think, if we do not have our ups and downs.

I do not  think God is unreasonable. So I think what God is asking is for us not to nurse our sadness or bitterness like a newborn babe. At some point we gotta get closure and move one. And yes, I agree, easier said than done sometimes. But we gotta try, for our own sake and our own happiness. 

FEVERISH ANTICIPATION. On the other hand, as we get older comes the circumspection of age. And this encompasses even our most joyous occasion, And I will tell you why: Firstly, I am always apprehensive with the machination of Fate, and the higher I get, the more I think of the possible agony of a fall from such heights of happiness. And secondly, as far as being a servant blessed with the Lord's pleasure, these pleasures (in whatever form) are as such not the Lord Himself. Thus, although we are thankful to know the Lord through His blessings of our good health and prosperity, such manifestations are not God. It is with feverish anticipation that we hope to one day come into the presence of the Giver of Gifts. Then shall our own happiness be complete. Is it too much to ask? I don't think so.

How can we be truly happy?
How can we be truly happy, o' Lord,
In the completeness of happiness?
When for all the blessings that You have bestowed us...
You have not given us You.

Have a thoughtful day, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will find the Way

Hallaj's Requiem - Wherever my head may be now...

21. The Law & The Path II
Sometimes the Path ends
With the retribution of the Law.
But Allah, shall they silence Your Friends forever?
By Allah, surely they must fail!
For what do they strike but a vessel of clay?
What can they decapitate
But a puppet’s head?
By your permission,
May my heart linger forever
In servitude to You,
Teaching, guiding and loving
The seekers whose seeds
You still hold in abeyance,

Let me do this,
Wherever my head may now be!

Mansur al- Hallaj is a famous Muslim martyr who was punished by the religious authorities for his ecstatic utterances of 'Ana al -Haqq!' (I am the Truth / God!). He was executed in 922. 

But you cannot keep a good guy down. For wherever his head may be now, he is still speaking to you and me. For who knows of Hallaj's executioners? Not many, but many, many more knows of Hallaj himself. I do not want to be a beheaded martyr, but I get where the man was coming from. He was drinking wine from the Fountain of the Beloved, and he got a little tipsy. People say the strangest thing when intoxicated. Have you ever heard your own stupendous sweet talk in the thralls of your courtship of THE woman, THE one true love? I have, and it makes me blush!

God bless God.

Have a perfectly nice day, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Rainstorm Tore the Veil in the Garden of Stones

I love the sunrise after an early morning's downpour. For when I am walking among the gravestones and their dwellers, I would find a carpet of beautiful flowers in and around the rectangular shaped graves. It is as if God is saying, "If there are some among you who are neglected and forgotten, with none of your living kin visiting, I shall Myself send flowers to your honoured resting place. For nothing can honour a place more than I." Such were the thoughts that percolated my mind as I walked beneath the Frangipani trees of the cemetery.

I did not tarry too long, but made my way straight to my mother's grave. In my head was ringing Avril Lavigne's chorus that was playing in my car on the drive here, "...Damn, Damn, Damn, What I would do to have you here... Here, Here... I wish you were here..." Funny how the most unlikely of music evokes the memory of my sainted mother, my uncle and my friend who now lay peacefully in this hallowed grounds. Any old (or new) tune gets me that way.

I spent a few minutes beside my mother's home. It has been her home for almost 10 years now. For the first time, I bent over the bottom tombstone, which would be at her feet, and I kissed it. Then I approached the  headstone and planted a kiss on the black marble. In my mind I was kissing my mother's forehead.

I may have shed a tear. But it was not out of sadness. For I was happy. The veil between life and the after-life can be either very thick or very, very thin. And on this morning, it appears that the rainstorm must have torn the veil a little. I peeked through the tear in the veil and sensed a warmth I have not felt for the longest time.

We cannot fulfill our obligation to our departed beloveds while forgetting the living. So on the way home I bought breakfast. As I entered the house I saw my father sitting alone at the breakfast table, occupied with the Sunday newspapers. I called to him, "Bapak, I bought breakfast!" He looked up and smiled. I felt the same warmth here too.

Have a beautiful Sunday, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Do Not Get Angry With Anger

Do Not Get Angry with Anger
Anger is the destroyer of calm
The poisoner of peace
And it matters not that your temper
Is aimed at anything else...
For whomever is near
He would be asking himself,
“Does it not matter at all
That I am here?”

And observing sadly,
“Ah, he is so beautiful when happy
And so ugly when in foul temper”

You are lucky, sunshine, not to have to deal with me 24/7. In that context I sympathize with God Almighty for having to deal with my almighty temper. For I have a temper. And it is ugly. It is only right that we should disapprove of our own anger, but...

If in your life you wish to be the doctor and not the patient, the healer and not the sick, then however wrong anger is, you must not despise it. For the truth is, so long as you are in society, so long as you are in your body, anger and ill-temper will strike you, whether alone or in company. And it is then that you need to have empathy. But it is difficult to feel empathy when your emotion are mixed between charity and loathing. Even if that loathing is for human anger.

I say this because I have always despised anger. And I fear that I am becoming what I despise. So I shall not despise anger anymore. I shall try to accept and submit. For God has accepted me this way for all this while.

Have an all-love day, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The T-Rex and the Cat, Mikhail's dream...- Pictures tell Stories

One night, a little boy by the name of Mikhail was asleep.
And he was dreaming...
T-Rex: Rooooarrrr! Roooarrrr!!!
T-Rex: Roaarrrr! Roaaaarrr... Ack! Ack! Cough! Cough!
Cat thinking: What the heck is that?! 
T-Rex: Rooaaaarrr! Arrrrgh!!!
Cat: You are the biggest lizard I have ever seen.
Cat: And look at you tiny arms!
T-Rex: Roaaarr... argh?
Cat: You know... freakishly disproportionate...
T-Rex: Argh? ROAAAAAR!!!!
When my nephew Adam was small (he is a towering 18-year old now), he was absolutely besotted with dinasours. Yesterday Adam gave Mika his old 1-foot tall T-Rex. When Mika and I went out for breakfast he brought along his new toy, much to the interest and astonishment of the resident feline.

Have a T-Rex-fic day, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way