Thursday, May 31, 2012

Walking by the Sea, on the Shore of Mercy - my mother and The Lord of Love

My Mother and The Lord of Love
Say hello to my mother for me,
When you see her walking by the sea,
Say hello to my mother for me,
As she walks on the shore of mercy,
Say hello to my mother for me,
And tell her that if she hears songs and praise
Coming in with the tide, and in the sea-born breeze,
That the songs for Muhammad is coming
From none other than me…

Say hello to my mother for me,
And tell her how sorry I feel…
For not singing for her when she was alive,
For not being there for her when she needed me the most,
And the many times that I was in and out of her house
Less of a son, more like a ghost.

Say hello to my mother for me,
And tell her that I am the grains of sand between her toes,
The gentle cooling surf over her tired feet,
And that for me, she shall never grow old,
To live forever in my words, my deeds
And in my prose.

Say hello to my mother for me,
And embrace her on my behalf,
Assure her that I am safe and good,
Embraced as I am also, by the Lord of Love.

10 long years ago, my mother passed away. But in a manner of speaking, our conversation has not stopped for a moment. More numerous centuries ago, my Prophet Muhammad Habibullah, Beloved of God(pbuh) passed on, yet the conversation continues - through the light of sainthood, passed from one master to another, before finally, reaching us right here and now.

Wherever you are, whatever you may be doing, however you are called and by whatever name you call unto God, the truth is that we are all lying in wait by the shore of His Sea of Infinite Mercy. If you believe in God, and if you believe that that God created and owns us, and that you did not create or own God by your own knowledge... how can you and I be much different? - united as we are, in the praise and worship of the One God! The Lord of Love!

God bless all sweet mummies.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Through the Veil and Into the Garden of Solace

2. Did You Pray?
I cannot recall.

I do remember folding paper ships
And setting them upon the water,
A gentle breeze from Qubruz came and carried them away

As I waved them farewell
I caught my reflection in the water
To find the face smiling back at me
Belonged to another.

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

Perhaps today it is better not to talk much. Sometimes it is better to leave the prose dancing in the halls and salons of your heart, and let it take you to where it shall take you... through the veil and into the garden of solace. Go on... do not be shy.

Thank you for coming in today, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Moral iPhone - The Misadventures of Saint SIRI™ Part 1

Introducing... Saint SIRI™
If you have an IPhone™ 4S, you will be familiar with the SIRI™ voice and speech recognition feature. It is not exactly like C3PO, and you are unlikely to be able to have an extended conversation with SIRI™.

SIRI™... Huh! What is the big deal about her?! I am fluent in over
six million forms of communication…

To serve this gap in the market, I am developing an APP called Saint SIRI™. This APP will modify and enhance your speech recognition experience with your IPhone™. It will be awesome. But like all new technology, there will be its ups and downs…
No, Siri... Wait... Stop...!

MAN: Siri, please call honeybun…
SAINT SIRI™: Understood, but I have noticed that you have been making very long calls to ‘honeybun’ late at night. I also see that your sms-es to ‘honeybun’ is full of romantic words. There are also many graphic and sexually overt expressions which I am prohibited to repeat by Apple™…
MAN: Eh?
SAINT SIRI™: … I have checked and found out that ‘honeybun’ is not the contact number of your spouse as recorded in my database. Is this her other phone number or has she recently changed it?
MAN: Err… err…
SAINT SIRI™: Don’t worry. I shall contact your spouse and confirm this for you.
MAN: No, Siri… Wait… Stop…!

Thank you for coming by this whimsical Wednesday. God bless you, sunshine, and may the Force be with you. If you are serious about looking for a saint, try asking God. I have no doubt that He will send one for you... 

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Earlier 'i' postings, Click Here for Plug in your iGod and listen

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

3 Short Stories – The 3F Approach, The good thing about being wrong and my strange brother’s gifts

The 3F Approach
The fuel in my car is running low. Must get to a pump station soon. During my student days, my modus operandi when it comes to fuel usage is called The 3F Approach. The first “F” stands for fuel. Once that runs out, we rely on the second “F” which is the fumes. And when both fuel and fumes have been thoroughly exhausted we simply rely on the third and final “F” beyond which there is no other recourse – Faith. So the 3F stands for Fuel Fumes Faith in that order.

I think my car stopped running only once in my life due to an utter absence of carbon fuel. I remember bitterly commenting, “This is probably because someone in this car is lacking in faith.” A friend in the back seat replied, “I don’t know about that, but it is obvious to me that your car is lacking in fuel, you Scrooge! Do you really have to wait until the very last drop of oil before you refuel?”

The Good Thing About Being Wrong
Yup, I like being wrong. Especially when it comes to feeling angry or bitter. I have a short fuse and I sometimes explode. But I don’t explode in front of the person who allegedly hurt me, but mumble curses and expletives under my breath, just loud enough for Heche to hear. Poor girl. But sometimes (many times, actually), I find out very soon after that I misjudged the person whom only moments ago I was fuming mad with. I do feel a little sheepish and embarrassed by my sotto voce outburst. But in such cases, I prefer to be in the wrong than right. I prefer to find myself the villain, than to be under the impression that someone else was wrong and somehow hurt and treated me unfairly.

Of course it would be even better if I did not lose my temper to begin with. Hehehe. 

My Strange Brother’s Gifts
Well, my brother is back from Jordan with many interesting stories and insights into the Jordanians, the Horseback Archery competition (hands down the Hungarians were the best), and of course King Abdullah II of Jordan, The Caliph of Islam. But that is for another time, now I just wanna talk about the stuffs that my brother brought back from his trip.

First, Abang Cik (for that is what I call him, his name is Saiful) said he bought me an old hard cover book (printed in the 70s) about the infamous Beria – the sinister, mad, murderous, political apparatchik of Stalin. When he told me that, an unuttered thought crossed my mind, “You went all the way to Jordan, The legendary land of the Prophets, Saints and Companions and you bought a book about a malevolent psychopath of the Stalinist regime?”

Don’t get me wrong. I was looking forward to reading the book. But later that night there was a furtive knock on the door, and my brother came in and in his hand was a brass pocket watch. He said, “This is for you. Thank you for everything.” Whereupon he suddenly hugged and kissed me.

What a strange fellow my brother is. But I am the one who should be thankful. Because I know that he bought the pocket watch for himself, but decided to give it to me.

Have a lovely day, sunshine. A lovely, brotherly day.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Monday, May 28, 2012

Mission in Jordan Accomplished - Oath of loyalty (bay'at) given and accepted by His Majesty, The Caliph of Islam, Commander of the Believers

Six Men From the East
Six men from the East bearing the banner of the dragon,
Stood before His Majesty and His Royal Throne,
Six giving oath of loyalty for themselves
And of those whose names were written,
To all whom the Caliph said, "Yea, I accept"
And with that glad tidings, the six men
From the East has returned home.

The lads are back from Jordan, with their mission accomplished. The ancient tradition of the giving of the bay'at to the Caliph has been successfully performed and accepted by His Majesty himself. What interesting times we live in!

The Caliph, King Abdullah II of the Hashimite Kingdom of Jordan

Happy, happy days, sunshine. May you be blessed with happy, happy days. A bright light is shining, darkness is ebbing like a rising dawn. Have patience, maintain your good manners and be merciful, so surely you shan't go wrong, in whatever cloak of faith that you deign to dress in. May God bless all the believers in all faiths.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Against The Tag Team of The Ego and The Devil - Muhammad, Prophet of God (pbuh)

The Mirror of God & The Bar Above the Dot
When I looked into the mirrors on the wall,
Upon the reflections cast on windows,
I see myself, growing cold and old.

Then I came upon the Mirror of God,
Muhammad, Prophet of the Lord,
The Bar above the Dot,
And slowly I began to forget
And leave behind the trappings
Of my tired old ego.

His story became my story,
His life became my life,
His love became my love,
His worry became my worry,
His hope became my hope,
And slowly, I let go
Of the chain of my ego
That for the longest time
Oppressed my heart and my mind.

So nothing now stands before him,
This Mirror of God,
Save for a soul, who once struggled
With himself, having now lost
His self in the sweet ocean of Ahad,
Trailing foot prints on
The shore of Ahmad.

'The Bar above the Dot' is an old story about the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) referencing the Arabic script 'Ba'. The very first alphabet is 'Alif' in which the 'bar' is standing upright and alone - taken to mean the one God of all humanity and creation. 'Ba' which is the second alphabet is seen as the 'bar' falling into the state of prostration, and below the bar is a 'dot'. The 'dot' is interpreted to be God, and above Him is the 'bar' of Muhammad(pbuh). Above Muhammad is all of creation.

The Mirror of God is a new parable to me at least. But it recalls an old sufi tradition about the Prophet, Abu Jahl(his worst enemy) and Abu Bakr(his closest Companion). In that tale the persona of the Prophet is depicted as the Flawless Mirror. And indeed how each person who looks upon him, sees himself (or herself) in his most true nature, good, naughty, bad or downright loathsome.

Ahad is one of the names of God (meaning One, absolutely One, clearly and undoubtedly only One in the absolute Oneness that only God uniquely has) and Ahmad, is of course another holy name for Muhammad(pbuh).

The Ego and the Devil... The Sufis really (really) loves talking about the Ego and Muhammad(pbuh). But I reckon it is because they have good reasons to do so. Firstly, they are told to do so, and so they do it. Secondly, the human Ego is quite simply the very worst enemy inside the individual and collective human psyche. The Devil (Iblis, Satan, Bezelbub, Diablo...) in his numerous names, titles and minions that obey him is your enemy outside, the one who is the whisperer (he does nothing else really), telling you to do all sorts of nefarious and stupid things that will only cause hurt on yourself and those close to you. But it is our ego that is the loyal listener inside us, the one who will betray us, if we follow its machinations and promptings. They often work together, our Ego and the Devil. And they are cunning, patient, determined and assiduous in plotting our spiritual and physical downfall. They have had epochs of time to craft their methodologies while we shall only have about 60 to 70 years (Godwilling, hehehe) of life experience to set against their vast experience that stretches across the ages. Alone, we shall have no chance.

Yes, we all love solitude sometimes. But do we really
want to face the challenges of this life alone?

Veneration of Muhammad. Set against this background I can understand why the Sufis hold unto the coattails of Muhammad, Beloved of God. As a Prophet, and indeed, the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad(pbuh) is the creation of God designed (with God's infinite power and subtlety) to overcome and dominate over the ego and the Devil with his patience, kindness, wisdom, beauty and divine power.

And those 'others'. So it surprises me that some Muslims want to go it alone. They disbelieve in the intercessions of the Prophet(pbuh) nor do they believe that Saints persist to this very day. They think that tassawuf (inner contemplation) is hogwash, rabita (spiritual connections) and fana (spiritual state of annihilation) stink of witchcraft and deception. They take pride in their knowledge and figure it is enough for them to face the ego and the Devil. Well... good luck to them, I say!

I don't know about you, but I am a fool. I am not very smart, nor have I been imbued with holy powers to face The Tag Team of The Ego and the Devil in the wrestling ring alone. So I cling unto those who cling unto the Prophet(pbuh). What can I say... I am a weak, beggarly fellow.


Have a lovely day, sunshine!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Sunday, May 27, 2012

God and Goodness in the Little Things

183. The Little Things
If I am not your distraction,
Shall I ever be your devotion?
If you do not remember Me in the little things,
Will any miracle persuade you into believing?

"This world is a distraction!", the mystics often warned. Indeed, they are not wrong. But sometimes it is the little things in this world that sway your thoughts to God and goodness. Like little flowers waving in the breeze. Like an unexpected hug from a nephew. Like a late night sms saying "Sayang, I love u!!!"

Traditional Malay warrior costume, meant really for the tropics
and not the desert. But still looking good. Hehehe

When it comes to the big things, I am not worried. For I have friends, small in stature, but with a big, big heart. They are on their final day in Jordan after participating in the Al Faris International Horseback Archery Competition. And soon, they will be flying home together with my brother, Poone.

Smiling... but this pair packs a punch!
Awesome, awesome pictures from the Videographerz

I have seen the pictures, loyally recorded by The Videographerz (click here to their Facebook page). Now I cannot wait to hear the stories!

A band of brothers...
Another band of brothers... (Poone is siting on the floor, second from the right
and wearing the traditional black Malay songkok)

Hope you are having a sunny Sunday, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Patience & Your New Universe of Beautiful Meanings

16. Truth Shaken in the Vessel of Imperfect Reality
Tyranny in spite of liberty,
- because the majority can be tyrannous...
Death in spite of wealth,
- because no money will save you from death...
Pride in spite of poverty,
- because even the most beggarly hovel can house hubris...
Ugly in spite of beauty,
- because vanity spoils all beauty...
Envy in spite of piety.
- because you have gain knowledge but not wisdom...

I must have been ticked off by some event when I recorded this prose many years ago. I really cannot imagine what it was, but if you would simply open your newspaper today, you can easily find at least one story (and probably many more) that, sadly, depicts the prose perfectly.

But no sooner was this poem recorded, an affirmative, hopeful one was written, probably the very next day...

17. Patience
Unto me!
A new Universe!

And it is true. For however the world may turn, if we have patience... it is always a brand new world. A new universe of meaning in every breath that we inhale and exhale. And with patience, it is always a good meaning...

As how my father was yesterday. Not even his most loyal friends shall say that Khalid is the most patient person that they know. But yesterday, I accompanied my father to the workshop. We drove there because Adam, his grandson and my nephew, had car problem and had to have the car towed, and so we promised to meet him at the workshop. Because it was rush hour, there was some delay. But there was my father quietly sitting on his walking-stick-cum-stool, as the sun began to set and twilight draws nearer in.

When Adam finally arrived almost an hour late (they got lost) he was distraught with worry and quick to apologise, but surprisingly, his grandfather only assured him, "Don't worry, don't worry. It is not your fault."

A new world

Whether you are an ordinary man, simply waiting for your grandson and the tow-truck, whether you are a stay-at-home mum, a busy businessman, a diskjockey, a Sufi Shaykh or the Caliph of Islam, it is patience that is always the key to peace and happiness. Don't you agree?

A new Caliph

Thank you for coming in, sunshine. Always happy to have you here.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Love, Thy Will Be Done - happy in the determination of a Most Loving God

Love, Thy Will Be Done
Father is left sleeping in the TV room,
While above crows hop from branch to branch of a tree,
Around me, Indians laugh that happy half-day laugh,
And a hornet hovers near, not bothering me…
Love, Thy will be done.

A collie dog greeted me in my dream,
Clouds gather in the near horizon,
As I wonder now - where is the mother of my life?
And where is the Prince, the Purple Dragon?
Who is keeping them company..?
Love, Thy will be done.

Earlier I fell asleep, as the face
Of my love drifted in front of me.
And now I am thinking - when my son marries
Will I be there with him? Or shall I only
Come to him in a dream..?
Love, Thy will be done.

I have words yet to be spoken,
Stories yet to be written,
But I will not plan nor choose
Thy coming, o’ Love.
I shall let Thee surprise me,
In Thy infinite ways…
Love, Thy will be done.

I am waiting for Thee, Love,
And of Thy coming I am making ready,
And I have for Thee a cask of golden mead,
A goblet of ruby wine,
For one time soon…
O’ Love, 
Thy will be mine.

No commentaries today, sunshine. For you know and I know already, Love... Thy will be done.

And we are happy with Thee, o' Love, however and whatever Thou determines.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Friday, May 25, 2012

Humour, The Cup of Ikhlas and The Path of Endurance

Piety & Irony
Oh my Lord, oh my Prophet,
Forgive me for hiding my serious-ity,
Containing my deep felt yearning
And my heart that oft becomes teary
And the thought of You...

Between the levity in piety
And the sweet, sweet humour in irony,
You very well know where my place is...

Between Abdul Qader and Rumi
Sits me, between the aisles
And beneath the Prophet's radiant smile!

Humour and The Cup of Ikhlas
I spend a little time in a day, observing the chatter on Facebook. And I am attracted most to those who give me their brand of piety in little and often humorous bite-size nuggets of faithful reflection on God, the Angels the Prophet, His Companions, the Saints and Mankind.

But you don't know people really. Especially on the internet, and sometimes we inadvertently cross the line between what is respectful and what is disrespectful in the perception of people. But for my friends, humour (especialy irony) is an essential part of their faith. Because without humour, we become, let's face it, boring old farts and we start to take ourselves WAY too seriously. And that often enough, can lead to self-righteousness and hubris - which is the poison to the Sufi's Cup of Ikhlas (Sincerity) - the holy grail sought by all mystics through out the ages, regardless of their religion.

The Sufi Path is an Endurance Race, not a Short Sprint
So we try to keep our comments in this almanac and on the FB wall light and breezy. Not because the matter in discussion is unimportant. But because we need to maintain a decent pace in how we live our life and try to avoid committing into words holy promises which we may not be able to live up to. The path (Sufi Tariqa) is not a short sprint but an endurance race. We race over hills of joy and valleys of sadness, through bogs of doubt and up highlands of certainty, through a route set by He Who Organises Best (aka God). And lo, how God makes it so interesting for us!

So there it is. My apologia for my lack of levity and serious-ity about religion. But to share a secret with you, sunshine... I am very serious with my humour and do try my best to keep everyone entertained...

Thank you for coming by, today. God bless.

wa mi Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

My Brother, Horseback Archery in Jordan and the Caliph of Islam

I have mentioned earlier in the almanac about my brother, Saiful Bahri (or 'Poone' to his friends). I have always thought him to be a rather dissolute and eccentric character. Not caring much about money, women or status. He lives with me and my father, all presently unmarried. But as my father became a widower some 10 years ago, and I myself a divorcee some 4 years ago, Abang Cik (as how I like to call him) has never been married. Just like Jesus. And I guess Jesus-like, I found him rather exasperating in his detached unworldly approach towards life.

He doesn't take much to working, nor does he have any hobby that I can see. He is however the major domo of the household, together with my father in a curious (and often argumentative) partnership to maintain the upkeep of the house and other day-to-day chores. Abang Cik is also a loving, patient and generous uncle to all his nephews, including my own son, Mikhail. But above all, he has been the genesis of my own thoughts, words and art. It was he that propelled me towards reading, writing, music, art and above all, towards al Marhum Shaykh Raja Ashman Shah ibni Sultan Azlan Shah (Ku Ash) and his beloved Mawlana of Lefke, Cyprus. And in all these, he did with an affectionate love for the things and the people that he loves. He was never pushy.

I would not have known or met these gentlemen
were it not for my brother. "Hello, Poone's brother!" I imagine
them saying to me sometimes. 

The reason why I am writing all this undeserved accolade is because the git is not around anymore. He has joined the Malaysian traditional mounted archers in Amman, Jordan. He left on Tuesday night. He is not actually a mounted archer, nor is he even an archer. Shall we say that he is there as an usher-cum-observer for the entire proceedings in Jordan. Interestingly, this is Abang Cik's first trip abroad after 25 years. For the preceding quarter century, he has essentially been in an extended suluq, a form of solitary meditation - Like a bear hibernating in a cave during the winter months... Is the spring season of his life finally here?

That is my brother in the middle. Hehehe. No, just kidding.

The night before my brother left, my father suddenly came to me looking anxious. He asked, "Is Saiful going to ride a horse? It's dangerous, you know..." I assured my worried pater that my brother shan't be riding a horse, and that the only way he will take part in the competition is if there is a special category for couch-back archery. For that event he has been practising for the longest time. Hehehe.

It's been three days (not that I am counting) since he left, and not a word from my family dervish in Jordan. I hope he's alright...

I guess I kinda miss my brother. But I also envy him for being in Jordan, under the grace of the Commander of the Believers, Caliph of Islam - King Abdullah II. Lucky git (I mean my brother... not the Caliph)

wa min Allah at-taufiq

For earlier posting on the al Faris International Horseback Archery entitled Air Awliya... Click Here.

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Thursday, May 24, 2012

True Love and the Definition of a Village House

This is not a 'kampung' (village) house. To be a kampung house,
it needs to actually be in a kampung. Oh, I see...
When I wrote about Kak Mutiah's home in Tanjung Karang recently, I made a mistake. I called it a kampung (village) house. Because to her, a village house has to be in a village, consisting of small houses (mostly on stilts) not too far apart and generally surrounded with trees, orchards and gardens. I know this because when I drove her back last Tuesday morning, she said, "I don't like living in the kampung houses. I love the open spaces of the paddy fields. To be able to see the Sun rising in the far horizon and later setting in the westerly direction. I like to feel the breeze and the open air." Before affirmatively declaring, "I really love my home!"

As I spent time talking with her mum and dad, I got to know that the present house is not where Kak Mutiah was born. Her father recalled that they were in fact staying in another house, but not far from their present abode. Later, as I was lazing on the front steps, I watched Kak Mutiah's father get on his small motorcycle to ride to the mosque nearby. I was quite clearly visible, but he appears not to notice until just in front of me, he suddenly glanced in my direction and waved. I was a little apprehensive because he was in fact riding rather fast and heading straight for the ditch. Happily he got control of the motorcycle alright and safely rode away.

It was only sometime later did I find out that he has problems seeing because of his cataract. "That is why whenever he wants to ride to town, my mother will ride along in the back to make sure nothing goes wrong." Explained Kak Mutiah, chuckling, "She's like his navigator!"
True Love.

I think that is the sweetest thing ever...

Have a safe ride today, sunshine, wherever you may be going!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

I Think, Therefore I Am Witnessing - all about wahdatul wujud, wahdatul shuhud, Mircrosoft grammar check and the cosmic ping pong table

Your separateness and individuality are lost in
the overwhelming Oneness that is God.
How should we phrase this often used-sentence – “God and the Prophet have ….” or “God and the Prophet has…”? This may appear a trivial matter, and the sinner may have way too much free time, but I think it is an interesting question to answer. And to approach this problem we will be applying the Ibn Arabi made-famous dichotomy of the two Wahdatuls. 

Some people say that the concepts of Wahdatul Wujud (the state / unity of creation) and Wahdatul Shuhud (the state / unity of witnessing) are too high and lofty for the contemplation of mere underlings like us. But hey... let's give it a shot, shall we? After all, we have a grammatical problem to solve.

At the level of Wahdatul Wujud there is only one True Reality. One Absolute Existence that existed even before the term ‘exist’ was ever created and understood. So in that context it is “God and the Prophet has” because we are in fact referring to one True Absolute Person, aka God and no one else but God. Indeed this would apply whenever God is accompanied by any other identity, even you. Your separateness and individuality are lost in the overwhelming Oneness that is God.

At the level of Wahdatul Shuhud, the presence of a witness to God necessitates two separate identities,  God and the Prophet Muhammad. In which case it makes sense that the phrase "God and the Prophet have..." is correct, signifying a plural dimension and the two very different and distinct personalities of God and His Creation (Prophet Muhammad).

So now I have two opposing and seemingly contradictory positions. But which is the best solution that Adab (courtly courtesies and good manners) would require to solve this grammatical puzzle?

In the Microsoft Word™ application, the embedded grammar and spelling-checker already underlined the word ‘has’ in green, in other words, the computer program is telling me that it is grammatically incorrect to use 'has' in context of the subject-verb agreement. The computer is telling me that the correct verb is “have”. So we know that Microsoft Inc is ostensibly at least, Wahdatul Shuhud.


Personally, I prefer going with “God and the Prophet has” because the overwhelming single reality is God Alone and that there is only He who is the willing force over all creation. The Prophet is there as the perfection of servanthood, God’s own flawless mirror set against God’s infinite and wonderful Divine Attributes. But to be fair, eminent translators of the Holy Quran have applied the plural verb when God is mentioned with other 'persons' in the form of His angels as in the verse 33:56 -

Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O ye that believe! Send ye blessings on him, and salute him with all respect. (Yusuf Ali)
Lo! Allah and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet. O ye who believe! Ask blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation. (Marmaduke Pickthall)

And then of course, some other translation avoid this grammatical problem altogether by separating the 'subject' God from the angels...

Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [ Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [ Allah to grant him] peace.
(Sahih International)

But to be absolutely honest here, I am happy to be the ping-pong ball being hit across the cosmic ping-pong table, back and forth, back and forth… by the Divine bats of Wahdatul Wujud and Wahdatul Shuhud. Because at the end of the day, even if we are 'thinking' Wahdatul Wujud... that act of thinking itself is a state of witnessing. To paraphase jolly old Rene Descartes - I Think, therefore I Am... Witnessing. 
'existential ping-pong'


If you are not confused (enough) yet, you might like to read previous posts on the Wahdatul Wujud and Wahdatul Shuhud. You can find them all on the labels cloud on the right hand column of this almanac…

Thank you for coming by, sunshine. I have been wondering where you have gone to.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

PostScript - this posting is a re-written version incorporating earlier postscripts.

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Puteh the Cat and the Trail of Breadcrumbs

Puteh the Cat
Here am I, resting on the steps
Of the kitchen door,
Bathing in the soft golden glow
And fair breeze of a gentle morn,
Here am I, as I have always loved to be,
In a lonely house, sitting in a vast paddy field,

Here am I, and I wish for no better home,
Not for me is any palatial abode,
Dukedom or kingly throne,
Here am I, as you shall always find me,
Sitting by the window of my soul
In a home with with father, mother and daughter
Basking in the soft golden glow and gracefully growing old.

I write to leave a trail of breadcrumbs in the forest of my life. So that, if ever, I am to find myself lost and wandering desperately in the witch’s forest, these trails of beautiful memories shall lead me back to safety.

Just as how God and the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) has left a trail of breadcrumbs in the form of the al Quran and the Sunnah (traditions of the Prophet) to guide the wary and bring back the lost from the vast emptiness of this fleeting, intangible reality.

And now Puteh the Cat is also part of that trail. And this somehow, leaves me strangely happy.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Air Awliya, The Caliph & The Flight into Fana - now every heart can fly!

Flight into Fana.
Yes indeed, every heart can fly with Air Awliya™. Some are flying low under the radar, other hearts are flying high and about to enter into Earth's orbit while the very few have broken right through the Earth's gravitational pull and is heading for the Sun - towards fana (the self's state of annihilation in the Divine Presence of God) and really, God knows what else...

Friday night, in KLIA. 
Flying with my Ego and Crashing into Mountains
And my own flight? Gee, how nice of you to ask! I am not flying very high. I am flying close to ground level, hugging the treeline and hills in the hope of enjoying this material world as well as the spiritual world. This low-level flight is not without its hazards and I have crashed into a couple of mountains in my days. This normally happens when I am wrestling with my ego over the controls of my soul-plane. My ego wins too often, dagnabbit!

Present day, in Jordan!
The Flying Mounted Archers are coming!
But I have happy news. The maiden flight of Air Awliya has already flown last Friday night when a contingent of mounted archers of Malaysia took off from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, bound for Amman, Jordan. These keen gentlemen (and one lady, I think) are about to participate in the Al Faris International Horseback Archery Competition, an international event open to all exponents of traditional horseback archery. No fancy fibre-glass / composite alloy modern bows here. The competition is under the royal patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Ku Ash & his beloved Mawlana...
Most of these gentlemen are friends, followers and groupies of al Marhum Shaykh Raja Ashman Shah ibni Sultan Azlan Shah (Ku Ash) who recently passed away almost 2 months ago. I cannot speak for Ku Ash (I can barely speak for myself), but I have no doubt that he would be pleased to see the progress of the traditional mounted archery here in Malaysia, something he was particularly concerned with (as I am informed).

The New Caliph
The followers of Ku Ash are by spiritual default, the followers of Mawlana Shaykh Muhammed Nazim al-Haqqani ar-Rabbani of Lefke, Cyprus. It is coincidental that about a week after the passing of Ku Ash, the Mawlana informed the world of the Divine determination of aforementioned King Abdullah II of Jordan as the new Caliph of Islam, Amirul Muqminin of the new epoch. And now again, coincidentally, a group from Ku Ash's jema'ah (congregation) and other jema'ahs from Italy, Spain, Germany etc. is gathering in the Hashemite Kingdom for a round of horseback archery. I love coincidences, don't you?

The Caliph of Islam, Commander of the Believers,
Shadow of God on Earth.
And coincidentally (last one for this posting, I promise), here you are and here I am. Sharing thoughts in the realm of the heart. God bless you.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Earlier Posting on King Abdullah II as the New Caliph of Islam (Click on links) -
* ISLAM'S CALIPH ON THE THRONE OF JORDAN? - Islam came as a stranger and will come back as a stranger... Therefore give glad tidings to the strangers...
* King Abdullah of Jordan, the Caliph of Islam, Emir of All the Believers - May God grant his reign to be merciful and beautiful
* The Importance of the Silsilah - King Abdullah II of Jordan, Caliph of Islam, Commander of the Believers, Shadow of God on Earth
* The Coming of the Caliph, King Abdullah II of Jordan - sounds good, but God is in the little details.
* Today there is a Living Breathing Caliph - God does not work in a Committee
* The Divine Presence Tour - The Sultan and the Shaykh

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Monday, May 21, 2012

COMMERCE & SPIRITUALITY - Between the enjoyment of consuming, and the happiness of giving and sharing...

Abbot: Mine is made in China. What about yours?
Muslim Dude: Golly! Even my 'little Kaaba' is made in China.

Holy Days and Holy Wastes
Romantic love rules the airwaves,
Anniversaries and Valentine’s Day,
Motherly love rules on Mother’s Day,
Fatherly love rules on Father’s Day,
Friendly love rules on Birthdays,
And thankfully... Godly love is celebrated
On the His Holy Days, 

But every day the love is ruined
By over-commercialization
And exploitation, the message
Lost in a morass of holy waste
And religious haze.

COMMERCE AND SPIRITUALITY. Actually, even before the Prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh), commerce and religion has always been intertwined. You need only visit the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina, to see pilgrim-tourist businesses thriving along the Masjid Nabawi and the Masjidil Haram. And Jerusalem too, the shared holy city for the Jews, Christians and Muslims. Everywhere you can find faux relics of saints and prophets, the Hand of Fatima, the Turkish Ward against the Evil Eye and all sorts of rosaries, tasbihs, clay and china figurines of the Virgin Mother, Verses of the Quran and Bible framed and sometimes etched on sheep skin, miniature little Kaabas, whirling Mehlevi dervishes and etc. The beauty (or crassness, let’s be honest here) of the spiritual souveniers is only limited by the imagination of the artist or the prolific factories in China, where all these religious bric-a-bracs appear to come from.

Jerusalem, present day. This procession of the Christian Nuns
have been going on for the longest time.
SPECIAL ……… (insert your religious festival here)……. PROMOTION! So I am going to be realistic and not proceed to condemn the commercialization of religious holidays and festivities. But like all things in life… it ought to be done in a measured and sensible level. There was once a time in Malaysia, when the Muslims tend to scorn the commercial exploitation of Christmas – you know, all that glittering Christmas trees, Santas and Santarinas on hire, and the give-your-loved-ones-Xmas-presents-though-you-will-max-your-credit-card kinda promotional ethos of the big super malls of Malaysia (oh yes. We have them aplenty). But now, alas, I do not really see that much difference between the Muslims and Christians. Muslims too can be guilty of unparalleled consumerism during the Eidul Fitri celebrations - New curtains, new sofas, new cellphones, new laptops, new TVs and even new cars sometimes.

Jerusalem, 1915. The last recorded procession of the Ottoman's
Feast for the Prophet Moses. 
A FINE BALANCE. And I shan’t be a party-pooper or Mr. Killjoy. After all, we are not saints. Nor are we Christian, Hindu, Buddhist or Sufi hermits. But I think there must be a fine balance we can strive towards... between self-gratification and philanthropy, between the enjoyment of consuming and the happiness of giving and sharing. 

CONCLUSION. Whether you are a Muslim or Christian (or Jew, Hindu, Punjabi, Wiccan… etc), I think we shall all benefit from focusing more on the giving bit, rather than the consuming bit. And the first 'giving' flavor for the day? - Let us give each other, of whatever race or faith we may be, the benefit of the doubt. The benefit of our tolerance and understanding. The benefit of our compassion and mercy.  And I do not think we need a special day or event to to give voice to such humanity. Not when we are aware that everyday is a blessed day from God... 24 never-to-be-gained-again hours especially created for you and for me.

Don’t you agree, sunshine?

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way