Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mercy's War Against Hubris - The Prince Part 2

Are you Jewish? Muslim? Christian? Hindu? Are you an Agnostic? Atheist?
Whatever... just say no to hubris.
131. Compassion and the Masters
In the hands of the Masters,
Is a weapon deadly,
True and fatal,
As Mercy is,
A mighty engine of war,
In God’s Own Armory,
Set upon a strong redoubt,
Raised high above the crowd
Of petty human jealousy.

You cannot fight the good fight without Compassion and Mercy. Indeed, the absence of Compassion and Mercy actually annuls and negates the very thing that some so-called jihadis and neo-crusaders think they are propagating. Such people are the foes of all humanity, because they sell poison but say it is honey, and they garb their hubris, hate and violence in the Name of God and the Prophet, which must be the most shocking deception of them all.

A better world is only a contemplation away. I am a fool but even I can see that the step forward is for all of us, regardless of our faiths, to resist hate and hubris in all forms.

I am still thinking of my Master who just passed away. He is a compassionate one, he is. I recall that one of the longest interview I had with him happened in a small coffee shop in our neighbourhood called Pekan Bistro. It makes me smile thinking about the unexpected encounter. I hardly ever talk to him (I am shy with him), so I wrote it all down here in this almanac. I am glad I did. - Click Here if you wanna read it...

Thank you for dropping in, sunshine. I love it when you do.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Friday, March 30, 2012

No Goodbyes. Life, alas, goes on... - The Prince Part 1

28 December 1958 - 30 March 2012

No Goodbyes
I don't want to say goodbye,
I want to wake up from this silly dream
That my Master has died and is no more.

We all must one day return to God. Sometimes we die very young, sometimes we pass away in dotage. But nothing prepared us for the sudden passing of HRH Raja Dato' Seri Ashman Shah ibni Sultan Azlan Shah. Some people call him Shaykh Raja. Typically irreverent, I call him Ku Ash. Or sometimes, simply 'Boss'.  Near our house, which is not far from his house, the sky wept all morning into the afternoon, until finally when he was safely and lovingly returned to the bosom of the earth, the Sun reappeared - to remind us that life, alas, goes on.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

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

Extended Families - don't forget them...

1. Fountain of Youth
The Fountain of Youth
Is Youth itself,
And the Elixir of Long Life
Is a life well-lived.

I visited a cousin yesterday. Kak Mah had a fall while out marketing with her husband. I am the youngest son of the second youngest in my late mother's family of 9 siblings. This means that the age gap between me and some of my cousins are pretty big, up to 20 years difference. This also means that my nieces and nephews (which to us Malays also cover our cousins' children) are not much younger than me.

I think this picture must have been taken in mid 80s perhaps, when I myself were in my teens. They are all my nieces and nephews. The grand old lady is my MakWe, the eldest of my mum's sisters. With her is my PakWe, her husband, surrounded by their grandchildren. Sadly, two brothers in the picture, Firul and Imran are not longer with us, called back to the Lord in the spring of their manhood...

Sigh. Nowadays I am going to funerals almost as often as weddings. But then again, there are also many, many births as the surviving kids start becoming mums and dads. How time flies.

I have nothing profound to share with you. Perhaps a gentle reminder (to myself really) to make time for our family. And not just our immediate family, but our extended branch of cousins, second cousins and our uncles and aunties. Sometimes we take for granted the happy memories of our childhood, and live in our past. But there is still joy to make now, and happy memories to create simply by being with our extended family. My mother, God bless her sainted soul, always made time for her very large circle of extended family and friends. And when she passed away, they all mourned her passing.

Thank you for dropping by, dear reader. You are already part of my own family. It's just that we have never been introduced yet.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Postscript. I wrote this piece about 3am this morning. An hour after I am told that someone dear to me had  passed away. He will be buried today after Friday prayers. I fear I cannot write anything more than this.

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The World, The Beggar and The Goodness Implicit in Imperfection

"Come and pray on top of me." said the lonely hill

The whole world asked for my company
But I gave my company to a beggar…
The stream said,
“Come pray beside me,
You can make ablution with my water
That I wish to give you freely.”

My bedroom said,
“Come pray in me,
You will pray easy and at peace
Just as you do while sleeping in me.”

The tree said,
“Come and pray beneath me,
I shall shelter you from the sun and the rain
While you call unto God with your gentle hymn.”

The Gypsy said,
“Come and pray by my caravan
For you will find no better travelling companion
Than me who will take you to far off and wonderous places.”

The lonely hill said,
“Come and pray on top of me
That you might find the silence and solace
In private commune with your Maker.”

The ocean said,
“Come and pray beside me
To the music of my wave and surf
That Adam first heard when he arrived
Disconsolate, tired and unhappy.”

Finally I heard a beggar say,
“Come and pray with me,
For I am lost, lonely and weary.”
To this, I readily consented,
For the beggar was no one else but me.

It lowers your blood pressure
It is good to pray. The ablutions encourages cleanliness, the meditation lowers your blood pressure, the melodious chant fills the air with musical hymn, and you have a couple of minutes to rest your tired conscience away from the taxing trying reality of this world - "Work? Career? Family disputes? Scandal? War? Famine? Money? No, not now." You say, "I am taking a five minutes break."

"Come and pray beside me." said the stream.

Pray with yourself first. My religion encourages praying in a congregation, even if it is just two. I think it is a good idea because it fosters brotherhood, tolerance and unity. But someone told me this yesterday, "It is good to pray with people. But you should pray with yourself first, before praying with anyone else." And I think he is right. We take for granted we are here. And when we are praying we take for granted we exist in the present. But the problem is our thoughts and imagination often drift away from the present, either meandering to some contemplation of the past - "Gee, did I forget to lock the car?", or some reflection of an urgent future - "Oh no! I need to sort out my tax filing today!"

Not being perfect ain't so bad after all. I think all religions have this same problem. But perhaps it is wrong to call this a 'problem'. I would like to call it a process, a path that we must pass through. You will not get your prayers perfect because perfection is a state of Divine Attributes. But as a human being you can certainly get it better and better... 

The Good Thing About Not Being Perfect
So we should thank God that we are not perfect. 
And that for us there is always a better tomorrow around the corner, 
A better moment just waiting to happen, 
A chance for a better cup of tea, 
A chance for a better you and 
A better me!

Thanks for dropping in, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

For all this crazy while it is You whom I desire...

With the timber of truth planted in the grove of love, we will bring down all
the castles and towers of the one-eyed king, he who divides and he
who pulls the veil over all mankind - but he cannot pull the veil
over God, His Prophet and the Saints!

For all this crazy while it is You whom I desire
I have prayed with Muslims and Christians,
I have prayed with Jews and Hindus,
I have turned the prayer wheel of the Buddhists,
I have seen the fire of the fire-worshippers,
I have been in the abbeys, mosques, temples and cathedrals,
I have sat in the auditorium of the agnostics,
I have contemplated the world through the eyes of the atheists,
I have stolen food with the beggars,
I have traded with merchants,
And from the soapbox I have lied
Like a born politician.

I am familiar with all of them
And I am friendly with all of them.
For I cannot choose the stranger I will meet in the bus,
Nor can I foretell the guest who will walk through my door,
For I am waiting for You, you see,
But until I meet You
How can I turn away 
Those whom You have sent to me?

I have become familiar with
The virtuous and the foolish,
The believers and unbelievers,
I have drank the water, I have touched the fire,
When the sad truth is...

For all this crazy while,
It is You whom I desire.

There is no god but God, sunshine. And there is only one humanity sprung from Adam and Eve. How will God become familiar to us if we are resentful and hateful to those He has sent to be our neighbours and friends, our family and colleagues? Who sent the stranger at the door? Who sent the beggar at the gate if not God? Would He desire familiarity with us when we are callous to those we are already familiar with?

God is Most Wonderful, Most uber-exciting, Most Tolerant and Loving... but sometimes I think we are asking too much of His Mercy and Compassion, when we ourselves are neither merciful nor compassionate. This is the sacrosanct teaching of Saidina Muhammad (pbuh). Pull away the false beard and abject falsehood of those who preaches otherwise!

Today is a fine day to fall in love, sunshine. Fall...

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Something to Smile About...

I Am Not Offering Sighs
I am not offering sighs
Of painful sorrow
But smiles,
Nor fears of tomorrow
Full of doubt.

So Smile, love,
And take your share
Of certainty
From my share.

Hullo, sunshine. Welcome to the almanac. I really have nothing to share today but smiles. In fact, contradictory as it appears, I have always opted to put my best foot forward and write in an optimistic and hopeful way in this sinners' log. And always with an optimistic ending. 

The Angels themselves doubted God's decision to place mankind as His viceregent-representative on Earth. And I think Mankind has been pretty good at being bad. But Mankind has also been exceedingly good at being good. Without even having to look at historical personalities like Prophets, Philanthropists, Teachers and Statesmen, we can see the daily examples of goodness in our parents, brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues.
Remember when you were young?
Even when you are sick and riddled with chicken pox you are beautiful...
And in our children, of course. Especially in our children, where goodness is mixed with the breath-taking beauty of youth. Now that is something to smile about, isn't it?

Have a smileful day, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Quantum Mechanics & The Dice - predictability, probability, Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr and other odds and ends......

Einstein, Heisenberg and Bohr
When you think you know enough you look for Predictability.
When you think you don’t know enough you look for Probability.
When you think you know nothing you look for Divinity.

Quantum Mechanics.
According to Heisenberg’s theory of Quantum Mechanics, the nature of things alters by the very act of observation by someone. At the level of sub-atomic particles, Heisenberg suggests that it is impossible to determine a particle’s position and speed, because the mere observation of the particles radically affects their behavior. But I knew this for the longest time…

The Women Sub-particle – The nature of a young woman changes if she is observed by a man. All sorts of questions and thoughts pass through her – She blushes and fidgets, thinking “I must be hot!”, or wondering “Is he going to talk to me or not? What is taking him so long?” The nature of woman changes even more if she is observed by another woman – “Why is she staring at me? Is she looking at my shoes now? “Oh my God! Do I have a tear somewhere?” “Do I know her?” “Is she judging me???”

The Men in prayers Sub-particle – The nature of man changes if he is observed in prayers. It is a subtler change compared to women, less obvious and almost unconscious. The posture straightens, the head lowers more in modesty and the eyelids tremble in ostentatious piety. Hehehe. It happens to the best of us sometimes. We want to be humble of course, but end up appearing to be humble. Not the same thing.

The Dice Quarrel
Okay, enough jokes, back to the serious stuffs. Einstein was terribly unhappy with the messy-probability idea of Heisenberg because for him, accuracy and predictability was the natural and elegant form of the processes of nature. So if we cannot predict the weather or the fall of a dice, it is simply because we do not know enough about the factors that affect such events. As Einstein famously commented on the improbability of the improbability theory of the Universe – “God does not play dice!” One day, Niels Bohr (another proponent of Quantum Mechanics) was heard to have retorted, “Stop telling God what to do with His dice!”

An Interesting Postscript - I talked to Heche and Fifi over lunch about Quantum Mechanics, and they laughed over the Dice Quarrel. Later Fifi dropped us off at the office, and as we were about to alight the steps what did I notice but a dice on an empty parking space. The improbability of it! But it DID happen. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Towards God and towards us. God is not asking all of us to be superhuman geniuses. He has given us the intellect that we might use it, and He has given us a heart and conscience, that we might direct our intellect in the best direction. And what is the best direction? I think that direction points towards Him. And in a contradictory and quantum mechanical way, I think it also points towards us.

Something to ponder over, sunshine.

Wa min Allah at-taufiq

Footnote: I got all these interesting information from a wonderful BBC documentary on Einstein. Click Here if you are interested.

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Tea, Coffee and the Barely-there Mustache

Tea-drinkers - "Coffee is the beverage for barbarians..."
A Cup of Flux
Last night I was pottering around the kitchen
When suddenly, a flux in time and space
Found myself walking with my head high up in the clouds,

And although I found the experience breath-taking
I could not see what my feet was doing,
And frankly, I was starting to get dizzy...

So I returned to my normal size
And happily, things are now
As they have always been…
As they ought to be,

And I am me once again,
Just a man, tired and sleepy,
Pottering in his kitchen
Making some tea.

Everyone loves tea. Except for those who prefer coffee, like me. But I have a sneaky feeling that in the great working of the Universe, tea is up there for the elite and learned, while coffee is left for the barbarians and peasants like me. This may not be true, it is just a feeling, after all.

I am cool, learned and unbelievably good-looking.
I drink tea.
The Turks love tea so much that I recall Ihsan the Turk dabbing his one-month old son's lips with drops of tea. "Rafael will learn to like tea, brother." He explained to me. Well, if you do that, of course he will.

In honour of tea, I am in fact having iced milk tea right this very moment. Sitting with me are my neighbourhood street-sweepers who begin the day with breakfast at ALAI, an Indian Muslim restaurant near my house. They are a noisy cheerful lot, considering they are sweeping the streets and picking up litter and garbage all day. Why is it that Indian men like to keep mustaches? To be honest, I am myself trying to grow a mustache. I think a mustache would give my face 'character'. But jeepers, when I am surrounded by these guys with their great big thick black upper-lip hair... Well, I feel rather inadequate with my own thin sparse barely-there mustache.

Oh well.

Have a beautiful facial hair day, sunshine, if you are a man that is. If you are a woman, then have an ordinary beautiful day sans facial hair.

God bless.

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Monday, March 26, 2012

Daily Planner of an 8 year old - Mikhail and his lunch problems...

An 8 year old's life is not easy. Busy with school and social commitments. There is homework to do and let's not even talk about playtime. So busy. Mika asked for a Daily Planner from his mum. I have just sent him to school, so now I can have a good look in his Daily Planner... Hehehe. I should respect his privacy? Nonsense. Honestly, what DOES an 8 year old need to plan for anyway?

Yes. He leaves for school around 6.45am. And I see he is timing to finish his lunch
of chicken, fish and rice in exactly 10 minutes. What?! 2 hours 10 minutes to play on
the laptop?! And then watch TV for 1 hour 10 minutes?! I gotta get this boy outdoors...
I also note that I am suppose to be back by 6pm to help him with his homework.
So this is not just Mika's Daily Planner, but mine too. 
He has a 'Lunch Problem'. Poor guy. But he has a tip! - make instant pot mee (noodle)
and share with someone (I cannot figure out the hideous scrawl).
Mika noticed that he mistakenly jotted down his Monday schedule on Sunday.
So here is his actual schedule. I am interested with the line "school footnote: check on
website lunch prbolems."
 I think he has more spelling prbolems that lunch prbolems.
Mika's life is full of footnotes - "Listen in assembly" The school has an
assembly every Monday, I think. 
22nd July... he remembers! Written in his curious 8 year old cynical wit -
"nobody's birthday. no just kiddin. Papa's birthday"
Kids... they are just smaller versions of us. But perhaps better and smarter.

Have a lovely Monday, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Wisdom of Not Knowing - When Nothing is More than Everything

The Wisdom of Not Knowing -
When Nothing is More than Everything
Do not let your knowledge
Get in the way of your learning, my son.
Do not let your understanding
Get in the way of your experimenting, my son.
Do not let your opinions
Get in the way of your inspirations!

Never say “I know.”, my son.
Say “I don’t know
And I am here to learn
And to be guided."

Never say “I will lead,”
Say instead, “I am here to listen
And to obey.”

This is an important lesson, my son;
Once you know nothing, you are nothing -
Then see how the Sun and the Rain comes and goes
At your beck and call.
For you have given yourself to nothingness and
Into the embrace of our One Lord, God,
You have given your all…
You have given your all…

Give more of your all…
Give more of your all…

For don’t you know?
Once you are nothing,
You become bigger than everything.

I try not to give knowledge to my son. Who am I after all? Am I so knowledgeable that I can condescend to pour knowledge into my son's mind? My school grades were pretty average, and my spiritual grades? Oh dear. I am too embarrassed to share with you!

We parents are not treasure troves of knowledge after all. We are merely stores of happy and painful lessons from our own lives. We cannot teach our children True Knowledge, but hopefully, we may yet be a lesson for them to the Path of True Knowledge - 

Parent to Child
When it comes to True Knowledge, my child,
I cannot dictate, I can only share. 
And I cannot command you, I can only advise...

Seek the Path!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

I have died a million times over. We all have - the sanctity of life and the madness of men

I have died a million times over,
I have mourned my own passing more times
Than there are grains of sand by the sea.

I have died a million times over,
I have drawn the shroud over my lifeless body
And as the mourners shuffle around my burial plot
I could hear myself mutter, “Goodbye Mummy.”

I have died a million times over,
In my house, in my village, in the lonely desert,
In the forest, in the hills and gentle valleys,
Wherever Man have settled
I have died there.

I have died a million times over,
I have been killed over pride and money,
Over land and bigotry,
Over lies and jealousy,
Alone or in a phalanx of soldiers
Or standing with my back against the wall,
They killed me.

I have died a million times over,
And my Lord has mourned over my passing,
And I have laid my broken heart into His embrace
As He asked, “How could have they done this to you…?”

I have died a million times over, you see,
And each time I answer God,
“Forgive them, for they know not what they do…”

This posting is written on the weary back of this sinner, who sometimes despairs at the madness of man and their terrible ways - Our destructiveness on this Earth and our spite that we lash out towards our own brothers and sisters for all sorts of reasons. The Angels were aware of our inner dark fires. They forgot themselves when they deigned to question God in the Holy Quran 2:30...

Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I will create a vicegerent on earth." They said: "Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?- whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?" He said: "I know what ye know not." (Yusuf Ali translation)

Of the act of unlawfully taking another person's life, this is said in the Quran 5:32

On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land. (Yusuf Ali translation)

So I am not far wrong, you see. When a 5 year old girl was kidnapped and murdered in cold blood recently here in Malaysia, we all died. When a Rabbi and the three children were killed by a so-called Jihadist in France recently, we all died. When that so-called Christian crusader went on a bomb and shooting spree and killing almost 80 people in Oslo last year, we all died.

With each murder on this planet, we diminish as a nation of humanity. Because murder is the rejection of our very humanity. It is the Divine Answer, 'I know what ye know not' that holds us together like a thread, despite the murderers in our midst. And it is the life-savers and care-givers of this world - the doctors and nurses, the paramedics and volunteers, the charities and donors, the kind Samaritans and rescuers, who put back our faith in our own humanity. For to quote God again "...And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people..."

Thank you for allowing me to share my little sorrow and hope with you, sunshine. May God bless you always and may God forgive me. And may we always learn something new to make tomorrow a better day, God-willing. 

Pax Taufiqa

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The West and the Irrationality in Rationalism - get a grip, will you?

These are all good and religious people. But the rationalist-agnostic-atheist will have
you believe that Abul Kalam Azad, Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa were good
in spite of their religious beliefs. Oh come on... And they accuse religious people of
being bigoted and condescending?

The West and The Conflict
We are not heirs to the Western conflict,
We are not participants in this debate
Between those who believe in God
And those who disbelieve…

We are not in their history,
We are not involved in their story,
We have no problems adapting,
We have no problems changing,
We have no problems tolerating
The many passions and strange obsessions of man,
Whether he is in secular study,
Or praying in religious robes…

For in their arguments
The agnostics and preachers,
The conservatives and liberals,
The Traditionalists and Progressives
All forget good manners and
Taint both rationalism and spiritualism.

May God save us from the earnest ones!

I am an avid follower of American politics. And I guess I have become familiar and much acquainted with liberal progressive views propagated by the likes of Bill Maher and The Young Turks. And I am the first to admit that some of the brightest and sparkling intellectual stars do populate the agnostic atheistic constellation. I agree with a lot of what they say. They are smart, they are sexy and they are very persuasive. Just like me. Hehehe.

But I have discerned an air of smugness in the representations of their ideas against believers of God in the US. And they are starting the bad habit of pontificating, just like the Evangelicals that they abhor. This is not a good trend.

It doesn't matter what you believe to be the truth. Nobody wants to drink wine, however sweet and pure it may be, if it is served in a dirty glass. Bad manners = dirty glass.

I hope the rationalists will maintain their rationalism in their challenge against what they think to be the irrationality of religious people. "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind", said Mahatma Gandhi.

Don't you agree, sunshine?

wa min Allah at-taufiq

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

Friday, March 23, 2012

You are here again. Is it because you love Me?

The Meaning of Praying
Ho seeker! Said the Lord,
What are you doing here?
You are not obliged to talk to Me
Until the next cycle…
Do you miss talking to Me?
Do you miss My nearness?
Do you miss being free with your feelings?
Do you miss the intimacy you share with Me
Which you cannot share with any other?
Do you miss the hymn, the meaningful pauses
And gentle silences?

Oh, you noticed, did you?...
The carpet and curtain of flowers
That I drew for you when you stepped
Out of My mosque?
Oh, you saw, did you? ...
The yellow blooms falling gently
And you wondered, “Is this a farewell for me?”

You were obliged to come to My House,
But no obligation is compelling you now,
So why are you here?

Is it because you think you Love me?

The meaning of Sembahyang / Solat
It is difficult to talk without pretense. For our multi-layered personality manifests itself in what we speak. It is not that we wish to talk falsely, but as human beings we are quite good at misguiding ourselves. So even if we speak the truth, it may not be the whole truth.

Manifestation of the Complete Truth is only before The Truth
It is only before Truth Himself that the whole truth of what we say and the whole truth of who we are, manifest itself. For one of the known attributes and names of God is al-Haqq, meaning The Truth. Yes, we do confide our happiness and sadness, our problems and successes with a beloved, be it a mother, a father, a BFF (best-friends-forever), mate or spouse. But he or she will not read the complete truth, for he or she is not God. 

Natural as Breathing
Perhaps that is why people of any religion, when they bow, kneel or prostrate themselves before God, hold praying in the highest of regards. For them, it is not a chore nor a ritual. It is as natural as breathing. And that, I think, is the essence of the perfected faith.

Umar al-Khattab Mosque, Bukit Damansara
The Perfect Host of the Spiritual Feast
As a Muslim, a sembahyang / solat (sembahyang is the Malay word for prayers, in Arabic it is solat, we use them interchangeably) is like accepting a keen invitation – obligatory because there is nothing finer that you can do for those brief minutes you spend in prayers to God. It is an invitation to an intimate soiree, and sometimes, when you are praying in a group, God as the Perfect Host has even designated a singer, the Imam (leader) in front of the congregation, to recite in melodious harmony the poetry in perfection that is the Quran. At this feast, spiritual food has been prepared and perfected for anyone to partake. And there is no end to the dishes for your delicate tastebuds – Dishes refined in Divine Love, Beauty, Poetry, Compassion, Tolerance, Friendship and Servanthood. A compelling spiritual menu for any human being hungry for spiritual succor. That is the meaning of Sembahyang / Solat to me. Alas, how can it be any other way when your Host is God Himself?

Well, this is my understanding of prayers at this point anyway. Tomorrow, who knows? Perhaps it will get better and better. I hope so too...

God bless you, sunshine. May you find solace and joy in your pious rituals, however you may pray to the One God that we all share.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

All Muslims must be Environmentalists - little children and little khalifahs..

The word 'Khalifah' is a commonly used term referring to the caliphs of the Muslim Caliphate that stretched for close to 1400 years ending only in 1923 with the abdication of the last Ottoman caliph.

Its actual meaning, after extensive 2-minutes search on Google, encompasses 'a civil or religious leader of a Muslim state considered a representative of God on earth'. It can also mean a lieutenant or regent of God, ie mankind as a whole.

I often see the bumper sticker 'Little Khalifah' on cars here in Malaysia. No doubt, placed there by proud Muslim parents. I don't mind, I think it is kinda tacky but it's cute. Nevertheless, I also believe that like most forms, names, words and labels, the meaning must be understood.

For me, the word Khalifah attracts obligations. It does not attract dominion or authority. For in the words of a prose posted earlier -

The Best Master is the Best Servant
The Best Servant is the Best Master

So the term Khalifah is a spiritual designation weighed with responsibility and accountability. It encompasses our obligations to our family, our neighbours, our people, our country and humanity. It encompasses how well we treat the environment, the animals and crop that we have domesticated and cultivated, as well as the wild animals and fauna in the forest and desert, and the fishes and mammals that swim in the seas and rivers. We are responsible for the air that we breath and the water that we use. Every drop of water wasted, every pollutant spilled into the stream, every smoke, smog and pollution our factories spit into the clean air - all these we are responsible for.

Perhaps it is better that our little Khalifah children all remain little, if they but knew the breadth of their responsibilities to mankind and mother nature when they grow older and becomes accountable for their actions and omissions.

I do think that all Muslims should be, by their own definitions, environmentalists... And I do believe that everyone else, by reason, should be environmentalists too. After all, it is not as if we have another Earth to migrate to if we destroy this one...

Something to think about this Friday, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Thursday, March 22, 2012

No loss, No win... just Truth

No Loss, No Win
Truth is come,
Will the heart withstand?

In the fastness of its hallowed pasture
Truth is here as a storm of hailstones,
As a dry and bitter drought,
Assailing your home,
Or whether Truth is here
As the teardrop of angels
In the morning rain?
Do we not always struggle in vain?
Looking to Truth as
Boon or bane?

When in truth, Truth is Truth
In whatever guise Truth
May come in,
And to surrender is to accept
That there is, in truth,
No loss, no win.

Pax Taufiqa

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Let Love Finish Your Sentence, the Prophet said

1. To change the way you feel
The Prophet said,
I am here to change
The way you feel.
To end your penance.
And to teach you to
Let Love finish your sentence.

To give your life meaning,
To answer your yearning.

We are not perfect. We are creatures subservient to our oppressive ego, our emotions changing with the ebb and tide of our passions. One day we can be very good, on another day not so good. One moment we are like Mother Theresa, on another day we are like the Scrooge.

Sometimes, especially in the heat of the moment, in the tremors of our anger or indignation we start off by saying the wrong things. But I hope, however far we may err, we can still let Love finish our sentence. If we start this morning miserable and bitter, I hope when we rest our head on the pillow tonight, we can do so with contentment and peace. So long as you are still breathing there is still time to let Love finish our sentence, and end our day well.
If you see me drifting into a storm, reel me back to calmer waters.

People often say that imagination is the map to invention, art and beauty. It is true. But it should be anchored to love. For imagination is a powerful force, and one that can have a good or bad ending. I cannot say that I am anchored to love, being the miserable sinner. But I am anchored to you, sunshine. So if you see me drifting into a storm, reel me back to calmer waters. If you see me despairing, gather me in your arms. If you see me angry and hateful, tell me that I am not worthy of such tempers. I think God made many of us humans so that we might look out for each other, yes?

Have a good Thursday, pet.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Our Story is Ancient - man and the ego

Kiara Cemetery
41. You will burn, o’ Ego
I am here, o’ Ego,
In spite of you!
How well you disguise
Yourself to be my Heart!
How cunningly do you
Entwine your desire
With my Heart’s desire!
How weary you have
Made me to be!
But it is your mission,
And you are made blind
To my Lord and my Master
In the pursuit thereof!

But my Heart is not blind,
My Heart is not deaf,
So please do entwine
Your vine of thorns
Around my Heart,
But beware!
For there is a flame
Burning therein,
It is white and luminous
And surely, you will burn.

Oh, Ego!
You will never understand me,
As I will never fully comprehend myself,
Such knowledge being hidden
From me for my sake,
And hidden from you
For your sake.
I am informed by well situated sources that the human ego is an appalling creature - despicable, envious, ambitious, prideful, greedy, cunning, manipulative and chameleon-like in its ability to change colours to suit the cloth we are wearing at any given time - The ego can manifest itself as the priest, the clergyman, the carpentar, the student, the father, the judge, the gambler, the politician, the mother, the poet etc. The list goes on and on. There is no guise that you can put on that the human ego cannot mimic.

Compared to the human ego, the chameleon is a complete amateur at changing its looks
The ego's manifest powers are fitting when it faces its natural quarry - us. Silly, stupid and often careless, we rarely consider ourselves spiritual creatures, what more heavenly beings. But we are. Each of us connected to an ancient story originating from the time of Adam and Eve in heaven, and many infinities further back then that to the creation of the Light of the Beloved. Our story is ancient.

I am stringing this long, long parable because the only clear victory we can achieve over the ego is through the patience, sincerity and honesty contained in the humble cup of servanthood that is offered to every man, woman and child. I myself sometimes accept and sometimes reject this cup. I do this because I am stupid and often egoistic. You don't have to be like me. Indeed, you are better than me.

That is what gives me hope every day that I am alive. Don't you know that, sunshine?

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way