Friday, August 31, 2012

Malaysia Merdeka Thoughts 2012 - fear, democratic tyranny, education, neo-colonialism and NGOs

We should always remember. We should respect history and our elders.
And we should learn how old problems can return in a new form.

It is not only... (Merdeka Poem III for 2012)
It is not only independence
That can make a country great,
But the stock of men and women
And their firm sense of rightness,

It is not only liberty
That can make a country good,
But the choice through which
The people enjoy such liberty,

It is not only material wealth
That can make a country rich,
But the respect people hold
To their own tradition and history,

It is not mere tolerance
That can make a country
Of multi-ethnicity live in peace,
But the magnanimity
That people show towards one another
On a day to day basis.

Fear in Malaysia 2012. There is a lot of fear out there. In the newspapers, in the blogs and on TV, the mongers of fear repeat the speeches of politicians and preachers and perpetuate a climate of fear. The problem with fear is that if that is the primary thing that motivates your political agenda, it is an easy step to hate, then bigotry and hubris. This is not essentially a Malaysian problem. We are merely symptoms of a greater chronic disease suffered by the international mainstream and alternative news media. A pandemic of fear.

They wore uniforms (they are Germans, after all), but
a lot of common voting folk also thought them swell.
Democratic Tyranny. I am not a fan of either the incumbent government nor opposition parties here. I find both their posturing and vote-chasing distasteful, but then again I do not believe in democracy. I simply see too many people blinded by their own agenda, for that is what democracy is about – fighting for your rights. If it gels with other people’s interest that’s fine, but if it doesn’t, well… tough luck. People often forget that Hitler’s Nazi party came to power in Germany on the backs of a democratic election. Of course they were not actually vanilla in their electoral campaigns, but they won because they were simply more brutal and single-minded than their socialist and communist opponents. And people also forget that when the French King's Bastille was broken into, that so-called symbol of royal oppression, Parisian revolutionaries found only a couple of petty criminals. But the Great Terror that followed the French revolution helped to fill Bastille up with those fortunate few who were lucky enough to escape the bloody Guillotine. Yeah. Democracy. Great.

Education. But what sort? And although I often said before that it is education that firms an enlightened world view, even that is not enough, for education in the modern democratic context often focuses too much on worldly knowledge and material gain. Good education must be based on progressive and scientific ideas but built upon foundations of family, history and Adab (courtly manners and courtesies). In this respect, I believe that the federal government will soon be unveiling its review of the National Education Policy (or has it? I have been missing the news lately). Well, I suspect the single biggest issue which I wish addressed will not be there – the prohibition of any government ministers to send their children to private / international schools. You see, they do not even have the good manners to regard us as people with intelligence. Give the ministers's children 2 weeks in a public national school, and I assure you, sunshine, that the standards and facilities and funding for public education would improve almost immediately. All other options are secondary to this.

World Bank. Their mission is
to eradicate world poverty.
Yeah. Right.
Neo-Colonialism and the NGOs. Non-Governmental Organizations are a necessary check and balance to the executive powers of government. But when we do not have a transparent record of their funding, and when the NGOs patently parrot the Western ideas of human rights, progress and democracy, we have to be a little more concerned. For the progress of the West from colonial overseers to a bastion of equality and freedom is a false story. The West may tolerate a couple of brown, yellow or black leaders as its pin-up poster boy (or girl) for their tolerance and equality ads, but the overwhelming tide of events under the globalization of the economy, corporatist (read none-existent) ethics and the oppressive system of currency and international banking will continue to stoke East and West divide. This is naturally so, because a large segment of people believe that the West is superior to the East. And in a way, they are not wrong, so I don’t blame them for taking measures to protect their overwhelming material and military dominance of the world. But to have our own local NGOs leading the vanguard of this neo-colonialism is unfortunate. The NGOs may think themselves a world away from the corporatist powers of the Halliburtons, Shells and ExxonMobiles, the Morgan Stanleys and the Citibanks, the IMFs and the World Banks, but things are not so black and white in reality. There is a lot of money in CSR (corporate social responsibility), you see. CSR makes behemoth non-human profit-making monsters appear as cuddly as teddy bears, and NGOs needs money, after all. It’s a question of supply and demand, and the graph never lies. And before any politician claims otherwise, they are probably even worse - just see the amount of financial industry and corporatist money pouring into the present American presidential campaign.

These are some of my thoughts about Malaysia today, on it’s 55th birthday (well, for West Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak joined in 16 September 1963 – we really should consider combining both celebrations. It makes sense). There are a lot of challenges out there.

Am I worried? Not really, because my mum and dad taught us not to despair and to always persevere. In the cosmic scale, no human (or djinn) conspiracy can overcome the Plan of God and His Beloved Prophet. So Happy Merdeka Day and do not be discouraged! Have faith!

If you have a little faith (and a good camera) like Shamel, even you can defy gravity.
Happy Merdeka Day!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mr. Ikhlas Prayer - Waiting outside the Gate of Knowledge and walking through...

49. What is your God like?
One day someone asked me,
“O’ stranger, what is your God like?”

And this was what I wished
I was able to reply,
“My God is kind, like me.
My God is generous, like me.
My God is truthful, like me.
My God is patient, like me.
My God is understanding, like me.
My God is loving, like me.
My God is merciful, like me.

“He is all that?”, he asked.

“Yes. And so much more.
For He is not my God.
He is our God.”

And thus would I conclude,
“So if you wish
To know Him,
Then know me.”

The above prose does not make sense perhaps, unless the stranger is one of the Prophets of God, and even more so if he is the Seal of the Prophets himself, Muhammad ibn Abdullah (pbuh), born in Mecca, passing on in Medina but a Mercy to all the world(s).

And if it is not the Prophet Muhammad, then the stranger could very well be one of his Companions (Umar perchance?), and in that context God is taken out of the equation, and in His absence the Prophet becomes the best guide to God.

And if it is not a Companion, then it may be one of the Saints of Islam, say perhaps Shaykh Abdul Qader Geylani, and the other person he is referring to would be a Companion, Salman al Farsi, for instance.

You can guess where this is heading. He he he. The stranger is you.

I had a long chat with my friend, Mr. Ikhlas this morning. Many fascinating things we covered (which I hope to share with you here one day) but this is one nugget of advice he gave me. "You must have the best of ambitions. Do not allow the Prophet, the Companions or the Saints to become a veil between you and success in this world and in the next. The holy ones are meant to be gates of knowledge, not veils of knowledge."

"I am a little afraid, Ikhlas." I confessed. "Who am I, and who are they? I am worse than nothing, I am a bad sinner."

"No, my friend." He admonished me. "Why are you sitting out here by the gate of knowledge, pussy-footing at the peripherals? Are you waiting for the holy ones to invite you in? There is the gate. There is the door. Walk through!"

(Easy for him to say, I thought)"Walk through? How?"

Mr.Ikhlas then chuckled, "He he he. The easiest thing in the world - just ask. Ask God - o' Lord, however you have made Shaykh Abdul Qader to be, make me like him! However You have made Shaykh Jelaluddin Rumi to be, make me like him! However You have made Khalid al Walid to be, make me like him! However you have made my Mawlana to be, make me like him!"

Then he paused, before giving me the clinching reason. "After all, Taufiq, if you ask for something good from God. Would He deny you? If you asked your mother for something, if it was in her powers to give, would she have not granted you your wish? Are you telling me God does not love you as much and even better than your own mother? Or are you suggesting that God's power to grant His servants their most impassioned desire is limited or somehow constricted?

The story of Mr. Ikhlas is an interesting and continuing tale that traverse across decades of his long life, and crisscrosses between the world of Man, the world of the Unseen beings and the world of the Djinns. But essentially, at this point in his life, it is to the world of Man that Mr. Ikhlas belongs. Contented at home and happy to be in his skin... perhaps that is why he can come up with some poignant and wonderful prayers.

I just thought I would share this prayer with you today, on the eve of Malaysia's Hari Merdeka. So be not reticent in your congress with your God, sunshine. Ask! Ask! Ask and never stop asking! 

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

The Perilous Life of a Dervish - losing your heart and mind to the oracles, signs and symbols of God

Life if always full of peril. Earlier this morning my heart was
at risk of being stolen by this little boy...
25. Bewitched
I am bewitched
By the beautiful smiles
And gentle voices
Of men, women and children.

These oracles of heaven
God has left behind
To console the wayward and the lost.

While some men who search for conspiracies and the secret symbols of the enemy of humanity (we can call him the Devil) are busy attracting the knowledge that is required for their craft, I am afraid that I have absolutely no talent for such endeavours (too much hard work). But I see a greater danger for mankind, the real threat to our independence and freedom... God.

... and of course, in our family are those always keen
to imperil our sense of loneliness and make us a part
of something better and greater...

For the truth is, sunshine, we are all imperiled. Our very own souls are at risk - imperiled by the oracles and signs, by the codes and symbols of the Lord that He has left scattered all over the world to entrap us...

Men Losing Everything
Right from the beginning of time,
Men have been at risk of losing their hearts
To the indescribable beauty of women,
Losing their sense of balance holding
Their beloved children in their arms,
Losing their intoxicated heads (sometimes, literally!)
Drunk in the Truth of God,
Losing their freedom of movement
To God's own agenda,
Losing their hearth and home
To the wanderlust of the Dervish,
Losing their riches to
The riches of the heart,
Losing their pride for the Glory of God,
Losing their wayward and foolish ways
For the Sunnah (traditions) of the Prophet (pbuh),
Losing their wasteful fear for the beneficial fear of the Lord,
Losing their weary hindsight
For the inspired foresight of the seekers of God,
Losing their attraction of this illusory world
For the Eternal Beauty of God,
Losing their dependence on others
To a dependence on God alone,
And seeking no guidance but the guidance
Of Muhammad Habibullah (pbuh), the First Light of Creation!

But when we lose everything, we gain for ourselves nothingness, through which state we may slip through the prison bars of this illusory and transient world for the infinite knowledge of the manifest Mercy and Compassion, Beauty and Truth of God, Lord Creator of all mankind - it is an Ocean of Happiness that has no end in its horizon, sunshine.

... passed away or in passing, God has conspired lethal
traps to ensnare all of humanity to the best,
safest and most beautiful life, for here
and in the hereafter.
al fatiha

Well, that is what the heavenly brochure tells me. He he he.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Debts of Love we all owe - unwinding the past, extending the present, revealing the future

Our Elders: Oh Where Shall I Hide My Shame?
O' my Beloved God,
In the name of Your Most Beloved,
Muhammad Habibullah, Most Glorious Rose
In the Garden of Your Creation,
Most Perfect Light created before
The Pen and the Tablet,
I am asking Thee, for Thou
Have commanded that we
Ask Thee and no one else...

That if Thou have granted us
The foresight of knowledge and responsibility
Then for us, make it easy,
And extend a second beyond one second,
One hour beyond one hour, turn the day
Into a year of beautiful memories,
A year into an epoch of good deeds,
That we might give unto those whom
We owe much debt of gratitude and love
What they deserve, and that we are not
Questioned on the day when all deeds
Are accounted for - "O' Taufiq, when your
Elders become weak and enfeebled, when their
Limbs refuse to work as they used to,
When their mind is quiet and introspective,
When they are looking for your time and attention,
Did you give unto them their right?
Did you give unto them love and care?"

Oh, Lord... I fear Thy questioning of me.
Oh where shall I hide my shame...
Dear God, oh where...?

My father (78) and my auntie (84) is living with me. And I have just realised that for the longest time they have nurtured secret hopes. A very human and reasonable want to go out, to have dinners at a restaurant, to go shopping, to travel and visit places they used to frequent in their younger days, to visit their friends and relatives, to have some favourite dish that they long missed. But they never tell me, you see. It is not my fault, is it?

Bapak (my dad)

This is me, bustling about like a mad man, running from work to work, writing for blogs, working hard for my customers, rushing in and out of my house, trying to earn a crust of bread and an amphora of honey, while all the while, my aunt and my father observes me with a contemplative and sad gaze. 

Mak Ndak (my aunt)

When I was growing up, they need not be told by me what I want or need. Regularly they have showered me with love, care, attention and presents, though I have done nothing to deserve their blessings, save for the simple effort of being born, and that too I really had not much work to do. I simply popped out of my mother's tummy. When I was growing up, my parents and elders have already the foresight to consider and plan for my future, years and years ahead of time. And now, here I am, not even able to consider five minutes into the future as to my father and auntie's wants and hopes.

Ah. That wise (and damning) words still rings true - A single father or mother can care and raise two, three or ten children. But sometimes, not even ten children can care for one elderly father or mother.

I often like to hide my foibles and weakness behind the station of a sinner. But truth be told, sunshine, this is worse than being a sinner.

I hope to change. I want to change. I don't want to meet God feeling all shitty this way. I want to make my elders happy. I reckon my mother, may God bless her soul, would have agreed.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Tired Devil and The End of Time - Fear not fear, fear God...

He asks some pretty difficult questions sometimes. Cheeky boy.
I went back earlier to the house to assemble a book shelf and Mikhail was at home. He had misplaced two books of the Dairy of a Wimpy Kid series. I think he has five. He was searching high and low for them, and so I suggested a small prayer that he might recite to help him find it. It is a common enough prayer for those who knows it, but is perhaps less common to those who are not aware of it, involving the assistance of invisible servants of the Lord, by whatever name or title you call them.

In the course of our chat, Mikhail suddenly asked me, "Papa, are there good Djinns?" It is a tricky question, but I did my best, "Well, Mika... Djinns are similar to Man because they can choose between good and bad. Just like you, right?"

He nodded his understanding. Then I continued, "But I have heard some people say that the best of Djinns are like the worst of Man. And yet, I am also told that in the Djinn World there are Djinns who are believers, and there are Djinns who fight against them."

He pondered a bit, then asked me, "Don't the Devil ever want to be good?"


"You know, Papa. The Devil is immortal, right? Isn't it a waste that he has all this time and doesn't do good? Doesn't he want to change?"

I was stumped for an answer. "Err, err... let me get back to you on that, Mika."

The Tired Devil. It is a good question. I would like to know the answer to it myself. Then I recall just a couple of months back, when I heard the sohbet (speech) of a Sufi GrandShaykh. He was alluding to the state of affairs of the world, and just how fasad (corruption) appears to permeate every level. And that the interaction between good and evil, between goodness and corruption is reaching a culminating point in history. Then he said that even the Devil is tired, weary of his work.

After that however, in a later talk, the Master intimated that the Devil and his minions never rests for even 5 minutes in their conspiring and whispering campaign against all of the children of Adam. Perhaps the Devil was weary only in a 4 brief minutes, and then he is once again reinvigorated and rejuvenated in his 24/7 job to corrupt as many man and woman he can lay his whispers upon.

This almanac is just this - observations of observations. And perhaps I would despair at all this hate and poison engineered by the Devil across the epoch against our ancestors and all of humanity, of whatever hue our skin is or faith we believe in. But then I remember the goodness of Nabi Muhammad, Prophet of God (pbuh), I recall the noble reality and essence of his family, the humility and prowess of his Companions, and the continuing ministration of this world by his Saints the Awliya Allah (Friends of God). And at the end of this path of reflection, ultimately I recall God and how I would like to fear Him. In this way...

3. Fear of Fear
An eternal evil,
A false path,
A vigorous opponent
To all that is good,
Is that which is born
From confusion and uncertainty,
An offspring from the unholy wed
Between your Ego and impiety,
And this child is named Fear.

By the blessings of Fate
Is often Fear laid bare,
Yet most choose to follow Fear,

And Wherever Fear may lead you to,
Know surely that perdition awaits you there.

Had you only feared God,
You would not have feared Fear,
For fear of God leads to peace,
But fear of Fear will lose you
All whom you hold dear,
And profits you not.
Fear not 'Fear' in whatever skin it wears...
Even in a dragon skin.

Have a lovely day, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Mikhail and Papa-ism - children, parents and the Divine Names of God

O' Thou enveloped in thy cloak...
O' Thou Enveloped In Thy Cloak. I had a late chat before going to sleep, and as I walk into the bedroom I could not even see Mikhail, hidden as he was, sleeping peacefully under the duvet blanket. The sight made me recall one of the earliest verse of the holy Quran, when the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) after seeing Gabrial (again) as an Angel sitting upon a throne that filled the entire horizon, ran home and asked that he be covered under the cover. But you know, God can be very persistent...

O thou enveloped in thy cloak,
Arise and warn!
Thy Lord magnify,
Thy raiment purify,
Pollution shun!
(Quran 74:4-5, Marmaduke Pickthall)

Papa-ism. Last night we went out for a drink, Mika and me. So yet again, the floodgate of Papa-Papa-Papa opened up... Papa, what is wrong with my computer? Papa, don't worry about it... Papa, I just want warm water... Papa, can I download a game? I am not hungry any more, can we pack this last three french fries? Papa... help me finish them!

On the way back I decided to see if I could stop this incessant Papa-ism and bet with Mikhail that he couldn't stop saying 'Papa' for the 5 minutes drive home. The bet was his pocket money for school. Every times he says 'Papa', he loses a day's pocket money. He lost his pocket money for today, tomorrow and Thursday. It is not that he didn't try -

Mika: No way... I am not going to say it.
Me: Say what?
Mika: Hahaha... you know...the 'P' word
Me: Oh yes. I forgot. What was that word again, Mika?
Mika: Hahahaha... I am not going to fall for that trick!
Me: What trick?
Mika: Ahaha... no way, Papa... I am not gonna say it!
(Epic Fail, as Mika would put it)

So Mikhail will go hungry in school, tough luck. But I told him to be nice to all his classmates (must be about 38 of them) and just scrounge a bite from each of them during recess period. He said that my suggestion was disgusting.

Dzikr. But to be honest here (and don't tell Mika this), I was somehow pleased that he failed to keep the 'P' word out of his conversation even for 5 minutes. What an interesting analogy we have here for Mankind and God, our Most Compassionate and Most Merciful Creator. I am pretty sure He would feel the same way too if his beloved servants (as we all are) cannot stop calling out His Name. Perhaps we ought to speak God's name as often as we can. But unlike the father to Mikhail, God will NEVER tire of listening to you saying his Divine Name (any of the revealed 99 names of God), Allah, Rahman... Rahim... Wadud... Qadir... Halim... Kareem... Razak. Muslims call this practice the 'dzikr'.

Go crazy in dzikr, sunshine. And you won't even risk losing your pocket money.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Monday, August 27, 2012

Life and the Alchemy of Meanings - The Prophet(pbuh), music and messrs rock and roll

I Cannot Be More Than This
I cannot be more than this,
A man dressed in the humanly attributes
Of weakness, shamefulness and error.

I cannot be more than this,
A sinner hidden by a veil,
A jester in a court…
But who’s court?
Playing and dancing for a king,
But who is the king?

I cannot be more than this,
To have feelings of success and disappointments,
To be weary sometimes, to be strong sometimes,
And I am ashamed to ask for anything
When I am asking only
To be nothing,

… or so I claim.

I cannot tell you what to do
I cannot tell you what not to do,
I am only a gold digger,
A hobo with a pan in my hand
Scouring the world for
Signs of God in
The earth
Of Man.

You speak to me of your worry
...But I cannot understand,
For just now I heard my Master
Tell me of the Beauty of God
And the blessings for Man,

You tell me of the signs, the names
The words and the secret numbers
Of Djinns and Demon Kings,
But I must be forgiven for taking
My indiscretions a step further -
For I do not care for such meanings,
Looking for the dictionary of the dictionaries,
Looking for the hidden meanings behind the meanings,

For I change the world
With every breath I take,

With every good or bad
That possesses my being
I give meaning
to everything.

This morning my friend arrived from the mountain bearing some grave news, and upon his furrowed brow I saw discontent and worry.

He was worried about his way in life, about responsibilities and knowledge, about effort and sacrifice. I told him not to worry too much, for to be honest, I have always believed him to be a fine and upstanding fellow. A gentleman cut from a fine beautiful jewel, and one whom I am honoured to call a bosom buddy. 

Then he spoke to me of a shirt I made and gave to him many, many years ago. On it was emblazoned the heading 'We Rock 4 Mustafa', a phrase that made me extremely happy, in reference to some presumptuous love we have for Mustafa a.k.a. the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Now I am informed that the phrase is wrong. I should have not used the word 'rock' in relation to the Prophet. Because it appears that the word 'rock' as in 'rock and roll' is actually the name or title of a pair of Djinn Demon lords who conspired for rock & roll to be the name of their dastardly new musical form, intended with the sole purpose of corrupting mankind. Yes, I remember the shock that engulfed humanity when American TV first aired Elvis Presley and his gyrating hips. Cunning, these Djinn Bosses.

Well, I cannot please everyone, nor is it my intention. I am not 'a Sufi', though I love them all (both the sober and the drunkards), and my admiration for the Masters is I believe sincere. I do believe in the existence of Djinns, though I see them not. I have not acquired (nor do I want) the talent to see these foul creatures. But then again I also do not see God nor His Angels, yet I believe in Him and the Angels, and I believe in the teachings of the Prophet(pbuh) and the Saints.

Of the Djinns and Demons..? Let them play their part. And let those who fight such creatures do their noble duty. But if there is a stout little Djinn out there (and no... not Dwayne Johnson) who connived to have his name glorified as Rock (or Roll) through some hedonist and soul-corrupting genre of sexually pulsating melodies, well... we are taking your name and changing it for our own purpose. We can do this, you see, and not just to words or names, but also to  sounds and music, symbols, signs and any other visual or audio depictions that the Djinn mind can conjure. If you knew the extent of our mischief in this regard, you would be scandalized. 

This is a technical posting, sunshine, that may be of interest to some but possibly an utter drag for others. We will revert to our normal programming tomorrow.  

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Dawn & Dusk, The Virtue of Constancy - Monday blues after a long holiday

Dawn & Dusk
Dawn and dusk,
Day and night,
Right and wrong,
Black and white,
Twice a day and
Many, many more times
In our lives,
We cross the line between
What the Good Lord enjoins
And what our ego enjoys.

Sincerity is natural enough sometimes when it is spurred by regret and passion. Consistency in sincerity is much, much harder. I think our One God puts it best...

By (the Token of) Time (through the ages),
Verily Man is in loss,
Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy. (Quran 103:1-3, translations by Yusuf Ali)

After a good four days' break to the northern state of Perlis for a wedding, I awoke today a little unprepared for my regular Monday routine. Fortunately I have left tokens of work to be completed scattered about to remind me - in my bedroom, in my bag, in my car, on my work table, in my cellphone and less visible sometimes, in my head. And there are of course a mound of emails in my inbox left there by my clients and Alexander (my partner in crime).

In the Surah al-Asr, the very final lesson that we are asked to enjoin each other is constancy. And I reckon it's because we can be very, very honest sometimes, we can be exceedingly patient some times, but to carry both with constancy is the true measure of the human spirit.

So you are lucky, sunshine, that you only get me through this blog. I do not think I am an easy man to live with. On a daily diet of Taufiq, you may find me just a little bit too much. If there is talk of sincerity, patience and honesty in this almanac, it is not mine, rather it is about those who keep close to me and tolerate me.

See, this is me being honest and sincere. May we share and heighten our understanding, that such virtue becomes a more common place occurrence in our daily life. For it is perhaps too uncommon for me.

Oh well. Have a great Monday anyway, sunshine... because however it begins, the day can only get better. If anything, that is the singular enduring belief that I always nurture in my sinful heart. Sinners are like that. We have to be, to face this world with some optimism. He he he. Hu... Hu... Hu...

Angel: Where is this enduring optimism of yours this Monday morning,  o' mortal?
Me: Just bring me my cup of coffee and I will show you!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Patience, Perfection and the Light of Muhammad - on the road with Mikhail

1. Just between you and Me
There will be people
Too wise and godly
Who will say,
“O’ Lord, she calls
Unto You
In poor speech.”

But just between you and Me, o’ seeker
I think you call on Me beautifully.

Patience or Perfection?
I picked up Mikhail earlier today, and as we were driving the verbal overflow began from my 8 year old. He told me about the house warming party he went to on Friday, and that his mother recently purchased for him a new pair of shoes.

He may not look like much, but Mika can come up
with some pretty profound questions.
While on the way to the neighbourhood IKEA store, he asked me an interesting question, “Papa, which is better… Patience or Perfect?”

“What do you mean, Mika?”

He sighed the sigh of a 8 year old patiently dealing with a slow father and replied. “Papaa…, remember? Patience is better than passion right?” eluding to a conversation we had some time back, “...So which is better this time, patience or perfect?”

“Oh…, you mean perfection?” I clarified.

“Yeah, yeah. Which is better, patience or perfection?” asked the curious Mika.

“Hmm. Well I reckon that perfection is better than patience. But true perfection is owned only by God. But if you are looking for perfection in this world… then the best bet would be Nabi Muhammad (pbuh).”

He thought for a while, then concluded, “Yeah. I think you are right!”

I know my son asks all sorts of question, and sometimes I wonder whether he actually understands the full extent of what he is questioning. And indeed, whether he can comprehend the answers that I try to give him. But an old soul dropped by a moment ago and said to me, “It does not matter, Taufiq. After all, who are you to say that even now, you fully comprehend what you are saying, thinking or even feeling?”

He he he. Yeah. I worry too much.

NurMuhammad - Light of Muhammad. That is why this evening I am sharing with you the above prose entitled “Just between You and Me”. Because the Me here is God, who unlike us mortals, fully comprehends not only what we say or do, but as our Creator, He is in complete knowledge of our nature – our strengths and our frailties, our passion and our patience, our highs and our lows, our good and bad. And while He sees us in our dire imperfection, for a strange beautiful reason, He still loves us and has the most incredible hope for our success. And for Muslims the world over, that strange beautiful reason is manifested in God’s highest and very first creation, the NurMuhammad (Light of Muhammad) of the Prophet(pbuh). As to what is actually the NurMuhammad is something inexplicable to me. What is the nature and material that makes up this first created light is beyond my understanding. What I do know is that upon the unveiling of the NurMuhammad, verily, God fell in love with His Creation.

Angel: I find your imperfections beguiling, Mikhail. When we asked God why
He created Mankind that is so imperfect in so many ways, He only replied
to us, "I know what ye knows not."

This Sufi parable is played out every day in our life. Especially if you are blessed with children. Such is the lessons we may learn in our difficult but often poignant and always beautiful experiences as a parent.

May God bless our children, and our fathers and mothers who reared us with love, affection and of course, patience. We may not be perfect, but to be loved by God and His Prophet is already the perfect beginning and ending of our journey in this world. It is strange how often we get distracted and forget this very simple truth.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

You Are Never Too Old To Make Friends - intimacy with the Friend of Friends, aka God

...or too young or too dead. Here is Mikhail making friends with my grand aunt
on my late mother's side of the family. al fatiha
172. Layla II
Grey skies and smiles,
Bent boughs and swaying willows,
Falling leaves and morning showers,
Wile away my happy hours,
And leave me in no doubt,
That He made them all, friends and foes…
Just for me.

We never know how things will end up, do we? Oh, we may surmise and contemplate according to our wisdom (or stupidity), but it's really up to fate and ultimately God.

Some of the most unexpected friends can show up with
a halo above their heads...

I am happy that I have not come across nor made many foes / enemies in my life. Certainly not the nemesis or great conspirator of biblical proportions.

Of friends, I can only wonder how God disposes and disperses them across the world. For in my life I reckon that I have been given more than my fair share of sparkling souls masked in the mortal skin of 'a friend'.

Freshly minted husband and wife -
Syed Khaled and Sherry Fifi
When I started going out with Heche, I was a little apprehensive of clicking into her clique of friends, for they are all a good 13 years younger than me. And while I always try to be friendly, I never truly considered the chance that I can actually be friends with them, such is the divide between our two generations that I perceived. And to make a confession here, I think although I have always been kind, the kindness is layered with a tinge of condescending overtone on my part - "These bucks and nubile young things! Ah... so much yet for them to learn and go through!"

But experience teaches us and make us unlearn our stupidity. For the truth is the young sometimes have a lot to teach us. And there are those amongst them who have gone through much more than we have and have something to offer and share with us, if we would only stop riding on our so-called wisdom earned through our age.

For at this juncture, I am STILL learning. And one of the most important lesson I have gained this year is this - We are never too old to make friends. I am not gonna let my age stand in the way of God's generosity towards me... For now I know that The Lord of Muhammad(pbuh) and God the Friend of Friends still have many, many more friends to bless my life with now and further down the road.

Alhamdulillah...(God be praised!)

Ah... the impertinent energy of youth!
How wonderful God made us, sunshine... do you recall?

Have a restful Sunday, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Wedding of Fifi & Khaled - all's well that ends well!

Alhamdulillah, at about 6.15pm yesterday Khaled and Fifi consecrated their marriage vows in a simple Aqad ceremony at the bride's house. Despite the prayers of all involved, the mild afternoon rain turned into a right earnest downpour in the evening. "It is Fifi's tears, bro...," commented Kamarul, "...because she will lose her single status today in the sight of God Almighty, the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) and Facebook."

As promised, these are some pictures we were able to take last night.

It is about 5.45pm, the hosts are ready, the cameraman is waiting patiently next
to the row of Hantaran (presents from the bride to be exchanged with the groom's
gifts), the youngish Tok Kadi (the religious dude to officiate the Aqad) is here
and in front of him is the two cushions for him to sit facing the groom (when
he arrives, that is)
Finally, Khaled's family arrived suitably wet from the downpour, with his aunties
and female cousins bearing his gifts on traditional dulangs (bronze trays),
consisting of non-traditional presents like an Apple iPad and a Nikon DSLR.
And then... like a dying camel arriving at an Oasis of Love, the groom, attired in his family's
traditional Arabic robes, arrives with a glitter in his eyes and a nervous smile.
"Dig for oil, here!" says the Shaykh.
(Hehehe. Khaled was actually asking where he was suppose to sit)
And a few minutes later, out comes the blushing Fifi from the bridal room carrying
a pretty bouquet of flowers. She will be sitting close by to witness the Aqad ceremony.
The father comes over with some official forms from the Tok Kadi to be signed
by the bride. With a brisk signature Fifi signs off her consent to marriage
and other assorted statutory declarations.
With a single recitation, Khaled completes the Aqad successfully. Sorry, no pictures
as I was behind him and concentrating real hard to listen to his recitation
of the contractual offer and acceptance of his marriage to Fifi. 
At the end, as in all weddings, happy smiles and poses all around.
It was still raining as we left later. There is Kamarul, Heche and Efa waiting for me
in the downpour. I stopped for a while to take this picture and let them get
a little bit more wet, just so I can post this pic on the blog.
I am a dedicated blogger, I am.

Such is life... Boy meets girl. Girl drives boy crazy. They get married.

Have a lovely sabbath, sunshine. We have the official reception to go to this afternoon, then the long drive back to Kuala Lumpur. 

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way